7 secret gems of the Berlin art scene right now I MAY #3 WE

May 19, 2023
Sissy Marino
 Exhibition view: Monika Dorniak, "the ease with which [a] may be distorted under the action of [b]", Berlin 2023 - Curated by Linda Toivio. Photo © Mari Vass
Exhibition view: Monika Dorniak, "the ease with which [a] may be distorted under the action of [b]", Berlin 2023 - Curated by Linda Toivio. Photo © Mari Vass

WHAT: the ease with which [a] may be distorted under the action of [b]" - MONIKA DORNIAK


WHEN: UNTIL 28.05.23

“She is growing stones”. That is what I tell people about Monika Dorniak’s new solo exhibition at Hošek Contemporary. This is more or less accurate.
As I first visit her studio, I discover paintings, sculptures and various organic elements lying around, as one might expect. In this atelier however, the most fascinating things are probably hidden in buckets and jars of various sizes. They hold stones, pieces of wood and dead leaves sitting in a mysterious liquid, sometimes for years. Now and then, when she remembers, Dorniak lifts one of the lids, never knowing what to expect,
checking if something might seem ready for an audience. Being a complete novice regarding the breeding of crystal stones, at first glance I suspect that I am looking at colourful mould growths or intricate, rare types of fungi. (They are indeed stones.)
the ease with which [a] may be distorted under the action of [b] continues Dorniak’s sculpture series ‘Aesthetics of Knowledge’ (2019-ongoing) and practice-based research, which engage with humanity's position in the Anthropocene. She perceives the sculptures as a collaboration with more-than-human agencies, in particular stones and water. Such elements are also relevant in the current exhibition, as the interplay and reactiveness between stones, wood and water portray the agency of a hybridised nature.
More-than-human agents or non-humans include not only flora and fauna, but all creatures, microorganisms and elements which co-exist amongst each other on Earth. Human life would not exist without them, as everything is thoroughly
interconnected and interdependent. (...)
While the dripping mechanism slowly releases the red solution, the hanging piece of spruce is steadily soaked, bearing a resemblance to driftwood collected by the artist. (...)
Gently encapsulating the entire exhibition, the sound work is a composition of the artist’s voice, crystalline growth and the movement of more-than-
human agencies. The score, written by Dorniak, can be heard in a loop throughout the space, recited by the artist herself:

“...we live,
as we dream,
alone, entangled in a construction of a divine braid of associations.”
Text © Linda Toivio
Exhibition view: Aljoscha Tschaidse, "Sehnsucht", Berlin 2023
Exhibition view: Aljoscha Tschaidse, "Sehnsucht", Berlin 2023



WHEN: UNTIL 11.06.23

"The title of Aljoscha Tschaidse’s exhibition, Sehnsucht, belongs to the group of elusive German words which are difficult to translate accurately. Often they evoke a feeling that is beyond language or which could be described through a variety of words in other languages. The literal translation of Sehnsucht in English is to yearn (Sehnen) and addiction (Sucht), but what it really means is an obsession, a longing to see something or someone that belongs to the past.
In relation to his practice Tschaidse questions the productive force attained through experiences of longing -turning the described auto-destructive feeling into a productive force. Throughout the exhibition this theme is explored both physiologically and physically – investigating the relationship between creative and destructive forces. Both Aljoscha’s state during the process of Painting and the works’ reception aspire to be like the emotions granted through the experience of listening to music. References to music culture are placed throughout the show, the title Sehnsucht is borrowed from the corresponding album by German Metal Band Rammstein – whose notorious live shows both echo sexual fantasies (fire, sex and death), while simultaneously challenging and questioning masculinity itself.
If the void inscribed in both titles (Rammstein & Aljoscha Tschaidse’s exhibition) can be counteracted by anything I would suggest the obvious: consuming the content they describe. In this sense the titles are author-referential; commenting on a state of being while simultaneously displaying what helped the artist to work through a feeling of emotional emptiness/void. By making this manifestation collective, through an album or exhibition, the artists offer the viewer an experience which they might in turn feed off.
Aljoscha Tschaidse’s practice can be compared to the introductory words of a song by Scottish post-rock band Mogwai. The title of the song; Yes! I am a Long Way From Home – can be interpreted in two ways: a nostalgic Heimweh (Homesickness) or a liberational runaway expression. Tschaidse`s work sits right in between these two readings, between the recent past and the near future.
The song begins with a spoken words recording of a monologue passage from a Bergen Student Newspaper, referring to when Mogwai played a show in 1997, describing the band’s music as “bigger than words and wider than pictures” and that “music can put a human being in a trance like state and deprive it of the sneaking feeling of existing”. Tschaidse`s paintings aspire to these conditions of total loss of orientation, presenting experiences through images and references."
Christian Hellmich, Affenfaust, Öl auf Leinwand, 2019
Christian Hellmich, Affenfaust, Öl auf Leinwand, 2019



WHEN: UNTIL 3.06.23

"Der Titel der Ausstellung (Franz. für Zirkuszelt) spannt bereits den gemeinsamen Raum auf, in dem sich die Arbeiten von Christian Hellmich und Matthias Moravek bei Axel Obiger wiederfinden. Die Ausstellung wird zur artistischen Bühne, zur circensichen Inszenierung, zum Ort einer künstlerischen Aufführung, die den Zusammenhang zwischen Kunst, Magie und Imagination auslotet.
Gleichzeitig legen dir beiden Berliner Künstler jedoch alle ihre bildnerischen Mittel offen. Damit begegnen sie dem vielleicht ältesten Vorwurf an die Kunst, besonders aber an die Malerei, nichts als Illusion, als eine perspektivisch-räumliche Konstruktion auf einer flachen Leinwand zu sein.
Matthias Moravek (*1976, lebt und arbeitet in Berlin) setzt sich in seinen Arbeiten spielerisch mit Inhalt, Form und Farbe von Phänomenen und Räumen wie Wolken, Wirbeln und Dschungeln auseinander. Die Zirkusarena ist für ihn seit geraumer Zeit ein Ort künstlerischer Vorstellungskraft, der bildnerische Erfindungen ermöglicht und bisweilen die Schwerkraft ausser Kraft setzen kann. In den bei Axel Obiger gezeigten Arbeiten bezieht er sich zudem auf die Idee des „modeleur de nuages“ (Wolken-Modellierer) des franz. Philosophen Gaston Bachelard, der damit einen Versuch beschreibt, dem Traumhaften, Nichtfassbaren eine Form zu geben.
Für seine modular zusammengefügten Motive greift Christian Hellmich (*1977, lebt und arbeitet in Berlin) auf ein Bildarchiv verschiedenster Quellen zurück. Verweise auf architektonische Konstruktionen und comichafte Formen werden assoziiert, ohne dass sie jedoch klar zuzuordnen sind und somit die Neugier auf vermeintliche Entschlüsselung wecken. Genau wie die Arbeiten eine größtmögliche Offenheit für die BetrachterIn haben sollen, stellt der Ausstellungstitel ein ambivalent, assoziatives Angebot dar. Das Charakterhafte von immer wiederkehrenden Bildteilen erscheint wie ein Theaterstück, ein Zeichentrickfilm oder eben wie eine Zirkusvorführung, die vom Publikum immer wieder aufs neue zusammengesetzt werden muss."
Exhibition view: Birch Hayes, "Uranian Atlas", Berlin 2023
Exhibition view: Birch Hayes, "Uranian Atlas", Berlin 2023



WHEN: UNTIL 16.06.23

Birch Hayes calls his first exhibition in Berlin, at the Crystal Ball gallery the Atlas of Uranus. In a way, this is an extremely apt description for the works presented by the American artist. Hayes’ elaborate, detailed drawings sometimes seem like cartographies of an unknown world or even like surfaces of a distant planet. This may be due to the homogeneous but alien organic presence of the structures depicted and their particular expansiveness of perspective. In this respect, the drawings evoke an almost authentic presence, familiar from scientific illustrations, biological diagrams, and drawings based on nature. Certain structures appear as if cut into, at these points their structure becomes apparent and explainable. All discovered forms and things show themselves. Hayes uses these attributes masterfully, creating a real plane, but presenting us not with a familiar one, but with an extraordinary glimpse into a mysterious, fantastic world that seems strangely real. Physical structures lie, stick, grow in and out with other substances. Things float, buzz, are interconnected, and the motifs sketch a specific dreamy variety. Birch Hayes drawings in this way have similarity in strategy to science fiction, as the latter also repeatedly indulges in describing the connections and details in order to assert reality. The artist Birch Hayes, however, has no plan or sense of mission in this direction at all. He calls the exhibition of his black and white and color works Uranian Atlas, because that is how they appear to him. Hayes draws to enter a dreamy state of meditation. He has no specific ideas from the beginning, but in an automatic, unconscious formulation also discovers one form next to the other and records it in the picture. But it is thanks to this idiosyncratic and particular position of Haye’s work that the worlds and landscapes can be explored light-footedly, as if we have now gained access to a world of the unconscious while awake.
Text © Lydia Karstadt
© Zora Jankovic: ARCHITEKTON 4, concrete, steel, 38x100x83 cm, 2016
© Zora Jankovic: ARCHITEKTON 4, concrete, steel, 38x100x83 cm, 2016



WHEN: UNTIL 17.06.23

We are all constantly moving. In order to achieve something, we have to take action. Action is always associated with setting, placing, laying. A material is taken, used or deformed and changed until it meets the requirements of our understanding of order and has found its place, its space. With the order comes habits – you “live” in the created spaces and adjust to your habits. When habits and traditions become too constrictive, one tends to look for a way out, an escape. It is therefore important to plan for interruptions and openness; it is important to give rooms a good rhythm.
Taking place in the artist-run-space SCOTTY, the exhibition shows the striking ways in which Berlin-based artists Zuzanna Skiba and Zora Janković have arranged their respective material into surprising and rhythmic spaces.
The large drawing by Zuzanna Skiba is particularly striking in terms of rhythm. Small, parallel strokes result in thickened drawings, which, in their manifold whorls and loops, evoke spaces that seem to reach out rhythmically into the third dimension. If they end surprisingly at one point on the page, it is only to continue ad infinitum at another. Born in Poland, Skiba (b.1968) studied drawing and painting in Bielefeld, Groningen (NL) and at the UdK Berlin. However, she owes the hatching, with which she uses small strokes to create a painterly flow of utopian spaces, to earlier training as a cartographer. Such stroke sequences are used when drawing maps in order to be able to distinguish between mountains and flat terrain. Skiba has captured spatial conditions from a bird’s-eye view and transferred to her artistic work.
Zora Janković (b. 1978), who comes from Slovenia and trained as a sculptor in Venice, Rome and at the KHB Weißensee in Berlin, takes up the rhythm used to alienate the premises with the magical spatial situation of her small black-and-white photograph. In the small photo one recognises again and again new spatial situations in shades of black, white and gray without being able to make out an actual spatial proportion. Her two exhibited sculptures, which come from the Architect series (2015-2017), are also composed of rhythmic volumes. These are concrete sculptures in which cubic bodies are joined together or on top of one another, and their special feature is their cracked surface structure. It gives the sculpture openness and thus its very own rhythm
Text ©Dr. Marion Thielebein
© Norbert Bayer - Rucki Zucki Rosinante. Berlin 2023
© Norbert Bayer - Rucki Zucki Rosinante. Berlin 2023



WHEN: UNTIL 11.06.23

"L: «Rucki Zucki … Rucki Zucki …»
F: «Rosinante.»
L: «Rucki Zucki … Rucki Zucki …»
F: «Rosinante!»
L: «Leave poor Rosinante alone. The song doesn’t go like that at all!»
F: «Sure it does. Because the baroque mare Rosinante was resurrected in the carnival times of the 70’s of the last century as the raunchy cult figure ‹Rucki Zucki Rosinante›. Young and old monomaniacally repeated the three-word song, exuberantly stomped up and down on the spot, and swayed tightly crowded to the right and left in rhythm …»
L: «It’s just two words … besides, Rosinante is a ‹he›. And the song is called: ‹Rucki Zucki, that’s the newest dance, that’s the new trend that everyone recognizes right away!› I should know, I used to dance to this at the firemen’s carnival and there are photos of me doing it among streamers!»
Q: «At least you haven’t always been like Don Quixote, dried up into a sapless rattle on an equally rickety horse. Or shrunk round to subaltern servant size to a mute flour sack on a mule, like Sancho Panza.»
L: «Now don’t get me started on masters and servants. No señor, Don Quixote y Sancho Panza no estan aquí!»
F: «With you, old chain stitch, there is not even a quivering anarchistic vein, which at least sometimes shimmers erotically or at least still cerebrally. You’ve got a hole in your brain!«
L: «You’re getting sassy. That means you’re getting better!»
F: (whinnying) «I feel crazy!»
L: «Then there’s no fat oversized bolster for a break for now.»
F: «There’s certainly no question of pleasant rest. In – out, in – out. Baila, borriquito!»
L: «All stitches tight – no stumbling, no hopping.»
F: «No, no no no no, señor!»
L: «Don Quixote y Sancho Panza? Hoy también siguen luchando!»
F: «Yes exactly! Because the ‹it› from ‹He, She, It› needs more presence, so that ‹it› doesn’t get down, but delivers a linguistically momentous term.»
L: «Your psychosomatics are distracting every devil! ‹Turn›, you must mean. Like ‹turn over› in the pattern.»
F: «No, that’s not what I mean at all! Besides, you don’t turn anything over, because, after all, you crocheted the hyperreal bolster in spirals and didn’t sew it together, …»
L: «True again.»
F: «… but your rhythms of crochet needles threaten to burst the narrowness of the shop window with space-displacing force and, moreover, heavy-weight.»
L: «Rucki Zucki!»
F: «Rosinante, even.»"
© Victoria Jung- Fever Dream
© Victoria Jung- Fever Dream



WHEN: UNTIL 7.06.23

"If you are a freak,
you are just perfect.
But in this city,
the lights are just as bright,
as the shadow is dark.
A project about the enchanted everyday life of the queer community in New Orleans in the permanent spiral between catastrophe and empowered celebration.
New Orleans has always been a city full of extremes. At least since the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, people here have lived in an environment that is often crumbling, always threatened, and defective in many ways. Maybe that‘s why those who can’t fit into the system America anywhere else. Queer travelers who have been through a lot in their young lives. Katrina created gaps that provided easily accessible shelter. Fueled by the tolerant and warm-hearted spirit of the local urban population, a collective of unique people was able to flourish. A rebellious and unruly subculture for which artistic expression is vital to survival.
The work shows the clinking and flickering of this magical world on a constant tipping point. It seeks closeness to the wayward protagonists, who have long since become friends, and takes part in their everyday life. An everyday life full of intensity and chaos, where the lights are as bright as the shadows are dark. Using documentary photography as a base, Victoria Jung experiments in her projects with other forms of artistic expression and collaborations.
For this exhibition, too, a special presentation concept was developed together with curator and interior designer Anne Kiefer and the gallery."