Katharina Grosse at Hamburger Bahnhof (and More!)

Oh, how I’ve missed museums! I wanted to see Katharina Grosse‘s “It Wasn’t Us” exhibition so badly! First, I love her immersive work. Second, coming back to Hamburger Bahnhof, one of Berlin’s best museums of modern and contemporary art, was a good idea, as I’ve been there once as a child and I forgot how great this place is. Now, back to Grosse. A painting by her can appear anywhere. Her large-scale works are multi-dimensional pictorial worlds in which splendid color sweeps across walls, ceilings, objects, and even entire buildings and landscapes. For “It Wasn’t Us” the artist has transformed the Historic Hall of Hamburger Bahnhof as well as the outdoor space behind the building, into an expansive painting which radically destabilises the existing order of the museum architecture. Katharina Grosse’s latest in-situ painting disregards the boundaries of the museum space in a grand and colourful gesture: “I painted my way out of the building,” said Grosse in relation to her work. Over the course of several weeks a vast new painting has emerged that stretches across the Historic Hall and into public space, over the extensive grounds behind the museum, landing finally on the façade of the so-called Rieckhallen which were inaugurated as a part of the museum complex in 2004. Grosse’s kaleidoscopic painting brings together colours and forms, natural and man-made surroundings and its visitors as participants in an all-encompassing, pulsating interaction of hues. The boundaries between objects, and between horizontal and vertical orientations begin to melt away, and the work’s scale continuously shifts depending on the visitor’s position. As the viewer moves through the painting new spaces emerge that are both artificial and ripe with associations, and at the same time completely real, forcing us to renegotiate our habitual ways of seeing, of thinking about, and of perceiving the world around us. The choice of the location and the many different factors and conditions it entails have influenced the development of the painting, just as the permanently shifting lines of sight of the viewer and unexpected interactions with the work affect our ways of perceiving it in the exhibition setting. In this sense, the work’s title, It Wasn’t Us, can be understood as a reference to the inherent complexity and unpredictability of a given situation, whether it be the conditions under which artists create their work, or the conditions under which it is later viewed. The painting exists only for the duration of the exhibition – which is open util the 10th of January 2021.

At the moment there’s also another exhibition going on at Hamburger Bahnhof, titled “Magical Soup“. Spaciously presented across more than 2,000 square metres in the museum’s Rieckhallen complex, the group exhibition features key works complemented by loans representing the latest generation of artists, with a common point of departure being the nexus of sound, image and social space. “Magical Soup” brings together works by the media art pioneers Nam June Paik, Jochen Gerz, Charlemagne Palestine, Ulrike Rosenbach and Keiichi Tanaami; by the multimedia artists Nevin Aladağ, Stan Douglas, Cyprien Gaillard, Douglas Gordon, Rodney Graham, Dmitry Gutov, Anne Imhof, Joan La Barbara, Pipilotti Rist (her installations are so powerful!), Diana Thater, Lawrence Weiner, Nicole Wermers and David Zink Yi; and by the younger artists Korakrit Arunanondchai, Trisha Baga, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Christine Sun Kim, Sandra Mujinga and Sung Tieu. Here are some of my favourites, combined with the Hamburger Bahnhof’s permanent gallery, feauturing some good old Andy Warhol and Joseph Beuys:

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Support Brick-And-Mortar!

Two stores I love in Berlin: Andreas Murkudis and Sal Bazaar. Especially now, brick-and-mortar shops are having a hard time (I know it from a first-hand experience) and we should support the ones with authentic soul, a unique selection and a one-of-a-kind aura. Andreas Murkudis is my long-time go-to place (from Dries Van Noten and Yohji Yamamoto to the amazing space and beautiful art initiatives), while Sal Bazaar feels like the antidote to traditional fashion retail. This place is like an art gallery, really. Here you will find Dumitrascu, the place’s home-made label, as well as hand-picked, precious vintage and  ceramics made by local artisans. Everything is just so aligned with the owner’s taste. I know on-line is thriving and all, but REAL shops are the best. So, here’s a reminder: support them however you can!

Andreas Murkudis / Potsdammerstraße 81E

Sal Bazaar / Mulackstraße 34

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Juergen Teller at Grisebach

If you read my journal or follow my Instagram for a while, then you’ve surely noticed my obsession with Juergen Teller and his work. So when I discovered that his two exhibtions open at Grisebach (one of the oldest auction houses in town), I marked 12th of September right away in my calendar as a mandatory trip to Berlin. And… my dream came true. He was there with his partner, Dovile Drizyte, they both signed books and talked with guests. I even took a photo with him – just couldn’t resist that opportunity (sorry not sorry)! He was happy I came especially from Poland to attend the opening… Ok, back to the exhibitions. Grisebach presents precisely two exhibitions with the photographer: “If You Pay Attention” and “Araki Teller, Leben und Tod”. “If You Pay Attention” was completed in collaboration with Drizyte, and features a series of photographs that were taken at the end of 2019 to the beginning of 2020, on an adventurous, heavenly, yet life-threatening journey through Iran. Drizyte, Teller’s partner, wore a chador during a part of their trip and consequently discovered a new identity whilst following this dress code. Teller recalled how: “I didn’t just want to take tourist pictures, I wanted to put something of myself or us into the pictures of Iran, but I didn’t know what or how in the beginning. At the same time, I haven’t yet quite found a way of photographing Dovile, my girlfriend. Sometimes it is difficult with people who are very close to you. It took me years to photograph my Mother.” Next door, at Villa Grisebach, Teller presented his new book, “Araki Teller, Leben und Tod” which was made in collaboration with the Japanese photographer, Nobuyoshi Araki. “Leben und Tod” is the culmination of their joint exhibition at artspace AM, Tokyo held at the end of 2019 and is published by Steidl. This deeply personal project centres on Teller’s “Leben und Tod” (Life and Death) series, in which he reflects upon the death of his uncle and stepfather Artur. Teller juxtaposes photographs of his mother and their hometown in Bubenreuth, Bavaria with images from his journey in Bhutan with Dovile that epitomize life and fertility. Inspired by this series, Araki asked to photograph Teller’s “childhood memory objects”, items that carry special emotional significance to both him and his parents. Teller eagerly collected these personal treasures, gathering toys, a porcelain figurine, and bridges created in the family’s string instruments’ bridge-making workshop. Araki’s resulting images are haunting, yet playful, creating a spellbinding tale once paired with Teller’s original story. Here’s a mix of my favourite works, juxtaposed with Grisebach’s beautiful space.

The exhibitions are on until the 7th of November! More information is available right here.

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Gallery Weekend Berlin 2020 Picks

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.

Post-Confinement Berlin

Yesterday I went to my dear Berlin for the first time since the pandemy started in March, and I must say that the post-confinement crisis is real here. It was sad to see that some of my favourite restaurants and shops have completely closed down, and in general the city is quite sleepy. Hopefully good times will come back as soon as possible… Here’s a recap of my all-time Berlin places, as well as some new discoveries. Just remember to take your face ask. If you’re planning to visit the German capital anytime soon, make sure to look at my address book here for more great spots!

König Galerie

This gallery was founded by Johann König in 2002, and currently represents 40 international emerging and established artists, mostly belonging to a younger generation. The program’s focus is on interdisciplinary, concept-oriented and space-based approaches in a variety of media including sculpture, video, sound, painting, printmaking, photography and performance. In May 2015, König Galerie took up St. Agnes, a monumental former church built in the 1960s in the Brutalist style, where museum-like exhibitions take place in two different spaces, the former chapel and nave. Until the 26th of June, “Messe in St. Agnes” exhibition is happening here: over 100 works by artists such as Elmgreen & Dragset, Alicja Kwade, Andy Warhol, Juergen Teller, Isa Genzken,  Eliza Douglas, Alex Katz and Katharina Grosse are exhibited and sold at the gallery.

Alexandrinestraße 118–121
Andreas Murkudis
Nothing compares to brick-and-mortar, especially after living the confinement life for the last few months. Andreas Murkudis is probably my favourite store in the world, and I hope places like this will survive the hard times. Get your Dries Van Noten, Cecilie Bahnsen, The Row, Loewe and Issey Miyake right here, just like niche perfume labels and gorgeous porcelain.
Potsdammerstraße 81E
Tschoban Foundation

What is still drawn today? Which architects continue to master the art of hand drawing? What place has the skilled use of pen and ink in an age of computer aided design? In the 21st century, virtually no architect seeks to persuade clients of their capacities as a designer by means of sketches or perspective views. In architectural education today, there is also less emphasis on learning the craft of drawing although the ability to convey ideas through drawing by hand remains essential in developing form and proportion. It is at this point that the Tchoban Foundation intervenes. Established in 2009 by Sergei Tchoban, himself a passionate draftsman and collector of historic architectural drawings, its extensive collection serves as a source for research on the history and nature of architectural drawing. An extensive library on the subject is accessible to experts and visitors. The overall aim of the foundation, however, is to present the imaginative and emotionally-charged world of architectural drawing to a broad public through regular exhibitions.

Christinenstraße 18a

MDC Cosmetic

MDC Cosmetic offers a range of exclusive, international cosmetics, supplies and accessories for a home spa and nutritional supplements. From Santa Maria Novella 1612 perfumes and Susanne Kaufmann bath salts to Astier de Villatte candles and Rahua cosmetics, this adorable, cozy space got you covered with all the ‘treat yourself’ kind of products. Cosmetic advice and treatments are available on request.

Knaackstraße 26

The Store x Soho House Berlin

A classic. From Bottega Veneta and vintage Irving Penn books to Balenciaga and avocado toast, this place has it all.

Torstraße 1

And for the end… flowers! I love walking around Berlin, because it’s so full of nature, wherever you go.

Fiona Bennett Hat Shop

To adorn a person’s head is probably one of the most intimate pleasures to celebrate one’s visible personality. Next to the thoughts, the eyes, the ears, the mouth and nose, the sensual relation is almost obvious. In contrary to a mask, which hides and transforms the identity of the wearer, a hat reveals the features of the face, embraces the profile and donates the head with regal attention. It’s a signature to the one who dares to decorate their features as well as it offers a moment of intrigue to the observer. Fiona Bennett does all that with her gifted hands and creations. She passionately revolutionises the classic headwear through a subtle balancing act into new dimensions and unusual, but highly poetic shapes. Her mission and true intention is to invent a perfect frame for an individual. Her precious and most significant attribute as a millinery reserves that one will always recognize the beauty of the wearer first, then, by a second glance, the beauty and art of the millinery. As outrageously visionairy and exquisitly designed her charming creations might be, they never overwhelm or dominate the face underneath. That’s the magic of Fiona and her beautiful boutique-studio in Berlin. For the gorgeous dames, non-chalant mad-hatters and not only.

Potsdamer Straße 81-83 / Berlin

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Sottsass’ Carlton Shelf

Carlton room divider, designed in 1981 by Ettore Sottsass, in wood and plastic laminate. The vivid colors and seemingly random interplay of solids and voids suggest avant-garde painting and sculpture. The ultimate dream, seen at The Store X Soho House in Berlin.

Sweet Prenzlauerberg

Berlin‘s Prenzlauerberg district is always full of surprises, and this time they were especially sweet. Here are the two amazing spots where you will eat the best Tokyo-inspired ice-cream dessert and a cake that looks too good to eat it.

Tenzan Lab is the place where you will eat the best kakigōri in Berlin. Kakigōri is a Japanese shaved ice dessert flavored with syrup and condensed milk. The one we ordered was served with matcha mascarpone on top, which is the best thing ever (if you love matcha and everything that’s creamy, of course).

Wörther Straße 22

Be Sweet is a vegan patisserie serving all sorts of cakes, tarts and cute desserts. The little, delicious masterpiece we ate was filled with boiled cherries and chocolatte mousse. Heaven. The outside seating area lets you observe Prenzlauerberg’s relaxed, urban rhythm and take a rest.

Kollwitzstraße 37