Okay, I need to use this first sentence to make clear that the headline of this post was made for baiting-reasons only. This is not the best-of of abc – art berlin contemporary, the big art-fair-cum-exhibition that opens today at Gleisdreieck. This article is, in fact, showing you my personal favs, the pieces that stood out to me in an early viewing yesterday during setup. Which sadly means video works are (wrongfully) not included here, since the many screens I saw were still black. Please read this one as a teaser instead, a glimpse that shall inspire you to visit this big, most important show of contemporary art!
What struck me first was the new exhibition architecture, this year realized by architecture studio June 14, which is a lot brighter, lighter and more open than the years before. Daylight is flooding the halls through the skylights, and light, white crosses construct 100sqm rooms, some almost enclosed by walls creating the classic white cube, most more or less open with the white structures acting as pillars. The new style is supposed to create a more balanced response to the rather busy industrial architecture of the former depot. And it works, the exhibition feels a lot more accessible and also manageable, maybe also due to the fact that despite higher application numbers, the number of galleries has been reduced. Instead of 120 as in 2014, 105 international and local galleries have been chosen to present one artist with one work. So while indeed abc is also working as a fair, with many collectors coming to Berlin to buy pieces, it is much more an exhibition, devoid of hidden negotiation rooms or booths jammed with easy-sellers. Which makes it a lot more interesting to the common visitor like me. And probably you, since abc always serves as a rich overview of the current art production. But without further ado, here are my personal highlights.
Just some infos, before we start. The opening of abc is today from 16:00–21:00, tickets are available for 20 Euro. From Friday to Sunday the halls are open from 12:00–19:00, with tickets available for 12 Euro.
In case you don’t want to conquer the masses of art on your own, I can highly recommend booking a tour with niche for only 5 Euro, happening Friday till Sunday at 13:00, 15:00 and 17:00.
Sies + Höke: Federico Herrero
Pictured on top and here are the works of Federico Herrero from Costa Rica, (and probably himself still painting one of his brightly colored canvases). His abstract paintings reference the North American tradition of colour-field painting, as well as the intense and bright colors of Latin American artists and have an intense mood-lifting quality, which is very recommended. More here.
Capitain Petzel: Robert Heinecken
Heinecken (1931–2006) used images from the mass media and re-arranged them into new meanings and configurations, describing himself as a “para-photographer”. On display are his Lessons in Posing Subjects combines advertising pictures of similar poses with interpretive, probably non-serious texts. More here.
neugerriemschneider: Simon Starling
Starlings piece greets you as one of the first works just after the entrance and combines the artist’s fascination for submarines and plants.
Blaine/Southern: Marius Bercea
The Romanian artist is presented with many small-scale paintings, all in vibrant colors and with fast-paced brush strokes. They show a pastiche of iconic motifs recognisable from both Romanian and American cultures, from Cluj all the way to Los Angeles.
Future Gallery: Constant Dullaart
Dullarts work plays with the first photography that was ever photoshopped. The media-reflexive piece deals with a rather random vacation pic of the wife of one of Adobe’s head developers.
Sprüth Magers: Ryan Trecartin & Lizzie Fitch
Sprüth Magers secured a big space for their presentation of Trecartin’s and Fitch’s uncanny works that range between improvisation, provocation and camp. More here.
Galerie Neu: Karl Holmqvist & Yngve Holen
Neu is showing these artists in two different booths, but both are quite meta and working with words, or what is left of them. Holven’s interview with an anonymous pilot is interesting to read, while Holmqvist tells short-stories in their very own, very short way.
König Galerie: Jorinde Voigt
Another full room goes to a presentation of the beautiful drawing and paintings of Voigt, while another superstar of König, Alicja Kwade, is presented in a smaller space just around the corner. Don’t miss Kwade’s solo-exhibition at Haus am Waldsee, opening tomorrow night! More here.
Plus: Once again, Bite Club is managing the catering, which gives you delicacies of Son Kitchen, Chutnify, Neta, Bunsmobile, Jones Ice Cream, The Future Breakfast, Mogg, Tausendsuend, Maria Maria Arepas and Spice Spice Baby!