this week at the galleries

if you’re a little bit into the art thing, this weekend is INSANE in berlin. there are at least 3 six(!) art fairs (art forum berlin, preview, stroke), a stack of other new shows starting, events, openings coming out of your ears.. it’s fucking madness.

i wasn’t quite cool enough to get invited to the opening night of art forum last night (er… ), so i thought i would be a good artist girl and prepare for the onslaught of viewing this weekend, by bringing y’all up to speed with some of what i’ve seen this week.

as i mentioned, i’m going to a gallery a day, which usually coincides with part of the new work i’m making. i’ve found a new rhythm with it and it’s been pretty easy to find some pretty good shows to go to.

in fact, this week has been a cracking week of shows. highlights:

aando fine art
choi jeong hwa –  in the mood for love.

choi jeong hwa02

named after the wong kar wai film [you know the one with all that romantic suspence, the endless cheongsam action of maggie cheung and those amazing corridors], this series of works by korean artist choi is actually spread across a couple of spaces in mitte, around august/tucholskystraße – one on the front of a building, another in the platoon containers, a giant pile of cabbage at kimchi princess (excellent restaurant in k-berg) and then the two aando spaces.

i often feel like i don’t really know a lot about asian art, but when i walked into the show and found myself relieved at the colourful, gaudy-but slightly reserved aesthetic, i realised that asian art plays a huge part in my art palette. strings of decoration, trinkets, flashing spinning flower sculptures were a welcome play on tacky/cheap and OTT. i think this is bad, but it reminded me of every $2 store i’ve ever been into, and i kinda got homesick.

sprüth magers

Ruscha parking lot

ed ruscha 
oh ed, your parking lots drive me wild.
that is all.

barbara kruger
a separated, moving version of her image+text aesthetic, this 4-channel work was about the spoken language, more than the written. a stand-up comic makes jokes about stereotypes, a voice-over externalises fear of stillness/darkness, there is ‘dialogue’ between drivers from within the car, and there is the silent/voiceless experience of a psychotic episode. they are all really powerful images/audio with interspersed impact text, in her usual style. oh, and the space is hu-uuge!

daad galerie
tim leestreichquartett Op.1

tim lee

this work really appealed to the stuff i’m looking at currently. tim lee learned the classic piece of music he plays in the work, but filmed the process as a collage of sounds, or short sequences for each instrument – in effect creating the work as a modular configuration. it was beautiful to watch. and, with my back turned, i listened to see if i could tell that it was all chopped up and reconfigured. i couldn’t, but that could have just been the style of music too.

the sculpture of him listening atop a massive phallic monument was a bit weird, but actually just the kind of image i have been sourcing lately, so i appreciated it for that.

daimler collection: contemporary

i currently share a studio with south african painter, daniel popper, and as a result, this show popped up on the radar. i’ve always liked a lot of south african artists, but this was a chance to see a stack all in one place, mixed with some current european artists from the daimler collection.

mercedes benz (current owner of daimler) has a plant in south africa and so invests money back into the country and its cultural identity through ongoing support of its artists with a sizeable yearly award for art and culture. [the things you learn when you’re away from home.]

i don’t know much about the interests of the company and how well-behaved they are, but i can tell you that it was obvious what money, time and ‘investment’ does to art. there are some shit-hot artists coming out of south africa now, ones who perhaps wouldn’t make quite the quality or intensity of work being shown here without the level of support from the collection.

there were three works that really stood out for me: lerato shadie‘s performance video Mmitlw . it was fucking mesmerising and yet, you could also leave and come back for a few views.
with a nod to bruce nauman’s art paint works and to marina abramovic’s bones scrubbing, shadie sits cross-legged on a plinth and wraps her naked body in white masking tape, contorting and constricting her figure – making some interesting statements about race, art, history/ties that bind, sensuality and femininity. then, in the second half, she rips the tape off in a frenzy. i’m not sure if the level frenzy was originally intended, but it was real – as her constriction and panic rise, it becomes an amazing metaphor of desperation, oppression, release and determination.

i have been thinking about this work all day, wishing that i was half as poetic as she was. it was amazing.

two other powerful works i liked: zander blom – a black’n’white installation using paint, fabric, dot matrix printers which really owned the space like none of the others and actually made this beautiful silhouette that almost replicated tundra, which i only noticed when i was sitting down to hear the willem boshoff artist talk [which was also mind-blowing].

and the final work that has stayed with me was by lawrence lemaoana. i don’t actually really like the works per se, but the didactic panel mentioned the link between the textiles and their social relevance to the rape trial of president zuma, which has had me going back to the work since then.

south africa is a crazy place and the work in the show speaks about some of that craziness. it’s going to be interesting to watch how the nation rights itself, and how/whether art helps or hinders that process.

general public
erfolgereich geführtes real life/ successfully felt real life

curated by the crew at general public, the show was primarily about perception. i only liked a few works in it, and missed the performance, but i was a bit cold/hungry/tired, so that’s probably more the point. shintaro miyazaki‘s logic-based philosophy posters were instantly relevant, four bespoke newspapers were great – each with a single word in half a centrefold to say something simple and meaningful (although i can’t find the image i took, so can’t remember what that phrase was, dammit). it reminded me of the newspaper club kids anyways. and an intense red sound box was unnerving, but i wanted to have it anyways.

plus two shows i’ve seen through the windows only, thanks to random acts of not being open when the opening times say they should be:

grimm museum
D12 [dirty dozen]
excellent show, curated by Despina Stokou– i could only see her paintings in the front space, but they looked pretty spanky

nymphius projekte
Koksen ist 80er: Kunst der achtziger Jahre/Art of the 80s

featuring a stack of great non-objective artists, including gerwald rockenschaub and the most-excellent john nixon.

see – not a bad stack of shows.

thanks for subscribing to she sees red by lauren brown. xx

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