The biggest section of the Berliner Liste 2016 features 57 exhibiting booths in total, all reserved for individual artists’ presentations. The Artist Section, as always, focuses on young and emerging names in the art world, those who are looking to make relationships with galleries and collectors, but it also features several established names from the field. What strikes as the most interesting in the selection of the Artist Section of the fair this year is its international character, as 21 exhibitors come from countries other than Germany, including the US and Australia.
Walking through this section of the art fair, we encountered a very diverse selection of artwork, which includes all media, from drawing and print to sculpture. The most interest, as usual, goes to the interactive and spatially oriented pieces, while the traditional media seem to be less appealing to the broader public. Still, what is interesting is what appeals to collectors and that we are yet to see. In the meantime, we’ve made a selection of our favorite Artist Section booths, since we feel that the names below deserve attention of the public and collectors alike.
Abstract drawings made by Kaja el Attar make delightful microcosmic representations of so-called “Kajaworlds”, inviting the viewer to come closer and explore. Pure colors coexist with added elements of circuit boards, while the whiteness of paper provides the perfect background for these minute compositions. Poetics of Kaja’s drawings singles her booth out from the many, as collectors always find their way to her exhibition space.
Reaching beyond the boundaries of representational painting, works made by Russian artist Pavel Guliaev evoke their many inspirations and simultaneously awaken a certain feeling of unease. The scenes represent various fantastical moments of suffering and fear, mixed with various symbolic descriptions of philosophical terms or archetypes. Influences of Hieronymus Bosch and Pre-Raphaelite painting is evident, while Guliaev still maintains a freshness of approach, characteristic of talented contemporary artists.
Poignant oeuvre of Daniela Baumann depicts a range of intimate themes, ranging from domestic to romantic motifs. Her purified, associative abstract style exudes a perfectly polished visual language, while the substance always makes its way into the spotlight, regardless of color or texture. This is precisely why Baumann utilizes a reduced, often black and white palette, and makes emphasis with textual messages incorporated into the scene.
What are these? This might be the first questions one asks themselves when coming across works by Romanian artist Alexandru Nestor. Objects he makes resemble vintage contraptions, something that might have come from a distant era, influenced by Dada, Surrealism or Steampunk. Thrilling in a way, Nestor’s artwork make perhaps the most fun arrangement at the section.
A potential heiress of the great German painter Max Liebermann comes in the form of Korean painter Hyun Ok Kim and her gloriously light landscapes. Kim includes figure in her paintings, as the Impressionists once would, while she keeps the stroke light, airy, attempting to capture the light in the abundant flora she depicts. Her bright works exude a clearly Asian background mixed with a distinctively European painting school, which renders her exhibit one of the most fresh at the section.
Always a favorite at the Berliner Liste, Edvardas Racevicius presented a series of new small scale sculptures made entirely out of wood, accompanied by a series of simple, but visually eloquent croquis. The texture of his works uncovers the material and embeds somewhat of the rugged wooden nature into the substance of the sculpture. Racevicius celebrates life, ironizing over the cliches with a good dose of humor.
The first booth one comes across when approaching the Artist Section belongs to Ayis Zita and Annuska Dal Mazo. While Mazo’s photographs stay subtle, Zita’s three-dimensional installation allures the viewer to come and inspect. The influences of the artist’s background in technical sciences and architecture are visible, although the piece maintains a visual independence, as a dynamic abstract sculpture of immense expansive potential.
Cheeky objects and installations made by Tobias Twilling make engaging solutions out of familiar or scrap materials. Metal, plastic and even taxidermy are all in service of his works, which make a particular oeuvre of social critique, seasoned with daring titles and complemented with daring setup.
Australian sculptor Martin George lit up the Artist Section with his unexpectedly entertaining installations, achieved by juxtaposing the solemn and the absurd. Creating a rather humorous effect, George pairs his finely finished metal pieces with an old leather basketball, a bowl of pretzels or an elegant marble coffee table with a crude iron weight. Sturdy, but energetic, Georges works are interactive, restless and even kinetic (one of the sculptures will rock if pushed in the right way).
Our top choice for the Artist Section, elegant and powerful pieces made by Netherlandish artist Sandra van der Meulen are complex creations built upon layers of personal and cultural heritage, which continuously inspires the artist. Starting her work on rice paper, Van Den Meulen evokes her Chinese background, executing bold, thick strokes in black on this highly fragile and porous material. The energy that she is struggling to contain must be contained here, or the rice paper would break and dissolve. Such works incorporate western texts, and then are pasted onto the canvas, on one side only, while the other one is executed on the canvas directly, with threads of various thickness. As two sides of her, the Western and the Eastern one, two sides of canvas are connected and united with fragile visual means. The palette of Van Der Meulen is simple, encompassing the shades of black and white, emphasizing the texture and the substance of her highly symbolic, contemplative works.
All images (c) Widewalls.