This past Friday, I attended the opening for New York based artist Jonathan Schipper at Dittrich & Schlechtriem located in the Mitte section of Berlin.
Approaching the gallery, viewers spilled from the interior onto the sidewalk, beer in hand. The crowd was quite fashionable and along with the artwork, aesthetically pleasing to look at. Being that Berlin is a hub for expats, I had a feeling there were other New Yorkers present and sure enough, Exhibition Manager & Artist Liaison Jordan Nassar is also from New York.
The exhibit is titled Slow Room and is the first solo for the artist in Germany. On display in the main gallery is Sexy Shameful Nude Naked Statue Sculpture (picture on the left), 2011. The piece was familiar to me upon entering the space and realized I have seen Jonathan Schipper’s work before. The installation is mechanized and breathes. With each breath, which in actuality is a turn of a motor, tension builds and ceramic figurines break. Hanging suspended in space and initially whole, they start to emulate contemporary versions of Greco/Roman sculpture worn, weathered and a bit battered. The floor below the installation was smattered with small ceramic shards and the gyration of the objects also dictates how viewers walk in and around the gallery.
A second space houses Slow Room, 2011 the namesake of the exhibit and contains various interior objects, organized as un salotto or literally: living room. From the street and even inside the gallery, one can only peer into the space yet not interact with the arranged objects however inviting they initially appear. In the back left corner, is a hole. From this entryway string extends into the room and touches almost everything in its path. Slowly and precisely throughout the duration of the exhibit the tension created by the string will pull the objects towards the hole. In an impossibility of sorts one can only imagine that in an ideal or dream-like reality all of the furniture would shrink and fit nicely into the hole morphing and delving into another realm. It will subtly move, probably fall, and although organized through a mechanized process, disorder will be reliant on chance. In a momento mori of sorts we are reminded that with time, everything changes.
If in Berlin be sure to pass by the gallery, which even though is on Summer break the work can be seen through the large front windows in its ever changing process and deconstruction of form.
Slow Room – JONATHAN SCHIPPER
Exhibition: Aug. 6 – 27, 2011
Tucholskystraße 38 (click here for map)
Blog entry by Katy Diamond Hamer in Berlin; Wednesday, August 10, 2011.
Katy Diamond Hamer is an art blogger and artist based in Brooklyn, New York and currently in Berlin to document the contemporary art scene. Stay tuned for more posts on Berlin Art Link coming soon!