7 Events to uncover Berlin's Underground Art Scene I MAY #2 WE

May 12, 2023
Sissy Marino
 Exhibition view: Justina Los, “Deathinitely ”, Berlin 2023. Raku-fired ceramics, cardboard, laser print on paper, customised lighters, basalt grit, black smoke flares.
Exhibition view: Justina Los, “Deathinitely ”, Berlin 2023. Raku-fired ceramics, cardboard, laser print on paper, customised lighters, basalt grit, black smoke flares.



WHEN: UNTIL 14.05.23

“Justina Los' works are homages to a social and economic system that has long since ceased to function globally, in which the future belongs only to those who can afford it, while the unprivileged eat frozen pizza through the domination mechanisms of dependencies and burnouts.
Death is deathinitely as certain as the fact that the gates to ecological and social decline have already begun to open. With "Deathinitely", super bien! becomes a smoking, neglected buffet landscape: petrified pizzas topped with cigarette butts, as if freshly fetched from the underground burning gas crater - a post-apocalyptic catering, with worthless resources that might have remained with us after a possible catastrophe.”
"Pizza Nikotina, 2022 - Justina Los
"Pizza Nikotina, 2022 - Justina Los



WHEN: FRIDAY 12.05.23

Courtesy of Molt Berlin - VIDEO ART EVENING, exhibition cover
Courtesy of Molt Berlin - VIDEO ART EVENING, exhibition cover



WHEN: UNTIL 24.06.23

“Since Ronewa’s first collaboration with the Swiss-Tibetan artist in 2017, Brauen’s practice has covered photography, relief sculpture, works on paper and cardboard, and now painting on canvas – always led by an inquiry into reduction. He has explored reductions in pictorial space, materials, process, and color. The minimalist abstract paintings presented in Cover the Blank Spots could be considered the logical conclusion of this search.

Brauen has long held an interest in the hard-edge geometric abstraction and color-field painting of the 1960s. “When I look at my earlier photographic work, I see an approach to the questions that the artists from that era were pursuing.” His photographs of objects flattened perspective and eliminated the subject to the point of near abstraction. His more recent Crack paintings emphasized surface and materiality by imposing folds and tears into the structure of the pliable cardboard material.

For this exhibition of paintings on canvas, Brauen has chosen two size formats and applied a consistent compositional framework across all of the works - a further exercise in reduction. Bold rectangular color fields lay hard against one another, their point of contact creating the tension that one imagines his cardboard surfaces held moments before they cracked.

The reduction of composition and surface texture is Brauen’s deliberate attempt to eliminate narrative. By leaving little traces of his own intentions, Brauen invites his audience to a viewing experience centered on the act of seeing itself.”

 Exhibition view: Tashi Brauen, “Cover the blank spots” - Berlin 2023 - from left to right: Untitled (Fields 2), 2023. Untitled (Fields 4), 2023. Untitled (Fields 5), 2023.
Exhibition view: Tashi Brauen, “Cover the blank spots” - Berlin 2023 - from left to right: Untitled (Fields 2), 2023. Untitled (Fields 4), 2023. Untitled (Fields 5), 2023.



WHEN: UNTIL 14.05.23

“Animated by urban and landscape architecture, it is rare that Desire Lines are created. These "Trampling trails" are erosion lines caused by human and animal traffic that gradually draw themselves into the landscape. "The lines that guide us, both as lines of thought and as lines of movement, are (...) performative: they depend on the repetition of norms and conventions, of paths and trails that are walked, but they are also created as an effect of that repetition." (Sara Ahmed, What's the Use? On the Uses of Use, 2019)

The desire for escape routes from social conventions is the focus of the exhibition Desire Lines curated by Carola Uehlken. The art works of Sarah Doerfel, Len Lye and Yana Zschiedrich deal with protozoa, mealworms and leeches, making them the protagonists of innovative material breakdown and alternative medicine. The contemplation of invertebrate animals often triggers basic sensory emotions of disgust in humans. Charles Darwin already saw communicative gestures and the potential for social change in the confrontation with this feeling. In the brain, the disgust reflex is located in the limbic system, where emotions and instincts are processed. Where are the boundaries between looking at things with pleasure and looking at things that we find repulsive?

In Yana Zschiedrich's work Hybris, mealworms decompose insulation material made of extruded polystyrene. Controlled by the artist's templates and feeding routines, they produce reliefs. For the exhibition, they were fed with the images of mythological female figures who avenge crimes against the natural order, the Erynnien. In cultural history, they often appear with snakes as hair, dog heads, wings of bats or bloodshot eyes. The use of the characteristics of animals as attributes of horror is common in all cultural circles, but especially later in the Catholic Church. "(...) and innumerable species of insects, reptiles, and vermin (are) incarnations and instruments of the devil; ..." (Edward Payson Evans, Animal Trials, 1996)

In his 1929 experimental animation Tusalava, the artist Len Lye dealt with evolution, inscribing movement and interaction of life forms directly into around 4400 drawings. From single cells, more complex organisms develop, until two species emerge, which then get into a competition for supremacy. It is hard to tell, if they could also parasitically feed on each other, or if they form a rather symbiotic relationship. Lye's animation style shows inspiration from Australian Aboriginal art. The Samoan title Tusalava means „the same“. Originally the film was shown with piano music composed by Jack Ellitt.

In her video work Truce (2021), Sarah Doerfel takes a look at symbiotic and parasitic relationships between humans and leeches. The video accompanies the everyday breeding routine in Europe's largest leech farm and an activist who founded leechylove to advocate for species-appropriate care after medical use. Leeches have been used for medical treatment for thousands of years, probably as far back as the Stone Age, and in numerous cultures around the world. Animals also use them for self-medication, for example, for arthritis. The effect of the chemical saliva cocktail consists in its strong anti-inflammatory and blood-thinning effect. Its composition varies slightly from region to region and is particularly suitable for locally occurring diseases. Due to the increased use of medical leeches, the natural populations have been severely decimated. In Europe, they can only be found in a few areas in their natural environment and are under nature protection.”

Len Lye, Tusalava, 1929, videostill
Len Lye, Tusalava, 1929, videostill



WHEN: UNTIL 9.06.23

Studio Hannibal, “AN IDEAL MEAL” , exhibition cover
Studio Hannibal, “AN IDEAL MEAL” , exhibition cover



WHEN: UNTIL 13.05.23

“Emilia Jechna’s work revolves around world-building as a deeply personal practice, providing her with a secret sanctuary in an environment of her own creation. She initiates this process by first imprinting parts of the body onto the canvas, whether it be her own or others. This initial body printing in the Ives Klein manner amounts to a direct insertion of the young artist’s personal life into the settings she comes to conceive, and from them grows a vast and mythical atmosphere.
Emilia rejects traditional perceptions of the female body and creates her works from a position of agency, constructing her own empowered version of the myth, as she includes herself into each story both physically and conceptually.
The building of these environments is purely intuitive, each branch, petal, and piece of fur deriving from her conversation with the theme and the physical work as it comes into focus. Her work relies heavily on spontaneous exchange with each painting through an intentional lack of sketching or preparation.
The series developed at the SomoS artist residency takes on a new kind of narrative through her focus on biblical myths and legends. While still utilizing the same practices of imprinting the body, this series detaches Jechna’s emotional intimacy from the work and swaps it for a grander commentary on religious lore’s role for its audiences. As someone previously steeped in religious thought throughout childhood, her current exhibition hopes to utilize universal narratives to reflect upon the culture that framed much of her reality.
Jechna’s sense of space can be likened to a stage on which its protagonists’ actions are played out against a pitch black background that is at once cosmic and endless, and as flat as the school blackboard she loved to draw on as a child. Her space evokes Jung’s collective unconscious, containing the whole spiritual heritage of humankind’s evolution, born anew in every individual’s mind. In a time marked by an emphasis on collective identity, her figurative space is dedicated to a very individualistic dismantling of rigid inherited notions imposed by culture, society and religion; a setting for individual empowerment and liberation.
Looking deeper, it becomes clear that such introspective aspects of Jechna’s art, in fact, cover existential universalities. In developing her paintings, she was inspired by Lou Andreas Salome’s take on Narcissus. The German writer suggests that our antipathy towards him might result from a common misunderstanding of the myth, pointing out that Narcissus wasn’t necessarily laser-focused on himself – instead, when he saw himself in the reflection on the water, he realized he was a fragment of the world that surrounded him. Behind his face was the sky with clouds in various shapes and birds flying above the mountains; trees framed his cheeks, and below his chin, there were blossoming flowers.
His excitement came from the realization that he was indeed a piece of the world he had been exploring since the beginning of his life. All of the magic he’s experienced, the beauty he’s seen on Earth, and the unreachable stars he has had the chance to notice – all of this is incomplete without his existence. He finally sees himself not only as a passive observer but as an essential participant in life itself.
In this way, Jechna’s paintings invite us to look beyond our self-reflection and take in the whole picture; to view and reflect on ourselves in the wider framework of ecology and cultural legacy.”

"Feast of the Gods", 2022 - Emilia Jechna
"Feast of the Gods", 2022 - Emilia Jechna



WHEN: UNTIL 26.05.23