Yuli Prayitno, Dear I’m Going There, 2011 (detail from installation)
This past Friday, several galleries closed their doors for the summer holiday. Many others are still open and even some will still be having events through the end of July into August. Friday I donned a pair of patent leather black heels and hit the pavement, err, cobblestones running. First up was a group of galleries hidden behind the Hamburger Bahnof. Shown in the image above, is the work of Indonesian sculptor Yuli Prayitno. For this particular piece, the artist has utilized the ever popular deer antlers on a hunter’s plaque. The juxtaposition merging two different animals in this format is not new. However, the element that made a statement in not only a decorative but rather contemporary way are the small plastic ties that bind the pastel colored antlers together. Deer have been the rage for quite some time in both art and fashion. The work above didn’t necessarily communicate something new but is aesthetically pleasing. I found myself wishing the installation contained more individual units (or less) and that they had varied somewhat in size. But the color differentiation and small element of brightly colored plastic caught my attention as a compositional and possibly functional element appealing enough to mention the work here and also to further inquire on the artists body of work.

Alex Soth, from Broken Manual, Galerie Loock

Next up was American artist Alex Soth: Broken Manual at Galerie Loock. The photographs were immediately familiar and have been shown before at Gagosian in New York but I”m not sure if I’ve seen some there, or in an art fair. From the press release:

Since you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re a broken man,” begins the textually and photographically fragmented book, Broken Manual, by Lester B. Morrison (text) and Alec Soth (photography.) “In one life you haul yourself out of bed each day,” continues Morrison, “in the other life you DREAM… the essence of your dream is this: You crave ESCAPE”.
Alec Soth tends to focus on diversion. The paths taken by less and craved by many. The figures, when they appear are misplaced. They stare into the blank sky and wade in shallow water. In the above photograph, in a beautifully simplistic way, he inserts himself and humanity into nature by way of clothes hangers. The result is both oddly humorous yet also carries a distinct sadness in the moment and realization of impossibility in merging a particular lifestyle with another.
Hansjoerg Dobliar, Spider, 2009

Lastly was a stop at Wendt + Friedmann located on Heidestrasse for BETWIXT. The group show presents Pablo Alonso, Hansjoerg Dobliar, Caroline Kryzecki and Andreas Schulze. Within the context of the presentation is the loose theme of being between. It offers several artists in various stages of style interpretation. Each artist works physically on the canvas/surface and are exploring the act of art-making itself, not focusing on content or even the actuality of marks, but rather the shapes and forms that emerge through the process of accessing the subconscious. In the painting above, the brush strokes and overlapping of color are more relevant in creating form vs. dialogue. The statement isn’t necessarily a new one but is a common theme in several of the group exhibits I’ve witnessed in Berlin thus far.

Courtyard view, behind the Hamburger Bahnof
More soon!