Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Some great galleries in Berlin, Part 2

These few days, I went to several galleries too. Here are three more that I recommend.

1. Hamburger Bahnhof

For me, Hamburger Bahnhof is a quite special gallery. The building used to be a train station. It was then transformed into a public gallery, but you can still see they keep some part of the structure, for example, the station signage and the storage. I love their display design and the way that they put contemporary elements into the historical building. Among the few current exhibitions they are showcasing, I like Architektonika 2 and Ingeborg Luscher's The Other Side. Architektonika 2 presents sculptural and photographic works on architecture, whereas Bruce Nauman's site-specific installation impressed me most. Ingeborg Luscher's work is adjacent to Hans Peter Fieldmann's The Dead, which you can find a strong link between each other.  

2. Helmut Newton Foundation

© Helmut Newton Foundation

I like Helmut Newton's photographs. It is a must-go place for his fans. Apart from the current exhibition, you can also see the private property owned by him and his wife, June Newton. Helmut Newton is regarded as a fashion photographer, but for me, he is more like a women-portrait photographer, as most of the photographs are shooting women. No matter they are dressed, half-naked or naked, you can see his photography is full of aesthetic and are evergreen.  

3. KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Not like other galleries in Berlin having their own collection, KW mainly showcased works by new artists. Their current exhibition is by Egyptian artist Wael Shawky including video works and installation. You can feel a strong cultural background through the works. It is really provocative. You can also see an astonishing cabinet of puppets which he used for shooting in one of the films.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Some great galleries in Berlin, Part 1

Wherever I travel to, I use to go to their art galleries, especially when I heard of there are some good galleries in Berlin. I have visited several galleries and museums so far, and here are some galleries that I recommend going.

1. Deutsche Guggenheim

                                          © Deutsche Bank 

A cooperation between Deutsche Bank and Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Although the gallery is quite small, the exhibition is still worth seeing. They are now showing a collection of left-behind by Gabriel Orozco. The artist photographed around 1200 objects and displayed them in the gallery alongside with photographs. You can see how the artist see the world and the trivial things around us. 

2. Berlinische Galerie

                                          © Berlinlist

Their permanent exhibition didn't impress me much but I did love their temporary exhibition  One is Forst by Michael Sailstorfer, he transformed the space into an upside-down forest. The trees keep rotating under a motor and the leaves and branches constantly fall on the floor. It can refer to how technology can damage the natural environment. The other one is films by Guy Ben-Ner, the one that I saw called Berkeley’s Island. In the film, he built an small island inside the kitchen at his home. He uses a humorous way to tell you a personal story. You can feel something between fiction and reality, sometimes it can be blurred. 

3. Galerienhaus

Galerienhaus is a place where you can find more than 10 galleries. I discovered the buildings when I was on the way to Berlinische Galerie. It is a little bit similar to Jockey Club Creative Art Centre and Art East Island in Hong Kong. It is a pleasant place to see art, most of the galleries are quite commercial, but it's still a good place to see for first-timer.


Monday, 17 September 2012


Foam is a photography gallery located in Central Amsterdam. They are now showing new works from Alex Prager, a talented American photographer. I remembered years I came across with her work, it was a film called Despair. She used sharp color with a strong contrast effect. It made me think of Hitchcock's movie. In the show, you will see each photograph depicting an incident accompanying with another small photographs showing an eye from a witnesses of the incident. It questioned you what is the meaning of seeing in postmodern world? How do we deal with visual images? Jorg Colberg wrote on the catalogue, as viewers, we are turned into children in a visual candy store. We know we shouldn't, but we must indulge.   

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Topsy Turvy and FATFORM

Today, I went to see art from De Appel Arts Centre and Fatform Festival. Topsy Turvy is the opening exhibition in De Appel's new premises. It is based on the idea of European Carnival, which temporarily turns the world upside-down. The curator invites us to see the world and things in a topsy-turvy way. After I saw the show, I didn't really caught up the linkage between carnival and seeing things differently. Some of the artworks are too conceptual while some of them are too obvious. I love the inner-design of the building but the exhibition did let me down a little bit.

But I found a surprise in their restaurant, MOES- fresh food, cosy environment and nice staffs. Chairs, tables and wooden ceiling were made of re-used materials. I tried a bread with roasted vegetables and feta cheese. Taste very delicious! 

I discovered FATFORM Festival from TimeOut Amsterdam. It's an art project exhibiting arts in an experimental way. It takes place in a parking garage showcasing 55 contemporary Dutch artists, while at the meantime filling with music, foods and drinks. It challenges people's perception on the traditional way of showing arts. It is an experience rather than constraint of thought.


Friday, 14 September 2012

Last show to see in Birmingham

I finished my placement in Ikon Gallery on Tuesday and I went to see their latest exhibition yesterday. This would be the last show that I saw in Birmingham before I headed to Amsterdam, Berlin and Prague, then back to Hong Kong. It is an amazing show with three films by Yael Bartana and graphic works by Tony Arefin. Yael Bartana's film is absolutely inspiring. Also, I love the display design of the Arefin's part. It made his works really stand out. I will definitely miss Ikon Gallery the most when I think of Birmingham.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

BIAD Art Based Masters Show 2012

What I chose to do in a sunny Sunday was to go to MA Graduate Show in Margaret Street, BIAD.It showcases works from MA Fine Art, Contemporary Curatorial Practice to Art and Design, Arts and Education. There are three works from the show I love most. One is by Rishi Motiwaras, overlapping patterns made by light and shadows. Another is Rafal Zar's sculptures and paintings, mixing fancy characters with something we see as "dirty"-penis and excrement and they are presented in a religious-like setting.

I also like Sonya Russell-Saunders's part 2 of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts in ARTicle Gallery. A really good curatorial demonstration placing same pieces of works in two different environment with different settings. How we feel about the experience largely depend on the narrative space and  the environment. 

Friday, 7 September 2012

Ian Andrews

Today, I came across Great Western Arcade and popped into Terrace Gallery for the private view of their recent show, Ian Andrews-Rummage Out. Terrace Gallery uses empty shop's windows as a platform to introduce art to the audience. We pass by shop's windows everyday but may miss some of the beautiful things around us. Just like the gallery is reminding us art can be part of our every lives.
I saw Ian's works before in OUTLINED exhibition held in Minerva Works. They are pretty impressive. His works looks like some mysterious cabinets. It seems that his works give you a feeling of something between trash and lost objects. The artist explained that "My mother's death and my own illness have led me into considering how the mind works and how connections and associations are made in our thought process...To discover new connections I reuse old work or deliberately leave pieces lying around until the original intention has been weakened or lost and rather than view the pieces as useless, I see them as providing opportunity." Just like the title of the exhibition suggests "Rummage out"!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Oil Tank

Last week, I went to the newly opened Oil Tank in Tate Modern. The first project called The Tanks: Art in Action featuring collection displays by Suzanne Lacy and Lis Rhodes and commissioned works by Sun Hwan Kim. I especially love the complex video by Sun Hwan Kim. Suzanne's The Crystal Quilt is also a legendary work. I have to say it is a fabulous space to showcase experimental and contemporary arts.