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.
Tracing one minute in every year of filmmaker Jonas Mekas' life, Douglas Gordon's memoir-style film 'I Had Nowhere to Go' begins with a story of the first image Mekas ever made, in his native Lithuania, under the authority of Soviet soldiers. In the second part of Berlin Art Link's studio visit with Gordon, he recounts the process of filming Mekas' life story; the film is based on Mekas' published book of the same name, about his flight from Lithuania through Europe to America. Gordon reflects on the visually bare quality of 'I Had Nowhere to Go', which highlights the importance of the voice in storytelling and the trail of hidden images in Mekas' own work.
Ying Miao is a Chinese net artist whose practice largely takes place on what she refers to as the 'Chinternet'–the heavily censored version of the Internet available in China–as well as her iPhone screen. Miao explores creative possibilities in this reduced sphere of the Chinese web by creating works that reflect critically and playfully on censorship. The absurdist visuals of her collaged website aesthetic, mashing together YouTube videos and commercial advertisements, also heightens the acknowledgment of web privatization and monopolization internationally. Other works deal critically with the placid, neutral design of iPhone apps, rendering them in enlarged versions on canvas or cushions. Whether reflecting on political censorship or laissez-faire capitalism, Miao's work takes the internet as its playground, decontextualizing mass information and launching it into the art world ether. We spoke to Ying Miao at Art Basel Hong Kong, where she presented two pieces at the Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder booth: 'APP-nosis' (2013-14) and 'Tech Abstractionism'(2014).
Belgian artist Rinus van de Velde‘s large-scale charcoal drawing exhibition ‘The Colony’ has dominated the upper altar space of König Galerie since mid-March. During the installation of the show, van de Velde told us about the concept behind his exhibition, which he presents as a fictional, esoteric artists’ colony, creating a narrative atop his interpretations of stylistic tendencies by art historical icons in a visually powerful and lively homage.