shu and joe

Posts filed under ‘Berlin’

Why are conceptual artists painting again?

October 2, 2008

Sounds like a good topic to open up The Building’s monthly art talks series. Berlin-based critic Jan Verwoert is at the helm, and all are welcome.

Friday, October 3rd, 730 PM

the building
Platz der Vereinten Nationen 14a
Berlin, 10249 DE
T: 030 28 04 79 73

How have the basic conditions of art practice changed and what words and models could we use to open up the potentials at the heart of these developments in art after Conceptualism?

The dominant models no longer satisfy. It makes no sense to melodramatically invoke the “end of painting” (or any other medium-specific practice for that part) when the continous emergence of fascinating work obviously proves apocalyptic endgame scenarios wrong. Yet, to pretend it were possible to go back to business as usual seems equally impossible because the radical expansion of artistic possibilities through the landslide changes of the 1960s leave medium-specific practices in the odd position of being one among many modes of artistic articulation, with no preset justification. How can we describe then what medium-specific practices like painting or sculpture can do today?

Likewise, it seems, that we can still not quite convincingly describe to ourselves what Conceptual Art can be: An art of pure ideas? As if “pure” idea art were ever possible let alone desirable! An art of smart strategic moves and puns? We have advertising agencies for that. The social and political dimension of Conceptualism has been discussed, but often only in apodictic terms, not acknowledging the humour, the wit, the existential, emotional or erotic aspects, as well as the iconophile, not just iconoclast motives, that have always also been at play in the dialectics and politics of life-long conceptual practices.

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September 27, 2008

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Torstrasse 166

September 26, 2008

Facade sculpture by Chiharu Shiota

Also known as the “House of Imagination,” curators invited 12 artists to choose an apartment in the building to create a site-specific installation. It also happens to be next door and I think I just heard a marching band playing outside.

Some photos inside the building:

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Art Berlin Contemporary

abc will feature the works of 73 selected artists from over 40 Berlin galleries. The focus of this year’s edition of abc will be sculpture, installation and the projected image.

Yin Xiuzhen. Commune, 2008. Sewing machines, tables, chairs, lamps, steel construction, sewing equipment. 500 cm x 1000 cm.

Fiete Stolte. Turn, 2008. Monitor, CCTV-Camera, motor control unit.
This one was great and subtle. People kept tripping over the neon lights on the ground and they were replaced one by one. A camera is mounted above and the TV monitor shows everyone from a bird’s eye view.

Olaf Nicolai installation.

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The Goodbye Scholz Series

September 12, 2008

Me and the people who I worked with….

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The Houndstooth Dog Tent

September 5, 2008

Jon and Matt cooked up this brilliant, portable dog tent. The model in the photos is Louie (who we love). From the commonspace site:

This shelter is collapsable and comes rolled up in a bag. It is made with bio-degradable plastic kindly provided by Cereplast. The lining was hand screen printed on Loomstate organic cotton. Created in collaboration with Matt Penrose for the first annual Freemans Sporting Club – design / build – camping trip

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Seen…on the U Bahn This Morning

September 2, 2008

It’s hard to tell from the blurry photo, but this well-dressed businessman has the words “TRASH BOX” lettered neatly on his backpack. A protest against his job? His unfinished manuscript? Life in general? All of the above?

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In the Desert of Modernity – Haus der Kulturen der Welt

aka House of World Cultures

“In the Desert of Modernity” investigates cities in North Africa and their attempts at modernization following European colonization. The exhibition is unsurprisingly dense, housing a maze of easels holding various charts, images, and historical ephemera relating to post-war Africa to the present day. From the website:

The exhibition reveals the ambivalences in the relationship between colonial tyranny and the utopias of modernity, showing the degree to which civilising and modernist utopias are grounded in colonialism, the ruptures within colonialism and resistance to it. It also vividly displays the events, projects, activities and visions which, at the time of decolonisation between North Africa and Europe, once played – and continue to play – such an important role. The exhibition traces the histories of inhabitants, architects, colonialists and scientists involved in the debate over modernity and modernisation.

Unforgivingly dubbed the “Pregnant Oyster” by locals, the building was the USA’s contribution to the INTERBAU 1957 building exhibition. The architect was Hugh Stubbins, a former assistant to Walter Gropius. Stubbins described his design as being “completely free.” By this he implied that “there would be no restrictions on the freedom of intellectual work” that would no doubt flourish inside the structure.

The exhibition had some nice projections displayed on ordinary-looking pieces of cardboard.

Sidi Othman, Casablanca, 2008 (Photo & (c) Marion von Osten)

Cité Verticale im Carrières Centrales, ATBAT-Afrique, Casablanca, 1953

Carrières Centrales, Casablanca, ca 1953. (c) Photothèque de l?École Nationale d’Architecture de Rabat, Maroc

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Thai Park

September 1, 2008

A couple of months ago we discovered Little Saigon on Herzbergstrasse and yesterday we had the amazing good fortune of stumbling on “Thai Park” inside of Preußenpark – a gathering place for Thai people from all over Berlin. The setup was completely makeshift, with vendors rolling their suitcases over the grass until an appropriate spot was found. From there, fresh fish, vegetables, spices and other meats were set out onto woven mats and then either dropped into woks full of boiling oil or ground up mortar and pestle-style. Fantastic.

We couldn’t take too many photos, but Pash managed to sneak this one in. The woman in the photo is making papaya salad with chili and lime. To her left is a basket filled with live blue crabs that are delicately torn apart and dropped into the bowl to be ground down into crab dust.

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Megastructures Reloaded

August 24, 2008

Looking forward to the opening of Megastructures: Reloaded at the former State Mint in Berlin. From the press release:

Archigram’s Plug-in City, Constant Nieuwenhuys’ New Babylon and Yona Friedman’s La Ville spatiale rank among the incunabula of the 1960s. Combining visionary architecture, pop culture, art, and situationist rebellion, they became known far beyond the narrow confines of urban planning. Till now, however, there has been no exhibition dealing explicitly with megastructuralists’ vision. MEGASTRUCTURE RELOADED seeks for the first time to show them in context. Aside from Archigram, Constant, Friedman, the radical Florence groups Superstudio and Archizoom, whose designs at the end of the 1960s constituted an ironic response to the megastructuralists, will be included. The exhibition is not intended as a documentary representation; instead the megastructuralists are to be tested for their currency and relevance for the problems of contemporary urban design and mega cities. We will focus on the connection between architecture and visual art, as well as on actual architectonic and urban-design issues.

Yona Friedman, Extension du Centre Georges Pompidou
Courtesy: Yona Friedman, Paris

Victor Nieuwenhuijs & Maartje Seyferth, Gele sector, film still from New Babylon de Constant, 2005. Film 13’, digi betacam
Courtesy: Victor Nieuwenhuijs & Maartje Seyferth, Amsterdam

Archizoom, Aerodynamic City, 1969
Courtesy: Centro Studi e Archivio della Comunicazione, Università degli Studi di Parma

Superstudio, The Continuos Monument: Rockefeller Center, 1969
Courtesy: Archivio Superstudio, Firenze

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