Gallery Weekend Berlin, May 2-4, 2014, most shows remain open into June
Fifty galleries joined forces for the 10th edition of the Berlin Gallery Weekend and opened new exhibitions on Friday night to stay open all weekend. As a consequence all art institutions in Berlin opened doors to profit from the extra traffic in town. A tour through this year's edition proves that the gallery weekend is a success and Berlin can stop lamenting that it lost it's art fair, since it doesn't need one anymore. There are good shows, there are all kinds of events and there are visitors. Instead of walking through an art supermarket, the gallery weekend offers the chance to see real exhibitions, with the specifics of the gallery space involved and also the city becomes part of the experience, while moving through Berlins different neigborhoods.
Philip Guston at Aurel Scheibler
The most dense gallery area is currently the Potsdamer Strasse where several galleries reshaped the buildings of Tagesspiegel newspaper and others moved into stylish residential apartments around the corner at Schöneberger Ufer. The highlight of this year's gallery weekend can be found here: Philip Guston at Aurel Scheibler gallery. The heart of the show are 7 paintings and 3 drawings that are considered to be late works by the artist. There is a drawing with pointed hoods, like the Ku Klux Klan wears them. As in a lot of Gustons work, scary things look funny. The artist moved in his painting between abstraction and an existential, cartoon like figuration and made clear that all these things, unlike some people thought, go well together in one person. Initially the response to his late work was hostile, but meanwhile Guston has gained the status of a painter's painter - an example to be studied.
Björn Dahlem at Guido Baudach
At Guido Baudach gallery Björn Dahlem has build a structure of an ongoing wooden lat curving through the space, going around columns, with a bouquet of lamps at both ends. The artist researched for this sculpture high velocity stars. He has an interest in things that cannot be really observed or grasped, since they are too small, like an atom, or too big, like a galaxy. But as an artist he can approach and picture them, a bit like scientists do, through models.
Andreas Eriksson at Sommer and Kohl
Sommer and Kohl shows the work of Swedish painter Andreas Eriksson who paints from natural motives close at hand slow and well considered formations of colour. The two very large size works seems to be the trophies here, they could be called abstract trees.
Friedrich Teepe at Arratia Beer
Arratia Beer shows the work of a German artist that passed away in 2012, Friedrich Teepe. For him the way to relate to painting was to change the shape of the canvas, and make "spatial paintings" out of them.
Isaac Julien at Sammlung Wemhöner
A nice surprise in the side programs was an artist talk with Isaac Julien in the temporary showroom of the collector Wemhöner, in the Osram Höfe in Wedding. The London based artist commented on his latest work 'Playtime' and his interest in the speed of life, as it is defining our days, for instance in split second stock market trade. His movie developed against the background of the bank crisis in 2008 and touches on the way the financial system shapes the lives of people and can imprison them or make lonely.
Francois Morrelet at Jordan / Seydoux
In the Augustrasse Jordan/Seydoux shows limited editions by François Morellet, some departing from the irrational number π. The artist engages in playful systematics that define the composition of a work, such as '16 huitièmes de cercle au hasard', from 2008.
David Claerbout at Johnen
David Claerbout shows three new works at Johnen Galerie in Berlin Mitte. His movie 'Travels' is made on basis of therapeutic music by Eric Breton, meant to relieve stress. Claerbout created his visual response to this music in a movie that develops as a walk into the forest. It's an artificial and 'too real' looking forest. To view this movie he created a kind of relax room, where you can sit and lay down on pillows. All works in the show slow down the pace of every day life. They require a kind of synchronisation in looking at them, and they also irritate because of that; there are people leaving the movie. After seeing the work though, and once outside the gallery, it strikes how quiet the street in the heart of Berlin is on a Saturday afternoon. The main sound is a bird song. To notice this may well be an effect of Claerbout's work.