For Hulda Rós Gudnadóttir the world is a community of people, including their surroundings and movements through time and space. Born in Reykjavik and based in Berlin, Gudnadóttir's work 'Keep Frozen: The Documentary’ chronciles the lives of men who, in the span of 48 hours, unload 20,000 25-kilo crates of fish in Reykjavik’s harbor at minus 35 degrees Celsius. The documentary is a continuation of her film ‘Keep Frozen’ (2010–2016), which explored ports along the Atlantic coast from her hometown to Essaouria, Morocco and Red Hook, Brooklyn. We visited the artist in her studio to speak about the creation of ‘Keep Frozen: The Documentary’ and her practice at large.
Presented as part of the Berliner Festspiele’s Immersion program, visitors were truly submerged within Parreno’s world: blinds automatically opened and closed; fish balloons floated up and down; Berlin radio stations were audible, then silenced; subtle vibrations created water lily patterns in a pool of water; a bioreactor fed a yeast colony, the microorganisms of which recorded the exhibition’s functioning. One could sense that everything is connected, but, as is often the case with Parreno’s work, it is unclear exactly who or what is in control. In the video, watch as the artist explains the exhibition’s inner functions.
The Dhaka Art Summit (DAS) is an international, non-commercial research and exhibition platform for art and architecture related to South Asia. The Dhaka Art Summit is a monumental biennial survey of South Asian Contemporary Art. With a core focus on Bangladesh, DAS re-examines how we think about these forms of art in both a regional and an international context. Founded in 2012 by the Samdani Art Foundation – who continue to produce the festival – in collaboration with the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, People’s Republic of Bangladesh, DAS is hosted every two years at the Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
The weekend-long conference and exhibition event ‘Into Worlds. The Craft of Blurring Boundaries’ part of the ‘Immersion’ program hosted by the Berliner Festspiele at Martin-Gropius-Bau. The exhibition and conference aimed to engage attendees in a wide range of artificial and created worlds that provided an immersive experience.
Swiss-artist Olaf Breuning spent 16 years developing his practice in New York City before moving Upstate to find a measure of solitude in his work environment. Functioning as both an archive of past work and a place for new creative explorations, the former two-car garage that houses Breuning's studio provides a haven for contemplation. Berlin Art Link Productions visited his Upstate New York studio and home to discuss his working process in a moment of career transition and to talk about the works of photography, drawing, sculpture, and film that connect in a distinct visual language over the span of his career and how he sees his artistic process evolving over the last decades.
As the first solo exhibition by British-born, Delhi-based artist Bharti Kher in Germany, the show at Salon Berlin comprised a series of recent works dealing with the continuous interplay between creation and destruction, chaos and order. Kher uses Bindis as an artistic means to cover the surfaces of sculptures and readymades in a second skin, or to construct abstract patterns out of the countless dots. The central theme of the exhibition was a series of sculptures that expose the continual interplay of opposing forces and their balance. MONA productions spoke to the artist Bharti Kher and curator Patricia Kamp about this fragile equilibrium throughout the exhibition, where diametric forces continually seek harmony.
Swedish, Berlin-based artists Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg presented sculptures and animated films with hypnotic soundtracks at the Salon Berlin, shown in dialogue with selections of work from the late Abstract Expressionist Willem de Kooning. Employing psychology as a means to understand oneself and one’s surroundings, the artists create fantastical stop-motion and sculpture works that speak to the transformation-deformation impetus of de Kooning’s drawings. Djurberg & Berg’s “dreadful” women – seductresses, demons, witches, and overweening mothers – are reminiscent of de Kooning’s famous “Woman” cycle from the early 1950s. BAL Productions spoke to Djurberg, Berg and curator Patricia Kamp about the intricacies of putting these contemporary works and themes alongside those from an earlier generation.
British, Berlin-based artist Ed Atkins’ HD videos and text-based works create worlds simultaneously hyper-real and undeniably artificial. His 2017–2018 exhibition ‘Old Food’ at Martin-Gropius-Bau was no exception: the video works presented in the show are without concrete narrative but evoke a melancholic emotional landscape built around purposefully generic characters and settings. The exhibition, which appeared as part of Berliner Festspiele’s ‘Immersion’ program, was populated by a collection of costumes borrowed from the Deutsche Oper, and featured reflexive information panels by Contemporary Art Writing Daily and a musical score by Jürg Frey. Berlin Art Link visited Ed Atkins’ studio to talk about his working process and how he culls through a mass of ideas to reach his final, holistic exhibition.
Pakistani artist Waqas Khan’s minimalist drawings resemble webs and celestial expanses. Inspired by patterns of biological organic growth and also by the lives and literature of Sufi poets, his work is a meditation on life, togetherness, and the universe. His contemplation is made visible in ink on paper and his work invites our contemplation. Using small dashes and minuscule dots, his large-scale, monochromatic works are composed of either red, blue, white or black ink. In a carefully created installation, the visitor is led around the space from small-scale drawings, to a large scale floor based work, to new drawings made especially for Manchester. BAL productions interviewed Waqas Khan during the opening of his groundbreaking exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery, the artist's first solo museum presentation.
German performance artist and choreographer Anne Imhof has been hailed over the last few years for her nightmarish durational performances, from ‘Angst’ at Hamburger Bahnhof to her piece ‘Faust,’ which was shown at the Venice Biennale. ‘Angst’ came as the result of Imhof’s 2015 Preis der Nationalgalerie win, while ‘Faust’ garnered the artist the Venice Biennale’s most lauded achievement, the Golden Lion award.