Daniel Boese

  • Klara Hobza

    In daylight, Klara Hobza’s installation Prequel, 2011, didn’t look like much: just a rectangle of slats, four of which were placed horizontally and provided a base for forty-eight lightbulbs, which were connected to three heavy switches—a strange bricolage of elements visible through the window of this storefront gallery. Yet at night the work lit up the neighborhood and put a glow on the street: It is a machine for sending out Morse code. Hobza repeatedly visited the gallery at night, put on industrial-grade sunglasses so as not to be blinded by the light, and sent out messages into the

  • Meng Huang

    The Chinese painter Meng Huang is on an exploratory path. In his recent “Flyover” series, 2008–, he approaches the human form in five stages, almost as if crossing a mountain, first painting the whole figure from below, then moving in to show the hunched body from a closer vantage point, next attaining a bird’s-eye view, descending again through the details, and finally looking at the same face of a human again, but from a changed perspective.

    Meng’s new series “Helmut: Five Faces of Man,” 2010, part of the broader “Flyover” series, was made while the artist was in residence at the castle of

  • Friederike Brandenburg

    What remains after humans disappear and nature takes over? The photographs of Friederike Brandenburg take up this question. One of the dozen images in this show (all Untitled, and from the series “Zurückgelassen” [Left Behind], 2007–), shows a light blue car amid a sea of green; the vehicle is almost covered by ferns. On its left is a broadleaf tree, on its right a fat conifer. At first glance one almost misses the car, but upon closer examination it looks like a 1970s or ’80s model—in any case not a vehicle of recent vintage. The car is a modern-day memento mori.

    Landscape here becomes a form

  • diary June 15, 2010

    Don’t Look Back


    A STRANGE MIX of nostalgia and anticipation accompanied the opening of the Sixth Berlin Biennial. Last Tuesday night, artists Wolfgang Ganter and Kaj Aune raised a giant heap of trash on a small forklift in a parking lot in front of Vittorio Manalese, Bruno Brunnet’s new gallery. The performance brought to mind two “trashy” installations from the legendary First Berlin Biennial in 1998: the maniacal videos and sculptures of the (now forgotten) Honey-Suckle Company and those of Jonathan Meese.

    Curator Kathrin Rhomberg dispersed all notions of nostalgia right away during the press conference on

  • Anne Tismer

    What would Hitler say? This question has recently gone from being posed ironically in Germany to a global musing. YouTube now has more than 140 mash-ups of the movie Der Untergang (The Downfall) (2004), which answer the question by using subtitles to show what Hitler would say if he found out that the iPad does not support multitasking play, or that he lost the LA MOCA directorship to Jeffrey Deitch. These mash-ups have turned Hitler into a global meme for uncontrolled rage. Now Anne Tismer has merged Hitler with the amazingly popular Facebook game FarmVille. Her performance Hitlerine, 2010,

  • “New Life Copenhagen”

    Joseph Beuys famously began planting seven thousand oaks for Kassel during Documenta 7 in 1982. Last December, the art collective Wooloo provided three thousand beds in Copenhagen for visitors to the UN climate summit. The project, “New Life Copenhagen,” housed, among others, a French hunger striker, Chinese youth activists, and the Peruvian shaman Angelica, who performed a healing ritual for the dying Mother Earth in the home of the CEO of a Danish insurance company. Finding free accommodation for activists, NGO employees, and delegates may sound like little more than a couch-surfing experiment

  • Attila Csörgö

    The beauty of mathematics is not something one often considers when walking through Berlin’s galleries. Attila Csörgö’s show “Magnet Spring” was an exception. The Hungarian artist, born in 1965, visualizes physical forces in settings resembling experiments, making their complex nature graspable in a simple but not simplistic way. In 2007, he showed a groundbreaking piece that crystallizes his approach to the mathematic arts: Untitled (1 tetrahedron + 1 cube + 1 octahedron = 1 dodecahedron), 2000. On a metal rack one can see a cube, a pyramid, and a double pyramid made of thin wooden sticks. Then

  • diary October 06, 2009

    Bild to Last


    “HOW GERMAN IS IT?” asked Udo Kittelmann on a recent Wednesday at the opening of Thomas Demand’s “Nationalgalerie,” fittingly installed at the Neue Nationalgalerie. Nearly three and a half miles of curtain had been used to transform the Mies van der Rohe building into an intimate Bilderkammer, and the press-savvy Kittelmann was busy talking up the “Gesamtkunstwerk” to journalists. The opening was the kickoff to a week of events in the Berlin art world, and, to be sure, it was a very German affair. Demand’s pictures, some of them never before exhibited, not only showed the (German) forest but

  • “Transformations”

    Sometimes it is hard to see the crisis that you are in. Everybody in Berlin seems to be worrying about how many of the city’s 450 galleries will be closing and which big players will go. Meanwhile, at one of the smaller and fairly new spaces, the Berlin outpost of Rotterdam-based MKgalerie, one could see dispatches from the environmental and social crises around the globe. Transformations” did what commercial group shows seldom do: It carried a genuine curatorial message. Pim Palsgraaf’s three installations were made of taxidermied animals and found materials, resulting in works like Multiscape

  • diary May 09, 2009

    Working for the Weekend


    AS IT SO HAPPENED, Berlin’s third Gallery Weekend coincided with the summit of the Hedonist International. This meant that the usual series of previews, dinners, openings, and parties went toe-to-toe with a slew of hedonistic Mayday protests. As visitors flocked to André Butzer’s opening at Max Hetzler, just around the corner, on Wilhelmstraße, the German finance ministry was being “beautified”: Self-professed hedonists (can one call them “card-carrying”?) hurled eggs filled with red, yellow, and blue paint at the building’s gray facade. In the resultant splats' strong hues and grisaille

  • Julius Popp and Mark Lombardi

    Media artists aren’t having the easiest time of it these days: Back in the mid-1990s, Julia Scher was still able to shock us by mounting security cameras on all four of her bedposts and filming everything that happened at night between the sheets. Who would even blink an eye at these intimate surveillance fantasies now, given the party diaries posted constantly on Facebook and the home videos on YouPorn? The speed with which commercial technologies are being developed goes far beyond the material imaginations of artists.

    Leipzig artist Julius Popp has found a way out of this dilemma: He constructs

  • Michael Sailstorfer

    It has been stormy seas for the world’s stock markets, and financial giants are tumbling from their pedestals, but meanwhile, a silver metal storage building on a snowy meadow is pulsating: The metal walls puff up until they look about to burst, then the building shrinks back to its original size. Michael Sailstorfer recorded this “breathing” building with a high-speed camera. Indeed, what looks like suspiration in the artist’s film Untitled (Lohma) (all works 2008) is nothing but a loop showing the moment before the structure explodes. Sailstorfer had the edifice (which he also built) dynamited,

  • diary November 06, 2008

    Wrinkle in Time


    IF MOVIES ARE TO BE BELIEVED, each of life’s junctures deserves a sound track. So it seems worth noting that last week, during the various openings and affairs coinciding with Art Forum Berlin, I often found myself humming Blur’s “Out of Time.” (“To watch the world spinning gently out of time . . .”) Most of the events were oddly out of sync. Last Tuesday night, at the preview of the temporary kunsthalle, a “cube” on the Schlossplatz designed by Austrian architect Adolf Krischanitz, everyone kept asking whether they had been invited to the wrong event. Local hero Wolfgang Tillmans was there,

  • “62 Days, 58 Shows, 212 Artists”

    A crowd was assembled on the sidewalk outside the bar, drinking beer out of bottles. Around the corner, a few young Turkish men had set up a grill right in the street. Inside the long, narrow, gray space known as the Forgotten Bar, you had to squeeze past loudly vociferating artists to find the television screen hidden behind a refrigerator: Onscreen, a man enters a sparsely furnished hotel room, lights a fuse, and then fireworks explode until nothing is left but black smoke. Somehow the video, Room 113 (Royal Monceau), 2008, is reminiscent of those on YouTube in which guys slip Mentos into Coke

  • Barking Dogs United

    Crossing a threshold takes only a single step, but at Schalter your way of walking was instantly transformed, as your feet came to rest upon one of dozens of skateboards covering the floor in long rows. Involuntarily, you bent your knees to keep balanced on the springy boards that rolled out from beneath your feet at each step. As you wobbled your way into the next room, the boards creaked, and you had to avoid stepping on their raised tips. The skateboards were joined in such a way that there was always an entire row of them rolling back and forth underneath as you explored the otherwise empty

  • diary September 11, 2008

    ABC 123


    Fair was a four-letter word at last Thursday’s opening of Art Berlin Contemporary (ABC). Artistic director Ariane Beyn continually corrected those who called it a fair: “It is an exhibition,” she insisted—yet no one seemed to be listening. Standing around a Tom Burr installation, Cornelius Tittel, editor of German culture mag Monopol, and Alexander Schröder of Galerie Neu, one of ABC’s organizers, expressed cynicism about the difference, what with today’s dealers even selling directly out of the Venice Biennale.

    Beyn had arranged works by seventy-four artists from forty-four Berlin galleries in

  • picks June 03, 2008

    Jan Muche

    “Everything allowed—nothing required” is the motto of the most popular German swinger website, joyclub.de, which the young artist Jan Muche has used as the title of this exhibition. Muche is a painter who swings through recent art history. Although he is clearly influenced by stars from the preceding generation (Neo Rauch, Daniel Richter), he creates something all his own. Muche’s painting of a Bolle supermarket—one of which was burned on May 1 over twenty years ago, beginning a tradition of violent, supposedly revolutionary demonstrations—brings to mind Richter’s involvement in the Hamburg

  • diary May 29, 2008

    Pride and Prejudice


    Even in the hubbub of Berlin’s political life, such a queer mixture is seldom to be seen: Last Tuesday, the conservative minister of cultural affairs, Bernd Neumann, stood amid hundreds of gay men of all stripes. There were guys in bomber jackets and skinny jeans, in suits and kippahs, in brogues and a bow tie—even one with a neon-red Mohawk. A few lesbians were among the crowd. A special occasion, to be sure, for the culture minister that day had the honor and duty to inaugurate Germany’s national memorial for homosexual victims of National Socialism—a monument, it should be noted, that his

  • Viktoria Binschtok

    It looked as if the gallery had closed up shop. Had the end come for one of the pioneers of Brunnenstrasse, home to Berlin’s youngest galleries? All the other white cubes were brightly lit, but Klemm’s had blacked-out windows. The space looked abandoned. But the door was not locked. Inside, Viktoria Binschtok showed mostly light-gray photographic images that gleamed under spotlights strong enough to blind anyone emerging from the dismal Berlin winter: One can recognize only outlines in these pictures, which look abstract, like Minimalist paintings—gray striations on gray backgrounds. Only

  • picks April 18, 2008

    Riccardo Previdi

    At first glance, Kurfürstenstrasse appears to be a typical West Berlin street: Once an elegant, respectable residential area, now German and Romanian prostitutes struggle over control of the strip. Those who come to see the first solo exhibition at this recently established gallery, however, see the thoroughfare in a different light. It is, for them, the Berlin art world’s vanguard outpost, perhaps the farthest venue from Auguststrasse, and emblematic of how contemporary art influences the entire city. Dual perspectives serve as the conceptual scaffolding for artist Riccardo Previdi’s exhibition.