The GlogauAIR artist-in-residence program emphasizes, within their core focus, how important it is for the artists to become recognized in the international art scene and market during their career. Located within a modernist style building on Glogauer Straße, between Görlitzer Park and the canal in Kreuzberg, GlogauAIR invites international artists from all disciplines to expand their practice in Berlin whilst engaging in discourse, workshops, and critiques. The current exhibition But I Can If You Like presents work by the most recent artists-in-residence on the ground floor of the project space.
One of the most impressive series of works was the multiple paper and wood Still Life sculptures by American artist Michelle Matson. Her intricately constructed paper female forms and ornate paper plants are positioned alongside imperfect and handmade wooden, branded hockey sticks. Matson uses colored pencil to add illustrative details to the leaves and petals of the plants, which contrast her gauchely painted hockey sticks. Model bananas and paper banana peels are placed upon the sculptures by the artist, signifying links of fetishized consumer culture and its absurdity in her work.
As you enter the space, a completely black version of the European Union flag hangs within the corridor and a recording of the artist Nicola Ruben Montini singing the German national anthem fills the room. His heavy Italian accent tells us that Montini is a visitor to Germany. As the viewer continues through the project space, Montini’s artist catalogue embroidered with golden tassel strings lies on a small shelf, the long tassels hanging off the side. Montini is a performance artist whose site-specific work, produced through this artist residency, explores perceptions influencing nationalistic themes, such as unity and freedom, and the global meaning of nationalism.
Libby Ireland coordinates subtle interventions of architectural space, “breaking the habits people have within architectural spaces to alter the way they move about or look at the space.” Ireland’s diametrically minor intervention compared to other works is in the form of a simple action: she inserts an exterior page written by herself into a novel by T.C. Boyle. The book will be put back into circulation after the exhibition. The closed book, along with the two pages Ireland has intervened in, is on view for visitors. This action manifests process-based practices, while Ireland initiates the situation and disrupts the regular circulation and story of the best-selling author.
What is interesting about this exhibition is the similarities within the work of the artists after finishing their residency at GlogauAIR. Taiwanese artist Pei Yin Chen made a very elegant paper sculpture titled “Drift” (2013) with a much more minimal aesthetic than Matson’s work. Chen’s works in the exhibition were outcomes of documentation of fragmented urbanity, similar to the concepts that South Korean painters Hyeja Kim and Hye Kyoung Kwon exhibited. These links between the works reveal the significance of the artist-in-residence platform for mutually inspiring artistic practices.
Blog entry by Jazmina Figueroa in Berlin; Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013.