Kito Nedo

  • diary April 28, 2015

    Cool as ICE

    THE DINING CARS of the high-speed ICE are a culinary wasteland. But with their dented red-leather couches, they serve well as social hubs for the temporary traveling communities moving 150 miles per hour throughout Germany. When I boarded the train in Berlin, it was the place to meet companions en route to the forty-ninth edition of Art Cologne. It was dealer Johann König who invited me to his table, where we spent the whole journey enjoying a lengthy breakfast, which grew into lunch the longer it lasted. Cell signals aren’t stable on the ICE, but König managed to work the phone whenever the

  • diary June 09, 2014

    Out of Site

    IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL Monday afternoon when the group exhibition “Everyday Life” opened at the Hamburger Bahnhof. In the courtyard, armed with beer and bratwurst, stood a few dozen art people, from Berlin Nationalgalerie director Udo Kittelmann to dealer Lars Friedrich, artist Mariana Castillo Deball to Paris Bar owner Michel Würthle. It was a low-profile opening, which matched the general “wait-and-see” attitude suffusing events around the launch of the Eighth Berlin Biennale, this year curated by Juan A. Gaitán. Since Artur Żmijewski’s poorly received “Occupy Biennale” two years ago, the thrill

  • diary April 21, 2014

    Form and Function

    “YOU SEE WHY Cologne is so pleasant?” the critic Boris Pofalla asked me, pointing to the dancers bouncing on the floor at the Köln-Ehrenfeld studio of the Meiré Brothers. “No bearded hipsters looking for free booze. In Berlin, every opening is a party. In Cologne it’s different: A party is a party and an opening is an opening.”

    It was Wednesday night, and we were in the midst of an unofficial, well-attended afterparty for Art Cologne. I agreed: For an art event—in all its cheerful, self-aware, posthipster decency—this was a pretty good one. Everything seemed just right: the minimalist setting (

  • slant December 15, 2013

    Kito Nedo

    “Speculations on Anonymous Materials” at Kunsthalle Fridericianum (September 29–January 26, 2013) Newly appointed curator Susanne Pfeffer has created an exhibition that gives a collective and pointed voice to some of the most influential young artists working today. This timely international group show presents some thirty makers (Yngve Holen, Josh Kline, Pamela Rosenkranz, Oliver Laric, and Aleksandra Domanović, among others) who produce artworks that are currently traded under the precarious label “post-Internet art.” Samsung flat screens, 3-D printing, Tumblrism, fragile USB-cable sculptures,

  • picks October 06, 2013

    Anna Ostoya

    One of the underlying assumptions of any gallery visit is that the artist’s past output will be evoked in relation to the new work in his or her current exhibition. Anna Ostoya, who lives in New York, does not fundamentally challenge this expectation with her current exhibition at Silberkuppe. She would clearly prefer, however, that the show—which is titled “Rips: Future Works” and features seventeen collage and assemblage works—be understood not so much as a retrospective of work already produced but rather as a view of that which could still come: Even the press release speaks to a kind of

  • diary September 28, 2013

    Politics as Usual

    “BERLIN ART WEEK” kicked off last Tuesday as Germany’s election season was entering its final throes. The streets were plastered with billboards promoting more or less convincing slogans and faces. But there were other endgames at stake as well. “We do not talk about the death of painting,” Nationalgalerie director Udo Kittelmann told journalists at that day’s press conference for “Painting Forever!” the joint venture of four powerful art institutions: Berlinische Galerie, Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, and Neue Nationalgalerie. It was meant to be the highlight of

  • diary April 28, 2013

    Fair and Balanced

    WHO’D HAVE GUESSED that the award ceremony for this year’s Wolfgang Hahn Prize would be the highlight of Art Cologne week? The press preview on the prior Wednesday morning for the related Andrea Fraser retrospective at the Museum Ludwig had been a routine affair. No journalist dared to ask a question, not even the customary one: “Whatever happened to institutional critique?” And yet we were all wondering about her plans for her award ceremony, a format constitutive to the Fraserian “oeuvre.” In the end, curator Barbara Engelbach gently pushed the artist to reveal some details, and Fraser explained

  • picks October 20, 2012

    Michael Buthe

    Upon entering Michael Buthe’s current exhibition, visitors will be utterly drawn into the colors and forms in the large-scale canvases on view. Ohne Titel (ST 010), 1989–93, for instance, is a wild abstraction, executed through a variety of techniques: On the right edge, newsprint shows through and it is covered with a zigzag pattern drawn in charcoal; many different hues have been thrown onto the rest of the painting’s facade; and in specific places, one can see where Buthe swiped the canvas with his fingers. In other works, the image is sprinkled with a myriad of small pencil marks. This

  • picks October 06, 2012

    Robin Bruch

    One of this gallery’s early guiding principles was to create a program “generated exclusively through personal recommendations.” In the case of the current solo exhibition of paintings by Robin Bruch, it was the Berlin-based artist Megan Francis Sullivan who made the suggestion. (Sullivan herself first ran across Bruch in an essay by the artist David Reed.) The title of the show, “Major Works on Paper: 1972–1985,” already indicates the fundamental difficulty in mounting a retrospective of Bruch’s art. Born in Cleveland in 1948, Bruch participated in the 1975 Whitney Biennial, and then seems to

  • picks July 12, 2012

    Marcus Weber

    Since the turn of the twentieth century, certain stylistic parameters have established themselves in the subgenre of street photography––concentration on the “decisive moment,” rapidity, a certain lack of contrivance, and a proximity to other documentary approaches to photography. A transfer of the conceptuality of street photography to the realm of painting appears, however, to be impossible, if one does not wish to include in this category kitsch sidewalk chalk drawings or the concept of en plein air landscape painting. Here it seems the path from painting to photography is, in fact, a one-way

  • diary May 01, 2012

    Routine Pleasures

    IT’S FRIDAY AFTER MIDNIGHT, and we’re standing on the stairs overseeing the dancing crowd at Times Bar. A DJ team plays Smurf techno and the go-getter, post-Net-art faction of Neukölln’s expat community throws their arms into the air. Times Bar is part of what was, until recently, a well-oiled system of artist dives along the north-south route of the U8 subway, including the now defunct Atlas at Kottbusser Tor and Smaragd in Pankstraße. Tonight at Times it’s a special occasion: Artist Marlie Mul has hung one of her disturbing, cute silk paintings riffing on tobacco culture and pregnancy behind

  • picks April 23, 2012

    Michael Schmidt

    With his current exhibition, “Lebensmittel” (Food), which consists of 177 photographs, Berlin-based photographer Michael Schmidt debuts the results of his research into agribusiness, which between 2006 and 2010 took him to many different locations throughout Europe. Schmidt sought out places where edibles are produced, packaged, distributed, and sold. Yet the specific locations are never revealed, neither in the exhibition nor in the accompanying catalogue. Thus the mostly uninhabited cultivated fields and plantations, the motifs of fish, pig, and cattle breeding, of large-scale bakeries as well

  • picks January 17, 2012

    Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys

    The list of fictional artists in the history of art is so long that by now it could fill whole encyclopedias. With their current exhibition, “Im Reich der Sonnenfinsternis” (In the Empire of the Eclipse), the Belgian artists Jos de Gruyter and Harald Thys add another gloomy chapter to this genre. In the center of it all we find Johannes, a clichéd caricature of a painterly type, whose oeuvre is presented to visitors in the form of a posthumous survey show. Installed, often densely, throughout two rooms and one corridor are about 120 paintings and small sculptures: cheap canvases and paper with

  • picks November 19, 2011

    Cosima von Bonin

    The sculptures and installations of Cologne-based artist Cosima von Bonin—whose last solo exhibition, in 2010, was titled “The Fatigue Empire”—bespeaks a culture preoccupied with the idea of exhaustion. Enervation and weariness emanate from her stuffed-animal sculptures, which have previously included a reclining rabbit, a lobster, and mussels as well as less-defined lolling shapes.

    In her current exhibition at the Galerie Daniel Buchholz, these figures appear again. Sewn in white fabric, each seems irrevocably faded and threadbare. A mound of stuffed creatures is piled over a white oval table

  • picks October 04, 2011

    Seiichi Furuya

    Mémoires” is the first solo exhibition in Berlin by the Japanese-born, Graz, Austria-based artist Seiichi Furuya. Whether it is a coincidence or not, the show––with its twenty-five photographs, five artist’s books, and slide projection of eighty-one images––seems like a commentary on the many official events planned this year for the fiftieth anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall. In essence, the show emphasizes how difficult it is to remember through photography and how knowledge of a larger history can influence the way one looks at photographic images from a specific time.

    Furuya