Art

Berlin’s Brutalist Cathedral of Contemporary Art: St. Agnes

Aleksandar-Duravcevic-Another-Winter

”Another Winter” – Aleksandar Duravcevic,  Feb/March 2017

Berlin in recent years has become known for the space and freedom it gives emerging artists to create and find their artistic voice. Meanwhile, more and more art galleries make their way into the art market to represent and exhibit their work; one of our favorite ones we always love to visit is König Gallery in Kreuzberg.

König Gallery was founded by Johann König in 2002. His innovative spirit showed from the very beginning, when, at the age of 21 he invited his artist friend Jeppe Hein to install a wrecking ball in the gallery, destroying chunks of its wall as it moved about the space, and among the viewers. His innovative spirit, years later, and the urge to move away from the ‘white cube’, had him acquire an old unused church and turn it into an art space. St. Agnes is a Postwar massive concrete building of Brutalist style, designed by Werner Düttmann and built in the 1960s. A former catholic church, which however was out of service since 2004, found new life in 2015 when König re-opened it as the second location for his gallery, (now serving as the main space) while he also resides with his wife Lena in the church’s former rectory.

Stella by Stella
on July 19th, 2017
in Art, Galleries, Kreuzberg

Surreal Sensuality: The Photography of Maxime Ballesteros

les-absents-10-1000x663

photos: Maxime Ballesteros

Ever since the French photographer Maxime Ballesteros got his first camera when he was a teenager, he hasn’t stopped taking pictures. Carrying a camera always with him, in order to be ready for when he sees something interesting to him, rather than documenting everything, Ballesteros uses photography as a tool to visualize his own subjective view of the world. His first monograph, Les Absents was released this month by Hantje Cantz Publishing, and produced in cooperation with the visionary culture and fashion network Sang Bleu in London, including various texts and poems by the artist himself. It takes us on a strong, emphatically physical, and a bit surreal journey into the artist’s world.

His photographs show a section of the world where day and night, dream and nightmare, the subjective and the objective are of equal importance. He compares his conception of his photography to the way our brain keeps both reality as well as dreams and nightmares in the same space; the same way, the artist’s imagination takes shape and comes into existence through the camera, making it real. He shoots in the moment, following his protagonists to wild parties, private apartments, and the beach at dawn—shimmering and excessive, sharp and always in style.

Stella by Stella
on July 17th, 2017
in Art, Books

Imagine Berlin By The Sea

berlin-am-meer-stadtplan-detail

map: Carlos Borrell

I know, there’s only so much you can ask for from a place right? And considering that already Berlin is giving us SO much, it feels ungrateful to be asking for more. It is sexy, it is affordable, it is tolerant, it is fun. But still, there’s certain things Berliners crave for, these few things missing that would truly make it paradise, and us unable to ever leave it.

Like, for instance, I think, I don’t know if you agree, um, maybe we could use nicer weather? I don’t mean to sound unthankful for all the blessings this city gracefully bestows upon us, but we could do without these forever-winters. Of course once the frost spell is broken it gets to be really beautiful, it’s just not enough of that. Berliners show their fascination with the good weather, right when the first sign of it appears: ready to get naked and run to a lake, wearing smiles we definitely need to see more of.

Stella by Stella
on July 13th, 2017
in Art, Design, Products, Stories

The “No Commission: Berlin” Experience

No Commission Berlin-0948

Last week Berlin saw the second European edition of the No Commission international series of events by music producer Swizz Beatz’ The Dean Collection and BACARDÍ. For three days the mega event took over the Kraftwerk Rummelsburg with a large scale exhibition of over 30 artists from all over the world and big parties with international and local acts such as Major Lazer, Alicia Keys, and Noah Becker’s band Bakery playing live.

I had the chance to go to the opening last Thursday and I have to admit that I was pretty blown away by the size of it. I hadn’t been in the location before, nor could I really picture how the mix of art and music event would really play out. But the set-up looked great. It was so grand, and despite the apocalyptic rain on that day the huge venue was packed.

The exhibition took up the first half of the space with huge black and red walls set up at different angles giving the huge artworks a perfect background to shine. I liked the art that I saw, very expressive and colorful, different genres, different media. A really wild and stimulating mix. In the lower level there was also a smaller exhibition with limited edition prints for art fans with smaller budgets. So far, over 3 Million Dollars have been generated from the sales of the art in all of the other editions that happened since last year, all of which go directly to the artists, without any commission to the organizers or agents. I sure hope the Berlin edition has also added a bit to that proud sum.

Frank by Frank
on July 7th, 2017
in Art, Party

Vietnamese Lifestyle in Berlin: Projects & People

AA7

Vietnamese people is Berlin’s largest East Asian community, comprising 1.16% of the total population. German or international friends usually immediately associate Vietnamese people with restaurants, nail salons, flower shops or convenience stores since the majority of those people operate in these businesses. However, the younger generations of Vietnamese in Berlin are actually a lively generation blended well into the German culture and the Berlin hippie lifestyle. They are also a very creative and artful cohort and the faces behind lots of successful businesses and entertaining activities in this cosmopolitan city. A look into the most outstanding and interesting projects by the Vietnamese youth in Berlin!

by Guest Author
on July 3rd, 2017
in Art, Events, Party, People

About Finding Your Identity in Berlin

Chunks of Soul

photos: Dario-Jacopo Laganà.

Despite Berlin’s ever changing face throughout history, the city has always been a destination for people searching for a place where they can truly be themselves and find their own identity. In times when the way we create and perceive our own image is so affected by everyone’s perfectly polished presence on digital platforms, anyone situating him or herself outside the norm might experience this search even more as a burden. This is why open, liberal places like Berlin help us all the more to find out who we really are and how we want the world to see us.

Andy by Andy
on June 30th, 2017
in Art, People, Stories

Imagine Kotti as a Vivid Holiday Paradise

kotti1

illustrations: Bruno Pinto da Cruz

In our ceaseless hunt for cool Berlin art, we stumbled upon a project we loved and thought we’d share with you:  Berlin-based digital illustrator Bruno Pinto da Cruz’s ISOMATIC. ISOMATIC is a sequence of architectural drawings, transformed by Bruno into illustrations, unveiling the scenery in different colors and shapes. Among other projects, our eye was caught by his awesome Kotti illustration, the beginning of a series that is going to focus on Berlin’s iconic neighborhoods. Kotti, through Bruno’s eyes, becomes playful and flooded with color; a little Sailor Moon-y looking, which made me love it extra much. Of course, it’s not the first time Kotti becomes an artist’s muse: In the past, among others, Kotti has served as an inspiration to illustrator Nicola Napoli, in his creation of various illustration series, as well as a toy carpet by Muschi Kreuzberg.

Stella by Stella
on June 28th, 2017
in Art, Design

No Commission at Kraftwerk Rummelsburg Berlin

No Commission Impressions 6

Imagine an art fair or an exhibition where all the proceeds of the sales go directly to the artists themselves without any commission for a gallery or agent. What sounds a bit like a utopia for artists is the reality of the international event series No Commission (linked to website) that will come to Europe for the second time during their world tour to make a stop at the Kraftwerk Rummelsburg in Berlin. And we have reason to be excited about this as the opening event on June 29 is going to be quite spectacular with Major Laser playing live and tickets available for free!

But who is behind No Commission? The initiative was founded 18 months ago by Bacardi and music producer Kasseem Dean, a.k.a. Swizz Beatz, as a platform to support upcoming and young artists. In this short amount of time they could generate sales for the artists of over 3 Million Dollars during various exhibitions all over the world. That’s quite the amount – and apparently that’s only the beginning. With each edition a new set of artists will be introduced into the No Commission family creating an ever-growing network of creative minds and incredible talents.

The support of upcoming artists has been on Dean’s agenda for a long time now which is why he started The Dean Collection in 2014 which is not just a private collection but a platform to discover and experience amazing art.

Frank by Frank
on June 27th, 2017
in Art, Events

Swipe Right or Left – Body Insecurities and Tinder in Berlin

eylul_aslan_04

Have you ever been in the situation where somebody told you they really liked your nose, or your neck or your hair and you thought: “WHAT? It’s the part I actually dislike most about my body.”

We have a certain perception of ourselves and our appearance. Influenced by our biography, our family and friends and also by the city we lived in. For example, I did not like my skin color until the day I moved to Berlin. While growing up in a city in the east of Germany, my skin tone was always standing out in a crowd. And most of the time not in a positive way. In Berlin on the other hand, strangers, friends, and lovers did not seem to mind my color. Not at all.

This perception of ourselves influences of course also the choice we make in the photography that should represent us. Especially in online dating, pics are the crucial part of storytelling. And even if you don’t want to upload pictures of yourself that look completely fake, you also want to show the best part(s) of you. Making the choice of the perfect picture always a bit tricky.

Friend and Berlin-based Turkish photographer Eylül Aslan was fascinated by how our picture selection for our online profiles is influenced by our self-image. For her book Trompe L’oeil she met over 40 men through Tinder and asked them what part of their body they liked and what they disliked most. After that, they had to ask her the same questions regarding her own body. The result of this social experiment is a book colored in all kinds of flesh and skin and full of physical intimacy between strangers.

Claudio by Claudio
on June 27th, 2017
in Art, Books, Photos

A Dark World of Dance – Kreatur by Sasha Waltz

A Dark World of Dance – Kreatur by Sasha Waltz

What if the ugly side of our society could be born into this world in flesh and bone? Fear, envy, and aggressiveness become living creatures that torture, kill and feed on all of us? This nightmarish vision is what you can expect from the new avant-garde dance piece Kreatur by acclaimed choreographer Sasha Waltz at Radialsystem.

The Berlin-based choreographer hasn’t show any new dance piece in Berlin for 12 years now and her comeback is highly anticipated but also critically observed. The reason: her future role as director of the Staatsballett Berlin which caused quite some controversy in the last year.

With Kreatur she definitely showed her critics what she is capable of. Showing transgression, darkness, pain without being obvious or superficial. Especially with the amazing costumes by iconic Dutch avant-garde designer Iris van Herpen Sasha Waltz evokes a turmoil of demons and sinners lost in a world of sterility and artificial light.

Claudio by Claudio
on June 14th, 2017
in Art, Theater