28 September 2012

BERLIN: COULD IT BE LOVE?

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From the top: Letizia Romanini 'Mat der Nues beilaafen', Maria Anwander 'The Kiss', Max Mertens 'Affection', Kay Walkowiak 'Ich, Ich'; images by artfridge and Grimuseum, Berlin

Love - the most beautiful phenomenon in the world that humans still aren't capable to describe with words. Music, poetry, theatre and art, on the other hand, often come much closer to what remains unspeakable. In their touring group show 'Kann es Liebe sein?', the curators Nora Mayr and Gilles Neiens have got themselves inspired by singer Falco and actress Desirée Nosbusch's 80s duet of the same title and indulged themselves in the peculiar and rather stiff anti-romanticism of 80s-aesthetics.
Symbols, longings, pain and kitsch - love's common associations are played out by 11 artists, exploring the phenomenon from different angles, suggesting however a constant alteration between serious affection and complete naivety. This naivety, as we all remember it from our first school-crush, is fantastically evoked in Letizia Romanini's installation 'Mat der Nues beilaafen' (2009), which displays a huge black spot on the wall and, underneath, a large pile of paper aeroplanes whose front edges were dipped in ink. But Romanini's work similarly reminds of the time, which usually comes right after the first school-crush: obsession, love-sickness, despair.
Other pieces approach the paradoxes of intimacy and distance, such as Max Merten's two cheesy chandeliers, which are entwined around each other, reacting with rotations to a movement sensor, as soon as a visitor passes the 'Affection' installation. Christodoulos Panayiotou's video 'Slow Dance Marathon' (2005) goes in a similar direction, however, with its melodramatic love songs and dull countryside backgrounds, the video is also critiquing our overrated media-manipulated expectation from love and its side-effects.
Even though one can't do anything but fail trying to explain what love could possibly be, Mayr and Neiens did an applaudable curatorial job, introducing and juxtaposing contemporary positions, out of which most have so far been quite unknown in Berlin. 
Let's raise our glasses to love.


KANN ES LIEBE SEIN?
until 30th of September in Berlin 
13.10–11.11.2012 at Cercle Cité in Luxembourg
20.11–25.11.2012 at Künstlerhaus k/haus Passagalerie & STUDIOS Sammlung Lenikus in Vienna

With works by Maria Anwander (AT), Julius Deutschbauer (AT), Katharina Lackner (AT), Christoph Meier (AT), Max Mertens (LU), Suzan Noesen (LU), Christodoulos Panayiotou (CY), Armand Quetsch (LU), Letizia Romanini (LU), Kay Walkowiak (AT), Ming Wong (Singapore).
Curated by Nora Mayr and Gilles Neiens

Fichte Strasse 2 
10967 Berlin
Opening Hours: Wednesday - Sunday, 14-19 h.
Tour with the curators on Sunday, the 30th of September, 16h

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From the top: photograph by Armand QuetschKatharina Lackner, 'Very Bright Inside 4', Ming Wong videostill 'Lerne Deutsch mit Petra Von Kant / Learn German with Petra Von Kant', Video Max Mertens 'Affection' and Video Falco and Desirée Nosbusch's duet 'Kann es Liebe sein?' and Flyer,  images by artfridge and Grimmuseum
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