The biggest art fair in Berlin - Berliner Liste - opened its 2016 edition, with a special preview for press and exhibitors. The first batch of art lovers was welcomed by Joergen Golz, the fair’s director, and the three curators, Dr Peter Funken, Stegan Maria Rother and Guillaume Trotin. Joining the Berliner Liste crew, there were the people from the Absolut Art department, one of the biggest sponsors of the art fair this year.
Introducing the 13th edition of the event, Mr. Golz elaborated on the evolution and the significance of the international nature of the Liste, where exhibitors come from all five continents and from over 25 countries this year. Over 5000 square meters of the famed venue Kraftwerk is expected to receive over 10.000 visitors.
The focus of the fair is put on young art, as Berliner Liste becomes a unique place where young artists can exhibit their work within or without a gallery representation. As an independent art fair, Berliner Liste realizes its production without any major support. Still, sponsors such as Absolut Art are always welcome, as they understand the vision and the mission of such a diverse art exhibition.
The three curators of the art fair gave short speeches, each one announcing their curated section. Dr. Peter Funken addressed the matter of collecting and pointed out the fact that the collecting process is a way of life. One gets infected by the art and never ceases to consume it. Finally, no overly expensive artist needs to be there in order to make a good collection, while collecting emerging names can certainly pay off, in every sense. The collection of Peter Funken is displayed at the fair, along with the collection of the photography section curator, Stefan Maria Rother. Rother emphasized the importance of collecting and mentioned that his photography students have their own booth at the Berliner Liste.
Guillaume Trotin, curator of the Urban art section emphasized that this edition of the Berliner Liste is the first edition of a traditional art fair, with a section dedicated exclusively to the new urban contemporary art movement. The section includes an international array of artists, coming from Europe, the US and some of the rising Berlin stars, all coming in different forms or media. Concurrently, Clemens Behr can also be considered a part of the urban art theme, as he is one of the most prolific young artists in the city today. Speaking about the city, Joergen Golz added that Berlin artists can be seen at the BBK Medienwerkstatt and Verein Berliner Kuenstler booths.
Special segments of the Berliner Liste have been dedicated to both Young Japanese Artists and one of the masters of sculpture from Taiwan, Master Kang Mu-Xiang. The Japanese section brought 113 emerging Japanese creatives and it makes the largest exhibition of Japanese contemporary art outside of Japan to date. This section will award a prize to the selected artist at the end of the fair in the amount of 1 million Yen (about 8.500 EUR), while the jury will be made by Mr. Terrada and the fair’s curators.Master Kang was welcomed as the special, exhibitional feature of the Berliner Liste. His large environmental sculptures shine in the lower floor of Kraftwerk, in an installation called Path to Life. As another special feature, which mixes entertainment with art, Absolut Art Bar was presented. Designed in entirety by Clemens Behr, to whom we’ve managed to talk right after, the bar reflects the architecture of Kraftwerk and introduces an organic element to it.
The welcoming speech was concluded once again by Joergen Golz, who mentioned that the absence of the Berliner Liste from the official Berlin art week is the result of the rejection of the fair by the city’s galleries. As stated by the artist, the art bar is meant to interact with the environment and to be an immersive, visual experience.
As the Berliner Liste 2016 was officially open, we’ve took a stroll through the booths and singled out a selection of works to collect at this special occasion.
The visceral geometric compositions by Ekaterina Fischnaller give out an refined feeling of intimate microcosm, still so universal that the viewer can relate immediately. Composed well, abstract, delicate and contemplative, these works of art are available at the Hofkabinett booth number G0.09, in the Gallery section on the ground floor.
Walking through the Urban Art section, the new addition to the largest Berlin art fair, must be a delight for the urban contemporary collectors. The most intriguing names of the movement stand along with the rising stars, while the expressions mix and overlap. One of the most visually compelling works belongs to Alias, a street artist who also has a rich studio practice, and whose poignant pieces invite the viewer to think and reflect. An entire series of Alias’ works is available at the Open Walls booth marked UA0.07, and we particularly loved the Lonely Skater executed in 2015.
One of the stars of the Urban Spree Gallery, Hendrik Czakainski is represented with a series of work, different in scale. The Berliner Liste fair is a special opportunity for collectors to view and snatch his large piece entitled 120.630, which spreads across two walls. The photographs of the piece do not do it justice, since this aerial-view installation of a densely populated neighborhood embodies the relationship of art and the urban environment.
Definitely one of the most daring figures in the adbusting movement, Jordan Seiler is represented with his series Collisions, in a solo booth number UA0.05. Visitors should not miss the opportunity to download his PublicAd Campaign app and play the videos by pointing their mobile devices toward photos, while the keys Seiler produces and distributes are also on view. Represented by Open Walls, Jordan Seiler’s work in photographs is available throughout the duration of the Berliner Liste and after.
One of the most highly praised galleries at this year’s Berliner Liste is definitely Pine Wood Fine Art and we couldn’t agree more. Out of the wonderful selection of artwork, we would single out a group of woodcuts by Kai Luther, arranged in a composition of 10, offered at the fair at a special price. The pieces can be bought separately, but the opportunity to purchase them all together should not be omitted. These small contemplative landscapes executed by Luther in monochrome prints take the mind further, into an imaginary landscape, beyond the reality and the material.
Collaboration with Weng Contemporary has graced Widewalls booth at the Berliner Liste with one of the masterpieces by none other than Robert Longo, as a curiosity dedicated to collectors of blue chip art. A large pigment print depicting one of his recognizable motives, Cadillac, can be found at the fair, at the Widewalls booth, right in the corner of the ground level of Kraftwerk, the Urban Art section for the price of $15.900. The piece is otherwise available at the Weng Contemporary website.
Abstract art has a strong hold in contemporary Japanese art if we look at the exhibited pieces at the Japanese section. However, outside of this section we can also meet artwork that is representative of this style. On the ground floor of the venue, there is the booth of Systema Gallery, where visitors can find the work of one Miho Ishihara, an artist who employs contrast and expressive strokes to depict his vision.
The minute-made drawings by Kaja El-Attar introduce a new world to those with a keen eye. The finely executed pieces, collaged with small elements taken from circuit-boards evoke somewhat of the Miro-esque sentiment, while keeping the undeniable contemporary feel.Kaja El Attar artwork can be viewed and purchased on the Artist Section booth number A0.05, on the first floor of Kraftwerk.
Always the highlight of the Berliner Liste, Edvardas Racevičius showcases a new series of his sculptures. The single statues are accompanied with various wall installations and groups, all made in wood, the signature material of this inventive artist. Edvardas’ work can be viewed within the Artist section on the first floor, at the booth numbered A0.09.
Play with kitsch and vintage aesthetics radiates from a central point of the Artist section where you can find Margarete Adler’s booth. Her mixed-media female busts awaken a diverse range of feelings in the viewer, from appeal to disgust, from basic desire to touch, to utter rejection. The collectors might have a unique opportunity to attain such a complex sculpture on the upper floor of Kraftwerk, booth number A0.10 offers this particular experience.
Odd mix-technique installations resembling birds or vintage machines belong to Alexandru Nestor, a Romanian artist. His language goes beyond steampunk and enters the realm of surreal, while it keeps the eclectic traits of nostalgic, postmodern art. Nestor’s art can be viewed and purchased at the booth number A0.49, at the Artist Section of the fair.
Among the plethora of Japanese artists, Aira’s expression emerges as clean and powerful, embodying both visual heritage of the Far East, as well as the contemplative allusions of the Western art. Resembling Rorschach inkblots, Aira’s canvases are highly aestheticized, while simultaneously keeping the aesthetic level of a design piece.
Bizarre and intriguing photographs by Andrey Kezzyn can be found on the first floor of the art fair, for all fine art photography collectors to enjoy. His Salome delivers yet another interpretation of the legend, this time transposed in a contemporary-fetish environment, while the red alludes to the erotic and gory nature of the fable.
Hendrik Czakainski – 120.630, image courtesy of Urban Spree; Robert Longo – Untitled (Cadillac), 2012, image courtesy of WENG Contemporary; Andrey Kezzyn – Salome, image courtesy of Berliner Liste; All other images (c) Widewalls.