Official Welcome

Running until 22 February at the Hamburger Bahnhof is an exhibition which is part of the "Cult of the Artist" series entitled "I can't just slice off an ear every day". Deconstructing the Myth of the Artist. This show contains work by artists such as Francis Alÿs, Marcel Broodthaers, Marcel Duchamp, Andrea Fraser, Dan Graham, Rodney Graham, Richard Jackson, Christian Jankowski, Martin Kippenberger, Sarah Lucas, Paul McCarthy, Bruce Nauman, Pipilotti Rist, and Cindy Sherman to name but a few. It is truly a mixed bag of which most is forgettable and doesn't really deconstruct any myths. One piece worth a mention is Andrea Fraser's "Official Welcome" (2001) a video piece of a performance which shows Fraser delivering a speech at an art award ceremony and during which she begins to strip. It can be see here (in 4 parts):

SEBASTIAN GRÄVE at Galerie Kollaborativ

Sebastian Gräve
Galerie Kollaborativ
Opening: Thursday, 29. Januar, 19–21 Uhr
Öffnungszeiten: 30. Januar – 21. Februar 2009, Mittwochs–Samstags 13–18 Uhr

Saarbrücker Strasse 25 (Ecke Straßburger Straße)
10405 Berlin

Opening Saturday 24th Jan

Arndt & Partner openings on
Saturday, 24 January 2009, noon to 6 pm :

Gallery at Checkpoint Charlie
1st Floor
2nd Floor
SOPHIE CALLE - Where and When?

Gallery near Hamburger Bahnhof
SHI XINNING - Tale of the Two Cities

KW Exhibitions

Last week of the exhibitions

The following exhibitions at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin are on view until Sunday, January 25, 2009:

Political / Minimal (Admission 6 Euro, 4 Euro concessions)
Adel Abdessemed, Francis Alÿs, Monica Bonvicini, Tom Burr, Annabel Daou, Edith Dekyndt, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Hans Haacke, Mona Hatoum, Damien Hirst, Alfredo Jaar, Derek Jarman, Terence Koh, Kitty Kraus, Klara Liden, Teresa Margolles, Kris Martin, Corey McCorkle, Helen Mirra, Muchen & Shao Yinong, Sarah Ortmeyer, Seth Price, Gregor Schneider, Tino Sehgal, Santiago Sierra, Taryn Simon, Rosemarie Trockel, xurban_collective, Aaron Young
Curated by Klaus Biesenbach

Highlights from the Cologne KunstFilmBiennale in Berlin (Free admission)

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, January 21, 2009, 7 pm:
Talk with Jesper Just and Henriette Huldisch
With an introduction by Heinz Peter Schwerfel
Talk in English
Free admission

Jesper Just works primarily with video investigating textures and details to tell stories of specific situations, persons, and rooms and the relation between them. He centres his themes on representation of gender. Through his images and stories of men and women Just deconstructs stereotypical ideas of gender roles. His films reveal the complexity of the relation between the sexes, allowing for a more varied and sensitive self-understanding and understanding of human relationships in general.

Film screening
No Man Is An Island (2002, 4 min)
A Vicious Undertow (2007, 10 min)

Jesper Just studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and graduated in 2003. Recently he has exhibited extensively around the world, including the Nordic Festival of Contemporary Art Momentum in Norway; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the SMAK Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent; Kunsthalle Vienna; Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; and the MAM - Miami Art Museum.
He lives and works in New York.

Henriette Huldisch is a curator and writer based in Berlin and New York.
From 2001 to 2008 she worked at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she co-curated the
2008 Whitney Biennial Exhibition and the exhibition Full House: Views of the Whitney's Collection at 75 (2006). Previously she curated shows such as a retrospective of films by Robert Beavers and the exhibition Small: The Object in Film, Video, and Slide Installation (2004), including the work of Sol LeWitt, Jonathan Monk, and Michael Snow.
Among Huldisch's writings are essays and interviews in
Artforum, North Drive Press, and the anthology Collecting the New: Museums and Contemporary Art, as well as numerous Whitney Museum publications.

Sunday, January 25, 2009, 7 pm
Wilhelm Hein
You Killed The Underground Film Or The Real Meaning Of Kunst Bleibt...Bleibt...
Expanded Cinema Version with guests
Free admission

With: Sissi Tax, Mad Angus, Annette Frick, Vaginal Davis, John and Tim Blue, Tima die Göttliche, Juwelia and Zsazsa Puppengesicht

"Assembled from over ten years of footage he shot and collected, Wilhelm Hein's new film is a fascinating and challenging example of what it means to make politically relevant underground film in an increasing rented world". (Marc Siegel)

"Wilhelm Hein has resisted becoming part of the establishment, he remains committed to the vitality of the underground and prefers punk clubs to professorship. A survivor with a restless energy, Hein is one of the last true radicals of his generation, continuing with a subversive practice dedicated to the freedom of expression". (Mark Webber)

"How do we as artists avoid the ritual of having to explain? It's easy: We do as Picasso who answered the question of 'What is art?' with 'If I knew I would keep it for myself.' So, ladies and gentlemen, we put ourselves completely on the line. Do the same and the evening will be awesome. Not boring at all, that's for sure!!!" (Wilhelm Hein)

KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Auguststr. 69
D-10117 Berlin

Review on Anish Kapoor’s Memory


by Benjamin Jiva Dasa Norris

Memory (2008) is the latest commissioned sculpture to be housed within the German Guggenheim gallery in Berlin. Its creator, Anish Kapoor, uses the stark, white space to accentuate the scale and confrontational aspects of his latest work to generate a lasting, stunning impact.

Memory consists of a twenty-four ton Cor-Ten steel tank; its outer shell an almost fragile looking rust-covered collection of tiles (the earthy, almost bloody pigment is perhaps the most immediate reminder that this is a Kapoor piece) seamlessly held together, creating delicate curves and leering bulges which almost glance the sides of the gallery walls and ceiling, and causing something of a disconcerting sense of the defiance of gravity in the room – it feels as though the tank should not be able to sit as still and sentinel-like as it does, as if the entire colossus could roll in somnambulance to one side at any moment.

To say that Memory is confrontational is perhaps an understatement. The piece literally looms in the viewers face, reminding us of our own relatively tiny scale, and of our positions within the gallery itself. Perhaps the most intriguing feature of the installation is its purposeful inaccessibility; we are forbidden to duck beneath the curving hulk of iron and see behind it, instead we must exit the gallery and re-enter with fresh eyes through another door, into a brighter, whiter space to observe the other side of the tank, the back of which has a more flattened, less familiar plane, made all the more unmovable and alien by the brief moment just spent between entrances on the busy street outside. Kapoor almost teases us with disorientation; we cannot help but want to view the sculpture as a whole, the very way our minds (but not our memories) work creates a sense of longing for a little distance, a little space to better apprehend the piece as a whole.

The next dimension of Memory is accessed through the gift shop of the Guggenheim. Again, a minute of familiarity, distraction; up a small set of stairs and down another, before we realise we are to one side of the sculpture, staring into its belly through an aperture in the wall it rests against. Kapoor has managed to create a true void; beyond a couple of inches of the rusty metal shell, we see nothing. Blackness. Depth incalculable, and volume incomprehensible. The meaning of the installation’s title starts to make sense as one looks into the darkness: By segmenting our viewpoints and taking full control of the ways in which we can see the sculpture, Kapoor forces the viewer to use their own memories to try, and fail, to construct an image of the whole in their own minds. This idea of ‘mental sculpture’ has less to do with the steel tank, and far more to do with the individuals movements around the tank: memory as a fleeting, unreachable creation made up of singular, mental images from different viewpoints. The void itself, a triangle of black space, acts as an empty canvas (for the darkness is so complete from certain angles it looks as though it is a flat, two-dimensional plane, a black square mounted onto a white wall) for the mind to attempt to sketch the image onto.

By fracturing both physical and mental space, Kapoor creates a steel metaphor for the intimacy of the individual’s memories and the cognitive process. Like our own memories and dreams, Memory is viewed in a third person perspective – whether standing at the front, to the rear or looking within the sculpture, we cannot help but mentally place ourselves at the other points. From each perspective we must mentally take ourselves back through a set of doors, or up and down a small flight of stairs to attempt to comprehend the mass that fills the space we stand in. In this way, Memory is permanently situational, its true physical, tangible nature remaining nebulous. No matter how quickly we move through the doors and around the heaving curves of steel, no matter how firmly we hold images in our mind, each moment we place ourselves in and see as ‘present’ immediately disappears into the past with each and every movement of the self.

more from Benjamin Jiva Dasa Norris

Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin

Opening this Friday

Openings on Friday, 16. January

Galerie Barbara Thumm
is pleased to announce the first solo show by Canadian artist Kevin Schmidt, presenting his video installation Wild Signals.
Galerie Barbara Thumm - Dircksenstrasse 41 -


Galerie Jette Rudolph presents
*Politische Ikonografie

Alken, Greif & Hennig, Jana Gunstheimer, Jari Silomaki, Stefanos Tsivopoulos, Nasan Tur

Opening: Freitag, 16. Januar 2009, 19.00- 22.00 Uhr
Ausstellungsdauer: 16. Januar - 14. Februar 2009

Galerie Jette Rudolph - Zimmerstrasse 90- 91, D- 10117 Berlin -


At KUTTNER SIEBERT Galerie - "VEXATIONS" by Gregor Schmoll.

Private View: Friday, 16 January, 2009, 7pm
17 January through 14 February, 2009
Tuesday through Saturday, 11am - 6pm
KUTTNER SIEBERT Galerie - Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 16 -


Upstairs Berlin - solo exhibition by Ilias Papailiakis

In Völkerschauplatz the painter portrays anonymous as well as historical figures and puts a focus on the renewal of ancient myths and the sagas of gods and heroes.
Upstairs Berlin - Zimmerstrasse 90/91 -


Galerie Michael Janssen

Tine Furler
Vererbungslinie Vampyropoda
Gerard Hemsworth

Now Then

Galerie Michael Janssen -Rudi-Dutschke-Str. 26 (formerly Kochstr. 60) -

Viola at the Haunch of Venison

It is one of Bill Viola's most famous pieces "The Messenger" which fills the hanger like main space of the Haunch of Venison in Berlin. Monumental in scale and hypnotic to watch it is hard not to be impressed by this piece. Originally commissioned for Durham Cathedral in England in 1996 it sparked some controversy due it seems simply to placing a film of a naked figure in a cathedral. The piece shows a starkly lit figure slowly emerging from water to eventually gasp for breath as he breaks the surface. The short moments of breaking the surface and the heavy gasping breath work beautifully against the contrast of the silence and almost stillness of the rest of the film when the figure drifts underwater down away from or up towards the viewer. Like a slow moving painting. There are some sublime moments of beauty with the bubbles of the water looking like a circle of stars or where figure is almost completely obscured to abstraction under the surface of the water. The piece has some very obvious religious connotations such using a Christ-like pose, the idea of baptism in water and the ideas of the breath and meditation-like slowness. Overall it is a mesmerising experience to watch and in it is presented beautifully in the darkened and emptied space at the Haunch of Venison.
The other pieces being shown play with similar devices, water, stark lighting, figures emerging from the water, naked figures, religious poses and the extreme slow motion. The beauty of all the pieces is undeniable but there is a certain undeniable formulaic quality to everything which can feel a little flat. The most interesting of the other pieces are the ones with clothed figures, an androgynous gothic punk figure greets us at the entrance. Staring in a menacing Marilyn Manson like way which is quite humorous, maybe unintentionally, unless you happen to be 15. In fact the hammy acting and expressions of some of the characters in the pieces can feel a little off putting and the slow motion has the effect of highlighting these overly dramatic moments. Overall the newer work show here doesn't feel like much a step forward apart from maybe through the use of technology (pay particular attention to the small state of the art super thin monitors in the back room).

Nearby the Haunch of Venison there are a number of other exhibitions which also opened on the same evening. The closest gallery is Galerie Schuster which presents a group exhibition of young/emerging painters from the US. These do feel a little flat after wittnessing the slick and starkness of Viola's monitors and projections. But there are a couple of pieces which are worthy of attention, such as the paintings by Hans Ahnert in the back project room.

Also the space called TANAS presents an exhibition worth venturing to. A show by Nasan Tur fills the gallery with a collection of objects, videos and installations some of which are very compelling. You do need to get past the Joseph Beuy's pieces near the entrance but if you can avoid this the rest of the gallery is taken up with Tur's work. Look out for the simple but powerful forever spinning roulette wheel and also the video piece called "The puddle and the Blue Sky" which offers the perfect sacrilegious come-down from Bill Viola.

Lots of Koons

Let's start with Jeff...
There has been a little bit of an epidemic of Jeff Koons recently around Europe, (well around Paris and Berlin anyway). I hope all have recovered. First there was the Château de Versailles exhibition and then came Jeff the Celebration exhibition at the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin and not forgetting a show of new paintings at Galerie Max Hetzler also in Berlin.
The thing about Koons is that, with his sculpture at least (let’s ignore the painting), the setting is everything. His work always seems to make amazing public sculpture, think of the flower puppy in Bilbao, monumental, eye-catching, playful and some of the pieces even spark controversy all the things public sculpture should do. But when you put these glossy pieces into a gallery setting, the often sterile nature of these spaces makes the pieces loose any interest. This is almost what happens at the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin. To mark the major series of exhibitions on the Cult of the Artitst, the Neue Nationalgalerie proudly presents the exhibition entitled Jeff Koons. Celebration. running from the 31 October 2008 to 8 February 2009.. The space is far from you average sterile white cube but it still doesn’t offer a setting strong enough for these pieces to live. In fact the best way to see the work is by not going into the gallery at all but instead wandering around the building an looking in the windows, there you can see the work in an almost “public” setting and also marvel at the visitors who meander through the space gazing and search for some meaning as they take in Koons. But best of all you don’t have to queue to get in or pay and also you can take photographs of the work.

As for Versailles, what an amazing setting for Koons. Kitsch meets kitsch or something like that. The catalogue for this show is quite amazing, it is like a “Where’s Wally?” (or Waldo) book because the work blends in so well with its surroundings. “Where’s the Koons?”. The catalogue makes a beautiful addition to even the most stylish of coffee tables and also highlights another setting that Koon’s work always succeeds in and that is in the book format. The show itself managed to Ruffle some Feathers in France apparently making a “Royal Heir” poke his head out of the woodwork, Prince Charles-Emmanuel de Bourbon-Parme has asked an administrative court at Versailles to halt the exhibition, he called the show “a desecration and an attack on the respect due to the dead,” (that is the dead that went to the guillotine, is it?) It seems quite fitting if you ask me. It brings Jeff Koons work to a very large audience and this may or may not be a good thing.
What can you say about Koons that hasn't already be said.... Nothing much.

Bill Viola opening on Friday

"Haunch of Venison Berlin will this winter present a series of works from the internationally renowned US artist Bill Viola, in his first solo exhibition in Berlin in six years."
This exhibition will link with the Berlinale Film Festival in February with two early video films screened in the main space of the gallery as part of the festival.

9 Jan - 3 Feb and 16 - 21 Feb 2009
Tue - Sat 11.00 - 18.00

5 - 15 Feb 2009
Daily 11.00 - 20.00

Screening times:
11:30 Hatsu-Yume (57:33 minutes)
13:00 The Passing (54 minutes)
14:30 Hatsu-Yume
16:00 The Passing
17:30 Hatsu-Yume
19:00 The Passing

Visit the Haunch of Venison website
Visit the Berlinale website

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