Thursday, January 3, 2008

December in Berlin: an unofficial Prairie Artster update

As far from the prairies as possible, the author of Prairie Artsters spent most of December in Berlin carousing the city and inevitably, its fantastic contemporary arts scene. Here are some highlights pulled and expanded from a postcard e-mail sent.

-mike kelley at jablonka. the entire exhibition space was taken over by
his superman/kandor inspired bell jars of crystalized cities and with
the lighting and sound of whirling wind and projections on every wall,
you felt like you were inside one of the bell jars.

Work by Roman Signer, Bottes 1986

- roman signer at the hamburger bahnoft! he just makes shit happen. he
creates, or better yet, he explores improbable and mundane situations
and documents them from start to finish. my favorite was one of his
video works, 'don't cross the line' that he shot in the mojave desert,
where the shot begins in an oil drum filled with bright yellow police
tape that is taped to three red balloons and the camera follows the
trail of tape and balloons as they cross the desert sky without ever
actually crossing the line.

- an entire hall of only joseph beuys.

- Anselm Keifer took up most of bahnoft's large foyer with his huge
lead walk in that was the very emanation of melancholia.

Work by Anslem Kiefer, Volkszählung, 1991

- Berliner Galerie had a special contemporary conceptual show, maybe by
emerging artists as they were all born around 1970. it was a very
exciting international show with great pieces by clemens krauss
(overhead perspective of people walking, but up close, the density of
paint is mountaineous) and florian slotawa

- seeing large scale works upclose of Sigmar Polke and Gerard Richter
was also a complete treat. Richter's colour bomb Atelier situated next
to his older dark Grau - 349/2 was really something else. and these huge
Polkes up close really shows how fucking crazy his process must be.

Work by Sigmar Polke, The Three Commandments Found, 1998

- I keep falling for Donald Judd. don't know where the resistance comes
from, but I might just plain love his work. Recently seeing the National Art Gallery in Ottawa's collection of his floor based works definitely triggered something that has developed here.

- Jannis Kounellis took over the entire ground floor of the Neue Galerie
with an existential steel labyrinth. Already built like a temple, it is these sort of projects that make me wonder if the process of installing the works of art isn't the mystery of art itself.

East Side Gallery, photo credit: Amy Fung, 2007

- East Side Gallery, the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin wall is entirely graffitied by over 100 artists from around the world. Most of it has peeled off, but the entire city is soaked in graffiti and for the very most part, it is absolutely beautiful.

- I also went through a lot of the museums and classical collections, and was very informed to learn of all the deutsch counterparts to each era and excavation. The commercials were mostly standard and seeing the bust of Nefertiti was not as exciting as I had thought it would be, nor was the impressive and entirely overwhelming byzantine collection at Gemalderie, but by then, the museums themselves that housed all of these works had become most exciting to explore.

No comments: