Regina Maria Möller at Michael Janssen Gallery Berlin

November 16, 2018

Regina Maria Möllers’ exhibition ‚The Moth’ runs until November 17, 2018 at Janssen Gallery Berlin. Born in Munich Möller firstly took up her studies at the Philosophical Faculty of Ludwig Maximilians University. She spent a large part of her career as a professor/visiting professor as well as artist (since 1993) amongst others in New York, Stockholm, at the NTNU Trondheim, Singapore as well as MIT in Cambridge. Today she lives in Berlin. With ongoing and often interdisciplinary projects such as ‚regina’ or ‚embodiment’ Möller focuses on socially relevant topics that partly autobiographical. She consistently works at the interface between culture and everyday life.

GoArt! meets Regina Maria Möller.

MB: Regina, how does your day start?

RMM: When I am in Berlin I usually go to the SSE – I swim.

MB:  At first glance, the gallery showcase is covered with a heavy black curtain. Entering the front space the visitor is confronted with a stage-like set of historical theatre curtains. Only after passing through does he reach the props warehouse, which is in the backspace of the gallery, exhibiting more of your works. Consequently, it becomes an indirect stage direction for the viewer – what role does the moth play in this production?

RMM: During the exhibition visitors pass the gallery through the main curtain and thus become participants. There is a shadow play in the center of the “stage” and by moving the curtains it reveals a new perspective to the viewer. Dramaturgy and orientation move circular – similar to the behavior of moths orbiting round the light while simultaneously being attracted by darkness. In this case I am referring to the ‘clothes moth’. An unwelcome visitor in our wardrobes, but at the same time it is a quality guarantee in digitally and plastic dominated ages: their larvae live on keratin, a protein that is a component of an animals fur and horn. Therefore fibres of high quality like wool and silk are a desirable resource for larvae.

Generally speaking, a heavy theatre curtain is often associated with something dusty in which thousands of moths larvae are romping about. It is penetrated, eaten and if it is not conserved in a theatrical prop it consequently lands in an old stuff bag. Moreover, the fabulous creature ‘The Mothman’ is an allegory for the Grim Reaper and so do the clothes moths remind of the Ephemeral.  For me, this is a memento mori to our senses and to material as a tangible body.
In addition, the porcelain vases come into play: For the first time they are endowed with a moth motif and produced together with Uli Aigner One Million as well as with the porcelain manufacturer Nymphenburg. Handcraft and porcelain production have taken on a new significance in our technological world. All the more I love its delicacy and imperfection. Like so many materials I work with porcelain has its own character – a life – that provides surprises. So does the moth.

MB: Originally, you have a theoretical background, and among others studied art history. 1994 you also emerged as an artist with works like the magazine ‘regina’ and the label ‘embodiment’ – designing dresses, wallpapers and furniture as well as art works. Noticeable are the biographical components, for example, ‘Reproduktionen’ or other photo works, even the robes in it function as requisites. Do you place yourself in the genre of the self-portraying artist?

RMM: Generally, I do not consider myself an art piece and do not stage myself as an artist. But as an author, an artist, I naturally identify with my works and in this sense each piece leaves an imprint, an image of myself. On the one hand important issues of ‘regina’ and ’embodiment’ is the question of identities showing themselves in everyday life – intercultural and medial – for example via ‘clothing’ (dresses, textiles, interieur). But also the attribution and penetration of role models are of particular relevance. In our fast pace digital age people use multiple identities. Like this biographies become a mirror of a entertainment society. Nevertheless ‘regina’ and ‘embodiment’ go back to the 90ies where these issues were still quite different. Today they have a new relevance – their physical (embodiment) and analogue (regina) presence.

MB: To me, objects in the show awaken protagonists of the cultural life like the Brechtian curtain, a time travel through different epochs and genre. Is the moth synonym for a pioneering spirit of researchers, for artists, even for you, in your artistic context?

RMM: No. But it is part of it.

MB: Besides, a topic that interests me a lot is food – also part of ‘regina’ -of course in a vital way. The social importance of food, of nutrition, up to recipes. What place does food/cooking have in your artistic context?

RMM: The Eat Art concept of Daniel Spoerri has taught me early on how closely art and cooking are interlinked. To me the kitchen is a meeting place. Communal cooking and eating create the climate for fruitful exchanges between cultures. I myself enjoy cooking and I like carefully prepared tables – simple as well as magnificent – but always elaborate ones. Besides, there is king Louis II of course – the fairy tale king of Bavaria – with the fabulous ‘Wishing Table’…

MB: Recipe idea?

RMM: Re-educating our senses and sensors.

Studio Visit with Klaus Killisch

Klaus Killisch
September 4, 2018

GoArt! studio visit with Klaus Killisch

„Mann vor Mauer“ (1988) by artist Klaus Killisch is part of the group show „ Die Schönheit der großen Stadt“ at Ephraim Palais, running till October 28th, 2018. The exhibition shows 120 top-class works by artists who represent the urban and social structures of Berlin in the 19th and 20th century. Born in the former GDR, Klaus Killisch lives in Berlin since 1972, first studied industrial design, later painting at the Academy of Arts in Weissensee. Expressionism as well as the Bauhaus idea, pop and punk, bands such as Einstürzende Neubauten or Nick Cave have influenced the artist’s style from the beginning – a particular kind of collage painting. Music as sound, or rather as material – vinyl, record sleeves or portraits of these models often represent a component of Klaus paintings.

Miriam met the artist in his studio.

Miriam Bers: You told me that the above named heroes of the eighties also swept to the former East of the city, to the Art Academy in Weissensee. This is hardly comprehensible for someone who never lived in the GDR. How does it coalite: Punk and GDR? How come that these movements have significantly shaped your work?

Klaus Killisch: My interest was listening to cool music while painting; for example Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds or Einstürzende Neubauten inspired me a lot. This kind of music best expressed our feelings, the awareness of life at that very moment. It was like a motor stimulating me while painting and propelling me into trance. And it still works the same way today. Much later I understood how much ‚Zeitgeist‘ was turning up in my paintings. This for example is highly visible in ‚die Seele brennt‘ or ‚Teutonisches Bild‘, showing a wolf-man rising out of the image-space.

MB: You mentioned the pottery workshop of Wilfriede Maass being important for you and for other artists, who later also had a gallery in Berlin Mitte in the 90ies.

KK: In the 80ies, the pottery workshop of Wilfriede Maas was a kind of salon and meeting place for the subversive art scene in Prenzlauer Berg, East Berlin. Artists like Cornelia Schleime, Wolfram Scheffler or Angela Hampel painted their pottery there. When I met Wilfriede, many of them had already left the East to live in the West. This exodus was a big loss, but at the same time it helped us going one step further. Together with Wilfriede, Sabine Herrmann and Petra Schramm I founded one of the first artists run galleries in East Berlin. We invited other artists to work there. The ceramic works being produced in the workshop have then been exhibited together with the respective actual work. I therefore had designed blue wall paintings and exhibited my pottery in front of it. That was pretty cool! In the nineties we moved to Gipsstreet with the gallery. We were pioneers of the art boom in Mitte. One highlight was the exhibition ‚Sake Bar‘. It was the idea of Mikael Eriksson. You could sit in a recreated Sake Bar, drink from the vessels but also buy them. Neo Rauch, Carsten Nicolai and many others participated.

MB: How has your work grown in the nineties until today, in the spotlight Berlin? Have you instantly had contacts to people living abroad, after the fall of the wall? I know that in 2004 you co-founded the group ‚Collective Task‘, a kind of mail art together with a poetry scene in New York. How does it work and what is the idea of the collective undertaking about?

KK: When the wall felt through our peaceful revolution I was kind of fortunate: I have been invited to the Biennial of Venice! My expressive works were part of the show Berlin! inthe Italian Pavillon. That was totally exciting and new. With the help of fellowships and exhibitions I traveled a lot and also stayed in Japan for a while. There, I met the American poet Robert Fitterman with whom I have a very long friendship now. He had the idea of ‘Collective Task’. We both organize CT for more than 10 years. The idea is relatively simple: Each month an artist sets a task and the others answer, each in his or her creative way. The results and its variety can be seen on our website. In 2012 we were even invited presenting the work at MoMA. This was thrilling.

In my artistic work I am open for inspiration. Thus several years ago I have been asked by Sangare Siemsen to create a ceiling look for his bar ‚ambulance‘, with records he dj‘ed in the nineties. With this work my passion for vinyl break out. I started experimenting with acrylic color and screened motifs from advertisement thereby developing my collage painting. Talking in terms of music, there is Sampling. And this is how I conceive my art – as a mix of a piece of everyday culture, of the club scene, of trash and painting. Unfortunately the bar no longer exists. In the meantime the ceiling has been covered. Perhaps one day it can be uncovered again.

MB: What will be shown at your next solo exhibition “Endless Rhythm” in Chemnitz? Where and when can it be seen?

KK: The show will beon display at gallery ‚Weltecho‘, starting October 20th, 2018. I already look forward to realizing a wall work there, on the 5 meter high walls!

MB: Which is your favorite place in Berlin?

KK: My studio.

MB: Which is your place of longing?

KK: Parpan, a little village in Graubünden.

MB: How does your day end? Do you cook yourself or do you eat out?

KK: Both. But cooking at home and dining with my family is best.

MB: Recipe idea?

KK: My children often ask for pancakes. And most of the times they turn out well/filmly cut. There are so many options to enjoy them – with salmon, mushrooms, salad or as a desert.

photo credit: Klaus Killisch

GoArt! Berlin art consulting

 

 

Klaus Killisch
Klaus Killisch
Klaus Killisch
Klaus Killisch
Klaus Killisch

10th Berlin Biennale

August 16, 2018

 The 10th Berlin Biennale is on display until September 9th, 2018. Under the title ‘We do not need another hero’, Gabi Ngcobo’s team of five curators has brought together 46 artistic positions dealing with political and social events, power structures and historiography away from the Eurocentric perspective, with a focus on African or South American contemplations.

Miriam Bers spoke with Nomaduma Rosa Masilela, one of the co-curators of the 10th Berlin Biennale:

MB: What expectations did you have when you came to Berlin – how was /how is the work here as a curator for the 10th Berlin Biennale? How international is the scene compared to New York, what inspired you, what surprised you and what disappointed you?

NRMI lived in New York for over a decade, spending nearly all of my 20s in the art ‘scene’ there, therefore I’m not sure if I am yet at all able to provide any real comparison to the Berlin scene, which I have really only been experiencing for less than a year. While I don’t think that many cities can compare to the international quality of the New York scene, a difference that I have noted is that while the forces of the capital are overwhelmingly present and influential in New York, the Berlin scene appears more directed by state/singular funding sources, which dictate the direction and overall interests of the season. What has inspired me the most about Berlin has been meeting the many artists who live in this city, sharing their work, and being able to imagine a way of collaboration in a much more free way than what is possible in New York, in which most activities are centered around a concern for a profit or popularity margin.

MB: It is very inspiring that the curatorial team of the 10th Berlin Biennale has managed to combine politics with poetry. You comprehend the message of many works without knowing all the details and backgrounds. Themes such as colonialism and oppression characterize the style of the exhibition venues – without a moral pointing finger, but with different artistic worlds partly involving the viewer. For example, The participatory performance of Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born in the Kunst Werke, which deals with one of the most important women’s protests in the world, incorporates the viewer, asks them questions that in a next step link them to lyrics or songs. Can this be understood as a work in progress, as a new story?

NRMOkwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born’s project, Sitting on a Man’s Head (2018) was a newly commissioned work for the 10th Berlin Biennale, however it is the result of ongoing research that far predates their involvement with the biennale. Okwui’s research into this practice, and its implementation in the early 20th century in Nigeria, informed earlier performance productions, such as Poor People’s TV Room. However, this specific iteration, which we produced for the biennale was really only possible within the context of an ongoing exhibition. Also, the ongoing participation of both activators and audience members, which is so integral to the piece, is also reflective of the ongoing nature of protest and its resultant possibilities of change.

MB: In the Academy of Arts, Firelei Baez shows her version of Sanssouci. Sanssouci as a former ruler and today’s artistic desire place? What is the story of the Haitian Sanssouci and what do we learn from it? What message does Firelei Baez attach to her work?

NRM: I think this question can best be answered through reading the beautiful essays that Portia Malatjie wrote about Firelei’s Sanssouci project in the biennale catalogue and exhibition guide. Portia’s essay clearly explains the importance of the Haitian Sanssouci and of the Haitian Revolution, not only within Firelei’s practice and this biennale, but also as a model for the necessary changes that need to occur. Firelei insists that by layering or ‘triangulating’ histories, one is able to open up a third space of enunciation – one of possibility.

MB: Last but not least in a few words: What is your key message and what’s coming next?

NRMWe have avoided providing keys throughout the exhibition, as that eliminates any of the interesting work that one has to do in interpreting and deciding how things are on ones own. What we want is for each viewer to be able to engage with the works and have their own feelings; to question themselves and the structures that they have possibly always taken for granted; and in so doing, to create new possibilities of being and of imagining the world and those within it. 
As for me, what’s next – I’m now based in Berlin, having moved permanently from New York in February, and am currently prioritizing completing and submit a dissertation for the department of art history at Columbia University in New York. I am also focusing on making my own art work and planning a sister publication to the curatorial publication that I organized for the biennale, Strange Attractors, which combined commissioned works by contemporary artists (such as Temitayo Ogunbiyi, Mame Diarra Niang, Adrijana Gvozdenovic, and Beau H. Rhee) with archival materials (the herbarium pages of Rosa Luxemburg, the sketchbook of Mildred Thompson, and notebooks of both Octavia Butler and Audre Lorde) in order to look at the comforts and complications of familial love and communication.

 

10th Berlin Biennale
10th Berlin Biennale
10th Berlin Biennale
10th Berlin Biennale
10th Berlin Biennale
10th Berlin Biennale

 

photo credit: 10. berlin biennale

photo 1 © F. Anthea Schaap, photo 2 © Liz Johnson Artur, photo 3 © Smina Bluth, photo 4 © Timo Ohler, photo 5 © Timo Ohler, photo 6 © Timo Ohler

GoArt! Berlin tours

Fashion Week Berlin – König Souvenir x Kollektiv Ignaz

Fashion Week Ignaz Kollektiv
July 13, 2018

A very exciting and rather atypical presentation at the Berliner Salon during Fashion Week Berlin was the cooperation of a contemporary art gallery and the over one year ago founded Kollektiv Ignaz. König Souvenir had been launched in 2017 and is a young product line of the successful Galerie König that recently opened a dependency in London.

König Souvenir creates editions like shirts, hoodies, beach towels and further accessories, whose prints refer to artists’ works being shown in the gallery and furthermore focuses on socially and politically relevant topics that define our everyday life. For example, there are leggings with a print of a work by Claudia Comte or the Guilt Cap by Monica Bonvicini but also a EUnify Hoodie calling for critical commitment to the European project. Kollektiv Ignaz lives in Frankfurt cutting a dash with music, design and photography related events, also in cooperation with the Museum of Applied Arts. Stated goal of the triple is arousing interest of young and creative peers currently graduating from school being less text-heavy than their predecessors.

Miriam Bers spoke with the protagonists during Fashion Week Berlin.

MB: Why founding the group, what moves you?

KI: Our group is based on friendship. We are friends for years now and have lived out our own creative ideas. At a certain point we began exchanging projects and became a team. Above all, we want to express our own creativity using the collective as a platform.

MB: König Souvenir, why collaborating with the collective during Fashion Week Berlin?

KS: We have been known Ignaz for a while and took notice of them through their creative projects. When the anti-Semitic attacks happened we were in a close dialogue with each other setting an example for tolerance and against hate while developing the Solidarity Hoodie together.

MB: The Solidarity Hoodie is a brilliant idea: A kippah stitched on a hoodie. In this way, you create a political lifestyle–product representing different minorities. The kippah as a Jewish symbol, the hoodie once synonym for marginalized groups, later popular in the hip hop scene and nowadays indispensable. Sometimes also connected to anonymity and denial.

MB: Where did the idea come from?

KI: The hoodie does not play a certain role. We all come from a generation where an outfit is not about its past but about its look and coolness. Both, attacks against the Jewish as well as against other religions unfortunately still happen too often in Germany. We are sick of the press and the society discussing religious details over and over again when the general free practice of religion is just not possible.

MB: Who is your target audience?

KI: There is no specific target group. Everybody who is for the freedom of religions and wants to stand up for people being religiously discriminated is invited to wear this hoodie.

MB: The hoodie is an edition of?

KS: The hoodie is an edition of 500 and currently available in the colors black, blue, yellow, grey and green.

MB: How does it feel to be represented together with König Souvenir at Berliner Salon during Fashion Week Berlin? How is the reaction to the Solidarity Hoodie?

KI: Of course it is a great honor and a huge opportunity to collaborate with König Souvenir. Even before the cooperation we were big fans of them.

KS: The Berliner Salon during Fashion Week was the perfect platform to show the Solidarity Hoodie. We received a throughout positive echo and even requests from the US.

MB: What’s next?

KI: Within the last months, we have fully dedicated ourselves to this project. But of course we will carry on soon.

MB: König Souvenir, which will be your next highlight?

KS: We have currently two new shirts in store created on the occasion of the exhibition by Andreas Mühe presenting his new works „Prora Sport“ and „Totilas I“. Furthermore, there are other collaborations being planned which of course will be surprises and available in our online shop Koenig-souvenir.com as well as in the gallery here in Berlin.

Photos: Jakob Blumenthal 

Portrait: Nick Leuze

IG: @goartberlin @koenig.souvenir @ignaz.de @nickleuze

GoArt! Art & Fashion Tours

Porträt Kollektiv Ignaz, Fashion Week
KSxIGNAZ
KSxIGNAZ
KSxIGNAZ

World Press Photo 18 Berlin

World Press Photo
June 12, 2018

The World Press Photo Award 2017 goes to the photographer Ronaldo Schemidt. He photographed José Víctor Slazar Balza (28) during the protests against the Venezuelan government, who was caught in flames when the tank of motorcycle exploded. Balza survived with severe burns.

The annual World Press Photo Arward is the world’s largest and most prestigious competition for press photography. Since 1955, the mission oft he World Press Photo Foundation has been „to maintain high professional standards in photojournalism and to advocate a free and unrestricted exchange of information“.

Altogether more than 4500 photographers with 73,000 photos took part in the competition. All award-winning photos will be shown in an exhibition that will be shown in 45 countries. Freundeskreis Willy-Brandt-Haus, Gruner+Jahr and the magazines Stern and Geo present the World Press Photo exhibition for the 15th time in the Willy-Brandt-Haus.

Exhibition: June 8th – July 1st, 2018, Willy-Brandt-Haus Berlin

World Press Photo 18

Installation View

World Photo Press 18

Installation View

World Photo Press 18

Installation View

World Photo Press 18

Long-Term Projects, 1st Prize, Carla Kogelman, The Netherlands, I am Waldviertel, 19 July 2012 - 29 August 2017 > Hannah and Alena are two sisters who love in Merkenbrechts, a bioenergy village of around 170 inhabitants in Waldviertel, an isolated rural area of Austria, near the Czech border.

World Photo Press 18

Carla Kogelman, Hannah und Alena, 2017

World Photo Press 18

Environment, 1ste Prize Stories, Kadir van Lohuizen, The Netherlands, NOOR Images, 23 February 2016 - 9 July 2017 > Humans are producing more waste than ever before. According to research by the World Bank, the world generates 3.5 million tonnes of solid waste a day, ten times the amount of a century ago. A documentation of waste management systems in metropolises across the world investigates how different societies manage-or mismanage-their waste.

World Photo Press 18

Kader van Lohuizen, Garbage is collected in the center of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

World Photo Press 18

Environment, 3rd Prize Singles, Thomas P. Peschak, Germany 1 Mach 2017 > A historic photograph of an African penguin colony, taken in the late 1890s, is a stark contrast to the declining numbers seen in 2017 in the same location, on Halifax Island, Namibia. The colony once numbered more than 100,000 penguins.

World Photo Press 18

Long-Term Projects 2nd Prize, Fausto Podavini, Italy, Omo Change, 24 July 2011 - 24 November 2017 > The Gibe III Dam across the Omo River in Ethiopia impacts not only people living along the Omo Valley, but those around Lake Turkana (into which the Omo empties) in Kenya. People of eight different ethnicities live along the valley in delicate balance withe the environment.

World Photo Press 18

Fausto Pdavini, Murrst women, wearing bras given to them by tourists, return to their village after fetching well water.

World Photo Press 18

A man from the Mursi ethnic group prepares for a traditional stick-fighting contest against a neighboring village.

World Photo Press 18

People, 2nd Prize Stories, Anna Boyiazis, USA 17 October - 29 December 2016 > Traditionally, girls in the Zanzibar archipelago are discouraged from learning how to swim, largely because of the strictures of a conservative islamic culture and the absence of modest swimwear.

World Photo Press 18

Anna Boyiazis, Students from the Kijini Primary School learn to swim and perform rescues, off Muyuni.

World Photo Press 18

Anna Boyiazis, Swimming instructor Chema (17) snaps her fingers as she disappears underwater, in the ocean near the village of Nungwi.

Food Revolution 5.0

Food Revolution
May 18, 2018

The museum of Decorative Art in Berlin has openend the by Dr. Claudia Banz curated show Food Revolution 5.0 on May 18, 2018. Themes such as food in the future, dwindling resources or climate change make nutrition to a hot political issue. What scenarios develop artists for the food of tomorrow? Miriam Bers met the curator of Food Revolution 5.0 and the Museum for Decorative Arts.

MB: Food Revolution 5.0 has already been shown at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg. There, the participating artists had developed commissioned works. Will you exhibit the same pieces in Berlin?

CB: Yes, more or less but we could enlarge the show by other new important contributions. So also an exhibition is an open project. In Berlin, we work much more in the outer space. In the ‘Piazzetta’ comes an “Urbane Streuobstwiese” (urban meadow orchard) into being, a project of the Dutch city planner and designer Ton Matton. On an up to now unused terrace of the museum the Planwerkstatt of the Technical University of Berlin in cooperation with the landscape architect Katrin Bohn realizes “Essbare Gärten” (eatable gardens). Particularly for this exhibition Silke Riechert has developed the participative installation ”Störung im Schlaraffenland” (disruption in paradise), a critical look at the food industry but at the same time a nutritional knowledge transfer for school children. Susanna Soares and Andrew Folkes show their project “Insects au Gratin”, here researching future food in the context of insects, nutrients and 3 D prints. Chmara.rosinske participate with their work “Mobile Gastfreundschaften” (mobile hospitalities) and the Center for Genomic Gastronomy present their latest project  “ To flavor our teares”.

MB: Food is more and more important and in our western world and became a prior lifestyle topic. Thus, it has lots of exciting societal and aesthetical components, health aspects, then again ecological and political meaning and its downside: lack of food, disappearance of resources and famine. The Austrian Klaus Pichler for example works in a critical and at the same time very aesthetical way on the subject ‘food in abundance’. According to statistics, about one third of the worldwide foodstuffs are discarded. Most of it in industrialized countries. In contrast, 925 Million people are threatened by hunger. What is the message of the exhibition, does it offer alternatives?

CB: Yes, this subject plays a major role in the work of Pichler, as well as in the ones of Kosuke Araki, who designs plates and dishes by food waste, thereby demonstrating that it can be a valuable resource. Our consumption is so important, the respectful treatment of resources. Subtext of most of the works is consumption as a question of attitude and responsibility.

 

MB: What are you referring to with the title Food Revolution 5.0? How is your vision for future food?

CB: The title resulted by beforehand researches: I think in the meantime it has arrived in the center of society that our nutrition system is the main cause of the climate change and that it needs to be changed radically. 5.0 stands for a wise use of technology, connected with traditional cultural techniques and agriculture, handcraft knowledge and DIY, preserving and further specifics of farming. At the same time it stands for degrowth and the idea of commons. The earth’s resources belong to all humans and not only to a few large companies. Accordingly, all men shall have equal access to it.

MB: Are the designers’ works applicable or rather reflections and utopia of future food?

CB: We show best practice examples like an indoor farm growing salad or a mobile beehive for the urban space from the ‘Beecollective’. You will also see a tomato-fish project operating according to the principle of an aquaponic, and a seaweed farm for the building façade. But there are also speculative works such as “Digital Food” from Martí Guixé creating a vision of a customized nutrition. On the other side Johanna Schmeer with her piece “Bioplastic Phantastic” studying possibilities to use bio– and nanotechnological knowledge for the future food production.

 

MB: Would you tell us something about the concepts of Werner Aisslingers or Marije Vogelzang, what is the Sharing Dinner?

CB: Especially for this project Werner Aisslinger developed a communal cooking landscape. It is a hybrid of an archetype hob, arena/steps functioning as a symbiosis of analogue cooking and social aspect of a shared cooking, eating and communication. Marije Vogelzang in “Volumes” presents a possibility to change our eating habits positively.

MB: Berlin is a good example for a city, where creative minds deal with the issue sustainability. Successful urban gardening projects, an increasing number of restaurants and chefs cooking with local ingredients, organic supermarkets, the Berliner Tafel, distributing foodstuffs to deprived persons and last but not least inhouse farming/vertical planting. How do you see this development, do we have a lead role?

CB: yes, absolutely. There is an unbelievable density of different players dealing with the food subject and an interesting start up scene for innovative and sustainable food products and its useful distribution. Besides, Berlin is the first city having a Nutrition Council, based on the Anglo-Saxon model. This is important to create awareness in politics. And there are also lots of exciting art and design projects being seen by an international audience. Berlins  art- and design universities deal with this issue.

MB: Do you like cooking, which are your criteria?

CB: I like cooking and in the meantime check out where products come from. Local and regional ones are very important for me. I go shopping more frequently to reduce my food waste. It is a pity that there are still few stores offering food without packaging – even organic supermarkets use as much as the others.

MB: A recipe idea?

CB: in the meantime, there are also recipe books for insects, within others from the Suisse designer Andrea Staudacher, participating in the show as well. I would spend more time with insects used as food and try different recipes not least due to the new European law permitting insects as aliments.

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Food Revolution 5.0
Gestaltung für die Gesellschaft von Morgen

May 18th – September 30th, 2018 

GoArt! Food Tours

Food Revolution

Johanna Schmeer, Bioplastic Fantastic, 2014, © Johanna Schmeer

Food Revolution

Klaus Pichler, Erdbeeren, aus der Fotoserie „One third“, 2010-2012, © Klaus Pichler

Food Revolution

Officina Corpuscoli - Maurizio Montalti, System Synthetics, seit 2011, © Maurizio Montalti

Food Revolution

Fraunhofer UMSICHTinFARMING, 2017© Fraunhofer Umsicht 2017

Food Revolution

Chloé Rutzerveld, Edible Growth, 2014, © Chloé Rutzerveld, Foto: Bart van Overbeeke

Food Revolution

Marije Vogelzang, Volumes, 2017, © Marije Vogelzang

Food Revolution

Austin Stewart, Second Livestock, 2014, © Austin Stewart

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.

 

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.

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?

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

 

 

Sigrid Neubert – Modern Architecture in Photography

March 28, 2018

Sigrid Neubert (*1927) is one of Germany’s most renowned architectural photographers. In the past six decades, she has produced aesthetic images of modern buildings and urban landscapes. Later, Neubert was also interested in nature photography while creating poetic, partly mystical imagery. A selection of works by Sigrid Neubert is currently on display in the Museum für Fotografie (Museum of Photography) of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin . The exhibition runs until June 3rd, 2018.

Miriam Bers talked to the two curators of the exhibition – the head of the photography collection of the Kunstbibliothek (Art Library) Dr. Ludger Derenthal, and the architect and art historian Dr. Frank Seehausen.

MB: Mr. Derenthal, according to which criteria do you create your program?

LD: In the Museum of Photography we present the whole history of this important visual medium from its beginning in the middle of the 19th century to the present day, often in thematic exhibitions and with works from our collection.

MB: How did the current cooperation with you and Frank Seehausen come about?

LD: We were very fortunate to have the opportunity to compile a representative selection from the comprehensive archive of Sigrid Neubert and incorporate the works into our collection. Therefore it was our aspiration to create an exhibition that involves her complete oeuvre – landscape and architectural photography. We curated the exhibition together: I was responsible for the nature part and Frank Seehausen, who also wrote the book about Sigrid Neubert’s architectural photography that will soon be published by Hirmer, took care of the architecture section.

MB: The current exhibition with works by Sigrid Neubert summarized in four keywords?

FS: The architectural photography is presented in four thematic chapters as the core of Neubert’s lifework with manifold references to her free work. We aim to encourage visitors to search for points of view, motives, similarities and differences. Archival material and, above all, architectural drawings make the dialogue between the photographer and the architects comprehensible.

LD: Talking about the landscape photography, two aspects are important to me: Sigrid Neubert has used photography both as a medium of expressing emotions as well as a medium for the development of a unique design vocabulary which together form a very instructive contrast.

MB: What do you think about the relationship between Sigrid Neubert’s architectural photography and the New Vision (Neues Sehen)? The press release also refers to 1950s American photography…

FS: In her architectural photography, Neubert has increasingly distanced herself from the US influences of the 1950s and gradually developed her own formal and content-related approach by carefully working out not only the plasticity of the buildings, but also the interaction of the buildings with the environment and its residents. In comparison, we also show works by Julius Shulman, who influenced Neubert in the 1950s.

MB: Architectural photography can be very elaborate. Which techniques did Sigrid Neubert apply? Did she work in a team?

FS: Neubert mostly worked on her own utilizing only a few facilities. For more than 30 years, she used a field camera and preferred to shoot in black and white on 9×12 glass negatives until the 1970s. This generated particularly high-contrast images in perfect technical quality. However, these harsh contrasts – that were characteristics of her work – were not only stylistic device but should also compensate the poor print quality of many architecture magazines. For Neubert it was important to enter an intensive dialogue with the buildings, which in a sense, she regarded as the representative of the architect’s personality.

MB: The current exhibition also includes landscape photography – atmospheric interpretations of the same – that the artist has focused on over the last few decades. How do you explain her dedication to nature?

LD: After many years of producing commission works for architects and magazines, Sigrid Neubert has created her own field of artistic impact. She has always worked in thematic categories, working on some topics for decades. This shows how intensively she has thought about the medium of photography and its possibilities.

MB: Last but not least a question to you, as the two curators of the exhibition: What kind of photography can be found in your living room?

LD: A lightbox with a black-and-white photograph of Reiner Leist showing the skyline of New York.

FS: An architectural photograph by Franz Lazi from Stuttgart produced in 1950.

Photos: © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kunstbibliothek / Sigrid Neubert

Exhibition Info

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Berlin Food Festival: Interview with eat! berlin founder Bernhard Moser

February 27, 2018

In 2018 the Berlin food festival eat! berlin takes place for the seventh time. The annually edition is one of the culinary highlights of the capital involving 50 events with more than 60 chefs in the best restaurants adding up to 30 Michelin stars and 496 points in Gault&Millau. The luxury travel and lifestyle magazine Travelers’ World has honored the 2016 festival as one of the best 10 food festivals in the world. Tasty collaborations such as the Tipi at the Chancellery or Frau Luna and renowned chefs like Tim Raue or Sebastian Frank are among the highlights of eat! Berlin. Miriam Bers talked to the founder of the Berlin food festival, Bernhard Moser.

MB: What was your motivation to launch the Berlin food festival in 2011 and why eating?

BM: I come from a village in Austria. There were only two career options: agriculture or gastronomy. Since we did not have a farm, I became a cook/waiter, then went on to become a certified sommelier. So I gradually discovered the pleasure for me. The motivation to found the festival originates from the fact that I have always seen Berlin as a gourmet metropolis although back then it has often been perceived as a Currywurst stall. To me and many of my friends who are top chefs, this was really annoying. One evening we sat down together – including the owner of the Mattheis advertising agency and a well-known journalist – and came up with the idea of eat! Berlin.

MB: What are the selection criteria for participating in eat! berlin?

BM: I enjoy working with outstanding chefs and restaurateurs. Thereby I am guided by my own experiences at Gault&Millau. Ideally, the restaurant we work with has at least 15 points and stands for something. So no 08/15 restaurant but an outstanding position in the catering industry. Since we work very closely with the people during the festival, the personal relationship is also important – so it’s always good to recognize the egomaniacs in advance.

MB: Can we speak of culinary trends or food fashion?

BM: Yes, but we try to avoid it. Good food and drinks are our trend, but we are not interested in things like “superfood” and similar humbug.

MB: What role does sustainability play for chefs?

BM: For us, sustainability plays a significant role, for the chefs an increasing one. Ideally, the gourmet does not only enjoy, he also takes responsibility for his consumption. Regional food, e-mobility etc. are enormously important to us. In addition, we are the only gourmet festival in the world that is supplied exclusively with tap water.

MB: What are the Berlin food festival highlights this year, what’s new?

BM: Almost everything is new because I am not fund of repetitions. For me the development of the program is of high importance, so I cannot name any highlights. I am a fan of the entire program and look forward to every single event.

MB: How many visitors are you expecting this year and can you say that the Berlin food festival is attracting international audiences?

BM: We will have about 7,000 visitors this year, I don’t have exact numbers since some events are without rsvp such as the “Berliner Käsetage” (Berlin Cheese Days), so we can only estimate the number of visitors. Hence it could also be 9,000. Anyway, when I was there today, it was very busy.

Internationally, we have been receiving a lot of attention, especially since the nomination as one of the 10 best food festivals in the world. That’s good, because only in this way we change the image of our capital. We are not just a party city.

MB: What is your favorite place in Berlin?

BM: I cannot name my favorite gastronomy spot but apart from this my favorite place is on the couch watching cartoons with my daughter.

MB: Your longing place?

BM: I really want to visit Heston Blumenthal’s “The Fat Duck” in 2019.

MB: Do you cook privately?

BM: I am only allowed to cook when we have guests at home. Chefs cook differently, we need too many pots and always make a mess – that causes trouble.

MB: A recipe idea?

BM: Take a waxy boiled organic egg with a blob of sour cream and add Malossol caviar as much as you want. But please use caviar from good farms in your area. I appreciate the Brandenburg caviar from the trout and sturgeon farm Rottstock, operated by Susanne and Matthias Engels. Enjoyment often only needs three components.

Photos: courtesy of eat! Berlin

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Art Night with Tracey Snelling

February 13, 2018

Miriam’s artist choice of the month

Tracey Snelling is an American contemporary artist working with photography, video, performance and installation. She was born in Oakland (California) and studied Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico. Her environments reflect architectural conditions and its sociological contextualization and allow a voyeuristic glimpse. In her large space filling architectures the viewers’ perception is of high significance. Playing within small and life size formats her ‘sculptures’ involve us getting testimonies of the current surrounding of the artists’ habitat in Berlin. Until April 2018, Snelling is holding a fellowship/studio at the internationally renowned artist residency Künstlerhaus Bethanien in the neighborhood Kreuzberg next to Kottbusser Tor. The Californian had exhibitions in international galleries and museums such as MAD New York, Royal Palace Milan, Königliches Museum der Schönen Künste Belgium and many others. In 2015 she has been awarded a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. Art night: Miriam Bers met Tracey Snelling for an exclusive interview:

MB: Living in Berlin almost a year, do you feel integrated, part of the city? What does Berlin mean to you?

TS: I actually first moved to Berlin in February 2016, staying seven months and returning to Oakland. Upon returning, I realized I belonged back in Berlin. I came back to Berlin in April 2017 to complete a sculptural commission with the Historisches Museum Frankfurt and to explore more of Berlin. I do feel integrated into the city. One of the reasons I came back was because it feels like home, yet it’s also exciting and new to me. Berlin means freedom to me. Here, you can be who you really are, and no one gives a second look. Berliners have seen everything here, and I think because of that, they are more relaxed about differences.

MB: In your current show at Künstlerhaus Bethanien and your in life size arranged and romantically appealing ‘Living Room’ and ‘Bedroom’ wrestlers, a punk band and you being tattooed were protagonists in one of the performances held during your exhibition. Do you identify with, do you live in these contexts? Here Nan Goldin comes into my mind. Or is your work rather a conceptual one, kind of a sympathizing absorption of more or less marginalized groups? The models of your sculpted housings are social buildings next to Kottbusser Tor.

TS: A lot of the room contexts, objects, and performances are references from my life, with many of them from my teenage time. I first heard the band Hertzangst play last year in Wedding when the drummer (a friend of mine) invited me to a show. I loved them, and immediately had a picture in my head of them playing in one of my installations. As for the tattoo, I already have three but have been wanting a tiger tattoo for quite awhile, and I met the tattoo artist at a previous residency here in Berlin, ZKU. I do muay thai kickboxing, and incorporated boxing into the opening night and closing night performances. The rooms are homage to my past, my present, and also my fantasies.

MB: How did you find your artistic language, focused on architectural contexts, what does the relation between small size dwellings and life size spaces mean in your work?

TS: I started as a photographer, and would also mix mediums. I started a series of collages and had made one called 1881 Chestnut Street. It’s a brick apartment building with the front wall missing, so you could see all the rooms. This piece gave me the idea to make a small-scale house that was collaged. From here the work continued to grow organically, with video being added to it in 2004. The difference in scale is really interesting to me. The shifts in scale represent how reality is constantly shifting due to one’s perception.

MB: What are your habits, do you live in Berlin like you’d live in Oakland, your hometown?

TS: Here, I go out more! It feels much easier to get around town here. In Oakland, it oftens feels like a trek to get to San Francisco for an art night of openings. There’s also so much to do here.

MB: Which are the spots you like most in Berlin? Do you have a favorite place to eat, a cool bar to go out in the evening? Or do cook in your residency?

TS: I like Berlin in the summer the best (of course). When I lived in Wedding in 2016, I would ride my bike to Mauerpark Sunday mornings, eat something, shop a bit in the used section, and go back to my studio to work. I like the Humboldthain park, the crazy little shops on Karl-Marx Strasse, the Turkish market near the Bethanien. I love the Turkish food nearby–so much to choose from. I never get tired of lamb kabap.

MB: What will you do after your fellowship ends?

TS: I have a month-long residency in New Orleans, an exhibition back home, will visit family and friends, and come back to Berlin.

Tracey Snelling

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