As soon as we enter the current exhibtion of the me Collectors Room, we immediately find ourselves inside of a picturesque comfort zone. Sofas and seats made of pallets and cushions as well as floor lamps adorn the exhibition space. Between the furniture, piles of catalogues have been draped on Persian rugs. Even catering seems to be provided since retro telephones to order drinks can be found on every sofa table. Art collector Thomas Olbricht creates a domestic atmosphere of a living room, which invites visitors to linger, to inform themselves about art history and to take a break surrounded by art works.
As soon as we enter the current exhibtion of the me Collectors Room, we immediately find ourselves inside of a picturesque comfort zone. Sofas and seats made of pallets and cushions as well as floor lamps adorn the exhibition space. Between the furniture, piles of catalogues have been draped on Persian rugs. Even catering seems to be provided since retro telephones to order drinks can be found on every sofa table. Art collector Thomas Olbricht creates a domestic atmosphere of a living room, which invites visitors to linger, to inform themselves about art history and to take a break surrounded by art works. With his new exhibition „My Abstract World“, Olbricht not only presents established artistic positions, but rather gives an insight into 300 abstract works of his collection as well.
Moved by his enthusiasm for intense color and expressive gestures, Thomas Olbricht has spent the last 30 years collecting abstract art in a wide variety of styles. By installing new seating arrangements and reading material, the exhibition space is transformed into a multisensory experience. Throughout the exhibition space people can be seen wearing headphones, either standing in front of the art works or relaxing on the sofas while looking at various catalogues. Soon the visitor realises, it is not a coincidence that many people are listening to music. A soundtrack which was put together by music and art publicist Max Dax provides a background for various art works. Dax interviewed particular artists on the music they were listening to while working on their works as well as associated different songs with certain pieces of art himself.
Robert Longo, for example claimed: „I’m able to reconstruct the music I was listening to while painting for every work. His"Study of Autumn Rhythm: Number 30, 1951 (After Pollock)“ from 2015, a small-sized black-and-white painting, based on the popular painting by Pollock, was made while he was listening to the song "Mladic" by Canadian post-rock-collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
Ali Banisadr, Foreign Lands, 2015. Courtesy: Ali Banisadr, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris Salzburg. Photography: Charles Duprat.
Framed by Dax’s soundtrack, the presented art works however very much differ in terms of content. Ali Banisadr (*1976 Teheran, Iran) as well as Ahmed Alsoudani (*1925 Bagdad, Irak) translate memories of their home as well as war and trauma from their early childhood into structures of intense color on the border to figuration. While Federico Herrero (191978 San Jose, Costa Rica) is turning urban and rural experiences into geometrical forms, Sarah Morris creates her very own interpretation of Los Angeles in her architectural abstract painting. Moreover we find Sterling Ruby (*1972 Bitburg Air Base, Germany) who himself comes from the street art scene and criticizes exclusion and inequality in America. Above all, Marcin Maciejowskis reminds us of the very beginning of abstract art with his interpretation of the significant exhibition from 1915 in St.Petersburg. Maciejowskis takes the lead for further works which deal with the black square. If it is Polke who applies black squares on collar cloth or Gerhard Richter who is represented by his work „Two Greys, One upon the Other“.
However, Olbricht does not necessarily explore new avenues with his choice of artists for this show. Great and already established artists such as Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Katharina Grosse or Robert Jahnitz meet Ali Banisadr or Henning Strassburger. What is indeed innovative, is the new way of experiencing art in this exhibition. The average visitor spends eleven seconds looking at a painting in a museum. Olbricht succeeds in solving this issue since he provides a comfort zone for every visitor, inviting him to stay and enjoy the art. „My Abstract World“ is characterized by creative chaos which appeals to all senses. Unconventionally and innovatively, Olbricht convinces with his cultural leisure park.
Curated by Thomas Olbricht, form and color enter into a fruitful dialogue and respond to each other on formal levels as well as in terms of content. Wether it is traumatic experiences which are reappraised in large-format paintings or high-carate works by established artists such as Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke, Katharina Grosse or Bernard Frieze: Collector and Curator Thomas Olbricht persuades with „His abstract world“. His innovative and ingenious approach succeeds in making uslinger and enjoy the art.
My Abstract World, Installation view, 2016. Courtesy: me Collectors Room Berlin. Photography: Bernd Borchardt.
When: „My Abstract World“ can still be seen until April 2nd 2017.
Where: me Collectors Room / Olbricht Foundation, Auguststraße 68, 10117 Berlin, Germany.
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