7 Contemporary Art Shows To Not Miss In Berlin | February 2024 - Week 3

February 16, 2024
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SISSY MARINO
Ivan Gette, NOTAGALLERY, Berlin 2024
Ivan Gette, NOTAGALLERY, Berlin 2024

📍NOTAGALLERY

GEMISCHTE GEFÜHLE (Mixed Feelings) - IVAN GETTE

Exhibition Opening: 16.02.2024 until 01.03.2024

Exhibition Cover: "Gemischte Gefühle", Berlin 2024
Exhibition Cover: "Gemischte Gefühle", Berlin 2024

The exhibition "Gemischte Gefühle" offers an insight into the world of the artist Ivan Gette. His abstract and often perceived as chaotic style reflects his emotions and life stories. The exhibition shows his journey from graffiti artist to abstract painter and sheds light on unknown facets of his life.

Notagallery would like to invite you all to the exhibition vernissage and get an opportunity to explore the exhibition alongside the artist and other art enthusiasts.

Surprise live performances popping up throughout the night.

For this special evening, we have a unique request: we're asking all our guests to wear black. This isn't just about style – wearing black will really make the paintings stand out, putting the spotlight on the incredible artworks.

📍OFFICE IMPART

HOKUS POKUS HYPER FOKUS - Jagoda Bednarsky

Exhibition Opening: 16.02.2024 until 05.04.2024

Exhibition view: "HOKUS POKUS HYPER FOKUS" at Office Impart, Berlin 2024
Exhibition view: "HOKUS POKUS HYPER FOKUS" at Office Impart, Berlin 2024

In essence, the aim is always to draw attention to a detail that takes on the utmost importance at the moment of observation (which brings us to the “HYPER FOCUS” in the exhibition title), even though it only serves to distract from the actual event. Does that make it unimportant? On the contrary, it is of fundamental importance for the success of the trick, and proof that the most important and the essential are often not one and the same thing. …

(Text by Annika von Taube)

📍SOMOS BERLIN

BACK IN FIVE - ANASTASIA ANTIPOVA

Until 17.02.2024

Anastasia Antipova, Work-in-Progress, Berlin 2024
Anastasia Antipova, Work-in-Progress, Berlin 2024

In Back in Five, the artist transforms the gallery into an evocative stage where the narrative unfolds in an imaginary laboratory, momentarily vacated by Antipova’s heroine, a researcher who investigates bridging the distance between people. Spread through this lab, her utopian prototypes investigate the potential of transcending physical and emotional distances through non-linguistic forms of communication. A goal close to to the artist’s heart, who views her difficulty with language as seminal to her artistic journey.

The exhibition’s tactile environment crafts a cocoon of introspection, marked by large-scale fabric paintings on draped curtains, reminiscent of the use of drapery in art and architecture through the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The spatial arrangement of the cloth leaves part of the painting hidden, promising discoveries beyond the immediate visual encounter. A vast canvas centerpiece flows across a wall, adorned with notations, scribbles, graffiti, and depictions of hurt bunnies, foreboding cross-species silhouettes, and human figures on the move. In another notable piece, Antipova’s interpretation of a bridge, two sculptural wooden pieces hung on opposite walls with draping fabric that hold paintings of two faces on them, one masculine looking and the other feminine. The piece shows a moment of miscommunication within a relationship, the space between the two ends of the ‘bridge,’ and the hardness of the wood juxtaposing with soft white fabric, which creates a dialogue between the resilience and tenderness within a relationship.

Antipova’s multidisciplinary approach, combining painting, video, metalwork, and audiovisual elements, wraps the viewer in a womb-like milieu, at once comforting and challenging. Her graphic black-on-white paintings, punctuated by pinks and reds, viscerally engage with her lived experiences of dislocation and identity reconstruction amidst the socio-political turbulence of her Russian heritage and German residence. Through her paintings, Antipova delves into themes of womanhood, relationships, safety, and migration. Empowered with a uniquely female perspective and aesthetic, her installation uses female tropes only to disrupt them eventually. Back in Five offers a poignant reflection on the essence of home and belonging, framed by Antipova’s nomadic existence and the contemporary global context, making this exhibition not merely a personal statement but a resonant societal commentary.

📍GALERIE MET

Sanatorium of Exaggerated Coincidences - Uta Guan Hyë

Until 2.03.24

Installation view © Galerie Met and Uta Guan Hyë.
Installation view © Galerie Met and Uta Guan Hyë.

The “Sanatorium of Exaggerated Coincidences” takes its name from Charles Fort, an American writer and researcher of anomalous phenomena, as documented in his book “The Book of the Damned.” He compiled notes on seemingly impossible yet documented events, including suction cup marks on mountains, inscriptions on meteorites, raining crocodiles, black snow, blue moons, and green suns, collectively referred to as “cursed facts.” The term “facts” pertains to occurrences often avoided in discussions, while “cursed” reflects the curse of traditional scientific and dogmatic thinking. Simultaneously, he undertook a systematic reexamination of rejected facts, meticulously cross-verifying each one, dedicating his career to a comprehensive plan that encompassed astronomy, sociology, archaeology, quantum physics, psychology, morphology, chemistry, and magnetism.

Uta discovers a profound sense of humor and poetry within these coincidences, acknowledging that “fate has its own curiosity,” opening up to a world beyond rationality. In 2022, as part of the dream collection “Le Premier Repas de la Vierge,” Uta created a fictionalized character, Nuï Guan Hyë, a female scientist and alchemist active in the 1990s-2000s. She researched and named a substance found in camels, called Luciole, with the intention of fully liquefying it and extracting stored information. However, during the experiment, she inadvertently witnessed the disappearance of the camel, and two decades later, parts of its limbs were discovered in a crystal mine in Mexico. This constitutes the core of the exhibition—a fact unclassified in the realms of physics, biology, and parapsychology: the vanished camel.

In this exhibition, Uta divides the exhibition space into three sections, each named after alchemical formulas: “The Vaporous Communication,” “The Salts of Discord,” and “The Dark Room.” Uta deconstructs the peculiar events surrounding Mrs. Nuï and the vanished camel using images, installations, objects, and documents. Simultaneously, she conducts a series of explorations involving liquid substances, the body, memory, and celestial bodies. Although not explicitly labeled as experiments, the core of Nuï’s exploration is grounded in the pivotal experience of deconstructing the world—immersing in exploration, forming connections, and extending understanding.

In the videos “Care” and “Walking,” Uta repetitively wipes and cleanses an imaginary sun, engaging in nearly static walks, either leading an egg or being led by an egg. In the work “Breaking Waves on the Surface of the Heartbeat Star,” Uta employs the string figures technique to construct various geometric shapes, overlaying diagrams of the movement of Massive Compact Halo Object (MACHO). Through these actions, the artist establishes a spatial grammar, outlining both visible and invisible boundaries, describing the existence of invisibility. Morphing the physical structure, replication, displacement—all contribute to the process of deconstructing the world. In the work “1999.12.12 The Camel Disappeared,” Uta intricately weaves and fuses elements like a camel, thread and needle, broken instruments, and caves, creating an underwater symphony that resonates with the “truly silent clamor” of the physical world.

Uta simultaneously explores “Intersectionism,” akin to Pessoa, characterized by absolute subjectivity, extreme synthesis, and an exaggerated static stance. “Intersectionism” equally underscores the significance of the “gaze.” In the images from “1999.12.12 The Camel Disappeared,” numerous tangible natural scenes morph into continuously flickering and changing photoelectric graphs. Mesh fabric overlays as a projection screen in the work “Lumiere, mire, rime,” transforming crystal cave photographs into binary code of 0 and 1. This deprives viewers of the right to project, as projection implies disdain and forgetfulness. Uta invites viewers simply to gaze, using this transparent medium to penetrate objects or phenomena, entering their interiors and deeply grasping them in memory. Nature implies an understanding of this world, with waves representing the potentiality appearing on every substance. The gaze, as a wave, serves as a medium capable of penetrating these intersecting layers.

From text to symbols and then to spatial installations, the character of Nuï in Uta’s works exists in the interstice between the real world and the dream world. It signifies a relationship of consciousness and experiential awareness, acting as a medium where physical reality intersects with psychological reality. Internal space intertwines with external space, dreams blend with reality, spirituality meets materiality, and time and space coexist parallelly or intersect vertically. It is a reflective exploration of the essence of consciousness experienced from a first-person perspective. Each artwork in the exhibition forms a cross-representation of these two spaces, connecting them through different media characterized by their “transparency.” This establishes a world grammar that merges coincidence and intersigns.

📍68projects by KORNFELD

Fly to India for Gold, Ransack the Ocean for Orient Pearl - KYUNGMI SHIN

Until 24.02.2024

Exhibition view: "Fly to India for Gold, Ransack the Ocean for Orient Pearl", Berlin 2024
Exhibition view: "Fly to India for Gold, Ransack the Ocean for Orient Pearl", Berlin 2024

In the work presented in Berlin Kyungmi Shin delves into a captivating exploration of interconnected narratives, seamlessly intertwining the histories of Germany and Asia. At the core of her artistic endeavor is a meticulous layering of diverse elements, drawing inspiration from the rich tapestry of cultural exchanges. In an age of discussions over cultural appropriation Shin’s work is exemplary of cultural appreciation. In juxtaposing pieces of different cultures - some alien to her - she is able to sensitively and creatively create meaningful dialogue on intercultural exchange reflecting much older global intercultural interactions.

Shin's work centers on Augustus the Strong's expansive porcelain collection in Dresden, comprising a treasury of approximately 29.000 objects. She draws inspiration from the narrative surrounding this collection, which is currently showcased in the Staatliche Kunstsammlung Dresden. During her exploration in 2022, she photographed these porcelain objects, incorporating them into her artworks for the upcoming exhibition.

Shin’s artistic process involves working with photo editing software. She takes scanned images of chinoiserie wallpapers, evoking the European fascination with a fantastical vision of the Far East, then digitally overlays these images with the photographs of porcelain objects from the Dresden Museum. Prior to printing, Shin digitally paints the third layer, depicting mythological figures from Korean culture. Eventually, she applies acrylic paint over the digital line painting after the printing process. This layering technique serves to juxtapose and weave together different narratives, creating a visually compelling and conceptually rich tapestry.

In Shin's visual language, the bottom layer features chinoiserie wallpapers, representing a European fantasy about the Far East landscape, executed mostly in Chinese painting facilities during the 18th and 19th centuries. The middle layer showcases porcelain objects—an embodiment of Chinese inventiveness tailored to European aesthetics. Finally, the top layer introduces line paintings portraying authentic yet fantastical Asian fantasies, incorporating powerful mythical creatures from Korean folklore.

The artist's choice of format, a traditional Korean landscape, adds another layer of significance to her work. The juxtaposition of the fantastical Asian landscape within an oval shape, reminiscent of European portraits, and the long vertical shape, characteristic of Korean landscape formats, highlights the complexity of cultural hybridity.

Through her exploration, Shin delves into the interconnectedness of the world, questioning how the movement of goods, objects, and capital influences our perceptions. Her work serves as a reflection on the historical dynamics of power, critiquing the profiting of the Western world from the rest of the globe. While she navigates the multiplicity of her own cultural identity, as a Korean artist living in the US, Shin avoids specific power dynamics in her art, instead focusing on the multiplicity, complexity, and hybridity resulting from global exchanges.

📍Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery

FIND ME IN THE GARDEN - RITA MAIKOVA

Until 16.03.24

RITA MAIKOVA, FINDING THE SPIRIT OF WATER, 2023
RITA MAIKOVA, FINDING THE SPIRIT OF WATER, 2023

A collection of fuzzy, sagging, translucent, ghoulish and rock-like creatures gather against moody pink skies, in the depths of the forest, on the banks of a lake. These eccentric, friendly and sometimes fragmented characters are, to the Ukrainian artist Rita Maikova, a kind of family. They have followed her through different stages of her life; mutating in form and colour, coming and going, seemingly, at their own will, while also providing a sense of stability and solace. Featuring all new work, Find Me in the Garden, Maikova’s solo exhibition at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, Berlin documents a period of personal transition during which the artist moved countries and also became pregnant with her first child. However, rather than capturing external upheavals, these paintings offer a space of calm and reflection. They are not so much a retreat from the real-world as a journey deep into the self.

For Maikova art-making is a form of healing and freedom – it allows her to access her unconscious mind, to dream without the boundaries of time and space. We see this in the fluidity of forms that populate her compositions, through the ways in which her creatures appear, often simultaneously, as rock-like formations, undulating bodies and huge, anthropomorphic beasts. The landscapes they populate are typically barren and desert-like, inspired by Maikova’s upbringing in the vast, open steppe of southern Ukraine, but in this latest series, we also encounter them in lush, green forest-like settings that recall the language of myths and fairy-tales. This is perhaps most obvious in Save Narcissus, a reinterpretation of a painting by Jan Cossiers which depicts Narcissus who, according to Greek myth, fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water and died alone. Maikova’s Narcissus is similarly entranced but by the water rather than their own reflection. For Maikova, water is a magical, healing source. Out of the surface of the pool, there are little translucent forms emerging, one of which is also within the mouth of Narcissus and seen in other paintings travelling across the land. ‘They are water spirits,’ Maikova explains, ‘who hold ancient knowledge and powers.’

In another work, a homage to John William Waterhouse’s Nymphs Finding the Head of Orpheus (1900), we encounter two fragmented female figures, or rather two versions of the same figure, seated on the edge of a waterfall seemingly about to wash or perform some kind of cleansing or healing ritual. They are, like many of the other characters, draped in silky ribbons that serve the dual purpose of both bandages – wrapped over or through the fissures in the characters’ bodies – and clothing or costume. Indeed, there is a theatrical quality to several of the works that taps into ideas around childhood and play. Two paintings depict sandy coloured creatures that appear like camels with their odd, humped-back silhouettes, but are, in fact, representations of the dragons that Maikova and her friend dreamt up as children. ‘We believed the dragons would come and take us into a magical world,’ she says. This is the first time they have appeared in her paintings, each acting as both transportation and residence for a number of her other small creatures. One even appears beneath a glossy, purple curtain as if about to perform some kind of performance or trick. The exhibition’s title references this idea of playfulness and also, perhaps, a longing to return to the simplicity and freedom of childhood.

It makes sense that Maikova would experience nostalgia for her own youth just as she is about to become a mother, but the works also express a sense of connection or synergy between the past, the present and the future. In the desert paintings, especially, her characters are intrinsically interconnected, their forms or ‘limbs’ overlapping or weaving through one another to create miniature, self-sustaining ecosystems, at the heart of which there is often a tiny, luminous egg. This is the only direct reference in the works to pregnancy and motherhood, but it is, nevertheless, an important symbol of the way in which Maikova is attempting to find a sense of unity between who she was and is, and who she will become.  

As she says: ‘We continue to live in a very scary and unstable time, and while I’m not ignoring what’s happening, I believe it is important to also step back, to listen to our instincts and the wisdom of nature so that we can heal ourselves and help to heal others.’

📍Galerie Barbara Thumm

What was I aiming for? In my next life to be a great singer,and the life after to be a writer,and so on and so on… - Sarah Entwistle

Exhibition Opening 9.02.24 h17

SARAH ENTWISTLE, "So, you and I have come full circle. Do you accept the unending?" (2023)
SARAH ENTWISTLE, "So, you and I have come full circle. Do you accept the unending?" (2023)

‘Engendered by isolation within a particular space, and by the emphasis on cleaning and service. A visually sensitive woman who spends day after day in the same rooms develops a compulsion to change, adorn, expand them…as a kind of „positive fragmentation“ or as the collage esthetic-the mixing and matching of fragments to provide a new whole.’

– Lucy Lippard, essay, ‘Making something from nothing’. 1978

Propped against the wall on the artist’s kitchen table is an empty moss-green cardboard folder with a typed label reading: ‘rolled and bent tube forms’, and next to it a plant cutting of the Tradescantia Pallida or ‘Purple heart’, now over-watered, its slender purple and green leaves browning. The hallway floor is lined with metal salvage that trails out of a large west-facing room, its own floor covered with metal and ceramic sections. A king-size bed is marooned against the wall. The artist’s calves and ankles, and her children’s toes, are bruised and scraped from stepping around the works on the way from bed to toilet in the dark. The parts are continually rearranged between meals, fragments feeling out for a positive placement, ‘a new whole’.

The title of the exhibition is collaged from letters written by photographer Vivienne Entwistle, the artist’s great-grandmother, to her son, architect Clive Entwistle, the artist’s grandfather. The final phrase, ‘and so on and so on…’ in its formal circularity leads us to the center of the artist’s compulsion towards ‘transformational rehabilitation’. In 1978 feminist art critic Lucy Lippard wrote, ‘Today we are resurrecting our mothers‘, aunts’, and grandmothers‘ activities not only in the well-publicized areas of quilts and textiles but also in a more random and freer area of transformational rehabilitation. On an emotional as well as on a practical level, rehabilitation has always been women’s work.‘

In these new works, Entwistle disrupts a perceived sculptural and architectural lineage that centers on monumentality, exteriority, transparency, linearity, and closed form, often rendered through the articulated tectonics of steel and bronze. Instead, she brings these mediums together with ceramic and textile to explore fragmentation, interiority, degrees of opacity, horizontality, permeability, the crooked, and the inarticulate.

Much of the presented metal elements were considered redundant, classed as either scrap or by-products; steel elements from dismantled buildings were salvaged from waste collection plants, and the bronze casting armatures were gathered from casting foundries. The tubes of ceramic are worked from lengths of clay pushed through an industrial extruder. The final forms are found through lifting and arranging the sections, parts collapsing, ripping, and bending as they are re-positioned. Framing the objects is a series of suspended printed textiles, collaged compositions derived from partially used architectural transfer sheets, their scored surfaces records of a somatic process resulting in an accidental formal lyricism.

The gathering and production of these elements, and their arrangement in the gallery space, move from loose intentionality to being responsive to the direction that the materials, fragments, and installation want to go. Meanwhile the chromatic and formal language thread back to the folder and the plant, and their momentary proximity in the kitchen.

In her practice, the artist communes with the artistic and life expressions of her great-grandmother, grandmother, and aunt, all self-taught artists, whose practices were formed and dispersed around their domestic spheres, and who were above all improvisers, both structurally in their lives and by extension in their work. For Entwistle these processes resonate with a wider feminist art lineage in which improvisation and adaptation are central as both creative strategies and foundational principles for living.