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A material mind-fuck

Aanant & Zoo present the second part of their annually curated exhibition of curated guest artists. Go get your mind blown by works from artists like Elena Bajo, Geerten Verheu and Martin Bothe, all throbbing with life. The trip ends on Oct 19.

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Michael Hakimi Ring

“Material Conceptualism: The Comfort Of Things” is the second part of Aanant & Zoo’s special, annually curated exhibitions of guest artists.

This year, they explore the philosophical and historical boundaries of conceptual art. This fabulous entanglement boasts notable positions of the artistic genre, juxtaposing the artistic practice of ‘Ready-Mades’ with the stories behind the material. The show throbs with life, due to the successful re-appropriations presented in the classically elegant space.

A cornerstone of the majestic endeavour is the Arte Povera (“poor art”) conceptual movement of the 1960s and 1970s, most specifically the art of one of the movement’s representatives, Giuseppe Penone. Driving forward, the show cannot move any faster, as you are psychologically and physically confronted nonstop with pleasantly (and sometimes quite literally) visually mindfucking pieces – for instance, when you are forced to move through the entrance hallway installation, filled to the absolute brim with thousands of Geerten Verheus’ hanging vinyl strips.

Recovering, you stop to contemplate the political implications of Elena Bajo’s self-proclaimed and minimalistic “Anti-Monument”, made of discarded wood and sheet rock, commanding societal worship, and Klaus Weber’s sheathed goddess that sheds light on the physical impossibilities of the Greco-Roman sense of human perfection – among myriad other amazing pieces.

In the corner, a yellow light radiates through a partially closed door, summoning you into a small hallway with what seems to be a rotting radiator, but is actually an aluminium foil sculpture. The sodium vapour lamp in the white room causes everything outside of it to be cast in an eerie blue. You find refuge again, back through the larger room, into the vinyl-stripped hallway to another chamber, housing quieter but no less brain-igniting works such as Michael Hakimi’s profile optical illusion “Ring” and Martin Bothe’s coded algorithm of PET plastic bottles, among others.

As an environment of open questioning, the gallery fosters the complexity of the exhibition with a thorough exchange and knowledge about what is being shown. The bar for representing and communicating conceptual art in Berlin has been raised immensely.

MATERIAL CONCEPTUALISM: THE COMFORT OF THINGS Sep 7-Oct 19 | Aanant & Zoo, Bülowstr. 90, Schöneberg, U-Bhf Bülowstr., Wed-Sat 11-18