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.

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!

Shall we spend the night together?

Dear friends and art lovers,

Don’t worry, I don’t have an indecent proposal for you (maybe in the future, when we know each other better…) but I’m happy i got your attention!

Some of you asked me about my plans for the “Lange Nacht Der Museen” taking place this evening.

For those of you who are not familiar with the event, the long night of the museums takes place once a year during August (until 2012 it took place twice a year, in the winter and in the summer), when 80 museums from all over Berlin and all possible themes join forces to take part in quite an amazing event – they all open their doors to the public until 2:00am and offer various programs, workshops, tours, concerts and performances. Some even offer special programs for kids.  Most programs are in German but quite a few venues offer tours in english as well. A ticket for adult costs 18 euros and can be purchased online or in all participating museums and even at the S-bahn/BVG machines. The tickets include the entrance fee for all venues and even a public transportation ticket (abc) and shuttle buses that will easily take you from one place to another (6 routes are offered)! This night has a very unique atmosphere and considered to be climax of the museums’ summer.

There is so much to see tonight, the variety is incredible and frankly we usually make it to only two or three venues (though i always plan to visit more). I try to choose museums which i usually don’t get to visit or the ones that offer some different experience, for example a music concert or performance and so on.

Last year we took the kids to the Zeiss-Großplanetarium and they loved it. This year we are planning a “child free” evening and will probably visit the Berlinische Galerie in Kreuzberg which offers a dance performance inspired by the Carsten Nicolai installation “Tele”, amongst a lot of other special tours and workshops possible. Later on I hope we’d make it to Kunsthaus Dahlem which offers a drawing workshop, a curator’s tour in english and a dance performance as well. There is an urban dance performance by the Flying Steps at the Neues Museum which also sounds very cool.

Seems like whatever you are interested in, whether it is history or science, modern art or even the traditional german currywurst, everyone can find something to enjoy tonight. What are you planning on seeing? I am curious to know!

Have a lovely evening,