Immersive Art at Gropius Bau

April 24, 2018



A. invited me to ISM Hexadome at Gropius Bau, a show promising "Immersive Sound and 360° Visual Exhibition." I am suspicious of everything called explicitely "immersive" in the arts. I can get immersed in a painting so no need to expand my vision by 360 degrees. A painting has also a sound to it so I don't really need to hear a track accompanying it. But okay, you know I have an open mind, right, so I said, why not? We had some white wine before entering - alcohol is always good to enhance everything immersive. When the doors opened at 8pm, people stormed inside where the first lucky ones could sit on stools. Others, like us (wine has also the side effect of slowing one down), had to sit on the floor. Of course, this disturbed the immersive experience: the people on stools were obstructing the view. And then it started. It was so unspectacular, both visuals and music, that A. and I had rather fun looking at the faces around us - astonished faces, mouths half open, eyes with incomprehension, clearly asking themselves: "Is this it?" A. informed me that the DJ was playing ambient music. "What is so special about it?" I asked. "It's especially bad," A. said.   
A. invited me to ISM Hexadome at Gropius Bau, a show promising "Immersive Sound and 360° Visual Exhibition." I am suspicious of everything called explicitely "immersive" in the arts. I can get immersed in a painting so no need to expand my vision by 360 degrees. A painting has also a sound to it so I don't really need to hear a track accompanying it. But okay, you know I have an open mind, right, so I said, why not? We ha…


A. invited me to ISM Hexadome at Gropius Bau, a show promising "Immersive Sound and 360° Visual Exhibition." I am suspicious of everything called explicitely "immersive" in the arts. I can get immersed in a painting so no need to expand my vision by 360 degrees. A painting has also a sound to it so I don't really need to hear a track accompanying it. But okay, you know I have an open mind, right, so I said, why not? We had some white wine before entering - alcohol is always good to enhance everything immersive. When the doors opened at 8pm, people stormed inside where the first lucky ones could sit on stools. Others, like us (wine has also the side effect of slowing one down), had to sit on the floor. Of course, this disturbed the immersive experience: the people on stools were obstructing the view. And then it started. It was so unspectacular, both visuals and music, that A. and I had rather fun looking at the faces around us - astonished faces, mouths half open, eyes with incomprehension, clearly asking themselves: "Is this it?" A. informed me that the DJ was playing ambient music. "What is so special about it?" I asked. "It's especially bad," A. said.   

The Importance of Being an Important Artist

April 23, 2018




"Important" seemed to be the favourite word of the curator I was listening to: "one of the most important artists of the 20th century", "an important artist of country x", and "we show it all, because it's still important." You can imagine I was relieved when looking in a vitrine I came upon an "unimportant" artist in the exhibition: Kurt Schwitters, the maker of "Banalitäten" (banalities), who created a magazine "le plus sot du monde." You can hardly call that important. I kept quiet though. You never know; maybe the curator would call it important anyway.
"Important" seemed to be the favourite word of the curator I was listening to: "one of the most important artists of the 20th century", "an important artist of country x", and "we show it all, because it's still important." You can imagine I was relieved when looking in a vitrine I came upon an "unimportant" artist in the exhibition: Kurt Schwitters, the maker of "Banalitäten" (ban…



"Important" seemed to be the favourite word of the curator I was listening to: "one of the most important artists of the 20th century", "an important artist of country x", and "we show it all, because it's still important." You can imagine I was relieved when looking in a vitrine I came upon an "unimportant" artist in the exhibition: Kurt Schwitters, the maker of "Banalitäten" (banalities), who created a magazine "le plus sot du monde." You can hardly call that important. I kept quiet though. You never know; maybe the curator would call it important anyway.

Walter Benjamin in Ibiza

April 18, 2018



I've been reading Howard Eiland's and Michael W. Jennings' biography of Walter Benjamin. Although I'm disappointed about how the book is written, it was nice to find out about some particularities of Walter Benjamin. Here a few about his stay in Ibiza in 1932 and 1933:

Benjamin was a flaneur par excellence, but going on a walk with Benjamin wasn't a quick undertaking. Apparently, each time he got an idea while walking, he stopped, murmuring "Tiens, tiens!" He admitted that walking kept him from thinking. "Tiens, tiens!" became his nickname in Ibiza. 

In Ibiza, Benjamin also got another nickname "el miserable," since he was poor and consequently not in a very optimistic mood. Being a freelance writer, Benjamin joked, had the advantage that one may be fully employed even when not being paid. 

In a letter to Gretel Karplus, the later Gretel Adorno,  Benjamin described how, under the influence of opium, he "obtained significant results in my study of curtains - for a curtain separated us from the balcony that looked out on the city and the sea." Benjamin coined the word "rideaulogie"  - the discipline that studies curtains. In his Crock Notes  ("crock" being a code word for hashish and opium) he mentions that curtains are "interpreters of the language of the wind."



I've been reading Howard Eiland's and Michael W. Jennings' biography of Walter Benjamin. Although I'm disappointed about how the book is written, it was nice to find out about some particularities of Walter Benjamin. Here a few about his stay in Ibiza in 1932 and 1933: Benjamin was a flaneur par excellence, but going on a walk with Benjamin wasn't a quick undertaking. Apparently, each time he got an idea while walking, he stop…


I've been reading Howard Eiland's and Michael W. Jennings' biography of Walter Benjamin. Although I'm disappointed about how the book is written, it was nice to find out about some particularities of Walter Benjamin. Here a few about his stay in Ibiza in 1932 and 1933:

Benjamin was a flaneur par excellence, but going on a walk with Benjamin wasn't a quick undertaking. Apparently, each time he got an idea while walking, he stopped, murmuring "Tiens, tiens!" He admitted that walking kept him from thinking. "Tiens, tiens!" became his nickname in Ibiza. 

In Ibiza, Benjamin also got another nickname "el miserable," since he was poor and consequently not in a very optimistic mood. Being a freelance writer, Benjamin joked, had the advantage that one may be fully employed even when not being paid. 

In a letter to Gretel Karplus, the later Gretel Adorno,  Benjamin described how, under the influence of opium, he "obtained significant results in my study of curtains - for a curtain separated us from the balcony that looked out on the city and the sea." Benjamin coined the word "rideaulogie"  - the discipline that studies curtains. In his Crock Notes  ("crock" being a code word for hashish and opium) he mentions that curtains are "interpreters of the language of the wind."



Gallery Hopping around Potsdamer Straße

April 13, 2018

At Exile Gallery its new director María Inés Plaza Lazo sat on the window sill, having her lunch break in the sun. Inside, the other director, Christian Siekmeier, was chitchatting with an editor of a fashion magazine. The next issue was going to be about artist couples and I threw in some names. The exhibition at Exile, guest-curated, was on the topic of galaxies. The show was okay but nothing that surprised me about galaxies. Some sand on the floor, some unexplored beaches on the canvas, a squeaking styrofoam design object, a treasure coffer. Now I think about it, it sounds a bit like a Robinson Crusoe exhibition instead of a galaxy. 


At Exile Gallery 

I strolled to Tanja Wagner and also she was sitting outside in the sun together with her team. We talked about the use of art fairs and how in the long run it might be better to make sure your artist’s work gets shown in institutions. I’m a fan of Tanja Wagner. Her gallery has a program, she’s passionate about art, she doesn’t talk art speak. She’s also the only gallerist in Berlin who dominantly represents women in her gallery and she manages not to be called a female art gallery. This time she had a show on by a new artist of hers, Nilbar Güreș. “Do you remember her work at the Berlin Bienniale in 2010?” she asked. And I did remember it, which is good sign. 


Nilbar Güreș at Tanja Wagner Gallery
At the entrance of Thomas Fischer Gallery three lads were eating an ice-cream. I went upstairs to see Dirk Braekmans, whose photographic work has a steady quality to it but he shouldn’t be doing videos. After a couple of minutes I was back downstairs and asked the lads where they bought their ice-cream. Before I bought one myself, I went by Plan B where I literally ran in and out. It hurt my eyes. At Esther Schipper everything was so sterile - really bad work by Ceal Floyer and something incomprehensible mysterious by Francesco Gennari. Esther Schipper should do something about its space: wooden floor might help to give it charm. Or maybe they could ask a feng shui specialist to get the bad vibe out?


Ceal Floyer at Esther Schipper

I finished my ice-cream just while walking through the door of Future Gallery and the gallery assistant was so nice to toss the paper in the trash. I never understood the art work exhibited at Future Gallery and I didn’t understand it this time. It’s art for Millennials. I had my finger on the bell of Barbara Wien gallery when I realized I had seen this exhibition before and had written about it for this blog. Let’s not show my face there yet, I thought, you never know...

In the evening the place to be was König Gallery, where “Hansa” had curated a group show in the tower of St. Agnes. I don’t know Hansa but apparently he’s a household name of the 1980s. “Did you get paid?” I asked an exhibiting artist. “No,’ he said. I wonder if Hansa got paid for curating the show. Johann König is a notorious cheapskate. I tried to get into the tower but there was a long line waiting on the stairs. Somebody told me that Isa Genzken had refused to show her art work at the last moment. But she was supposed to make an appearance that night. I’m a big fan of Isa Genzken but I don’t necessarily need to meet her in person. So I made my own appearance a short one.

A few days later, on another warm April day, and now better equipped with shades, pink lip gloss, and my new cool jacket of Claudie Pierlot (check me out at Gallery Weekend, I plan to wear the same outfit), I visited Aernout Mik’s exhibition at Carlier Gebauer. In a still two-channel video a couple of heavily weaponed terror police performing an awkward choreography in the deserted night streets of Ostend (my favorite town in Belgium). The police officers are not white, which seems important to mention. I stayed for a while, not knowing what to think about it. But then concluded that to be confused by an art work is not a bad thing to be.  


At Exile Gallery its new director María Inés Plaza Lazo sat on the window sill, having her lunch break in the sun. Inside, the other director, Christian Siekmeier, was chitchatting with an editor of a fashion magazine. The next issue was going to be about artist couples and I threw in some names. The exhibition at Exile, guest-curated, was on the topic of galaxies. The show was okay but nothing that surprised me about galaxies. Some sand on the …
At Exile Gallery its new director María Inés Plaza Lazo sat on the window sill, having her lunch break in the sun. Inside, the other director, Christian Siekmeier, was chitchatting with an editor of a fashion magazine. The next issue was going to be about artist couples and I threw in some names. The exhibition at Exile, guest-curated, was on the topic of galaxies. The show was okay but nothing that surprised me about galaxies. Some sand on the floor, some unexplored beaches on the canvas, a squeaking styrofoam design object, a treasure coffer. Now I think about it, it sounds a bit like a Robinson Crusoe exhibition instead of a galaxy. 


At Exile Gallery 

I strolled to Tanja Wagner and also she was sitting outside in the sun together with her team. We talked about the use of art fairs and how in the long run it might be better to make sure your artist’s work gets shown in institutions. I’m a fan of Tanja Wagner. Her gallery has a program, she’s passionate about art, she doesn’t talk art speak. She’s also the only gallerist in Berlin who dominantly represents women in her gallery and she manages not to be called a female art gallery. This time she had a show on by a new artist of hers, Nilbar Güreș. “Do you remember her work at the Berlin Bienniale in 2010?” she asked. And I did remember it, which is good sign. 


Nilbar Güreș at Tanja Wagner Gallery
At the entrance of Thomas Fischer Gallery three lads were eating an ice-cream. I went upstairs to see Dirk Braekmans, whose photographic work has a steady quality to it but he shouldn’t be doing videos. After a couple of minutes I was back downstairs and asked the lads where they bought their ice-cream. Before I bought one myself, I went by Plan B where I literally ran in and out. It hurt my eyes. At Esther Schipper everything was so sterile - really bad work by Ceal Floyer and something incomprehensible mysterious by Francesco Gennari. Esther Schipper should do something about its space: wooden floor might help to give it charm. Or maybe they could ask a feng shui specialist to get the bad vibe out?


Ceal Floyer at Esther Schipper

I finished my ice-cream just while walking through the door of Future Gallery and the gallery assistant was so nice to toss the paper in the trash. I never understood the art work exhibited at Future Gallery and I didn’t understand it this time. It’s art for Millennials. I had my finger on the bell of Barbara Wien gallery when I realized I had seen this exhibition before and had written about it for this blog. Let’s not show my face there yet, I thought, you never know...

In the evening the place to be was König Gallery, where “Hansa” had curated a group show in the tower of St. Agnes. I don’t know Hansa but apparently he’s a household name of the 1980s. “Did you get paid?” I asked an exhibiting artist. “No,’ he said. I wonder if Hansa got paid for curating the show. Johann König is a notorious cheapskate. I tried to get into the tower but there was a long line waiting on the stairs. Somebody told me that Isa Genzken had refused to show her art work at the last moment. But she was supposed to make an appearance that night. I’m a big fan of Isa Genzken but I don’t necessarily need to meet her in person. So I made my own appearance a short one.

A few days later, on another warm April day, and now better equipped with shades, pink lip gloss, and my new cool jacket of Claudie Pierlot (check me out at Gallery Weekend, I plan to wear the same outfit), I visited Aernout Mik’s exhibition at Carlier Gebauer. In a still two-channel video a couple of heavily weaponed terror police performing an awkward choreography in the deserted night streets of Ostend (my favorite town in Belgium). The police officers are not white, which seems important to mention. I stayed for a while, not knowing what to think about it. But then concluded that to be confused by an art work is not a bad thing to be.