photo: Roman März.
How can you manifest sound in space? The two Austrian born and Berlin-based sound artists Sam Auinger and Hannes Strobl found an answer in their new soundscape inside the Halle am Berghain that just opened this week for visitors.
Halle am Berghain is a majestic piece of industrial architecture right next to the club-space that has been shut down now for over 4 months. Fortunately, exhibitions are allowed to open since a couple of weeks – and so I warmly recommend to go visit the work called “eleven songs – halle am berghain”.
Installation view Lee Mingwei: 禮 Li, Gifts and Rituals, Gropius Bau, Berlin, 2020, photo: Laura Fiorio.
The lockdown hit the cultural scene very hard. I am working in the art scene, so it made me particularly sad about not being able to visit exhibitions and museums. On the one hand, I’m amazed at how diverse the program is online: how close you can suddenly get to artists, museums, and galleries. Everything has become very personal and we can take a look behind the scenes. On the other hand, experiencing art on-site – the closeness to the work of art, the dimensions clearly in front of me – cannot be replaced.
All the happier I was finally being able to visit an exhibition: The first thing I chose was Martin-Gropius-Bau and Lee Mingwei’s exhibition: 禮 Li, gifts, and rituals (until July 12, 2020). Lee Mingwei is a Taiwanese-American, contemporary artist who dedicates himself to the rituals of giving and receiving gifts.
When I saw the oversized artworks of Katharina Grosse for the first time back in 2014 at the St. Agnes church a.k.a. König Gallery I was so impressed that she instantly became my favorite Berlin artist. The intricate layering of colors was so spectacular, that you were just standing in awe in front of the large canvases.
With her new solo exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof, that just re-opened after the lockdown this past weekend, she is going a size up and a step further. When you enter the main hall of the building you see a 3dimensional explosion of colors. It’s almost like a 3D animated glitch of reality. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.
photos: Red Rubber Road.
Today we want to share a photo series with you, that is a bit of the opposite of our Finally Together Again series from yesterday that celebrated a physical togetherness and how meaningful it can be in these trying times. What was possible for our team where all members live in Berlin, is not the same for those collaborators, friends, families, lovers that don’t live in the same country during the pandemic. The artist duo AnaHell and Nathalie Dreier where one of those that were separated by the quarantine measures of different countries. We published their Quarantine series at the beginning of the lockdown and it really hit a nerve. That series was actually produced way before in another context, but it perfectly captured the bizarre atmosphere of the early stages of the pandemic measures.
Now that the quarantine rules seem to be easing down and more and more people start to brave the outdoors, we’re all turning our attention to the surrounding environment that some of us tried to avoid for many days. The art project Claude is making this experience more inspiring by placing artworks in the urban space for all of us to discover.
The project Claude is devoted to creating unconventional encounters between art and audiences. Rather than rescheduling their program of events due to the pandemic, the creators behind the project decided to tackle the challenge in a creative way and did not fail to bring the art ”closer to the people”.
photos: Aja Jacques.
While the pandemic and the lockdown have been pretty devastating for artists and creative professionals economically, they certainly have not been lacking in being an inspiration. In the last weeks, we received quite wonderful submissions from photographers and artists all dealing with the different aspects of the pandemic and how they influence our life, among them the Stay At Home series, the corona comics, and a curious techno song. The latest project we want to introduce you to today is dealing specifically with one of the measures to contain the spread of the virus: social distancing.
Aja Jacques is one of the artists from our Uncensored Berlin exhibition that we hosted back in 2018 and that dealt with censorship of artists through social media platforms. Aja was not only one of our muses acting as a model for several of our photographers, but she also exhibited her own photos. Her new project “At A Distance” is a series of analog nude self-portraits she took with several fellow Berliners in prominent public places – at a safe distance of two meters. We talked with her about the series and about how the quarantine has been for her so far.
photos: Lilika Strezoska.
History has proven to us time and time again that necessity truly is the mother of invention. In 2020 this saying strikes again, as these spectacularly unusual times have driven people to find solutions for the limitations that the wake of the pandemic has brought upon our daily lives. As the routines of our private and work life have been rethought, we want to shed light on ways especially creative people have found, to still exercise their craft. The no contact rule has sparked ideas, that allow our creative Berliners to pursue their passions even in times of crisis.
One fantastic example is Lilika Strezoska. The talented photographer has moved to Berlin one and a half years ago to study Communication Design at the University of Applied Sciences – way before the pandemic changed our lives. Given that we are all to stay home and facetime, rather than meet in person, she came up with a simple solution to still take pictures of what she loves most in photography: people.
photo: SCANROULETTE @herpeslabial_
The lockdown has really put a damper on the sexual expression of Berliners in a major way. Unless you are lucky to live with your partner or with a flatmate with benefits your sex life most likely had to take a back seat in the last weeks. No Tinder or Grindr dates, no hooking up in bars, no kinky adventures in Berlin’s nightclubs. You really have to get creative to get your sexual kicks these days.
Our friends from Pornceptual were struck really badly by the pandemic. Their parties are on hold until further notice, and the WHOLE festival which they co-organize has been canceled for this year. But like many creative people in the city the quarantine has also created new ideas and opportunities for them to make the best of the situation. One of those ideas that recently saw the light of day is their new platform Isolation Porn which is an extension to their Pornceptual blog dedicated to artworks and creations that have been produced in response to the lockdown.
photo: Nika Kramer.
Last Autumn, the incredible Urban Nation museum for contemporary urban and street art has given us one of the most memorable exhibitions with their own Biennale. Using the empty space underneath the subway train viaduct right in front of their main building they installed a walk-through immersive installation featuring countless urban artists from around the world. The main museum building was a sight not to be missed as well, as huge tentacles were sticking out of the windows as if the museum had been invaded by a giant octopus.
It’s incredibly sad what is currently taking over the building: nothing. Because of the pandemic, it had to close much like any other big gallery, museum and cultural space until an unknown point in the future. The current exhibition is excellent and features works from iconic artists such as D*FACE, Nychos, Martin Whatson, Shepard Fairey, Swoon, Vhils, and THE LONDON POLICE. If you haven’t seen it yet, now there is a new way to experience the museum. Following the lead of several other art spaces, Urban Nation has now released a virtual tour, and it’s actually a guided one with hosted by art dealer Markus Georg.
We’ve already showcased some of Guen Douglas’s tattoo designs in a blog post last year. But recently, this prolific Berlin-based artist has gone public with another form of creative expression: an Instagram account filled with unique comics. Guen Douglas told us more about her affinity for Gary Larson, the intersections of tattoo and comic designs, and what it feels like to make art in times of a global pandemic.
The Instagram account tolarsonwithlove doesn’t have many entries yet, but each of them presents an extremely imaginative take on a particular aspect of reality. Whether it’s a blissful illustration of an intimate self-care moment, or a visual satire referencing present crisis, the comics by Guen Douglas grab one’s attention with their narrative and, not unlike her tattoo designs, invite one to admire the details.