Künstlerhaus Bethanien: Latest showcase of talent

The Künstlerhaus Bethanien is a production and exhibition centre that has been dedicated to the advancement of contemporary art and artists for the past more than 35 years from the Berlin district of Kreuzberg. The artists’ house has recently relocated from the historic Bethanien hospital complex on Mariannenplatz to Kottbusser Strasse in the so-called Kreuzkölln area. With the move, the cultural think tank became one of the largest establishments among international residency programs for its International Studio Programme, which now accommodates 25 artists’ studios.

Guillaume Lachapelle, "Entre-temps", photograph by Amee LêGuillaume Lachapelle, “Entre-Temps”, Installation view, photograph by Amee Lê

In bringing international artists from various backgrounds and countries together, the Künstlerhaus Bethanien continues to encourage an ongoing dialogue between contemporary art and the public with its first-rate exhibitions. The latest showcase of artists in the International Studio Programme put on view the critical narrative structures of Swedish artist Kajsa Dahlberg, the engrossing “soundscapes” by French artist Julien Grossmann, the enchanting miniature models of Canadian artist Guillaume Lachapelle, and the visually stunning drawings and filigree objects of German artist Judith Schwinn.

When Dahlberg‘s book project Ein Zimmer für sich / Ein eigenes Zimmer / Ein Zimmer für sich allein / Vierhundertdreiunddreißig Bibliotheken was presented at the based in Berlin exhibition 2011, copies of the artist’s edition of the book were given away to grateful viewers. In the same tradition, the visitors of Künstlerhaus Bethanien could take home the little booklets of her new work In Godot’s Waiting Room (I Godots väntrum), a collaboration with Swedish dramatist Gritt Uldall-Jessen.

Julien Grossmann, "Vibrating Revivals- Alpine Swiss", Installation view, courtesy of Künstlerhaus Bethanien Julien Grossmann, “Vibrating Revivals-Alpine Swiss” Installation view, courtesy of Künstlerhaus Bethanien

The works of Grossmann and Schwinn were impressive on their own but also seemed to complement each other in their shared exploration of the intersection between music and fine art. Grossmann not only gave a physical presence to auditory perceptions but also played with the notion of authenticity. In his installation Alpine Pride, the tape-recorders used to relay Grossmann’s composition for a Swiss alpine horn are too of “made in Switzerland”. The dancing gestures in Schwinn’s drawings on paper and figures made of flower petals, on the other hand, invited close scrutiny if one were to appreciate the artworks’ delicate musicality.

Judith Schwinn, "Planet Earth Rebirth", Installation vew, photograph by Amee LêJudith Schwinn, “Planet Earth Rebirth” Installation view, photograph by Amee Lê

Judith Schwinn, "Planet Earth Rebirth", Installation views, photographs by Amee LêJudith Schwinn, “Planet Earth Rebirth” Installation view, photograph by Amee Lê

Last, but not by any means least, the works of Lachapelle, imbued with the surrealist aesthetic, had the audience in their firm grip as they all wound towards a mysterious darkness.

Although the exhibitions ended on August 21, one can quite look forward to the next opening at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien during the Berlin Art Week on September 8. The next set of guest artists at the house will be Jessica Buhlmann, Franziska Goes, “Matthias” BAADER Holst, Daniel Palacios, Isabel Simöes, and Mark Soo.

Guillaume Lachapelle, "Entre-temps", courtesy of Künstlerhaus BethanienGuillaume Lachapelle, “Entre-temps”, courtesy of Künstlerhaus Bethanien

Additional Information

Künstlerhaus Bethanien
Kottbusserstr 10 (click here for map)

Blog entry and photographs by Amee Lê in Berlin; Wednesday, August 24, 2011.

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