Coffee at  Cafe Einstein Stammhaus
at 11:30
>>>Galerie Thomas Fischer, Group Show
Potsdamer Straße 77-87, Haus H (opens at 11)


>>>Barbara Wien, Eric Baudelaire, “A Form That Accomodates The Mess” Schöneberger Ufer 65, 3rd Floor (opens at 12)

>>>WNTRP, Christopher Kline, “The Many Ghosts of Martin Van Buren, Tempelhofer Ufer 22, 10963 Berlin (opens at 1:00)

>>>Sandy Brown, Aude Pariset, Goebenstr. 7, 10783 Berlin (opens at 1:00)

Selecting the Energy

Over some top-notch rhubarb cake at Der Kuchen Laden, and coffee, A and I discussed Schrebergardens, FKK, anthroposophism and the way that nudity and clothing is regulated and expressive across gender, class and ethnicity. We talked about nudity in the sauna, the burkini, and dress codes.

After oohing and aahing about how different Charlottenburg seems to us we headed to Galerie Michael Haas where we encounterd an army of small nude bronze figures on pedestals by Rolf Szymanski and the large field and line paintings of Frank Wiebe. A was wondering how the sculptures might have been made and she said that the way that they are made expresses both somehow natural and raw. We were told by the gallery attendant that there were more large Szymanskis locked up in an appointment-only gallery nearby.

I didn’t say it to A, but I thought about how they were mostly nude women and I wasn’t quite sure what i was supposed to take away from them. One of them was on all fours and I thought about a lecture series I had been listening to on modern French painting, where it was pointed out that most models where prostitues and that there was a thematic “stooping or bent over woman.” The press release, which although printed in color was only in German, mentioned something about energy and the process of making, but the nude as a subject was not really discussed.

A said that she responded the most to the etched prints by Wiebe hanging on the wall, because she thought that prints are something between painting and printing, like in books, and she liked that. I wished I would have remembered how to identify various types of prints. She thought the painting on the wall might have a drawing in the shape of a heart, but I don’t think we responded much to them. As we exited, we responded much more to some very particular black and white doors on Niebuhrstrasse.

Then we headed to Max Hetzler where we saw the large abstract (expressionist) paintings of Zhang Wei, who in the press release is “regarded as one of the first abstract painters in China.” I think we enjoyed the paintings, which looked especially good in the space which A described as aristocratic. A mentioned the spontaneity of the pictures which were painted in veils of thin inky oil in just a few gestures. She noticed that the white space around the swings and dabs of the brush made them look like they were painted on the wall somehow even. I thought the light colors looked fresh and light for the largeness of the canvases and the boldness of the marks and I was thinking about how it must be a difficult task for the artist to select what paintings are successful and which ones are not successful. The press release mentioned “qi” which was described as a process of releasing energy when the ink and paper touch the brush.

On to the next gallery, we talked about artists that were also philosophers A mentioning Megan Craig, who I didn’t know and I mentioning Adrian Piper. We talked a bit about scary fascist politics including the “black-listing” professors for supposed discimination of conservative students, which I hadn’t yet heard about.

In the second Max Hetzler gallery we saw the exhibition of Konstantin Grcic, an industrial designer. A was interested in a wooden chair the way that the “Epocsodielak”, a very large disco machine with various moving lights, affected the other artworks. We both responded to the various chairs that were showcased, saying that we wanted to touch them. Looking at the large-scale futuristic cityscape digital image printed on canvas we started having mixed feelings about how we should engage with the work. At first it looked like a painting.

I was interested in the question of why it should be art instead of design, at least why one should put high-end design objects like furniture in a fine art setting. A mentioned the Bauhaus as being an example of design that idealistic and for the people. What role does design have now, we wondered? I was feeling a bit like the design being showcased here was just an attempt at making the objects somehow seem even more expensive and more exclusive than they were in the first place.

There was a metal, geodosic-looking neon green chair with a concrete foot, apparently a familiar classic of the designer showcased on a kind of glass pedestal made out of some standard L shaped iron rods and a piece of glass. There was a large tent thing stretched across the room and there were some very sleek tables. I thought of the way minimalism had in a sense, highlighted the meaning of industrial materials, but how that that meaning now had somehow expired and was now just a look.

Almost all the galleries this week had doorbells, which made them seem more pretentious and exclusive. The last show we saw we enjoyed the most and marvelled at with smiles. It was called “Death Imitates Language” by Harm van den Dorpel at Neumeister Bar-Am. After climbing some post-industrial stairs to the second floor gallery space we saw some abstract prints on plexiglass that were uminescent, strange and funky. Upon reading the press release and watching the very funny abstract film we learned that van den Dorpel was engaged in a process of playing Darwin’s God by “breeding” his abstract paintings using software, artificial intelligence and his own decisions at selecting them. The video showed absurd silly names for the permutations who survived. It seemed like a very particular innovative way of coming up with abstract paintings. We also took a look at a clever little cube gallery space caved out of that wall, that showcases artists the gallery does not (yet) represent. It had some very new-age and esoteric looking womb stuff by Shana Moulton in a mini-installation. It probably deserved a second look, but we were pretty transfixed by the humor and concept of van den Dorpel’s works, which also poked fun at more serious themes like artistic reproduction, authorship, and as A mentioned, eugenics.






Klemm’s, Prinzessinnenstrasse 29- “Totem and Taboo” Renaud Regnery (opens at 11)

Soy Capitan, Prinzessinnenstrasse 29- “The Order of Things” Mia Goyette, Christine Lemke and Albert Coers (opens at 12)

Chert, Ritterstrasse 2A- Tyra Tingleff and Rosa Iliou (opens at 12)

Totem and

Today A and I met at Moritzplatz and chatted in the cafe of the Aufbauhaus before we saw some art nearby in Kreuzberg. A is a German philosopher who is currently writing a dissertation related to phenomenology in New York and Berlin, and how I am an American painter and conceptual artist. We talked about ourselves and how feminism as a topic is very broad. I told her how a friend of mine who is also an artist, asked me a very good question: “what is feminism?”

I mentioned a few angles I was interested in via art: formal, political and absurd. As for the absurd, I told A how I thought that one can engage in a feminist reading of any artwork, regardless of artistic intention and even if that reading might be absurd. I think A’s motivation, if I understand it correctly, is to explore the Berlin art scene and to engage in some interesting discussion. I asked her whether I should make a blog for the group and we didn’t really come to a conclusion about that. A said she wouldn’t have so much time to contribute, because she can’t do anything that distracts too much from her dissertation. I have a 5 month old baby so I was unsure about what kind of time commitment I could make.

I mentioned to A that one can find the program of art shows at the biggest commercial galleries in Berlin at http://indexberlin.de/.

Then we went to the show of Renaud Regnery at Klemm’s. We were immediately drawn to the grid paintings at the back of the show. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA A noticed that the red grid lines on the yellow background was optical, and I was looking at the edges of the painting to see if it was paint. A discovered from the press release that were made from old American wall paper meant to look like easily cleanable tiles, and this wallpaper was glued on to canvases. We noticed that I had made a mistake when listing the title of the show on our group mailer as “Totem and Taboo.” The show is actually called “Tatem und Tobu.” A explained to me what that book by Freud is roughly about, but I didn’t completely catch it. If I heard correctly, it has to do with an ancient situation where a horde comes together to kill their father and the chaos that ensues. This then results in a taboo and some order, but I can’t really remember the rest. She pointed out that women were excluded from this whole scheme by Freud and that this is one reason why Freud considers women as unruly or with disorderliness and aggression under the surface. I am not sure whether I am explaining this correctly, but nevertheless, we thought that these ideas might have something to do with the irregularity and surface nature of the grids. Grids are an important, loaded theme in modernist painting, and women were mostly excluded from the canon of modernist painting.

We also took a look at 3 large pink canvases that looked like dirty monochromes, because they were all pink, but had marks on them, scratches and dirt along the edges. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe looked at the back side of them which made a sort of wall within the gallery and showed expensive-looking metal stretcher bars and linen. A pointed out the “baby girl” color of the paintings and also thought it was interesting that we got to see the back of the paintings. Upon talking to gallery worker, we learned that the pink material was some kind of studio floor covering that was glued onto canvases. We agreed that the artist probably made these works for the gallery space.

The gallery next door, Soy Capitan was closed unfortunately so we made our way to ChertLüdde where we found the paintings of Tyra Tingleff and sculptures of Rosa Iliou. We responded positively to both artists I think and the discussion centered first around Rosa Ilious painted furniture/ women. Then we saw the sculptures in combination with the bright, watery, splashy and rolled out landscape- oriented abstractions of Tyra Tingleff because the sculpture was a chair and the painting in front of it had the suggestive title “Beloved are they who sit down.” A wondered if the artist had signed her name in Greek on the stylized nude female sculpture with mason jar lids as breasts called “Totem-Totem.” We saw on another sculpture that the artist signed her first name Rosa noticeably on the sculpture. I thought the geometric, wooden nudes looked a lot like Picasso or similar early 20th century seated women or reclining women with the face at a very geometric and with a 3/4 turn. I thought they looked very literal, or low brow like the works of craft artists using mixed-media at the Utah Arts Festival. A mentioned Niki de St. Phalle and I thought of Dorothy Iannone’s exhibition last year at the Berlinische Galerie. We thought about various ways of thinking about the sculptural works: woman-as-furniture, woman-in-a-supporting-role, women-as-sex-object or as even an woman-as-art-viewing-gallery-bench.


We spent a while looking at a bench that was also a red-haired woman in a bikini in the sculpture “Daydream” and I mentioned to A how I had painted a picture of my mother sunbathing as a teenager, probably because I did not like her sunbathing because it was unhealthy and sexy. Alina thought it was interesting and funny that the woman here was wearing a watch, and we noticed her painted pearl jewelry and the red hair in a bun from the back. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Alina noticed that all the women in the sculpures by Iliou had green lips. Alina mentioned that there was something grotesque and about them.

We walked up the stairs into a little room with a low ceiling within the gallery that fit just a painting and a few more wooden sculptures. The painting had a title A liked called “Philosophy is probably homesickness.” I asked her what she thought it meant but she didn’t want to interpret. She thought the painting looked like an underwater landscape with coral and tiny sea creatures. She noticed that all the paintings by Tyra Tingleff were somewhat distinctive, and I said that I liked that too. The one in the bigger room I had thought looked like a Japanese landscape painting and she thought the one in the middle room looked cosmic (entitled “You are experienced but still pissing towards the moon…”). OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe one in the upstairs niche looked as if it used spray as a part of the painting and the palette was different.

We thought that next time we could meet for coffee again first to get to know whoever comes and then discuss, like we did today in the galleries. Then we parted ways. Because the word totem came up in both exhibitions I looked it up in wikipedia: “A totem is a spirit being, sacred object, or a symbol that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a family, clan, lineage or tribe.”