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
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.