May 1, 2017

Berlin Gallery Weekend: Give Me That Fur Coat!

Exactly wrong shoes. Photo: Akane Kimbara

Sarah Lucas took the air out of Gallery Weekend. Two weeks before the art hopping event was happening, she had a blast in the new gallery space of Contemporary Fine Arts in Charlottenburg during the Easter weekend. Just for the fun of it. Rarely does the presence of the artist matter in exhibitions - it distracts or disappoints more than it adds. But Sarah Lucas was wearing those shoes that were exactly wrong, she had a sparkle in the eye and it was clear that she was in for some good trouble. During the opening night, because of Easter, or maybe also in the bigger realm of things, the artist took off the shoes from visitors for a washing of the feet. Loving humility and bad-ass work never came together that well in an exhibition.

Bad-ass art work. Photo: Akane Kimbara

So who could care about another Weekend? I couldn’t, so I booked a flight to Italy for the sake of Renaissance and good weather. I did see something before I left the Berlin scene. On Friday afternoon I made a quick stop at the Anselm Reyle’s show of K├Ânig Gallery: big shiny sculptures that look fancy and that’s kind of it. Later I visited an overcrowded KOW where I was excited to see the work of Candice Breitz. I glanced at a video in which Alec Baldwin was acting for a reason that escaped me and then suddenly for no big reason (I mean, I like Baldwin) I couldn’t be bothered anymore about Breitz, so I moved on to Eigen + Art. 

Artist Nick Fudge, me and Sarah Lucas

At Eigen + Art,  Olaf Nicolai decorated the gallery as a way of marking it as a space where value is created. I wished it had been the artist himself carrying the chain of crystal glass as a neckless. Wouldn’t it have been more self-reflective or at least a gendering of some sort? It reminded me of Grace Jones who told Andy Warhol off when he tried to convince her to collect diamonds like Marilyn Monroe instead of fur coats: “AW: Diamonds would look great on you. GJ: Well, I don’t think I could get away with it. I would be held up in the street. But no one comes over to me and says ‘give me that fur coat’.”

Finally I got on my way to see Kim Sooja at Kewenig - it had been the big promise of the night but I gave up after passing by Contemporary Fine Arts in Mitte where I saw some abstract paintings on sale. My friend continued and she wrote me later that Sooja’s work is “soooooooooooooooooooooo good”. Quiet and meditative, she told me, and at the same time strong. For any further updates on the Weekend, I encourage civic journalism in the form of messages here below. Talk to you later, alligators.*

* your answer: “In a while crocodile.”

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