Germany's Art Week - From Cologne to Berlin

 

Date:     09.05.2017

Author: Andrea Seehusen

 

The Art Cologne is considered the „Mother“ of all art fairs and during the 51 years it has gone through a number of ups and downs. Daniel Hug has managed to attract a number of international galleries and in this issue, the Gagosian Gallery with its solo installation „Buddha’s Fingers“ by Chris Burden was an eye catcher and most photographed booth. Chris Burden was the first artist that Larry Gagosian signed when he started the gallery in San Francisco in 1978. To set the gallery presentation apart from the showcasing of all works which would look good in your living room, Gagosian draws collectors with a museum installation of a political statement on the looming isolationism of the United States.

 

Chris Burden, Buddha’s Fingers“ 2014-2015, courtesy of Gagosian Gallery

 

After looking at all the big players on the first and second floor, a walk on the third floor showing young galleries and new positions proves to challenge viewing habits in a positive way. The art here needs more attention in trying to understand the concept behind the ideas.

 

These discussions could be intensified at a Collector’s Dinner we hosted together with the private Bank Hauck & Aufhäuser and the galleries Häusler Contemporary and Pearl Lam at the family Ristorante La Locanda in the center of Cologne.

 

With just enough time to repack the suitcase, it was time to move on to the Gallery Weekend in Berlin. It is not possible to visit all of the 350 participating galleries throughout the city, let alone see artist studios and join the numerous receptions at befriended private collections. So here are my personal highlights from this year’s Gallery Weekend:

It’s hard not to dwell on the fantastic 22 Meter tableau by Jonas Burgert in his solo exhibition Zeitlaich“ at Blain | Southern and the new sculptures by Angela Bulloch which I love, but I want to write about some of the off the best places I visited.

 

Jonas Burgert at Blain | Southern Gallery

 

Before the official gallery openings on Friday, I drove out to the Mies van der Rohe House (Landhaus Lemke, 1932/33) in Berlin-Weißensee, a gem of classical modernism. The building’s strength lies in its harmonious fusion of architecture, nature, and art and finds appropriate expression in its current use as an exhibition space. The uniqueness of Mies van der Rohe’s creation makes it a stunning space to exhibit art. Kai Schiemenz, represented by Eigen + Art is showing his glass sculptures in „ In Farbe“ until June 6th. The serenity of the house and property are a perfect setting for Kai’s work. I did not realize it was Bohemian glass at first. The bright colors complement the architecture, especially when the sun shines through them, which was unfortunately not the case. An interesting touch was the bedroom with a tribute to porcelain replicas of the figures from the Naumburg Cathedral, which hung over the TV at Schiemenz's grandparents. The heads point to the industrial mass production, which shaped the modern era.

 

 

There are so many great artists in Berlin and it is always an experience to visit them in their studios. I was able to see a few and I would like to point out one young artist, who I have been watching for a couple of years. Joseph Tong was born in Hong Kong (1981) and works between Hong Kong and Berlin. He creates conceptual works through a multidisciplinary approach and a variety of media, which includes the elements of oil and ink painting, sculpture, photography, site-specific installation and media art. I have taken collectors to visit him and each time they are thrilled at his approach to art and his aesthetic methods. These works you have to see live to understand them best, as they play with the viewer’s perception.

 

Joseph Tong