May 6, 2016

Berlin Gallery Weekend 2016: Read My Diary!

Here is my diary of Berlin's Gallery Weekend, chronologically. If you have no time to read it all, go to my excitements, four in total, which is not bad. I left out the diary entrees after 9pm, the party time, because I thought this would be of less interest to you, and hehe, you know I’m wild ;-)

Don’t Make Me Work 

Friday, 6pm: I started out in Eigen + Art Lab with Carsten Nicolai, who curated a show with books and other items on (too) many tables. It asked for work and time and I didn’t want to work nor did I want to spend time. I did feel like drinking a wine, which wasn't a good idea because it made me tired before I even started. I was supposed to go around gallery hopping with a whole bunch of people, but left Eigen + Art Lab with only one, online Sleek editor Will Furtado, and we would stick together through the whole Gallery Weekend until Sunday 6pm. 

Don’t Make Me Cry

6:30 pm: Galerie Neu had pictures of crying women. Yes, it’s something that women do sometimes. But let’s keep it a secret, shall we?

Don’t Make Me Wait

6.40 pm: Neugerriemschneider had a line in front of its space to enter, showing Tobias Rehberger. F* that! 

Say Cheese! 

6:45 pm: At Galerie Eigen + Art Carsten Nicolai presented an art work that worked really good on photo, but in reality it came across as too dry, which was funny because we are talking about fluorescents mirrored in a pool. 

Carsten Nicolai at Galerie Eigen + Art

Say No! 

7:00 pm: Encounter on the street with Swiss art person who was on his way to the Blain Southern dinner. “Going to some dinner yourself?” he asked. “No,” I said, “Being not present is also advertisement.” Coolio! 

Too Funny and Too Boring Equals Too Bad

7:10 pm Sprüth Magers upstairs (showing Alexandre Singh) was way too funny (inanimate objects are speaking...). Humor is my rule nr. 1 for good art, but it shouldn’t pervade the art. Downstairs the exhibit (Thea Djordjadze) was too boring: wooden walls with some props on top of it, according to the press text "exuding tremendous physical presence" but I wasn't feeling it. The contrast of the two extremes (too funny and too boring) could have worked of course, but then it didn’t.  

Stay in Your Room

8:00 pm: Konrad Fischer (showing Alice Channer): The gallery assistant warned me for sliding danger before entering. The floor was covered with little grey balls. Of course those little things didn’t stay in the gallery but had spread everywhere in the whole building. Let me call it the most annoying art work of the Weekend. 

Konrad Fischer Galerie

If You Want To Sell Badly

8:30 pm: Carlier Gebauer: a combination of paintings and minimal sculptures, a nice package to sell on the market. I wished I hadn't missed out on the Paul Pfeiffer show though. 

Exciting Nr. 1

8:30 pm: I got excited for the first time at Veneklasen/Werner, showing Los Angeles artist Pat O' Neil: psychedelic videos, weird spacey sculptures, and bizarre collages. I loved it! Strange in a really good way.  

Pat O' Neil's freaky sculptures
Pat O' Neil

The 10 %

9 pm: At 7pm, I was just trying to be cool. I did have a dinner planned. Olaf Holzapfel invited me for the dinner of gallery Marzona. I ate Schnitzel and talked with my table partner, also a Swiss art person, about how only 10 % of the art world sells their work for more than 5000 Euros. 

Excitement Nr. 2

Saturday noon: The day started very exciting with Maria Gilissen on the phone. I get a call from Maria Gilissen every two years and it’s always a surprise. Once I was at a meditation retreat and I wasn’t supposed to talk nor have my phone on... Now Maria Gilissen told me she was stuck at Brussels airport, she had missed her flight and her daughter had already arrived in Berlin. Could we go for a coffee? 

Evaporating Effects

6 pm: Esther Shipper: Thomas Saraceno showing real spiders in webs. Isn't Saraceno all about creating an effect? 

Smelly Art 

6:10 pm: Galery Isabella Bortolozzi - Oscar Murillo hung his big leather cloths in the gallery. I liked it, it was such a strong smell.    

Oscar Murillo

Amuse Toi!

7:00 pm We went for dinner at Joseph Roth Diele, where Maria Gilissen told us that Marcel Broodthaers found  it important that art has a certain aspect of “s’amuser” - just an aspect, Maria emphasized, not everything. She was going to New York for the accompanying program of the Broodthaers retrospective at MoMA. The palm trees at the entrance of the MoMA show are not the right kind, she let us know. 

Maria Gillisen on the left, Botum Gilissen, Will Furtado, me, and art lover Shuai Wang


Sunday 1 pm: Johann König’s St-Agnes downstairs (Claudia Comte) reminded me of a European exhibition on Africa in the 1950s, whereas Will thought it was Yves Saint Laurent in the 1970s. Upstairs Annette Kelm, the dollar photos were just awful, especially the one where the dollar bills were used to spell money. Why don’t you take visa cards, Annette Kelm? Then at least it would look "new".

Claudia Comte at König Galerie
Annette Kelm at König Galerie

Exciting Nr. 3

1:30 next door to Johann König, I got really excited. I met editor Thomas Bettridge. Remember, I was on the train with him to Nürnberg. He started talking about his magazine 032c, which I had never read before, but I got excited anyway. What seems to be so great about it, is that the team of 032c sets own ideas (very unusual, I don't know any art magazine that does that or wants even to do that), rather then follow whatever is hyping on the market. Their last issue was on Nest, which was an interior design magazine started up by Joseph Holtzman, (who, funny detail, suffered from agoraphobia, which is not funny in general, but funny for an interior design architect) Let me quote 032c: “How Prozac Spawned the World’s Greatest Interiors Magazine”.  
032c apparently had a mind of its own from the very beginning, starting 15 years ago with a thin newspaper dedicated to the topic of “professionalism”. Haha! Professionalism in Berlin of the year 2000! 032c has also great merchandise, for instance an employees sweatshirt of their new location at St. Agnes, delivering “religious services” (79 Euros). They also publish small editions, for instance Yves Saint Laurent’s edition with John Baldessari. The exhibition in their front space was beautifully presented, a long display case, dedicated to Christophe Chemin’s collaboration with Prada. 

When art editors meet... Will Furtado (Sleek) and Thomas Bettridge (032c)

Nice merchandise by 032c

I Scream Ice Cream

2:15 pm: Will Furtado looked really good next to the fun lollipop sculptures of Christopher Füllemann at Duve. But he said it’s the other way around, that art work looks really good next to him. 

Will Furtado looking good at Duve


3 pm:  Helga Maria Klosterfelde always seems to exhibit Rirkrit Tiravinaja, which never can go wrong. This time it was his mikado game. I pulled the card: "You will not marry your first love, but this will work out for the best.” Ha! It did!  Also with my second, third, fourth, ... (this continues for a while) ones :-( 

Fortune telling at Helga Maria Klosterfelde

Don’t Tell Me To Be Happy

3:30 pm Arratia Beer: Will liked it. I didn’t. Too much advice how to live life happily. I’m preachy myself, always knowing it better, but at least I don't make an art work out of it.

3:40 pm: Blain Southern: The paintings of Harland Miller were fun, but I didn't get excited, but it made a good statement on the Arratia Beer show next door. 

Harland Miller

Happy Gallerists

4:00 pm: Gallerist Tanja Wagner was sitting outside in the sun, because her artist Ulf Aminde put her in the dark inside with a meshmerising circling video, quite dizzying. I was liking it. 

4:30 pm: insitu - my favorite piece was the video by Liège artist Eric Duyckaert who was scolding at Immanuel Kant: “Motherfucker!” Ha, I’ve always wanted to do that myself. It must be something Belgian! At insitu I drunk champaign because it was Gilles' birthday. 

Eric Duyckaerts, “Kant”, 2000 (film still). Courtesy the artist


I forgot 3:50 pm: Guido Baudach, I always expect to hate what I see there, but this show left me neutral. Is that an improvement?

Exciting Nr. 4

4:50 pm: Supportico Lopez is showing Adriano Costa, who has been living for 3 months in Berlin and then put his stuff in the gallery. I've seen this somewhere before. 

But it got exciting at 5:30 pm: a beautiful Wolfgang Tillmans show at Galerie Buchholz. Also Tillmans displays his "Studio", making random association of pictures, showing friends, himself, quite banal situations, but he makes it work: it’s poetry. How does he do it? He must have a good eye, obviously. 

Wolfgang Tillmans at Bucholz Galerie

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