For Berlin Gallery Weekend, the Amsterdam-Berlin gallery network I AMsterdam YOU BErlin together with Berlin-based curator Tina Sauerländer take over St. Johannes Evangelist church in Berlin-Mitte.
Out of each participating partner’s program, curator Tina Sauerländer selects one artist whose work will be shown in a comprehensive solo presentation on the topic BEYOND. In the sacred space of St. Johannes-Evangelist-Church in Berlin-Mitte, the exhibition BEYOND presents forms of contemporary artistic discourse with a topic that not only exists in different cultures and religions but are also closely linked to individual existence and personal experience.
BEYOND: INTO ANOTHER WORLD
The term beyond refers to another world behind a border or threshold—a fantasy land, a new reality or paradise. The meanings and associations are diverse yet a “beyond” is always something absent, that can be imagined or glimpsed from one’s own standpoint in this (mortal) world. The monumental, black and white charcoal and chalk drawings by artist Raquel Maulwurf (Livingstone Gallery, The Hague) reveal prospects of the sea, deep looks into the forest or in the cosmos. They evoke the question of a world behind an indicated horizon. The light-filled spaces in the photographs of Nicole Ahland (Wichtendahl Gallery, Berlin) show dissolving spatial boundaries and the view into intense light. The glaring emptiness is reminiscent of the threshold of the transition into another world. The starting point of the paintings by Cian-Yu Bai (Gallery AdK Actuele Arts Amsterdam) lies within reality but is transformed into unusual, fairytale-abstract imagery. The painted movements of the young girls in the works by Line Gulsett (Torch Gallery, Amsterdam) let the protagonists appear blurred like ghosts, dissolved and detached from the real world around them. The artwork How long do butterflies live? by Silvia Levenson (lorch + seidel contemporary, Berlin), a wall installation made from glass tiles, refers to the fragility, uncertainty and finitude of our lives.
BEYOND: ON EVANESCENCE
Representations of vanitas, the nothingness, and finitude of existence, are a relevant and constant theme in contemporary art. Artists draw on classical motifs such as flowers, mirrors, masks and candles or dedicate their work to the transience of nature or the everyday. Formally, an abstract centerless all-over pattern that could be infinitely extended, forms an important, disparate reference to the finiteness of existence. The artist Grigori Dor (janinebeangallery, Berlin) creates still lives in the style of the old masters. In a black space, flowers, mask-like faces, wings or animal skeletons float into a balanced arrangement and seem to come out of and sink back into the black depth. The exterior of the Lebensschrank by Eva Schwab (Petra Rietz Salon Gallery, Berlin) corresponds to an old wooden armoire with medieval-like Christ and Madonna paintings. The inner contains a spine-like spiral staircase in the mirrored space, which throws the viewer back to himself. The soil rubbings, organized leaves or framed ears by herman de vries ( who uses all lowercase letters as a symbol of his belief in equality) (Wit Gallery, Amsterdam) exude a lightness that takes away the gravity of evanescence and extols the diversity and beauty of life. In his paintings Luca Grimaldi (Rutger Brandt Gallery, Amsterdam) presents human achievements such as ATMs, magazine racks or chillers filled with beer bottles in Berlin Spätis that expose the transience of everyday existence. In her video works Madeleine Altman (Petra Rietz Salon Gallery, Berlin) creates impressions of the natural, seasonal life cycle. In Black Ice, her camera glides across the fragile and brittle coat of ice of a deep black river. The all-over patterns of the drawings, engravings or paper punches by John Regin (Inga Kondeyne Gallery, Berlin) show a man-made, ordered structure without a center that serves as counterpart to finitude by pointing towards an infinite continuation beyond the image edge.
BEYOND: ICON-LIKE PORTRAITS
As portrait-like images of saints icons served as a means of communication with the divine and thus as a connection to another world. Contemporary artists create reinterpretations of (Christian) icons in their works and translate classic realistic portraits.With their naive and clear visual language, the mysterious portraits of people and animals by the artist Anne Forest (Bart Gallery, Amsterdam) emanate an iconic peace. Painted on carpet, the base material determines its haptic surface structure. The often pastel or earth-colored photographic portraits in front of a monochrome background by the artist Jörg Klaus (Carsten Seifert Gallery, Berlin) contain the expression of different human characters that appear disconnected from reality or caught in the very present.
Artists selected by Tina Sauerländer
organized by I Amsterdam You Berlin | Contemporary art from Amsterdam and Berlin
Location: St. Johannes Evangelist Kirche, Auguststraße 90, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Opening hrs: April 29, noon-10pm, April 30, noon-8pm, May 1, noon-7pm
Kindly supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands
More on: www.iamsterdamyouberlin.com