One of Berlin’s most notable galleries, Galerie Neu, is Gladstone Gallery’s guest for this summer, presenting a reflection from the German capital’s vibrant contemporary art scene. Known for its avant-garde art spaces and affordable living conditions for emerging artists, Berlin has been one of the most influential cities for the European art scene, and the selection at Gladstone Gallery, mainly focusing on the notion of place and displacement, gives the opportunity to catch up with the city’s recent art trends.
Gedi Sibony, The Revolving Rey (2014)
Experimenting with various materials and pushing the envelope in exhibition techniques are the two central elements throughout the exhibition, and the selection of works ultimately mediates on the broad understanding of place, both in the actual and the metaphorical sense. The collaboration between two galleries from separate continents sits at the center of this exhibition, a joint project in representation that addresses both locations as a shared space in one white cube.
Striking attention with its expansiveness in scale is John Knight’s visually captivating installation Work, in situ, Galerie NEU/MD72/Gladstone Gallery, covering the walls of the gallery with what once was the roof of the original Galerie Neu location. Repurposed for the gallery’s second location in Mehringdamm, these wooden panels were damaged due to the harsh weather conditions over time, reaching to their current status as Knight’s source material in an installation depicting the tangible connection between time and place.
In The Revolving Rey, Gedi Sibony examines the connection between everyday life and art, hanging a pair of doors removed from a trailer van. At the same time, the bond between time and space finds its presence in the rigid and worn presence of the doors and the mobility of the trailer they belong to. Klara Liden’s Untitled (Poster Painting), conversely, articulates the use of media in art practices, layering advertisement posters found on the street atop each other to create a textured, worn assemblage. Through covering the visuals of first layer with white paint, the artist eliminates the outreach of the advertorial information for the masses, while illustrating the actual physical mass of its distribution across a city space.
Tom Burr’s Charlotte Shifting, a collage of the actress Charlotte Rampling’s printed and cut-out photos from different ages placed on a glass mirror, is a study on the phenomenon of stardom and the observation of fame in an ever-changing world, using an iconic actress who has been in the film industry for many decades as a symbol of beauty and fame. Similarly, artist collective Reena Spaulings covers one big wall of the gallery with portraits of famous names from the contemporary art world. Done in somewhat hasty, occasionally irreverent style, the presentation is a humorous take on the economization of art, satirically iconizing the powerhouse decision makers in today’s art market through twenty-one individual portraits.
Space and time are fitting subjects for this exhibition, and the nature of the show presents a strong framework to illustrate their flaws. Neu at Gladstone Is On View at Gladstone Gallery Through August 1, 2014.
— O.C. Yerebakan
*All images by Osman Can Yerebakan for Art Observed.