James Turrell’s “Aural” at The Jewish Museum Berlin

April 24, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is something special, to experience a light installation of James Turrell live and in color. Since April 12th, the Jewish Museum is showing the installation “Aural” – an original from 2004. The artwork will be exhibited till September 30th of 2019.

It was Dieter and Si Rosenkranz, an art collector couple, who made the gift of this artwork to the museum. “Aural” has never been shown in this way and is currently to be seen in a temporary building in the museum’s garden during the stated period of time.

The time that „Aural“ was exposed in Valencia, one could only see it bathed in the color blue. For the exposition in the Jewish Museum, James Turrell amplified the walk-in installation with new colors, where you can now experience one of his “Ganzfeld Pieces”[1](“a German word to describe the phenomenon of the total loss of depth perception as in the experience of a white-out”) with 13.000 single LEDs on over 200m² for the first time in Berlin.

[1]http://jamesturrell.com/work/type/ganzfeld/

During the press conference, program director Léontine Meijer-van Mensch gets to the heart of it: “You need to take your time for Turrell.”

At first, the eyes need to get used to the change of color and the dematerialized state of this room with no dimensions and contours. Essentially, this artwork offers the possibility of seeing the museum as a “place of deceleration”. Nowadays the idea of decelerating can become part

Considering the meaning of the “Aural” for the museum, Peter Schäfer, director of the Jewish Museum straightens out: “As any good artist, Turrell does not dictate how to interpret his work.”

In Judaism, the symbolism of light has a high significance: It stands for the presence of God and goes way back to the creative act. In the wilderness sanctuary, before the construction of the Jerusalem temple, there was always a burning light. Still today, there is always the burning “eternal flame” (Hebrew: ner tamid) in the synagogue beside the Torah Shrine.

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Photos: Key visual portrait James Turrell, photo Grant Delin

Photos 2,4,5: James Turrell, Ganzfeld Aural, 2018; © Jewish Museum Berlin, photo Florian Holzherr

Tours + Travel 

James Turrell was born in 1943 in Los Angeles. As one of the most important contemporary artists, he dedicates all his work since over fifty years to the medium light. What matters most to Turrell in the examination of light, is the human perception of light. He aims to free the perception from any kind of associative and symbolic thinking.

In the end, what Turrell achieves with his “Perceptual Art”, as he himself describes it, is, that the perception itself becomes observed: “Seeing yourself see” is how James Turrell describes the experience of his Ganzfeld-installations. The “Aural” enables taking a look at the inside, as well as self-reflection and an almost trance-like state of observance.

Besides, Schäfer also refers to the kabbalah, Jewish mysticism.  Here, God is understood as an unrecognizable force at first – without beginning nor ending – who, initially appearing as a dark, colorless flame, becomes tangible and visible in the form of all the colors there are.

For those, who would like to see another although smaller Ganzfeld of James Turrell: You can do this at Museum Frieder Burda in Baden-Baden from June 9th till October 28th of 2018.

Interview with Berlin Fashion Designer Isabel Vollrath

April 12, 2018

Isabel Vollrath is a German fashion designer, working in the fields of modern Couture and fine art. She was born in 1980 in Freiburg and started her career by learning the craft of gentlemen’s tailoring in Baden-Baden. Afterwards she studied fashion at the renowned art university in Berlin-Weissensee. For Isabel Vollrath, garments are three-dimensional drawings, collages, objects of “sculpture”, sociocritical / political statements and/or “cultural travel reports”. Choosing extraordinary materials and details of high quality while working in an area of tension between fashion and art, the Berlin fashion designer leaves traces with a high recognition factor. By means of integrating both historicizing and avant-garde, sculptural-futuristic stylistic elements, high-contrast, abstract but at the same time figure-hugging cuttings, the resulting silhouettes are expressive and extensive, functioning as in-the- room-lying “bowls” or rather as integrative to the human moving body.

Isabel Vollrath has already received various national and international awards, amongst them the promotion prize of the Wilhelm-Lorch-Foundation, the Elsa-Neumann-scholarship from the state of Berlin, the Baltic Fashion Award (2011) and the award of the “International Talent Support” in Trieste/Italy (2012). 2015 she founded her label I’ VR ISABEL VOLLRATH. Ever since, she shows her collections twice a year during Berlin Fashion Week or in the context of Berlin Salon / Vogue Salon at Kronprinzenpalais. Miriam Bers met the Berlin fashion designer for an interview.

MB: How does the day of a Berlin fashion designer start?

IV: Contrast showers, coffee. Afterwards I jump on my bike and go to early yoga or ballet class. After that, I go to my atelier…

MB: Why a sculptural design-language?

IV: When I finished high school, I actually wanted to study free arts and become a sculptor. At the same time, there was this passion for fashion and the craft of tailoring. So I decided to study tailoring in Gerhard Schmauder’s custom tailor for men in Baden-Baden for three years. This is where I learned how to develop a “second skin” for men out of fabric.

Basically, this was also a kind of “sculpting” and an essential fundament for my following studies in fashion. I guess, in Berlin I am one of the few designers that still fabricate their whole sample collection on their own. For this, I combine my sculptor activities with the technical know-how of tailoring and a very high demand on precision, I observe with the eyes of an artist and still have the necessary sense of functionality in the back of my mind.

 

MB: Which exposition did you see last?

IV: Actually, I attend openings very often.

That’s why now I’m trying to remember, which expositions really fascinated me during the last months… It’s been a while, but spontaneously I recall “Jonas Burgert: Zeitlaich” at Blainsouthern and „Cornelia Schleime: Full House” at Michael Schultz and obviously also the Biennale in Venice last year. I’m very excited about Gallery Weekend that will be taking place soon.

MB: Which writers inspire you?

IV: Old masters as Goethe.

MB: What is you favorite place in Berlin?

IV: Close to the water and in the country. Or a terrace with a wide view over Berlin’s rooftops or a nice wine bar around the corner. ONE favorite place actually doesn’t exist…

MB: Your place of longing?

IV: Italy. Venice. The sea.

MB: How does the day of a Berlin fashion designer end? By cooking on your own or going out to have dinner?

During the work process, I focus on the message, the statement, a story, an emotion and less on the aim of addressing the consumers of the mass market. The majority of my collection pieces could also be hung on a wall as an art object or be placed inside of a picture frame, instead of being hung in a closet. They function as both: body- and room objects. My collections will always stay limited edition. Only that way, I can stay true to myself and do fashion as well as art. Before I think of elegance, I “romp”: In experiments, in forms, playing with material and cuts – with the curiosity of a child and the “flow” of my hands.

MB: Your oeuvre, summarized in three phrases:

IV: I’d prefer three words: Idiosyncratic. Authentic. Uncompromising.

MB: Which designers inspire you?

IV: There are designers/brands of the past and present, who I really adore and whose life’s work and creations I appreciate a lot. For example those of Coco Chanel, Vivienne Westwood, Rei Kawakubo or Iris van Herpen and Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen or Hussein Chalayan. I like a strong visual expression, the courage to use extraordinary forms, colors, materials and an individual signature with a recognition value.

IV: Extensive cooking – that is rather something I do, when I receive visitors. When I’m alone, I have a salad and a glass of white wine. Or I make plans to have a drink somewhere.

MB: Any idea for a recipe?

IV: For visitors, I always like to serve “antipasto misto”…-colorful vegetables like zucchini, fennel, pumpkin, pepper, rosemary potatoes from the oven – with goat cream and olive oil. This comes with a side salad: radicchio, chicory, lamb’s lettuce – with tomatoes, cucumber, toasted sesame and pomegranate. If desired: wild salmon with a lemon-honey-sauce and wild rice in coconut milk.

MB: When and where can one see your next collection?

IV: The fashion week for spring/summer 2019 starts at the beginning of July. The exact dates of my fashion shows are not definite yet, but they’re being planned and will be announced soon in the calendar of Berlin Fashion Week or  Berlin Salon.

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Photos: Key visual Det Nissen

1/3  Thomas Thernes, 4 Katy Otto, 2 Philipp Wolfart