donderdag 21 augustus 2014

The smallest raum in town

die raum, opening with artist talk

Die raum is probably the smallest project space in Berlin. 5m2 is where the magic happens. The installation Lembrança de Brasilia (memory from Brasilia) is part of an ongoing project that artist Laearcio Redondo made here in light of the Project Space Festival. He shows that one can go even smaller.  Redondo divided die raum diagonally in half, leaving only 2,5 m2 for the exhibition.

Sometimes, and also for this project, die raum has no door. The transition between the private and the communal space becomes blurry. Literally. People have been rubbing through the charcoal pattern, writing their name in dust.
Installation view
By dividing the space diagonally, the floorplan gets the shape of a triangle. It matches the triangles drawn with charcoal on the wall. The pattern was inspired by the Brazilian artist Athos Bulcão (1918-2008), who played an important role in the coming into existence of the new capital of Brazil; Brasilia. This city was completely designed and built from scratch in only 4 years time, finished in april 1960. The groundplan of the city was designed by Lucio Costa in the shape of an airplane. The central axe houses all the government buildings. The wings are meant for living.

Panel by Bulcao in the Museum of Gems, Brasilia
The work of Bulcão can be found in every corner of this new city, in the form of tiles. Bulcãos mostly abstract patterns are colourful, rhythmic, playful and also very democratic. They are meant as open patterns, for people to play with. Bulcão actively tried to involve the workers who built them in the forming of the pattern and thus involving them the end result.

artist talk
Here at die raum something similar is happening. Because there is no door, people can get (unknowingly) involved in the pattern and leave their mark. They also change the end result.  By allowing this Redondo focuses not only on the beautiful patterns of Bulcão and his modernist ideas of building a bond between art, work, life and the city. He also creates a new bond between past and present and questions what has become of its (maybe) utopian ideas.

Winner! ding-ding-ding

There is a new art festival in town; the Project Space Festival Berlin. It features one project space, every day in august. The space in question organises an event or an exhibition, often accompanied by a performance, food and music. The press is unanimously positive. It is so popular that it has become one of the most documented festivals in Berlin at the moment. The Project Space Festival seems to be an absolute winner. How to explain this success? At the basis of all this lay three ideas that are absolute genius.
1. The concept of the festival. To introduce to art lovers one project space per day is the first absolutely genius move. No rushing from one space to the next, as in for example Gallery Weekend.  Do you know the feeling of an art-overdose? Trying to see as much art in one day as possible, coming home thinking what the peep have I seen, my head is pounding from too much art. Getting annoyed because there is so much more to see, but no more time (or no more you). Nothing of all that. One event. Every day. Time to prepare. Full concentration. Go!

Crowd @ Kinderhook & Caracas
2. The time frame of the festival is genius. Because of the duration of the festival, the whole month of august, you can be part of it. Even though you’ve heard about it only yesterday, you still can participate. And with all this press, it has become really difficult to miss this one. This buzz (where is what going on with who?) versus anti buzz ( ah, there is an event tomorrow as well? and next week also? nice..) is kind of relaxing.

Tour @ Kleine Humboldt Galerie
3. The timing is awesome. August is a great month for an art festival, because there is none. Most of the galleries are on ‘sommerpause’ in august. The Project Space festival can now also work as warm up for abc in september. Furthermore, august is a lazy month, people are not yet on full speed and have time to go to an art event on a monday night. And of course, there is a pretty good chance for good weather.

die raum

To summarize: I. love. it.

donderdag 14 augustus 2014

Festival fever @ the Project Space festival 2014

Why the Project Space Festival Berlin is so much better than the festival around Dutch art fair Art Rotterdam
In Berlin, there currently is a lovely festival going on titled the Project Space Festival. It features one project space each day, every day in august. The space in question organises an event or an exhibition, often accompanied by a performance, food and music. The press couldn't be more positive about this initiative, asking itself why there wasn't a festival like this before.

In Holland, the most interesting festival about contemporary art is the circus that arises in february around Art Rotterdam. It’s main event is the art fair Art Rotterdam, where one can find the best galleries from the Netherlands and a critical selection of international spaces. Berlin is featured there with seven galleries, among which Klemm’s, Future Gallery and Grimmuseum. And yes, you read this correctly; The most interesting festival is not in Amsterdam. 

Art Rotterdam 2014 @ the Van Nelle Fabriek
Rotterdam is definitely the place to be in february. Art Rotterdam itself lasts four days and there is a whole week planned around it. The city buzzes of events. In fact, there are so many of them, it is impossible to visit them all. In 2012 there were five (FIVE!) parallel art fairs. Some a bit alternative, like Re-Rotterdam, but still. In 2013, same situation. At that time the main event, the art fair, still took place in the departure hall of the Holland America Line, which has been described as rather cosy for an art fair. That being said, it could easily fill your day art-watching. This year Art Rotterdam moved to an even bigger location at the Van Nelle Factory.

Already in 2012, I started to get annoyed with the overflow of side events. “What do they want from me?’, I thought in the train home, with a huge headache from too much art. “I’m an experienced art watcher, not some art fair-virgin”, my thoughts continued, trying to soothe me. As an art historian-writer-critic-whatever, I wanted to take it all in. I tried and desperately failed, ending up with an art-hangover from trying to fit too much art into one day.

Project Space Festival @ Insitu

Project Space Festival @ Kleine Humboldt Galerie
It seems like such a waste. Spread all these nice events over the whole year and I think you make a lot of art enthusiasts happy. Let alone that you have something to see all year round. Of course, you probably won't get as many new visitors as you would from the flow that visits Art Rotterdam. Ergo less money. But they sure would pay more attention to what they saw. So what is more important in the long run?

Of course, Art Rotterdam can’t be compared with the Project Space Festival. They are apples and pears, rabbits and bears. One is an art fair with side effects, the other a festival. A very good designed festival, I might aid.

Luckily for me, here in Berlin I CAN take it all in. That’s why you can put me in line with the other lovers of the Project Space Festival. Simple, clear, diverse and above all, do-able.