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.
‘Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play’ was the theme of 2017's National Pavilion UAE exhibition at the Venice Biennale. We spoke to the curator, Hammad Nasar and participating artist, Vikram Divecha to find out what being on an international platform means for the development of UAE art and culture.
‘Unknown Cloud Caretaker’, an AI smartphone app, was created by artist duo Lundahl & Seitl to foresee the movements of an unknown electromagnetic cloud. The Cloud is based on the idea of humanity’s ability to communicate in large groups and over great distances. Linked by a shared experience and trust in the other participants, the cloud can only exist if we let ourselves believe in it. From September 20th until October 6th 2017, the cloud passed over both Stockholm and Bangalore, India simultaneously. Berlin Art Link compiled documentation of the Cloud’s appearance on Tempelhofer Feld in Berlin as part of Berliner Festspiele‘s ‘Limits of Knowing’ exhibition.
The ninth edition of Momentum, the Nordic Biennial of Contemporary Art, was held from June 17 to October 11, 2017 in Moss, just outside Oslo, Norway. Since its inception in 1998, the festival has been one of the most exciting platforms for Nordic art and artistic ventures that engage with the Nordic context. The five curators were respectively from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland, but the participating artists were from all over the world. This acknowledgement of global interconnectedness is key to understanding the theme of 2017’s biennial, ‘Alienation’.
“Immersion means, basically, that you forget the medium,” explains Thomas Oberender, Artistic Director of the Berliner Festspiele, in his introduction to the 2017 exhibition ‘Limits of Knowing’ at Martin-Gropius-Bau. The range of works that were on display in ‘Limits of Knowing’, presented as part of the wider ‘Immersion’ program, played with our understanding of the borders of art, opened up spaces to enter and explore, and awakened perception and sensation beyond the purely visual. The artists presented in the exhibition aimed to activate concepts, familiar to our knowledge-based society, through sensations rarely considered as tools of reason: anticipation, premonition or bewilderment. The use of VR, smart textiles, sensors and apps propelled the visitor into the work on another level and create experiences often felt rather than fully understood.