Friday, January 16, 2009

Night of too Many Galleries

So before I go on to enumerate my many grievances against geese (and oh, I have my reasons), I want to put up some pictures from a gallery run that I made with Lucile last weekend. Berlin is lousy with empty space, and wherever there is empty space, there's cheap real estate, and wherever there is cheap real estate, galleries are soon to follow. Lucile works at one of the higher end institutions, Kunstwerk (if you're in town go see the work she does, it's quite something), but she knows places all up and down the spectrum of Berlin art.

Quick note on my understanding of this art: every other time we get together we speak English or French...English days are seemingly always 2 hour coffee appointments (maximum), and French days--well--they're days! This was 7 hours of gallery hopping, in which I was being explained concepts that I'm still wobbly on in my own language, let alone French, and after about hour 5 it stopped making sense and became just "pretty!" I'm therefore sorry that my scholarship is lacking.

This first show (I'm not going in the order in which we saw them, so I think this was gallery number 3), was by Gregor Schneider, who was doing an identical show in Duesseldorf. Its name, therefore, was Doublings. You'd walk into a completely black room (a series of curtains in thick black kept out the light), and in one room was just a projection of a London town, and then in the other room there was a singular spotlight and this:

It was so sudden you'd jump and yell. There were also some artifacts to the side that were supposed to be indicative of violence (I think), but I won't describe those here.

<--This is from Fernando Bryce at the Barbara Thumm Gallerie. I really liked it actually. It's a room covered in these drawings of figures important to the study/advancement/protest of imperialism. This means figures like Rosa Luxemborg, but also pictures of advertisments for mouthwash from the 1950s and pages of Spanish language newspapers talking about Maoism. It's art that is made for nerds like me

Lucile and I both found this show from Guenter Umberg at Galerie Nordenhake profoundly underwhelming, one of those cliches of modern art where you go "shoot, sun, I could 'a made this on mah own and not hafta drop a couple thousand!" Not even really worth the trouble of finding the secluded gallery in cold weather.

If there's an appeal to Suse Weber's Formel: Verein, I'm not 100% on what it is. She clearly had something in mind, and this was the one gallery where people were buying stuff. Luckily I don't think Luc did either. We're both throwing our hands in the air and saying "whatever" on this one.

This was the last gallery we went to, Jette Rudolph, which we kind of found by accident, but it was my second favorite. Lots of strange things (like a wooden tub made of photo frames) suspended from the ceiling (so cool), and sketches of skeletal structures and then these sculptures, which are made from books compressed together and then carved, like people used to carve out figures from soap, but instead of soap, it's BOOKS! The artist is South African, Wim Botha, and his skeletal Maria Guadalupe was also really neato. Hats off to him! When I get super rich from whatever I end up doing, I'm SO buying his work.

It feels really cool to walk through galleries speaking French. Like, French somehow feels more "artistic" and you're all cosmopolitan and walking through's one of those moments where you feel very "cool" in the 1960s kind of "I watch Le Mepris and listen to Miles Davis" sort of way (both are true btw). A good city moment!

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