Berlin Gallery Weekend 2014

Issue no2
April - May 2020
Fluïde monumenten

The Berlin Gallery Weekend has reason to celebrate: 2014 marks its tenth anniversary and the selected gallery tour is luring the audience with shows by 50 participating galleries dispersed throughout the city.

Unsurprisingly, it's difficult to strike resembling curatorial choices in the participating parties in a weekend that is built around attracting buyers, dealers and collectors to the city, wooing them with dinners and lavish parties, and providing the general audience with an overload of book launches, performances and talks about collecting and the art market. However, two things stood out: A more research-based and historical approach and a clear interest in painting.

In line of the former, Blain|Southern presents "the largest ever international survey" of English artist and sculptor Lynn Chadwick. With a heavy focus on his bronze sculptures tilting back and forth between the figurative and the abstract, the show explores a 50-year career in a triptych of exhibitions in Berlin, London and New York.

Another retrospective - though it concerns a contemporary artist - is found at Helga Maria Klosterfelde who chose to display all of German artist Christian Jankowski's editions, dating back to 1992 marking the beginning of his career. A multi-media installation of records, photos, prints, and a guitar shaped CD player titled And your bird can sing (2008) in the front room leave it up to the viewer to mark discrepancies and overlaps in his work. To further engage and activate the audience, video editions such as Die Jagd (1992) and Mein Leben als Taube (1996) can be viewed upon request in the back room.

Tanya Leighton's space highlights the creative collaboration and first ever showing alongside each other of the post-war Swiss artist and design couple Robert and Trix Haussmann.

A brave choice and valuable effort by guest curator Eva Wilson, can be found at Arratia, Beer that engages in the work of fairly unknown German artist Friedrich Teepe, who passed away in 2012. Here, the discipline of painting is put to the test; Teepe experiments with the canvas as a starting point for spatial and sculptural forms by folding, cutting and sewing fabric over the stretcher focusing on corporality of both the work and the body that consumes it.

It is no news that the search for unexplored processes in and around the painterly form continues and that painted abstraction has become a new focal point. Both Sommer & Kohl and Supportico Lopez located next to each other dab into this, the latter (again) from a more historical standpoint of paintings created between 1944 and 1958 by Julian Beck who headed The Living Theater, a collective of artists and film-makers, and the former with large scale canvasses by contemporary Swedish artist Andreas Eriksson.

His patchwork paintings composed of dark greens and different shades of brown are no landscape paintings, yet that is exactly what they evoke. In stark contrast with Eriksson's blurred lines are the meticulous ink and gouache drawings by Moroccan/French artist Achraf Touloub for whom Plan B has organized his first ever solo show. When viewing from a distance, the delicate lines are barely noticeable, but when approaching the work it bombards you with shapes and figures seemingly growing out of the paper in front of your very eyes.

Apart from galleries, many art locals open up their private spaces, gardens and courtyards to offer new ways of engaging the audience in the event. However, the Potsdamerstrasse and it's immediate surroundings are becoming more dense with gallery space and keep proving to be the expanding hub of Berlin's gallery scene.

Gallery Weekend Berlin
May 2 - 4, 2014

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Metropolis M Magazine for contemporary art No 2 — 2020