June 8, 2011

Do you like this?

In October 2010, Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit announced a state-sponsored project to showcase the city’s artistic production. Five young curators – Angelique Campens, Magdalena Magiera, Fredi Fischli, Jakob Schillinger and Scott Cameron Weaver – went to work exploring Berlin’s art world and developing a program to present it to the public. The end result is the six-week exhibition based in Berlin, opening June 7 in Monbijoupark.

With 1250 responses to an open call for artists and an estimated 1000 studio visits, selecting the participants was the first obstacle. “We set the criteria ourselves, out of necessity. We had to focus our attention,” says Weaver.

The curators say they concentrated on ‘young’ artists, but by this they’re not referring to actual age. In this case, being young is a matter of having ‘emerged’ in the last five years; those chosen have not enjoyed great institutional visibility. “A young artist could be 80, 85 years old,” Campens points out.

The second determining factor: the city. The work and lives of the 80 selected artists are, as the show’s title suggests, based in Berlin.

As no stone was left unturned and no second-tier courtyard left unchecked in the search for the art being made in Berlin, no medium is excluded. Events take place every day and include everything from painting and sculpture to performance and video art. Many of the works will be created specifically for this exhibition.

Included in the show are Daniel Keller and Nik Kosmas, known collectively as Aids-3D. The self-described “hyper-productive” Americans don’t necessarily connect with the gallery scene in their adopted home, Berlin – Keller hails from Minneapolis; Kosmas from Detroit. Their fans find them predominately online, and their work has been shown internationally. But their profile fits the based in Berlin criteria, and gives Berlin a chance to appreciate their monumental, mixed-media works.

“Galleries have a much different role to play than institutions.”

In a city with hundreds of galleries and countless impromptu exhibition spaces, not to mention museums, Berlin’s love affair with art is hardly a state secret. But as Magiera says, “Galleries have a much different role to play than institutions.” However, even the largest of exhibition halls would be cramped by an 80-artist show. Finding a suitable venue was the next issue.

“When we started this process, we looked at Berlin in an organic way. What could the existing institutions offer, and how could we involve them?” Weaver says. But the heady institutions were eager to participate in the plan. KW Institute, Hamburger Bahnhof, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein and Berlinische Galerie have each offered up part or all of their space for the exhibition. Yet a primary location was still needed.

When the city agreed to postpone the planned demolition of the Atelierhaus in Monbijoupark, architecture firm Raumlabor started transforming it into the ‘epicenter’ of based in Berlin. “It’s a place where you want to hang out. There is a bar; the park is right there. The idea is that people will just be there, it’s a meeting point for the six weeks,” says Weaver. Serving as a full-scale production site before the opening, the Atelierhaus will be Berlin’s art capital for six weeks, and entrance is free.

Autocenter, the non-profit gallery celebrating its 10-year anniversary, is bringing a show curated by Max Henry to based in Berlin titled The Cannibal’s Muse II. Interweaving Ezra Pound, Pink Floyd and select functioning artists, Henry’s show provides a contemplative backdrop to the ‘emerging’ art focus of the event, measuring ‘iconoclastic individualism’ against ‘harmonized heterogeneity’.

“Somebody will be a discovery.”

In 2007, Schillinger was awarded a prize from the Körber Foundation for his film exploring the Mitte ‘hipster’ scene. Part social anthropology, part urban narrative, it serves as ideal preparation for curating based in Berlin. “It is really about concentrating and condensing, bundling all the things that are happening,” he says. But the exhibition is also about finding something new. Magiera adds: “Even for those of us in the art world, somebody will be a discovery.”

The initial concept for the €1.5 million exhibition stems from Berlin’s interminable Kunsthalle debate. Wowereit, a long-time supporter of a permanent venue for the city’s emerging art scene, hopes based in Berlin will encourage the local government to make a decision during the next legislative session. If he succeeds, and a new Kunsthalle is built, there are at least 1000 more Berlin-based artists waiting to ‘emerge’.


June 8, 2011

Comments (3)

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the other side of the political argument

i really hope the ex berliner are aware of the protest against this exhibition the open letter was printed in Zitty. please research and represent both sides of the debate

sophia new more than 2 years ago

no subject

Well there are a couple of pieces worthwhile among the rest of the rest. But why should everyone of the staff be so rude! Maybe English speaking crowd does have a way too high standards about being polite. But why should those cool Berliners actually bark at you if you experience art in not the interactive way someone has imagined?!

Julia more than 2 years ago

how about the actual art there

Interesting how your review focusses on the politics of the show rather the actual content. Seems that it's the only thing to talk about....and for good reason...AMAZING how such a show gets no critical response..actual critical response..which I guess is a very berlin thing to do...
amazing also the reference to "no stone left unturned"...actual quite a few stones were left untouched and quite sadly because this show is total and utter crap...guess one would call it junk art..the kind made at the last minute, pretends to have some sort of conceptual basis, ends up feeling just like bad junk food..the show should really be called Based at substance, no nourishment, just junk that fills your stomach.
To be more precise about my point, what to make of the car wheels at KW? you have to be kidding me!!! How about, at the same venue, the wall paint piece with a totally pretentious name...again..who are you kidding here?..and the cars on top of the scaffolding at monbijou...first you see them and kind of sponsorship..then you find the artist plaque, and take a second look..but beyond the tag plates changed (to CEO)..still feels like a car show...and nothing of any value comes out of it..ok a critical look at the relationship of art and there...CEO? come on...
and again the rest was so..i've seen it so many times at bad project space that it does not even register..
But there were one or two pieces kind of interesting...the villages at NBK...the weird architectural wall pieces at KW..the Woody allen piece at Monbijou..although that one was a so tucked at the end that the nausea from the other pieces made it difficult to really appreciate.

Disclaimer..I did apply to the show at its infancy and it made the resulting show all the more depressing..just wanted to see something good..and did not..
So after all that 1,2 millions gone..and nothing of value, nothing that will further the art discussion..sad indeed

sam more than 2 years ago


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