An Invitation for Intimacy

One of the two greatest pleasures in life is having an intimate conversation with a close person

This sentence is taken from “The Last Interview” – a book by the Israeli author Eshkol Nevo I’ve read lately. Many words can be written on the other greatest pleasure in life. In fact, I am not even sure there’s a consensus on what the second great pleasure actually is, but here I would like to focus on the last part of this statement (I promise to write a special post about the other one soon…). I find myself thinking a lot these-days about friendship, about relationships, about what is meaningful in life. In our busy days of text messages, emails and social media, the quality of personal encounters may sometimes be forgotten.

Though I haven’t checked statistically, it seems that in most theories and approaches dealing with happiness and fulfillment in life, the significance of having authentic, deep relationships is quite consistent. It reminds me of a sentence someone once told me – happiness is other people.

Personal encounters, intimacy and contemplation are some of the ideas which the artist Lee Mingwei deal with in his work. Born in 1964 in Taiwan and now living in Paris and New York City, Lee creates participatory installations, where strangers can explore issues of trust, intimacy and self awareness and one-on-one events where visitors contemplate these issues with the artist through eating, sleeping, walking and conversation. From the 27th of March till the 7th of June 2020, the Gropius Bau will present a solo exhibition by Lee Mingwei, showing his installations and performances from the last thirty years (Curated by the Director of the Gropius Bau, Stephanie Rosenthal and Clare Molloy). Central to the exhibition is an exploration of art’s potential to be a transformative gift.

And why am I telling you about this exhibition now, you probably ask yourselves? That is because you (or items which belong to you) will have an opportunity to be a part of this unique exhibition, which seems like an incredible experience to me. The artist is putting out open calls inviting people from the local community to take part in three of his participatory projects.

The project I personally find as most intriguing is The Mending Project, which was already shown in various museums as well as at the Venice Biennale in 2017. It is an interactive conceptual installation where simple elements such as thread, colours, sewing – serve as the point of departure for conversations between strangers. Lee Mingwei invites visitors to bring clothes in need of attention to the museum. Either the artist himself or chosen menders then sew these articles. The sewn clothes are then attached by threads to spools on the wall, forming an ever-growing installation. For this project the artist is seeking hosts to engage in conversation with the visitors while mending their textile items. While the mender sit with threads and needles, repairing pieces of clothing, the owners of the items will be asked to share a personal story about why this piece of clothing is special for them.

Mixed media interactive installation
Table, chairs, threads, fabric items
Installation view Lee Mingwei and His Relations, Taipei Fine Arts Museum, 2015
Courtesy: Taipei Fine Arts Museum

The second project is The fabric of memory, which reveals how personal histories can be archived in objects. Ahead of the exhibition the artist invites the local community to submit personal clothing and other fabric items that were made for them. These items will then be displayed in wooden boxes. When a museum visitor opens one of the wooden boxes, they find not only the fabric object, but a very personal story which reveals the intimate relationship between the object’s receiver and its maker.

The third project is The Living Room, in which the artist transforms a museum gallery into a living room, allowing volunteers to act as hosts. These individual hosts are invited to bring in their own collections of objects that have a personal or aesthetic significance to them, and to engage visitors in dialogue about their objects.

The volunteers will be needed for around two hours. The deadline to apply for all three open calls is Tuesday, 3rd of December at 17:00 (>>>Update: The application deadline has been extended and is now until the 17th of December). In order to apply you simply have to follow the links I attached to each project – it is quick, simple and written both in English and German.

Good luck and please let me know if you are planning to apply!

… And in case you still haven’t been to the exhibition “Garden of Earthly Delights” at the Gropius Bau, go see it! It is on until this upcoming Sunday, 1st of December. I loved it!

Art Week Alert 📢📢

It is such a treat to return from a long summer holiday straight into the warm embrace of the Berlin Art Week. Art Week 2019 is offering an outstanding, exciting, rich program of cultural events, exhibition openings, screenings, workshops and more, as if to remind us all how lucky we are to be living in one of the most significant “Kunsthauptstadt” in the world.

Collection Regard © Patrick Tourneboeuf/Collection Regard

This year’s program, which can be found here, may seem to be quite overwhelming. Well, it is. Therefore, one should work strategically. You simply can’t have it all. And, like my old friend Scarlet once said: “tomorrow is another day”.

The excellent exhibitions, such as: Bettina Pouttchi at the Berlinische Galerie (and while you’re there don’t miss the Bauhuas exhibition), “Walking through walls” at the Gropius Bau, WangShui at the Julia Stoscheck collection, Jonas Burgert with Gerhard Richter and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner at the me Collectors Room, are highly recommended. Having said that, take into consideration that those exhibitions are on for at least two more months, so curb your FOMO (“fear of missing out”).

The Art Berlin fair which opens today, held for the second year at the spectacular location of Tempelhofer Feld (Hangars 5, 6) is on only until this Sunday. The fair is focusing on young and established contemporary art and introducing 110 galleries from 16 countries. On Saturday and Sunday there are even guided tours for children. Just don’t forget to buy your tickets in advance to avoid the queues.

art berlin, Outdoor sculptures at art berlin fair 2018—Berlin Tempelhofer Flughafen. Photo: Clemens Porikys

An intriguing project that can be visited this weekend is the Haus der Statistik – built near Alexanderplatz in 1968, as a seat of central data administration for the GDR. After reunification, it briefly harbored the federal bureau of the Stasi documents (GDR Intelligence), among other uses. The building has been standing empty for over a decade. In September 2015, a banner designed by the Berlin alliance of artists’ studios under threat announced the establishment of a center of socio-cultural purposes at the Haus der Statistik. An artistic intervention which has now turned into urban-political reality. today, it is a unique pilot project in which a broad coalition of urban actors are developing together. Statista is one of the many pioneer usages of the vast spaces of the Haus der Statistik. The complete program of events can be found here.

Statista, Haus der Statistik, sign Allesandersplatz (AltogetherDifferent Square). Photo: Victoria Tomaschko

Another option is to visit one of the private collections which are usually closed for the public and open their doors in special occasions such as this one. Collection Regard for instance, which is dedicated to Berlin and German photography. Situated in Mitte and offers, in contrast to classic white-cube showrooms, a cozy setting. Open between 14:00 to 18:00 from the 12th until the 14th of September.

What I realized lately is that sometimes the most exciting exhibitions take place 5 minutes away from my home, though a bit under the radar. I will write about it on my next post.

Wishing you all an artsy weekend!

Collection Night, here I come!

A still from Deep Gold by Julian Rosefeldt, 2013/2014. Courtesy: Julian Rosefeldt and Sammlung Wemhöner. Copyright from Julian Rosefeldt and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019.

This evening, one week before the traditional Long Night of the Museums, another “long night” event is being launched. The COLLECTION NIGHT, dedicated to Berlin’s private art collections, which have such an important part in the city’s art scene. A dozen of Berlin’s private art collections will open their doors to the public from 17:00 until midnight. A chance to see some of the most intriguing art collections, most of them are rarely accessible to the public.

In such occasions my yearning sense of curiosity instantly takes over me and if you’re here reading my blog – I know yours as well. It is absolutely understandable, seeing art displayed in such a setting as a private residence or a historical venue generates an immersive experience that is completely different than visiting “just” a museum or white cube gallery. Thought provoking, stimulating and exciting in another aspect. And if it’s not for the art, then it’s for the stories behind the venues or their architecture.

Sammlung Wemhöner for instance, will present its future private exhibition space for the first time on this occasion. In a historic former ballroom from 1899 in Kreuzberg, a large scale screening of Julian Rosenfeldt’s film Deep Gold will be on view. After the weekend, this architectural jewel will be renovated and is planned to open only during 2021.

More intriguing examples are the collection of the computer scientist Ivo Wessel, who has been collecting contemporary art and literature since his school days. His collection includes painting, photography, conceptual art, media and video art. And the ROCCA Stiftung, founded by the Art historian Joëlle Romba and lawyer Eric Romba. The foundation is located in the couple’s art-filled private premises. Their collection focuses on different aspects of contemporary art, such as: photorealistic painting, Op-Art, architecture in art and so on, with works by Wolfgang Tillmans, Carmen Herrera, Gregor Hildebrandt and many more.

I am extremely excited about this blessed initiative, organised by the directors of the Boros Collection, the me Collectors Room and the Wemhöner collection, who have joined forces to pay a well-deserved homage to Berlin’s collectors. Hopefully this inaugural event will be a great success and become a tradition.
Definitely, Berlin in all its glory!

BERLIN COLLECTION NIGHT – 23rd of August, 5 pm until midnight, full program here.

You know what I did last summer (and the one before)

The annual “Rundgang – Open Days” event at the Berlin University of the Arts (the UdK) will take place tomorrow and during the whole upcoming weekend. This event, as well as boiling hot days reaching their pick with monsoon-like thunderstorms, represents the beginning of the Berliner summer for me.

Throughout the weekend the studios, the various workshops, rehearsal classes and concert halls of the largest art university in Germany will open their doors to whomever is interested in getting a glimpse of where the artists of tomorrow are being educated. The faculties of the UdK are spread around Berlin, being an inseparable part of a city that breathes culture and attracts so many artists. I usually start by visiting the Fine Arts college at the UdK main building on Hardenbergstraße 33 (vis-a-vis Steinplatz). The Architecture, Media and Design faculty is situated there as well.
This impressive, enormous neo-baroque building, with the Latin statement “Erudiendae Artibus Iuventuti” (“The youth to be instructed in the arts”) above its main entrance might look a bit intimidating at first but as you pass through the foyer, into the enchanted hidden inner courtyard – a real magic awaits. No wonder it reminds me of Hogwarts.

Throughout the weekend visitors will have a chance to see the graduates and Master students’ final exhibition, explore the students’ studios of some of the most renowned artists and professors that teach in the university, such as- Monica Bonvicini, Valérie Favre, Hito Steyerl, Tilo Heinzmann, just to name a few. Various activities such as lithography workshop, etching workshop and many more, will be offered. Additionally, a large selection of artworks by professors, graduates and students will be offered for sale, a pop up book store will sell art books and publications. Furthermore, the end of the year concert will take place on Friday at 19:00 at the UdK concert hall. Feels just like one huge art lovers’ amusement park.

Designed by: Johanna Rummel

UdK Open Days, Friday: 13-22 ; Saturday: 11-22 ; Sunday: 11-20 The full program, venues list & map can be found here.

Subtext and thoughts

I am walking down the stairs to a cellar to watch SUBTEXT – a performance by Colin Self. The building, which used to be the Czech Cultural Center in East Germany, is now housing the Julia Stoschek Collection. While entering the cellar I feel a strong, familiar smell. It’s the smell of shelters, a smell I can’t forget though luckily I haven’t smelled for a very long time, which reminds me of my childhood (like guava, or swimming pool chlorine). But instead of a sound of an alarm, that usually accompanies this smell, the beautiful voices of the performers chanting harmoniously filled the dark hall. What a relief. A one hour performance started, in which around 80 spectators and myself were guided by the performers through the multiple cellar rooms in low light, or complete darkness, while they were weaving together text, songs and movement playfully. I felt disorientated but others assisted me, we all looked after each others, as Self guided us before the performance started. At times the spectators were invited to engage in the process. It was a feast of queerness, sounds and philosophic ideas that even though I haven’t always fully comprehended, composed a unique and evoking experience.

Colin Self, Siblings (Elation VI), 2018, Live -Performance MoMA PS1. New York. photo: Maria Barranova. © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019. Courtesy of the artist.

Voice, music and movement are such powerful tools of expression. It always has an immense effect, often allows the spectators to lose themselves in this multi layered situation. I thought about An Occupation Of Loss – the extraordinary performance by Taryn Simon I was so lucky to watch one year ago in an underground secret location in London. The performance gathered professional mourners from 15 different countries, who sang simultaneously their traditional mourn. I was left speechless and overwhelmed, so did the other. (Can someone please bring it to Berlin already? Johann König maybe? I think it might work great in the scenery of St. Agnes church).
Another performance involving music and movement is Aggregate by the Romanian artist and choreographer Alexandra Pirici. It was first shown at the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein and its new version will be presented during Art Basel in 10 days. And of course the Lithuanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennial, showing Sun & Sea (Marina) – an opera performance dealing with serious topics such as climate change, which won the Golden Lion for best pavilion this year.

Colin Self (born 1987) is an artist, composer and choreographer, working between NY and Berlin. He is what we call multidisciplinary artist. His works were already presented at the PS1 MoMa NY, the Martin-Gropius-Bau and more. His performance SUBTEXT is the first part of a new performances series created by him, produced specifically for the Julia Stoschek Collection. It is based on the Siblings Compendium, a collection of writings and quotes that inspired his recent released album, the futuristic opera Siblings.

This performance is part of “horizontal vertigo“, a year long program curated by Lisa Long at the Julia Stoschek collection in Düsseldorf and Berlin. Julia Stocheck is one of the biggest collectors and supporters of time-based art. She started collecting this genre many years ago, when it was still not as fashionable as nowadays. Her program is always bold and inspiring. Chapeau, can’t wait to see what the two of them prepare for us in the future.

Julia Stoschek Collection – Leipziger Straße 60, 10117 Berlin (entrance: Jerusalemer Straße).

Gallery Weekend Special

Are you ready for Gallery Weekend Berlin 2019? 45 Galleries are officially participating in the 15th edition of Gallery Weekend, presenting emerging artists alongside established ones. Private collections offer extended opening hours and museums as well. If you are sitting at home right now, cold sweat covering your forehead, feeling perplexed and swamped by what seems like endless options – RELAX! We’re here for you with suggestions and highlights.

Andreas Mühe, Mühe I, 2016 – 2019, aus der Serie: Mischpoche
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

THURSDAY evening – at 19:00 the exhibition “Mishpoche” by Andreas Mühe will be opening at the Hamburger Bahnhof. Mühe is known for being Angela Merkel’s favorite photographer and has many other elite politicians in his oeuvre, such as George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev. His beautiful photographs, mostly portraits, produced entirely with analogue technology, dealing with German history and Identity are often ambivalent and ambiguous. This exhibition is more personal, revealing an analysis of the relationship within Mühe’s family as well as an art theoretical investigation.

FRIDAY evening – the official Gallery Weekend’s kick off starts at 18:00 with the openings at all the participating galleries. Put your comfortable shoes on and start your gallery hopping. I must admit that it’s sometimes hard to actually see the art as it’s usually packed with people but there is always an enjoyable festive ambiance, cool crowd and… free drinks (:

>>> This year for the first time, visitors can use the app MyArtWalk to compose their ideal gallery tour on their smartphones!

This year Charlottenburg offers a boost of activity (mainly along Fasanenstraße and Bleibtreustraße). Galleries such as the wonderful Friese Gallery in collaboration with Kicken Berlin will present works by William N. Copley, Robert Frank, Saul Leiter and Saul Steinberg – four American artists who share a mutual thread in their investigation of everyday culture in the U.S, each in his respective medium: photography, painting and drawing. Meyer Riegger Gallery which joined the neighborhood lately, will show Daniel Knorr; Contemporary Fine Arts with Tal R and Eberhard Havekost; Wentrup Gallery showing in their new space in Bleibtreustaße Florian Meisenberg and David Renggli; Buchholz Gallery with Michael Krebber – just to name a few.

Wentrup: David Renggli, Desire painting (Miliand), 2018. Courtesy the artist and Wentrup, Berlin

Another promising area is Potsdamer straße with: Blain|Southern presenting Bernar Venet’s sculptures; Galeria Plan B with Horia Damian; Guido W. Baudach Gallery with Björn Dahlem; Esther Schipper showing Ryan Gander; and a special exhibition of the wonderful artist Jorinde Voigt at Klosterfelde Edition. Voigt, who is known for her large-format drawings, takes her works beyond two dimensions as she experiments in spatial explorations of her research. Not so far from there at PSM gallery the artist Daniel Lergon will show a new series of beautiful red paintings.

PSM: Daniel Lergon, untitled, 2019. Photo: Matthias Kolb. Courtesy of the artist and PSM, Berlin. 

SATURDAY – a good opportunity to visit private collections that usually requires booking months in advance – such as the the Boros Bunker, the Hoffmann collection and more. I would go to Fluentum – a new space in Dahlem, dedicated to time-based media art such as film and video, will be showing the works of
Guido van der Werve – a Dutch filmmaker and visual artist. Fluentum is located in the former main building of a military facility built in 1936-38 for the German Luftwaffe, which served as the headquarters of the U.S. Army from 1945 to 1994. Over the past three years, the historic building on Clayallee has been extensively redesigned for use as an exhibition and private space, so that seven areas spanning over 600 square meters can be used to exhibit art and host discussions with artists.

Paper Positions Berlin. photo: Clara Wenzel-Theiler

SUNDAY – If you are missing the art fair atmosphere go visit Paper Positions Berlin in the historic atrium of the former telegraph office. Paper Positions is dedicated to showcasing works on paper such as drawings, collages, photos, prints etc. The fair aims to attract young collectors, offering affordable artworks in an intimate scenery, with 48 galleries from 11 countries: Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, USA, Latvia, Israel and more…

Wishing you all a lovely & inspiring weekend! ❤

Gallery Weekend Berlin 26-28 April 2019

Back from Oblivion

As I left the Berlinische Galerie, after visiting the much anticipated exhibition of Lotte Laserstein, I was feeling overwhelmed and a bit melancholic. Overwhelmed – by Laserstein’s extremely powerful yet intimate works that drew me in as I passed from one exhibition hall to another; and melancholic – realizing how absurd it is that such a significant artist was unknown for so many years and almost forgotten. Who knows how many similar stories exist out there, waiting to be told? How many artists waiting to be rediscovered? Lotte Laserstein for sure is not the only one.

Lotte Laserstein, Liegendes Mädchen aud Blau, Ausschnitt, um 1931, Privatbesitz Berlin, Courtesy Das Verborgene Museum, Berlin, Foto: Das Verborgene Museum, Berlin,
Lotte Laserstein, Liegendes Mädchen aud Blau, Ausschnitt, um 1931, Privatbesitz Berlin, Courtesy Das Verborgene Museum, Berlin, Foto: Das Verborgene Museum, Berlin,

Lotte Laserstein was born in 1898 in Eastern Prussia (today’s Paslek in Poland). Her father who died when she was only three years old, was half Jewish. Her mother moved together with Lotte and her sister to Danzig to share a household with their aunt and widowed grandmother. It was quite a female dominated environment. Laserstein started taking lessons at her aunt’s private school of painting, becoming more and more confident of her artistic abilities. Later on, the family moved to Berlin and Laserstein was one of the first women who were accepted into Berlin’s Academy of fine Arts in 1921. She even won the Academy’s gold medal for outstanding artistic achievement, despite the conservative bias against women. Her career was promising – she showed in different galleries, took part in various competitions and ran a private school of painting. She owned her own atelier, actually located not that far from where I live, in west Berlin. Lotte Laserstein was a star indeed. However, as the NS regime got in power, her Jewish roots turned out to be a serious obstacle. Classified as “three quarters Jewish” it became more and more complicated for her to work as well as show her art. Eventually she was banned and forbidden to work and exhibit.

In what seems to be a remarkable ability to predict the future, Laserstein decided to flee from Germany, taking advantage of an invitation to exhibit in Stockholm. She left in 1937 (the same year the Nazis held their “Degenerate Art” exhibition) and never returned from Sweden. All her attempts to help her mother and sister to escape from Germany failed. Her sister managed to survive as she went into hiding in Berlin, while her mother was deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp, where she died in 1943 aged 75. Although Laserstein managed to start her life in exile, she was never as successful as she was in Germany, mostly producing commissioned portraits and landscapes. She was struggling both professionally and personally. Her works weren’t shown outside Scandinavia for 50 years.

Laserstein regained international recognition in 1987, with two exhibitions in prominent galleries in London. She was already 89 years old at the time but it didn’t stop her from flying to London to attend the opening. Her rediscovery in Germany though began only later, 10 years after her death, around 2003, with a major retrospective of her works. The exhibition was organised by Das Verborgene Museum (same one I wrote about on my previous blog post) at the Ephraim Palais.

In the past few years the art world is dealing with exile in different contexts. I have visited a few exhibitions dedicated to the rediscovery of artists who were forced into exile and therefore disappeared from public eye (for example: New/Old Homeland in Kunsthaus Dahlem). If those artists were not forced into exile, they would have surely had a significant part in the narrative of the German art history. Moreover, a new “Museum of Exile” is planned to be opened in Berlin in a few years. The museum will be dedicated to the commemoration of the hundreds of thousands of Germans who fled Nazi Germany to begin new lives abroad, among them artists, scientists etc. The initiators of the museum are Bernd Schultz, an art dealer and the co-founder of the “Villa Grisebach” auction house and the Nobel Prize for literature winner, Herta Müller.

“Face to Face” – the exhibition of Lotte Laserstein at the Berlinische Galerie, in collaboration with the Städel Museum, is definitely one of the largest exhibitions dedicated to an artist who was forced into exile, and rightly so. Comprising more than 60 of Lotte Laserstein’s excellent works, mainly portraits, full of warmth, sensitivity and empathy. Laserstein was highly skilled at both traditional and modern techniques yet her works were very different than the ones of her male contemporaries, such as Otto Dix and George Grosz which often dealt with political issues. In her works, she showed life as it is, without romanticizing or idealizing it. Furthermore, the presence of strong women is felt in her oeuvre as she often painted “the new woman” – androgynous, short cropped hair. She never idealized her models but gave them dignity and powerful presence, whether they were clothed or naked.

“Face to Face” – until the 12th of August 2019 at the Berlinische Galerie – Alte Jakobstraße 124-128, 10969 Berlin (closed on Tuesdays). Tours in English are offered as well, please visit the website for further details.

The Hidden Museum

Maria Austria, Die Tänzerin Ellen Edinoff, Amsterdam 1965 ©Maria Austria/Maria Austria Instituut

Berlin never stops surprising me. After 8 years here I still manage to discover exciting hidden gems. It is one of the reasons I love Berlin so much. 

Das Verborgene Museum (The Hidden Museum) is an excellent example. Located only 5 minutes away from my house and still I had not even heard about it until a week ago. Don’t expect large, bright halls. The Museum is concealed in the inner courtyard’s ground apartment of an Altbau building in Schlüterstraße – nonetheless definitely worth a visit.

The Museum, which was founded 30 years ago, is devoted to rediscovering the works and biographies of women artists who have fallen into obscurity due to various reasons. The museum is not bound to a particular genre – the connecting thread between the exhibitions is that these women artists have all been forgotten. Frequently, the exhibitions taking place here are the first recognition of the artists’ work in Germany after the Second World War.

The current exhibition is dedicated to Maria Austria – a Jewish photographer who was born in Czechoslovakia in 1915 and studied photography in Vienna like many young women from the middle class at that time. Soon after she finished her studies in 1936, she and her sister had to leave Austria together with the persecution of Jews on the rise. They fled to Amsterdam where she  went into hiding and survived without any papers. She worked for the Resistance producing passport photographs for false ID cards and working as a courier.  

Maria Austria, Foto: Henk Jonker ©Maria Austria/Maria Austria Instituut

Maria Austria survived and pursued her photography career after the war, developing her own unique path and style. Her works are characterized by a human and compassionate perspective, capturing images of the daily lives of people and reconstruction after the war with a lot of sensibility and patience. Later on she specialised in photojournalism (being one of the few active women in this profession in the Netherlands) and in theater photography as well, covering hundreds of stage plays, concerts, opera and ballet performances. Another project, which has never  been seen in Germany before is Maria Austria’s series of over 300 photographs of the “Achterhuis”, the back annex that became a secret home for persecuted Jews, including Anne Frank and her family. They hid there, not far from the hiding place of Maria Austria, from 1942 until they were betrayed to the Gestapo in 1944. 

Such an inspiring woman and artist. Sometimes there is no need for enormous halls to be touched by the encounter with a wonderful, unexpected exhibition.   

Das Verborgene Museum, Address: Schlüterstraße 70, 10625 Berlin.                        Opening hours: Thursday, Friday 15-19 ; Saturday, Sunday 12-16.

The exhibition is on until Sunday, 10th of March.


  • Many thanks Sophie R. for reading and commenting ♥

Mat Collishaw at Blain|Southern Gallery

Mat Collishaw, The Grinders Cease, December 2018, installation view, Courtesy the artist and Blain|Southern, Photo: Trevor Good.

I first saw a Mat Collishaw work at Ngrongoro – a group exhibition initiated by artists during Berlin Gallery weekend 2018. In a dark room, on my way to see a Julian Rosenfeldt work, a lit mysterious carousel-like object caught my eye. As I approached, I noticed it was beautifully ornamented with butterflies, birds and other tiny figures. Abruptly it started spinning as the lights of the carousel, which was actually a zeotrope, flickered rapidly. It went faster and faster until a scene of a magical symphony of ecstatic flying birds and butterflies was revealed as a result of an optical illusion. The tension reached a peak and then stopped at once as the light turned off and the zeotrope stopped spinning. There was something so mesmerizing yet troubling and in the same time seductive in this work, I couldn’t get it out of my head for a while.

I started reading more and more about Mat Collishaw, the artist who is behind this manic fantasy zeotrope, and discovered an extremely intriguing and diverse artist, working with various medias such as sculpture, photography, installation and video (Lately also working with Virtual Reality). Collishaw is a key figure in the important generation of British artists who emerged from the Goldsmiths’ college of Art in the late 80’s, also known as the YBA -Young British Artists , who were launched in 1988 during the legendary show Freeze – a group show organised by Damien Hirst while he was still a student at the Goldsmiths College and included the works of fellow Goldsmiths students. In his works, Collishaw often references to art history, literature and actually any theme that intrigues him, or as he said in one of his interviews: “Anything is a potential source for an art work”. His works are often metaphoric and  ambiguousbeautiful and revolting, intriguing yet brutal and morbid, in a way that punch you right in the face.

Later on, in June 2018 I was lucky enough to see his show at the Rudolfinum Galerie in Prague and even made it to his book launch followed by a tour through the exhibition, guided by Collishaw himself who turned out to be a modest, unpretentious and very cool guy (:

In the beginning of December his exhibition The Grinders Cease opened at the excellent Blain|Southern Gallery in Potsdamer straße (an area which became in the past 7 years one of the most vivid and exciting gallery areas in Berlin). The enormous gallery, located in a venue that used to be the print room of “Der Tagesspiegel” newspaper, completely transformed itself in order to show Collishaw’s works (some require completely dark spaces),  such as Albion, 2017:

Mat Collishaw, The Grinders Cease, December 2018, installation view, Courtesy the artist and Blain|Southern, Photo: Trevor Good.

On this upcoming Thursday, the 10th of January at 18:30 an artist talk with Mat Collishaw and Lisa Zeitz (editor in chief of Weltkunst magazine) will be held at the gallery. You are all invited! The entrance is free, for participation you can write your name in the comments to this post or RSVP at: Hope to see many of you there!

Mat Collishaw, The Grinders Cease, December 2018, installation view, Courtesy the artist and Blain|Southern, Photo: Trevor Good.


Art is in the Air ?

Dear friends and Art lovers,

Its that time of the year again… Art week is in town.

This year’s Berlin Art week, starting officially today, offers an extensive program with a lot to see: two art fairs, eleven private collections, art awards (I counted five), countless openings and more…  I was also very happy to notice a wide (and blessed!) presence of female artists in this year’s program, such as Lee Bul at the Gropius Bau, Angiesyka Polska at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Geta Brătescu at the n.b.k, Evelyn Taocheng Wang at the KW, Cecilia Jonsson at the Schering Stiftung, just to name a few.

Since it is simply impossible to visit it all, I usually put my main focus of attention on the events and exhibitions taking place exclusively during this weekend. The other exhibitions which continue after the art week – I leave for later. Less queues, less hassle. Here are my 5 highlights for the Berlin Art Week 2018:

  1. Put on your walking shoes and get ready for the two art fairs – art berlin and POSITIONS opening tomorrow. Both will be held for the first time this year at the Hangars of the historical Tempelhof airport until sunday. art berlin (Hangars 5 & 6), in cooperation with Art Cologne for the second year – will present around 120 galleries from 21 countries and will be divided into three sections – “Galleries”, “special projects” (galleries that will show individual artists) and “salon” – a section curated by Tenzing Barshee which brings together several, mostly young, galleries. Positions Berlin Art Fair (Hangar 4) will present around 70 galleries, showing more than 200 artists. On Friday from 18:00 to 21:00 all the Berlin participating Galleries will be opening their exhibitions across the city.
  2. Don’t miss a chance to visit some of Berlin’s private collections, many of them are opening their spaces exclusively for Berlin Art Week. A highly recommended private collection is the Ivo Wessel Collection – Wessel is a software developer and a creator of watch apps and echo devices. He collects contemporary art and literature since his school days and always try to reconcile his three obsessions art, books and computers. His collection includes painting, photography, conceptual, media and video art. His private collection will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday between 14:00 and 18:00, this year the focus is on two early 4-channel video works by Julian Rosenfeldt.
  3.  The Gropius Bau under its new director Stephanie Rosenthal, keeps on providing us with a fascinating program. On Friday evening “Crash“, the first solo exhibition of Lee Bul in Germany is opening. Lee Bul is one of the most important Korean artists of her generation. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek to the exhibition’s installment process and it was super interesting for me to see the work in progress of such an establish museum. This large scale exhibition includes installations, landscapes, sculptures and more. Believe me – it will blow your mind! Blessed with tones of talent and imagination, Bul is dealing with the ideas of Utopian worlds, futurist theories and science fiction while using a variety of materials such as glass, leather, pearls and hair.
  4. The Swiss French artist Julian Charrière is the winner of this year’s GASAG art prize, which is being awarded for the fifth time within the partnership between the Berlinische Galerie and GASAG – the Berlin based energy service provider (and also Berlin Art Week’s main sponsor this year). Every two years, an artist who works at the interface between art, science, and technology is being awarded. In his multimedia spatial installation “As We Used to Float” Charrière will take the visitors of the Berlinische Galerie underneath to the pacific ocean by creating a physical three dimensional experience inspired by Bikini Atoll – the US nuclear weapons testing area. Another intriguing event takes place tonight 23:00 at the Berghain – Charrière will show his work “An Invitation to Disappear” – an 80 minute multimedia work, consists of a film and a live set performed by the DJ and producer Ed Davenport (“Inland”), inspired by the eruption of the Tambora volcano in 1815, that created a world of darkness and extreme weather.
  5. PalaisPopulaire – the much anticipated opening of the Deutsche Bank’s new Art hall, not far from their former kunsthalle, at the historic Prinzessinnenpalais on the Unter den Linden.  Kicking off with “The World on Paper” – a beautiful exhibition of around 300 works on paper by 133 artists from the Deutsche Bank Collection such as Anish Kapoor, Rosmerie Trockel, Leiko Ikemura, Katharina Grosse and more. Free admission between the 27th of September and the 1st of October.

Curious to know what was YOUR favorite experience during Berlin Art Week, please don’t hesitate to leave your comments.

Wishing you all inspiring days of good Art and culture! Hope to meet you at one of the venues!