That Urban art is becoming more and more relevant in the contemporary world as a strong creative movement which encompasses street art and graffiti alike is now a well-established fact. It has managed to overcome its own underground status and to detach from being associated with vandalism, becoming a proper, robust network of prolific artists, gallerists, curators and even collectors. As Berlin has been a longstanding home to such network and one of the biggest urban art centers on an international scale, it was only natural for the people behind the city’s oldest fair, Berliner Liste, to introduce it to its program in the 2016 edition. In a rather unprecedented way, the movement is finally standing hand-in-hand with the “traditional” contemporary artworks exhibited at the monumental Kraftwerk thanks to the innovative visions and the appreciation for graffiti and street art as the important parts of today’s artistic scene.
Curating the debut of the Urban Art Section at Berliner Liste is Guillaume Trotin, an experienced curator and the driving force behind OPEN WALLS Gallery, one of Berlin’s most renowned spaces dedicated to the movement. Joining the fair’s team, he conceived an area which promotes artworks, galleries and entities involved with Urban art, as well as several solo shows of internationally recognized artists. Although this is the very first time a section like this was introduced at a contemporary art fair, it is already receiving quite a bit of attention from the visitors, giving out a good sign about a very successful future of the format.
From day one, Widewalls magazine has been deeply invested in urban and contemporary art, providing a unique experience for its readers. Dedicated to enthusiasts and collectors alike, we are committed to delivering top-notch, engaging content all year long through a versatile choice of journalist work. As an important link between art spaces, artists and collectors, Widewalls is proud to be a part of the 2016 Berliner Liste, having been able to report live from the spot through a series of interviews, collectors’ tips, reviews and overall recaps. Be sure to follow us for even more content from Berlin’s largest and oldest contemporary art fair!
One of the most prominent galleries in the German capital, showcasing and hosting many prolific urban artists from around the world, Urban Spree certainly donned a remarkable show to the debut edition of Urban art section at Berliner Liste. Divided into two booths, the gallery brought a great diversity of artworks, from paintings to illustrations, graphic works, collages and calligraffiti works. At Urban Spree, you can see creatives Andrea Wan, Charlie Anderson, Jan Kálab, Jim Avignon, Johannes Mundinger, Kid Cash, Klone, Mafia Tabak, Michal Škapa, Rylsee and Various & Gould, while dedicating a solo show to Hendrik Czakainski, one of the most popular installations at the fair.
Because of its large size and a mesmerizing effect, the piece by artist Hendrik Czakainski got its own exhibition space, and as such it was bound to become one of the highlights of the event in general. Definitely recommended as collectors’ item and spreading across not one, but two walls, his piece entitled 120.630 explores the relationship between urban environment and art in a quite an original way: with roots in graffiti, Hendrik Czakainski got very familiar with cities, which he now creates in a more abstract manner. Looking like a maquette of a city viewed from above, the artwork is impressively detailed, as well as beautifully and completely imaginary. The exhibition also features other artworks differing in size.
At the fourth booth of the Urban Art section, we have the works of a French artist going by the moniker of OX. Known as “the hijacker of billboards”, here he is letting us see another side of his creativity. Rather minimalistic and highly graphic, these pieces simply require additional information on how they’re made and what they might mean as such - which is why you should definitely see the show for yourself and talk to the curator to find out. Of course, the artwork could be simply appreciated for their aesthetics, bold color scheme, unusual canvas shapes and geometric forms - although we can’t help but think these are just elements of a larger picture…
You know him as the founder of Public Ad Campaign and one of the most prolific creatives working with outdoor advertisement. Now, you can enjoy Jordan Seiler through the photos from his adbusting campaigns in major cities in the world which tell the story of his unique practice. The visitors of the booth can also try out Jordan Seiler’s famous app, NOAD, which replaces public ads with artwork, giving life to a big digital art gallery. Through this endeavor, the artist wants the viewers to think again about the other possibilities that the existing advertising infrastructure is giving us and to draw our attention to the way the ads affect our physical and mental environment.
Located in Friedrichshain, the Serigraffeur gallery and art shop from Berlin specialising in printing. At their vivid Berliner Liste booth one just doesn’t know where to start, as there is a great variety of prints, posters and handcrafted books. There, you can find artists like BRUÏ a.k.a. Nick Booton (Liverpool/UK), Mimi The Clown (Lille/FR), Guillaume Kashima (Berlin/GER) and YUKI (Tokyo/JP). The Serigraffeur has been around in 2012 and their collection of prints has grown through a series of frequent events they’ve been organizing at their space. What started with a core of silk-screening artists living in the capital now includes international names and a vast choice of printing techniques.
With a strong commitment to the development and promotion of Urban art and its representatives, OPEN WALLS Gallery justified their role with an extensive show at Berliner Liste, featuring artwork by three prominent individuals. Specializing in stencils, Alias gives life to numerous human figures, usually children, who inhabit rusty urban spaces and never look at their viewer. Paris-based Madame, or Madame Moustache, creates engaging collage prints composed of different elements and accompanying writings, while Anton Unai uses abandoned materials and turns them into art through a dynamic mixture of methods, concepts and constructions. Make sure you don’t miss their show!
German visual artist and his Lodown magazine are the proud participants of the Urban Art section as well. Thomas Marecki created the publication back in 1995, describing it as the pop culture magazine covering topics that opposes mainstream and contemporary marketing structures. The artist’s interest in design, typography and layout found a nice home in form of the magazine, although he never stopped making artworks that embedded these creative fields as well, which will also be on view. Thomas Marecki has a longstanding history of creating projects worldwide, interconnecting elements that are usually absurdly apart from one another to make up a picture of the reality of our time.
The German artistic collective composed of Marcel Baer and Andreas Glauch, better known as Doppeldenk (Doublethink) has one of the most interesting shows in the fair. Putting on display a selection of their paintings, prints and light boxes, the duo makes tons of references to Popular culture, politics, consumerism, mythology, religion, war, technology and the defining symbols of our time through the intelligent, captivating use of graphic elements and vivid colors. It would seem there is always something new to see in their pieces and you can’t help but stare. In fact, the concept of Doppeldenk comes from George Orwell’s famous novel 1984 and it explores what it means to have two contradicting minds and beliefs working together as one.
Located in the gallery section is a booth dedicated to Spanish artist Vermibus and his Unveiling Beauty series. It features five unique dissolvents on paper from the acclaimed body of work, proving yet again the mastery of this young creative based in Berlin and his ability to strip imagery down of their imposed standards of beauty. Vermibus is well-known for his urban interventions of an original kind, in which he first takes the advertising posters from their light boxes on the streets, covers them with transparent solvents which break apart their colors chemically, and then puts them back where he found them, challenging our perception and sending a short-lived yet strong message to the advertising industry.