Gallery Run: The Berlin Connection

On The Town | Natascha Eichinger | June 2013

 

The cliché is that Berlin is hip while Vienna is staid and boring. And to an extent this is true: Vienna has not fully embraced the styles and techniques of contemporary art to the extent that Berlin has, transformed as it has been into an international hub for art since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But a range of exhibitions and events this month bring Vienna’s galleries and streets a little close to the influences that are flourishing in Berlin.

Cash, Cans and Candy

Street art is big in Berlin, and this summer Vienna will have more of its city walls splattered with colour. Until 16 September, exhibitions at Hilger BROTKunsthalle and Galerie Hilger Next are presenting work by Austrian and international street artists accompanied by live street art performances taking place across Vienna.

The stencilled spray-painting of a smiling group of four sitting arm-in-arm on a lawn, by the Bulgarian artist Vasilena Gankovska at Neni am Naschmarkt, was the first of these live performances. This matches the bustling ambiance of the restaurant and brings fresh energy to the bleak walls of Naschmarkt.

Street art in Vienna is often dismissed as graffiti and vandalism. This series of exhibitions and events helps bring a different message – that street art can be every bit as compelling as other art forms and that it has the potential to enhance the city’s aesthetic.

"Especially when an area of a city is run-down, a painted wall can make it more attractive and people become accustomed to having it there," assures Gankovska. "People are often happy when a well-known street artist spray paints a wall in their neighbourhood."

Galerie Hilger Next and Hilger BROTKunsthalle

10., Absberggasse 27

Wed. – Sat. 12:00 – 18:00

(01) 512 53 15

www.hilger.at

 

Art events: 

Mural Live Painting – Faith47

Ankerbrotfabrik

10., Absberggasse 35

1 June, 15:00 – 18:00

 

Tattoo-performance – Vasilena Gankovska

HilgerBROTKunsthalle

10., Absberggasse 27 

21 June, 19:00 – 21:30

 

 

Snakes between her and the shore

Since the late 1990s, Berlin-based artist Katharina Grosse has earned a reputation for daring expositions in spray-painting: This exhibition encompasses enormous canvases with rainbow-coloured strokes, splashes and dribbles conveying an energy and movement typical of her work. Close up, recognisable shapes and creatures emerge from the chaos of colourful lines and drops evoking phantasmagoric scenes. Like a Rorschach test that is different for every viewer, Grosse’s oeuvre triggers the imagination.

In the second room, an unsettling feeling takes hold as if you are no longer merely looking at art, but standing within it. A long, studded, 1950s sofa designed by Florence Knoll facing a large-sized crackle sculpture by Grosse on a circular carpet, all sprayed with reds, blues, greens and purple, fill the room. This spatial display, together with the multi-coloured streaked canvases on the walls, is disorientating and oddly effective.

Grosse’s transition from oil and acrylics on canvas to applying colour onto three-dimensional objects, has been one of the defining characteristics of her work. In previous projects she has transformed entire notice boards, staircases, canteens, museums and other buildings into a colourful spectacle. Through 29 June.

 

Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder

1., Grünangergasse 1

Mon. – Sat. 11:00 – 19:00

Sun. 10:00 – 18:00

(01) 512 12 66

www.schwarzwaelder.at

 

Wien+Berlin

After years of documenting curious and touching encounters and day-to-day scenes, photographers Christian Reister in Berlin and Kay von Aspern in Vienna have joined forces for this exhibition. Captured scenes such as those of a group of men and women in Lederhosen napping together in the grass, or a man strolling along a canal as he passes a bill board, have a distinctly Viennese feel about them. And yet, all descriptive captions are deliberately omitted, you are left guessing which are Berlin and which Vienna.

Whilst painstakingly scanning the photographs for clues of tell-tale street signs, familiar advertisements or recognisable buildings to pin-point the setting of each photograph, it becomes clear just how similar the two cities really are. Berlin and Vienna have a great deal in common, both in appearance and in lifestyle. Then you have the fun of checking in the gallery catalogue, to see if you were right! It was exhibited at Gallerie Burjuar in Berlin before it came here and will by on display through 1 June in Vienna.

 

Eigensinnig

7., Sankt-Ulrichs-Platz 4/2

Tue. – Fri. 11:00 – 19:00

Sat. 10:00-18:00

(01) 890 66 37

www.eigensinnig.at

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