At the 58th Venice Biennale, the Belgian Pavilion is showing MONDO CANE, an exhibition by artists Jos de Gruyter & Harald Thys, curated by Anne-Claire Schmitz. Taking their cues from a wide spectrum of visual culture, the artists present a local folkloric museum populated by a universe of automated dolls. Akin to an anthropological or touristic experience, the pavilion casts a surreal and unrelenting perspective on reality. Next to the exhibition, MONDO CANE further develops as a publication and a website.
Berlin’s art scene remains in motion and in continuous development with 45 participating galleries presenting highly diverse program at this year’s Gallery Weekend. Here one gets a taste of Berlin’s districts while discovering a global plethora of contemporary works by established artists as well as promising newcomers. With a special boost of activity in Charlottenburg area, the galleries once more open their doors as places for interaction and exchange between artists, curators, collectors and enthusiasts alike.
The archetypal body of a classic sofa gets a textile-rich makeover by the Dutch designer Hella Jongerius’ poetic reworking of weave patterns, colours and textures into an intricate fabric pushing the boundaries of modern day technology. Jongerius’ mastery of weaving and her fascination with colour shapes the visual language of Vlinder Sofa.
For Balkrishna Doshi, the architect, urban planner and educator, space is an extension of life and a methodology to look at the world. This humanist sensibility shapes the architectural vocabulary of the Pritzker Prize laureate whose early years were spent under the formative tenure of Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn. His pioneering vision of a holistic habitat grounded in bridging modernist principles with local traditions marks projects ranging in scale from academic campuses to institutions as well as social housing and residences.
meredith grey (gestern im TV gesehen), 15.7.16, 2015, Photo: Markus Tretter, © Miriam Cahn, Courtesy the artist, Meyer Rieger, Berlin/Karlsruheand Galerie Jocelyn Wolff, Paris | liebenmüssen, 30.05.2017, 2017, Photo: Stefan Jeske, © Miriam Cahn
Transgressing the boundaries of a classical museum retrospective, Miriam Cahn embodies her presence through a personal staging of a non-linear chronology. The exhibition is assembled following Cahn’s own principles of thought. Emerging from performative happenings of the 70s, her work is heavily influenced by the feminist movement of the 1960s. Yet her approach is radically subtler – disturbing, oneiric paintings sparkling with color, showing figures with crude features and grotesquely exaggerated sexual organs.
A selection of Pablo Picassos pieces of the rose and blue period. Femme en chemise (Madeleine), 1904-1905 © Succession Picasso / 2018, ProLitteris, Zurich, Photo: Tate, London 2018 | Acrobate et jeune arlequin, 1905 © Succession Picasso / ProLitteris, Zurich 2018 | Famille de Saltimbanques aver un singe, 1905 © Succession Picasso /2018, ProLitteris, Zurich
It’s easy to think of Pablo Picasso as almighty: a painter who changed the course of art history, who unabashedly made art in his boxers, and who responded to questions from critics by firing a gun into the air. But the young Picasso wasn’t always so confident or successful. In fact, his early years were fraught with poverty, tragedy, and emotional frailty—and it was these struggles that he channelled into his first pioneering body of work, known as the Blue Period. One of the first paintings he produced, The Death of Casagemas (1901), responded directly to a suicide of a close friend. But from one artistic revolution followed another, in a rapid succession of changing styles and visual worlds. Indeed, only a few years after finishing The Death of Casagemas, Picasso moved to Paris and emerged from his Blue Period—into a palette of soft, joyful pinks. “Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions,” Picasso later explained. He also met Fernande Olivier that year, a French artist and model who was to become both his muse and mistress. Different facets from this new environment were brought to light on his canvases; friends from the Parisian literary scene, along his fascination with the fairground and circus performers. Many of his works from these years led up to his use of Cubism. As diverse as they seem, the two periods are connected by significants strands of thought, conveyed in this most comprehensive presentation of Picasso’s paintings and sculptures from 1901 to 1906.
Richard Serra, Berlin Junction, 1987 / Otto Herbert Hajek, Stadtzeichen/Gruppe von drei ” Raumzeichen”, 1972–1974 / Ulrich Brüschke, 0° Breite, 2012 | Photo: Mathias Rümmler
Hidden and eye-catching, obsolete and modern, unremarkable and prominent, the sight of public art in Berlin is ubiquitous, and its reception divisive. From larger then life sculptures to subtle textual interventions in unusual urban contexts, “Marmor für Alle” sets the encounter with some of the most important and public art across the city. After 1945, a boom began in the East and West Berlin, punctuating numerous places of assembly with some of the most iconic and cult fixtures: “Hand with Watch” by German artist Joachim Schmettau that featured in Depeche Mode music video, “Denkzeichen Rosa Luxemburg” by the infamous conceptual artist Hans Haacke, or the towering “Molecule Man” by Jonathan Borowsky rising from the Spree. Zooming in on different districts, each section of the book reveals and vivifies elements of the city’s biography through works of public art – evidencing the historical events and political ideas that shaped them.
A studio visit of Julie Mehretu, Vivienne Westwood at the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien and a manifesto by Jonathan Meese |© Konrad Waldmann, Gebrüder Beetz Filmproduktion, Jonathan Meese
Museums are more then guardians of our material culture and narrators of alternative histories – they are witnesses to eras of dramatic battles and great triumphs, and moments of hope and happiness, which are inscribed in the biography of the buildings. Each of the eight-part documentary series The Art of Museums takes the audience on a visit to one of the world-class museums, accompanied by the art historian Dr. Matt Lodder, a lecturer at the University of Essex. The films also give viewers a look behind the otherwise closed doors of restoration workshops and depot rooms. In the Prado, curators unveil the largest Goya collection in the world. At the Musée d’Orsay, we take a look at the colour layers of Impressionist masterpieces with restorers, or enter a secret room in the high-security wing of the Oslo Munch Museum, which houses “The Scream,” one of the world’s most expensive paintings. Every visit unfolds as a personal encounter between one of the masterworks and a renowned artist and designer such as Jonathan Meese, Marina Abramovic, Norman Foster, Ólafur Elíasson, Vivianne Westwood and Wolfgang Joop, who each inject their own idiosyncratic outlook into the mediation of works.
The manifesto by Friedrich von Borries, an installation view from the exhibition at Neue Sammlung The Design Museum and Die Münchner Rutsche, Berlin 2018 | © Projektbüro Friedrich von Borries, graphic manifesto: Ingo Offermanns, photo Die Münchner Rutsche: Achim Hatzius
The last decade has seen catastrophic shifts in global politics, economy and the environment. Foregrounding the role of contemporary positions in design, architect and design theorist Friedrich von Borries raises the question around socially and politically responsible practices. Engaging with his earlier literary work that proposed new methods for social criticism through art and design, the exhibition reframes Borries’ pragmatic approach through a series of interventions in the museum space. “Politics of Design” is the first of the three parts that conceptually underpin the exhibition and addresses the political moment in design. It uses the theses ”design sexualizes”, “design colonizes” and “design manipulates” as entryways to open up new perspective on Coca-Cola advertising, the Sony Walkman and modernist furniture. The second part of the exhibition takes a personal reading of the Friedrich von Borries’ work through a Sisyphean marble-run installation by the artist Mikael Mikael that points at the absurdist dimension of a politically active artist and designer. The third part “Design as Politics” explores the possibilities for shaping the political environment through design. Coexisting as a carrier of messages and a tool of influence design is used to persuade. The question we have a responsibility to ask is, “Persuade to do what and to whose benefit?”
Impressions of the Grill Royal photographed by Stefan Korte, Robert Rieger, Maxime Ballesteros and Peter Langer
It is customary to describe Grill Royal as an institution – more than a luxe restaurant boasting one of Berlins most extensive steak menus, it is an open and dynamic meeting place, exuding an offbeat sense of intimacy. The vision of owners Boris Radczun and Stephan Landwehr was seemingly straightforward; a restaurant where one could dine exquisitely, in good company, stumbling on an unlikely location in the basement of a former East German building. On gastronomic terms, Grill Royal, run together with Moritz Estermann, draws stimuli from the classic grill restaurants found in grand hotels, but to anyone who has spent an evening there, it becomes abundantly clear that it resists any easy classification. The story of Grill Royal is reflected in the book GRILL ROYAL, accompanied with the photo reportage A Day by Peter Langer, portraying previously unreleased impressions of the hustle and bustle behind the scenes of the restaurant, while Maxime Ballesteros captures the unique atmosphere at night in A Night. Further images are included by Stefan Korte, Florian Bolk and Robert Rieger. The texts on hospitality and meat come from Adriano Sack, Erwin Seitz, René Pollesch and Prof. Thomas Vilgis. In addition, Stuart Pigott talks to Andrea Kauk and Moritz Estermann about the wine selection.