I love Berlin. And I love it even more during Gallery Weekend! During this event, the city transforms into an art sponge, and really, anything can happen (another post is coming on this today…). Every year, traditionally in springtime (due to coronavirus it was postponed to September 11-13), around 50 galleries open their exhibitions by young and established artists and welcome numerous visitors. Gallery Weekend Berlin was founded back in 2005 as a private initiative by Berlin galleries and soon became one of the highlights of the international art calendar. The weekend celebrates galleries and artists within this unique format providing high-calibre exhibitions and an unparalleled experience of Berlin. Here are my three picks from yesterday, but stay in tune, as more posts are coming!
Ugo Rondinone‘s Nuns + Monks at Esther Schipper
Stones have been a presence and recurring material and symbol in Ugo Rondinone’s art. They are the subjects of the stone figures that he began with the monumental Human Nature installation at the Rockefeller Plaza in 2013 followed by Seven Magic Mountains in the Nevada Desert in 2016. Both groups are the study and enjoyment of naturally formed stones as objects of beauty and contemplation, and in turn generate personal, meditative states of looking in which the boundaries between the outside world and internally visualized spaces break down. In doing so, Rondinone makes sculptures of what it means and feels like to see, whether this is understood to be a physical or metaphysical phenomenon. Nuns + Monks continue to address the dual reflection between the inner self and the natural world. Just as the external world one sees is inseparable from the internal structures of oneself, Nuns + Monks allows such layers of signification to come in and out of focus, prompting the viewer to revel in the pure sensory experience of color, form and mass while simultaneously engender in an altogether contemporary version of the sublime.
The exhibition remains on view through October 17, 2020. More here.
Richard Hawkins at Galerie Buchholz
Richard Hawkins moved out of Texas for art school in Los Angeles in 1986. Then, after a few years of writing experimental fiction, he began a career in art that would contain all of American culture in its erotic death grip. As a painter, Hawkins often swims in different directions – mining art history, as he has over the past two decades, to create surrealist, tragicomic scenes of gay cruising zones and exotic hustler bars. He also mines literature for inspiration, character cameos, and excerpts of text inserted directly onto his canvases. Hawkins new group of paintings for his 11th solo exhibition at Galerie Buchholz are brightly colored compositions that contain a constellation of subjects as varied as the celebrity hunk Nick Jonas, the boxer Canelo Alvarez, Justin Bieber, Adam Driver, but also “Death in Venice’s” Gustav von Aschenbach as played by Dirk Bogarde or Alain Delon as Baron de Charlus from “Swann in love”. Two of these paintings include snippets of poetry from the decadent Victorian writer Algernon Charles Swinburne. These new works originate out of the mindset of collage, the medium that is central to Richard Hawkins entire artists practice, but which is here emphatically transformed into painting. Hawkins’ subjects seem to dissolve in glowing, even fluorescent colors, and alongside his ensemble of reoccurring characters painterly references appear: butterflies by Odilon Redon, a dried sunflower and secreting opium.
The exhibition remains on view through October 2, 2020. More here.
Tobias Spichtig‘s Pretty Fine at Contemporary Fine Arts
In his first solo exhibition with CFA, Tobias Spichtig, Swiss artist, combines his new paintings and sculptures. Shell becomes essence, attitude becomes form, the existentialist gesture is being adjusted in the digital age. His work is generated through a vast circulation of reference, media, fashion, humor and materials. Engaging with visual culture through both traditional and experimental means, Spichtig’s conceptual narratives often use color as a means of connecting themes. His installations, sculptures, paintings, photographs and films address ever-changing notions of reality and the temporal nature of images. Also, he has recently collaborated with Demna Gvasalia on installations places at selected Balenciaga stores.
The exhibition remains on view through September 26, 2020. More here.
Photos by Edward Kanarecki, photos of Tobias Spichtig’s works via the artist’s Instagram.