Photo by Bern Borchardt
Ina Weber's current exhibition Hier (Here) at Haus am Waldsee is arguably one of the most interesting, personal, and most dynamic exhibitions the institution has ever offered.
Joining the ranks of artists such as Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso, among others who have graced these rooms in the past 50 years, Weber conquers the space’s challenging architecture, making it truly her own. Working with the house curator, Weber set about a basic layout of her works, filling the gaps by creating new pieces to accentuate her cumulative retrospective. The show presents a balance of both sculpture and watercolour paintings. By mixing the ingredient of personal experience into both form and subject matter, she energises the space.
Starting on the ground floor, the visitor is greeted with a “smoking corner” that seems to be pulled out of a West German public square; at first, one would assume that it is some sort of found object, re-appropriated for artistic use. In fact, Weber photographs public architectural elements from her travels in Asia, France, Austria, England and Germany and then recreates them in her studio with great attention to detail, at the same time playing with and distorting the size, proportion, and materials.
She builds gas stations (such as the massive, room-filling 1920s-style installation with a real water faucet on the second floor), bus stations, Chinese restaurants and even dilapidated ruins, creating a new perception by bringing them inside. The first floor also features a ‘street’ made up of various buildings of miniature scale and a nuclear power plant created through elements of pottery.
On the second floor, a major focus has been placed on her watercolour drawings, which highlight the human element that might be missing from the sculpture. Three different suites of works examine iconic Asian carriages in the streets of the Philippines, the interior of a bohemian one-room Parisian flat and portrait samples of Bauhaus architecture from a recent trip to Vienna. The watercolours sit on panettone paper, giving the recreated items form and structure, and thus life.
Next after the gas station is a collection of Lampions, made simply from paper and glue, touching on the viewer’s memories through the use of logos from supermarkets, government offices, and banks, reminiscent of lanterns made by children for carnival.
Weber’s first exhibition in a Berlin institution will be on view until April 1. It’s personal way of dealing with public spaces, architecture, memories, realities and childhood utopias is more than worth the trip to the suburbs.
Ina Weber - Hier Jan 18-Apr 1 | Haus am Waldsee, Argentinische Allee 30, Zehlendorf, U-Bhf Krumme Lanke, Tue-Sun 11-18.