The title of this year’s art berlin contemporary, “Proximities and Desires’, speaks of impulse and compulsion. On the whole, the exhibition involves making sense of intuitive attractions.
The title of this year’s art berlin contemporary, “Proximities and Desires’, speaks of impulse and compulsion. On the whole, the exhibition involves making sense of intuitive attractions. Walking in, however, one is firstly faced with a sense of impeded movement: Gerard Rohling’s square-wheeled bicycles. Effortlessly static, the bicycles have an immediate affect, forcing you to ‘stop in your tracks’. As one, eventually, moves forward, it is evident that the layout of the exhibition - no edges, only corners - leads to a blending of artwork’s that spill over onto each other. There is no such thing as a set route - the exhibition is a pattern that unfolds in many ways.
The glass ceilings and their in-pouring of light only serve emphasise the vibrancy of some pieces - such as the colours of Federico Herrero’s canvases. He plays with the tonality of blues and greens, yellows and pinks - counteracting each colour’s potency and lightness. It is the same type of lightness that is felt in the adjacent section with the work of Jorinde Voigt. Represented by König Gallery, Voigt’s work is a detailed study on the subject of flight. The shapes represented in each piece are abstract, yet there is a fluidity and a careful balance in, and between, each shape. The allusion to flight is directly made by Voigt’s chosen materials: feathers, resplendent in either in black or gold. Between the feathery forms, Voigt has traced linear connections in pencil and red pen, indicating studied trajectories. Yngve Holen’s interview with an anonymous pilot, projected right alongside, takes you higher into the clouds, and then brings you right back down with the easiness of the pilot’s answers. He is, after all, accustomed to flight.
There’s an implicit sense of distortion in the second exhibition space - a distortion of fantasies and realities. Perhaps the work that best encapsulates this notion is Constant Dullaart’s lenticular prints, repeating and deforming from every angle the image of ‘Jennifer in Paradise’ - known also as the first photograph to ever be photoshopped. The constant metamorphosis of this, now iconic, image into a series of unrecognisable forms injects a sense of dismay to the romanticism of the idyllic beach scene. The perturbation continues as one comes to face Peter Buggenhout’s masses of rot and decay. It is uncertain whether their glass cases are meant to provide a space in which we can continue to witness their continued deterioration, or whether their encasings are meant to protect them from further spoils.
Adjacent, Agustina Woodgate’s cosmic field strikingly contrasts the work of Buggenhout. Whilst the latter’s work restricts any approximation (though there is hardly any impulse to touch his pieces), Woodgate’s work is out in the open, with nothing to prevent one from submitting to the tactile beckoning of her galactic tapestry. A collection of spheres on the foreground appears as though all heavenly bodies have fallen back down to earth, finally within reach.
As Woodgate approximates us to the stars above, Julieta Aguinaco is busy testing our own earthly realities. Her work, ‘The Limits of my World’, explores the connection and disconnection between knowledge and experience, theory and practice. Aguinaco’s work demands a bit more patience, as it takes the form of an act in three parts, which requires some time to read through to appreciate. Yet, it is worth it if only to face the type of questions that take into consideration the meaning of our own selves as individuals and the world that we each choose to live, and participate, in.
art berlin contemporary continues until Sunday the 20th. With the participation of over one hundred galleries from seventeen different countries, the 8th edition of abc makes the most of it’s location - a former 19th century railway station - to gracefully present works from established artists and newcomers alike.
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