so, since i’ve been here, i’ve had quite a list of things to do every day.
each day i’m trying to go to a gallery.
each day i want to do a listening project and then, each day do something towards being able to stay here for longer than 3 months.
each day some of those things are easier to do than others.
in the last week, i have seen some shit-hot artwork. and some shit. stupidly i assumed that all art in berlin must be awesome because it’s, you know, german. not so. i forgot that germans have as much bad taste as the rest of the world.
here are some of the exceptions:
essays + observations: the mistake
a new gallery run by an english couple, this is a space after my own heart – one about conversation, critique, quality and art practice that makes no assumptions. not that i have that kind of art practice, but it’s one that i aspire to and that i love looking at. i had a fantastic conversation with matthew, one of the directors, about art, quality, conceptual laziness and german art habits. i look forward to seeing more of what they’re doing here.
haunch of venison: yoko ono, das gift
this is only the second time i’ve seen a yoko ono piece in the flesh – i was a bit excited. some of it was disappointingly fey, but there were parts that were beautiful: the motif of the bullet hole – viewed from telescope to a window, through winter coats and then to the back windows (via a wall). the ‘smile’ interactive work was simple and gentle, in typical ono style. i actually couldn’t help smiling as i watched smiling face after smiling face. so of course i added my own in there
NGBK/kunstraum bethanien: the tourist syndrome
this is a good group show, although i think the works in the NGBK space are mostly underdone. australian timothy moore has a collaborative work in there, and before i noticed who it was, i found myself liking only his work.
the works at the kunstraum, however, are much better, and speak well about transitory, migratory, icky icky tourism-ory. there are a couple of fantastic works:
an installation/photos of ‘hand drawn’ LV and gucci bags by alex auriema and senagalese helpers which were sold on the streets of naples, like your standard fakes seen in the back streets of rome, paris and athens;
photos of dystopian ‘holiday’ pics – setting up picnics on a nice bit of gravel, sunbathing on an old toilet: like anne zahalka works in desolate parking lot neglected spaces in former soviet states. (did i just say photos were great? wow! i’ve changed…). i didn’t catch who they were by – sorry!
and the best was a series of photos/dioramas about an egyptian holiday/comic adventure, egyptomaniac by collaborative team J&K. my all-time fav was horus and anubis in islamic cairo (see above).
if i had the cash, i would have bought it yesterday. laughed my arse off.
sammlung boros (the bunker)
i had heard from a reliable source that this was a super-ace collection and that you had to book 2 months in advance. when i was able to secure 2 tix within a couple of days, i jumped at the chance and dragged on of my new studio mates (a painter from RSA) along with me. as much as i wanted to completely love it, i was pretty disappointed. mostly thanks to expectations i guess.
some of the works were amazing – the shibboleth-style wooden ‘crack’, by monika sosnowska, through 3 rooms by was great, some of the olafur eliasson works were great to see (although they were smaller/stage – works of museum works, much better executed) and the space itself was impressive. but, i did leave wanting more. and i found it hard to justify to my grumbling painter friend why contemporary conceptual art was worthwhile. existential crisis much?
some of the galleries on linienstraße in mitte are a bit crap. but i guess some of the galleries in paddington and armadale are too, so that’s OK.
two nice surprises there, though:
abnormals (i think run by italians)
they had a hybrid work cantiere corpo/corbo: video, costume remnants and illuminated duratrans of a performance. the main work was a three-part opera, performed simltaneously in three adjoining spaces. visually and experientially it was reminiscent of the cremaster code and monika tichacek’s the shadowers. sexual, dark and way kinky in parts, it was a compelling show.
neugerriemschneider: pawel althamer
i forgot that i really like pawel althamer’s work. i don’t even know where i saw it first, but when i walked into the gallery, i was so relieved and excited to be seeing work that was well-constructed and in a nice white cube [sometimes they are exactly what a work needs, OK?].
if i see too many galleries, i’m not going to have time to do my own work, so it’s back to one a day for me. that seems kind of manageable. and maybe i’ll even embrace my old slacker-fantasies and not even do that.