Contemporary Art from Berlin
Exhibition of ten contemporary visual artists living in Berlin and five Video artists in Hyvinkää Art Museum , Finland, September–November 2017.
The exhibition aims at:
- To show a variety of contemporary Berlin art; it will be the first ever exhibition in Finland showing exculisively works from Berlin.
- To present the work of Kolonie Wedding e. V., an organization (registered society) of non-profit project spaces to an international, in this case: Finnish audience. The Kolonie Wedding is on the one hand a prime example for Berlin’s lively landscape of project spaces, and on the other it is unique in Berlin and might even be unique worldwide. Kolonie Wedding has had since its founding in 2001 a strong international angle – members come from all over the world and have organized a variety of international exchange exhibitions with East Europe, South America and, for example, New York. At the same time, the project spaces have a regional focus and regularly organize events, concerts, performances and exhibitions with a participatory character, inviting their neighborhoods to take part. Further, Kolonie Wedding is special in so far as membership and (international) exhibition activities are of an exceptional continuity.
- To develop new and deepen existing acquaintances and networks with Finnish artists, to strengthen connections between Berlin and Finnish art.
Berlin is seen to be one of the major metropolises of art worldwide. Apart from established venues of contemporary art like museums and communal or commercial galleries (ca. 300–400), Berlin has a considerable number of other forms of art presentation and art activism, for example artists’ run galleries, temporary art projects, living-room-galleries or project spaces.
Interactive map of free art spaces since 1970
- Jovan Balov, Painting
- Tom Früchtl, Painting, Concept Art , Sculpture
- Pablo Hermann, Concept Art
- Henrik Jacob, Drawing, Clay Dough
- Karen Koltermann, Painting, Mixed Media, Video
- Reiner Maria Matysik, Installation, Video, Sculpture
- Karen Scheper, Drawing, Installation
- Kata Unger, Woven Images, Drawing
- Veronika Witte, Sculptur, Installation
- Andreas Wolf, Painting
- Harri Sjöström
- Teppo Hauta-aho
A special role in Berlin’s international art scene play the project spaces. The exact number of these is difficult to determine, it may be something around 2 or 3 hundred at any given time, spread over the whole city. Since 2015, they are organized in the Netzwerk freier Berliner Projekträume und ‑initiativen e. V. (Network of Project Spaces and Artists Initiatives in Berlin, registered non-profit society).
Due to the informal, unbureaucratic and non-profit character of these spaces, it is possible to act spontaneously and to experiment, to maintain networks in Germany and abroad, to transcend boundaries of art and ideas, to think outside the box, to invite neighbors, spontaneously have concerts or react to current issues.
The artworks needn’t be saleable – this allows forms of art that are more or less unattractive for commercial galleries, like participatory pieces and projects, or works with inbuilt selfdestruction – nor does the art have to be agreeable to a broad audience, which opens the opportunity to try the untried or show more exotic art genres.
Project spaces usually are self-financed by artists and curators; there is no regular governmental financial aid.
In these project spaces, the art presented is discussed, debates take place, artists and visitors together talk about the exhibited works and of course also about art in general, people tell each other about other exhibitions they have visited and criticise and/or recommend. Artists, curators, conoisseurs, tourists and neighbors have conversations, share opinions and experiences, question and conceptualize. This culture of conversation in the independent art scene in Berlin, where everybody is welcome and everyone has the same right to voice their opinions, is of great imortance to Berlin’s art scene. Its influence expands to far outside of the project spaces themselves. New ideas are created. Today, where there is the constant and ever present lamentation about the media and deterioration of “real” communication between people due to electronic communication devices, in the independent art scene Facebook ist used mainly to announce events. The dialog takes place between people who actually meet.
Art and discussions in the project spaces constantly engage in fathoming out what contemporary art can be – an what ist relevance in society is or could be.
In 2001 a group of project spaces connected and founded the non profit organization “Kolonie Wedding” in Berlin-Wedding, one district in Berlin. After 15 years the Kolonie consists of 23 project spaces in the area around Soldiner Straße. The associated project spaces coordinate their openings: on every last Friday of each month those of the spaces which show new exhibitions open their doors simultaneously – usually about ten of the project rooms, and there are guided tours to all the spaces for the interested public.
Many of the projects focus on specific topics or genres, like for example video art, performance; connections between art and the sciences, politics. Some of the spaces cultivate regular international art exchanges with the Balkan states, Russia, Austria, Turkey, Brazil or Finland.
Maybe the “Kolonie” itself could, with an extended conception of art, be seen as a Gesamtkunstwerk – one that can cross or even dissolve borders and that is a fertile ground for innovative ideas.
All of the artists shown in the Hyvinkää exhibition are in one way or another associated with the Kolonie Wedding, some have done curatorial work for one or more exhibitions, or their artworks have been shown in one of the project spaces. Six of the artists shown in Hyvinkää are organizers of one of the project spaces:
Jovan Balov: Prima Center Berlin; Prima Center has a strong focus on art from the Balkan countries and southeastern Europe in general; Balov is wellknown in the states of ex-Yugoslavia for his outstanding integrating work for art in the Balkans;
Henrik Jacob: Kulturpalast Wedding International (registered non profit organization), the Kulturpalast (culture palace) is known for its public art performances, working together with neighbors and the district, also known for their exhibitions of artists who are quite famous in Germany;
Kata Unger: German Tatami; works with experimentation and get-togethers for discussions about art theory with reminiscences to the Berlin Salon culture of early Romanticism; Andreas Wolf: TOOLBOX; one of the few places in Berlin to show art from the Nordic countries, especially Finland;
Pablo Hermann: OKK – Organ Kritischer Kunst (organ of critical art); focuses on politics, political theory, social inequality and South America
Matthias Mayer: Spor Klübü; regularly shows installation art, is well-known for the yearly themed group exhibition with over 40 artists (changing from year to year).