Just back from Berlin and thinking about all of the significant art that I saw on my three day trip. I’m quite sure that I missed plenty, but anything as well organised by this vibrant arts community will produce an excess of compelling and ‘worth a visit’ shows.
First on my list, carrying on from Thursday where I attended the NGORO NGORO, Katharina Grosse at Konig Gallery’s new St Agnes space and Gallerist Sharon Zhu’s launch of the House of Egorn, is an installation by Ottmar Horl who has created a field of Kitschy garden gnomes in green with a few in primary colours thrown in for good measure. I’m not sure this speaks to me but perhaps it is Germany’s answer to the poppy field installation at the Tower of London, without the sentiment, just a vast hollow grid of plastic.
On to the Potsdamer area where most of the commercial galleries are situated. I attended Blain|Southern’s launch of Francois Morellet’s solo show. Morellet is a seminal French artist who created sculptures utilising fluorescent tubes, long before Dan Flavin worked in the material. The show of this 89 year old’s work is set in a stunning gallery space which used to be an old print-works and as a commercial space could compete with UK public galleries such as the Baltic. Where in London do you find this kind of space, I pondered!
Next stop another Potsdamer Gallery BERLINARTPROJECTS where a group show included the notable work of Aniel Harms, Ulrich Riedel, Yasam Sasmazer, Eda Soylu, Claudia Vitari and Meike Zopf. Soylu’s work mostly consists of cast modular shapes which have inclusions of organic matter such as flowers.
The Anna Jill Lupertz Gallery showed the artist Amir Fattal’s work in an exhibition titled Mesopotopography Fattal lives and works in Berlin and creates work which researches into cultural and historical memory in the context of architecture and its destruction.
Spruth Magers is showing a film by CYPRIEN GAILLARD and works by MARCEL VAN EEDEN both work in Berlin. Marcel van Eeden’s practice of predominantly monochrome drawings is based exclusively on imagery that predates his 1965 birth. The drawings, which are executed in ‘nero’ pencil or black chalk, often evoke film noir or cells from graphic novels, generating a haunting mood of sparse, dark nostalgia. For The Symmetry Argument, his second exhibition at Sprüth Magers and his first at the Berlin gallery, van Eeden researched a wave of spiritualism that swept through his hometown of The Hague during the 1930s and 40s. Derived from the book-length poem The Nature of Things by the first-century B.C. Roman poet Lucretius, the title of the show illuminates both van Eeden’s practice in general and this particular body of work. In the poem, Lucretius makes the Epicurean argument that the fear of death is irrational because you couldn’t possibly be conscious of being not alive before you were born: death is merely a return to the eternity that existed before your birth. This idea has been subsequently characterized as the ‘symmetry argument’.
DARRI LORENZEN REGULAR ISSUE was presented in a drop-by lounge situation at Krome Gallery. They served cans of coconut milk and you were encouraged to rearrange and add to the instillation on view.
Back to NGORO NGORO on my final day for screening of one of the most extraordinary films I’ve seen in a long time. Created by the artist Julian Rosefeldt and titled Deep Gold (Top Photo) it is a surreal style film not out of place and to the last detail of the Weimar Republic. Without spoiling it, it recaptures the decadence of Berlin in the 1920s and 30s masterfully. – Now on to Venice!
Words/Photos By P C Robinson © Artlyst 2015