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.

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.

Daniel Arsham at Galerie Perrotin

Although Daniel Arsham‘s exhibition “Paris, 3020” at Galerie Perrotin closed few days ago, I think it’s still worth writing about it. For his solo exhibition, the renowned, contemporary artist presented a new suite of large-scale sculptures based on iconic busts, friezes and sculptures in the round from classical antiquity. Over the past year, Arsham has been granted unprecedented access to the Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais (RMN), a 200-year-old French molding atelier that reproduces masterpieces for several of Europe’s major encyclopedic museums. Arsham was able to use molds and scans of some of the most iconic works from the collections of the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Acropolis Museum in Athens, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and the San Pietro in Vincoli as source material for this new body of work. Interested in the way that objects move through time, the works selected by Arsham are so iconic that they have eclipsed their status as mere art object, and instead have embedded themselves into our collective memory and identity. Ranging from Michelangelo’s Moses to the Vénus de Milo, each item was cast in hydrostone to produce a perfect to scale replica of the original sculpture, a process that shares formal qualities with historic wax casting. Arsham utilizes natural pigments that are similar to those used by classical sculptors, such as volcanic ash, blue calcite, selenite, quartz, and rose quartz. From that, individual erosions are chiseled into the surface of the hydrostone, a nod to the sculpting techniques of the Renaissance sculptors. Finally, Arsham applies his signature tactic of crystallization (which has distinct, organic appearance). Making use of classical and ancient objects, this new body of work experiments with the timelessness of certain symbols, furthering Arsham’s previous investigations into “objecthood”.

76 rue de Turenne

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)

Fondazione Prada, Love You.

Hello in 2020! Just returned from the holidays and I really can’t wait to share with you all the places I’ve visited. Plus, the men’s fashion month has started in London, so be prepared for lots of newness in the first days of the decade! Which, by the way, took off with far too many sad events globally… this might be absolutely out of context, but if you mind and can, please donate a dollar or two (or more!) here to help Australia’s wildlife that’s suffering due to the hazardous fires. Or choose any other Australia-focused organisation (like Salvation Army and Red Cross) that will help the ones in need. It’s really time to take action (one of my New Year’s resolutions, by the way).

Back to the post’s topic. For the starter, Fondazione Prada in Milan. It was my second time here, and I love this place as much as I did a few years ago (here‘s a post from 2015 feauturing the pernament exhibition). The creator of Fondazione is, as the name suggests, Miuccia Prada, whose love for art is as strong as for fashion. Designed by Rem Koolhaas, the museum is built on the grounds of a former distillery. Throughout the time it expanded (the newest addition is the “Torre” – keep reading for more) and well rooted into Milan’s art landscape. The biggest reason behind visiting Fondazione Prada again – and Milan in general! – was the current exhibition: “Il sarcofago di Spitzmaus e altri tesori” (Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and Other Treasures) conceived by Wes Anderson and Juman Malouf. Organized in collaboration with the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the exhibition features 538 artworks and objects selected by the renowned film director and illustrator-writer from 12 collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum and from 11 departments of the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna. Before taking a look at the photos I took there, let me tell you: it was an incredible experience.

The exhibition explores the reasons behind the decision to create a collection and the ways in which it is housed, presented and experienced. Looking back to the past and drawing inspiration on the model of the Wunderkammer, the exhibition challenges traditional museum canons, proposing new relations between the institutions and their collections, and between their professional figures and their public. The choice of exhibited works, based on a non-academic, interdisciplinary approach, not only illustrates Anderson and Malouf’s deep knowledge of the two museums, but also reveals unexpected parallels and resonances between the works included in the project and the creative universes of the two artists.The exhibition narrative is formed by groups of works: from green objects to portraits of children, from miniatures to timepieces, from boxes to wooden objects, from portraits of noblemen and common people to natural subjects like the garden as well as meteorites and animals presented as scientific exhibits or artistic depictions.

Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and Other Treasures” was presented at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna from November 2018 to April 2019. The Milan exhibition is a second version with a larger display area and a greater number of exhibits. The original layout of rooms and vitrines, conceived by the two artist-curators with Itai Margula as a treasure chest, has been transported to the exhibition space of Fondazione Prada as a ready-made. The exhibition extends across the ground floor of the Podium to create a setting inspired by the Italian garden, with the presence of elements evoking hedges and allegorical pavilions typical of Renaissance garden. On view until the 13th of January!

Now, time for the rest of Fondazione Prada…

Bar Luce is probably the only museum cafeteria that sparks so many emotions. The place was conceived by Wes Anderson (those pastel colour combinations are unmistakably him) as “a space for real life with numerous good spots for eating, drinking, talking, reading, etc. While I do think it would make a pretty good movie set, I think it would be an even better place to write a movie. I tried to make it a bar I would want to spend my own non-fictional afternoons in.” Delicious coffee and delightful marzipan cakes from Prada’s Marchesi 1824 patisserie (more on this soon!) are served here everday. Be aware of the lines!

Project Atlas emerged from a dialogue between Miuccia Prada and Germano Celant and is exhibited at the Torre. It hosts works from the Prada Collection displayed in a sequence of environments incorporating solos and confrontations, created through assonances or contrasts, between artists such as Carla Accardi and Jeff Koons, Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer and Pino Pascali, William N. Copley and Damien Hirst, John Baldessari (R.I.P.) and Carsten Höller (the upside down mushroom room!). The group of exhibited artworks, realized between 1960 and 2016, represents a possible mapping of the ideas and visions which have guided the creation of the collection and the collaborations with the artists that have contributed to the activities of the foundation throughout the years. Atlas therefore traces an evolving path between the personal and the institutional, open to temporary and thematic interventions, special projects and events, with possible integrations from other collections and institutions.

Other than Atlas and Podium spaces, Fondazione Prada also holds such venues as Cinema and the gold-plated Haunted Tower. This time, however, we didn’t manage to visit the latter, as there were no more tickets available. It’s the pernament collection of Robert Gober and Louise Bourgeois artworks – which we saw last time. But if you’re planning your trip here, make sure to book the tickets to every Fondazione space on-line or in advance! It’s really, really, really worth it.

Largo Isarco 2 / Milan

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All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Laurence Esnol Gallery

Laurence Esnol Gallery was born from an encounter between a couple of art collectors and a painter. Drawn by their love for art, Laurence Esnol and Daniel Aïdan opened a gallery dedicated to the works of one artist, H. Craig Hanna. Inaugurated in 2008, the gallery is today located in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in the heart of (the most Parisian) art quarters in Paris. The team has since dedicated its passion and energy on promoting a renewed idea of contemporary art, through the paintings of H. Craig Hanna – Laurence Esnol Gallery being the only permanent showroom of his work. Laurence Esnol Gallery has also broadened its commitment by supporting other artists trough temporary exhibition. Whenever I’m in Paris, I always visit this beautiful place.

7 rue Bonaparte / Paris

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Boros Collection in Berlin

Two months after booking a tour place, I finally arrived to one of Berlin‘s most intriguing, art spaces – The Boros Collection. How to describe it in the most easy way? It’s fascist bunker turned into Soviet banana storage turned into illegal techno club turned into museum of contenporary art. Christian Boros’ private collection of contemporary art comprises groups of works by international artists dating from 1990 to the present. Different facets of the collection are on public display in the bunker, with 3000 sqm exhibition space. The current exhibition presents such artists as Guan Xiao, Uwe Henneken, Sergej Jensen, Katja Novitskova, Pamela Rosenkranz and Johannes Wohnseifer. And now I tell you this: visiting the place is an EXPERIENCE, whether you’re into modern art or not. Book a tour here!

Photos by Edward Kanarecki.

Art Dealer Fashion. Olympia Le-Tan AW16

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In Paris’ hottest contemporary art gallery, Galerie Perrotin, Olympia Le-Tan staged her arty and extremely French presentation for autumn-winter 2016 season. The location was the right fit for her Parisian-chic embodying clothes and bags, with her dad’s Murakami, Erró, and Sophie Calle illustrated intepretations. The pastel-pink, vichy prints worked well with the olive-green coats, while the adorable, sequinned mini dress with Damien Hirst-like polka-dots is my personal favourite – I mean, it’s a go-to choice for an art exhibition! Looking at Olympia’s models, who have helped her to envision an art auction scenario (with Sabine Getty as a posh art buyer, Le-Tan’s sister, Cleo, as a secretarial assistant and Lily Summer as an eccentric girl), the whole event / fashion show felt absolutely entertaining, and humorous. And the Christian Louboutin lace-up stilettoes, splashed with paint the other day by Katie Hillier, were pure FUN.

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