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Last month, Gallery Weekend Berlin marked its ninth anniversary by opening its doors to 51 galleries. The three-day event (April 26 – 28, 2013) hosted a diverse set of spaces and exhibitions that covered a variety of subjects from the abstract to the occult.
Notably, the sprawling nature of Gallery Weekend enabled it to exhibit works that complemented the individual locations across the city. Much like Berlin’s acclaimed film festival the Berlinale, Gallery Weekend elegantly connected artists with their space.
Max Hetzler presented Toby Ziegler’s “Borderline Something,” an exhibition of finished and unfinished sculptures that engaged with the gallery space, forcing viewers to become aware of their own interaction within the room. Paintings rendered by hand or computer surrounded the sculptures to reference more traditional themes, for example a Spanish still life with an abstract twist.
Characteristically playful and humorous, Hans–Peter Feldmann presented “Kunstausstellung” at Johnen Galerie. Feldmann has always been extensive in his use of found objects and imagery and this exhibition was no exception.
A plaster replica of Schadow’s Princess Luise and Friederika had been decorated with bright and palpable colors in the manner of a paint-by-number project, preceding another example of Feldman’s signature style, along with an altered image of a blonde pin-up girl with an abrasive black bar across her eyes. Cultural references recurred throughout, with two 1950’s telephones, connected by a single cord to form one fluid long-distance phone call, being just one example.
Isa Genzken’s installation “Ohne Title” at the Neugerriesmschneider also worked with found materials. Objects taken from everyday life were combined with baby dolls to form tableaus, exploring feelings of both innocence and complete abandon. Although Genzken’s space was small, the intimate setting combined with the nature of the smiling dolls draped across torn beach umbrellas and chairs created an unsettling atmosphere.
The weekend also saw the eminent Sprüth Magers introduce “Drawing Paintings” from George Condo. The multifaceted exhibition presented a selection of paintings, in accompaniment to 5 bronze sculptures situated in the first room, drawing on anything from abstract influences to street art. Condo used acrylics, charcoal and other materials to build layers upon layers of abstracted figures and nudes. Walking a fine line between horror and beauty, Condo systematically builds and destroys pictorial structures.
Yet, famous names at Sprüth Magers and Galerie Max Hetzler didn’t take a way from the presence of lesser know galleries. Nature Morte Berlin presented The Botanica, a two-person exhibit comprised of AA Bronson and Michael Bühler-Rose.
A direct reference to the “botanicas” markets that deal in religious and magical supplies, the show opened up a discourse on the ritual of making art. Via a collection of photographs, living plants, and a voodoo doll the artists examined the occult, looking within themselves for their own creative process.
The Botanica considers Bühler-Rose’s involvement in Vaishnavism and Bronson’s past traversing the punk and activist scene with his artists’ group “General Idea.” An attractive and colorful exhibit, it explores the elements and the creative processes that every artist must go through.