Kristian Vistrup Madsen

  • diary September 16, 2020

    Rave New World

    “THE DANCE FLOOR is so much smaller than I remember.” This is the main feedback you’ll hear from visitors to the recently opened Boros x Berghain exhibition that fills Berlin’s old-power-plant-cum-legendary-nightclub until it’s safe for techno-heads and leather-gays to return to their natural habitat. It used to take hours to get from one end to the other, or so it seemed. Now a small, wonderful Andro Wekua painting lends the space an almost domestic atmosphere. One of Anna Uddenberg’s mannequin sculptures humps the counter in the upstairs Panorama Bar; Sandra Mujinga’s tall hooded figures lurk

  • Georges Adéagbo

    Georges Adéagbo is a one-trick artist. But the outcome of that trick is endlessly variable. His method consists of making assemblages of objects: mostly books, magazines, newspaper articles, record covers, and wooden sculptures, but also the occasional pair of underwear. These items are pinned to the wall, as in a teenager’s bedroom, with what looks like a contrived messiness: Everything’s askew, with no apparent relation between one thing and another. So open does Adéagbo’s structure appear that for a second you might think you can just pick anything up, perhaps even take it home. But then it

  • diary May 06, 2020

    Hello Again

    IT’S BERLIN GALLERY WEEKEND, or week seven of corona quarantine, which means face masks are obligatory on public transport and in shops, and I’m busy with the third volume of Proust and how-tos for making schnitzel zu Hause. Meanwhile, leaving the house is the new Instagram: potentially bad for your health, but a great source of affirmation, where sanitary salutations—foot and elbow pumps—accumulate like Likes. “We are walking on thin ice,” reminded Mutti Merkel as galleries started reopening last week. But everyone is so happy to see you. At Galerie Barbara Weiss, Bärbel Trautwein and Daniel

  • Andreas Eriksson

    “Nite Flights” is a 1978 song by the Walker Brothers. It describes nocturnal journeys as having “only one promise / only one way to fall,” and the darkness as “dug up by dogs.” “Nite Flights,” 2019, is also the title of a new series of paintings by the Swedish artist Andreas Eriksson, and of his most recent exhibition. The paintings, which are quite murky, feature blotches of dimmed greens, reds, and purples reminiscent of landscapes seen through the window of an airplane at night. Eriksson achieves his own kind of dug-up darkness by allowing a thick layer of oil to respond negatively to the

  • diary April 03, 2020

    Retreat Yourself

    THE QUARANTINI IS THE DRINK OF THE MOMENT. It’s just like a martini, except you have it alone. The Californian pop star Lauv, by the sound of it, has been downing quarantinis for a while. His is a songbook of solitary anguish, with titles such as “f*ck, i’m lonely,” “Lonely Eyes,” and “Sad Forever.” Take the chorus for “Modern Loneliness,” the lead single for the twenty-five-year-old’s new album, released a couple weeks ago: “We’re never alone / But always depressed / Love my friends to death / But I never call and I never text.” Lauv might just have missed the mark on this one: Now, many of us

  • diary February 06, 2020

    Last Resort

    TO GET TO THE ALPINE VILLAGE OF VERBIER, I cabbed to the airport at five in the morning, flew to Geneva, and from there took the train two hours along the north side of Lac Léman. Then I transferred to a smaller train for another half hour before catching a ski lift into the clouds. This trek was thrilling at first—magical, really—and, finally, somewhat absurd, given that this year’s Verbier Art Summit is titled “Resource Hungry: On Our Cultured Landscape and Its Ecological Impact.” I had come solely to attend this event—for which the Dia Foundation’s Jessica Morgan had asked an array of artists,

  • Michaela Meise

    You never know what you’re looking for until you find it. In my case, I found it in the reference to the late-1990s sitcom Frasier in the new works by Michaela Meise for this exhibition, titled “Guten Tag” (Good Day). The show began with this greeting and finished with the line that the fictional psychotherapist Dr. Frasier Crane always used at the end of his call-in radio show—GOODNIGHT, SEATTLE AND GOOD MENTAL HEALTH—scrawled across the last of Meise’s seven collages on paper or paperboard. The modest display followed the palatable format of a radio show or TV episode: Each collage offered a

  • picks December 09, 2019

    Mikael Brkic

    Too famous and too beige, Paris has turned into so overpowering an image, it’s impossible not to feel trapped by it. A black-and-white stock photo of two lovers promenading the Seine is duplicated thrice in Mikael Brkic’s work Paris – A Love Story, 2019, which borrows its name from former NPR correspondent Kati Marton’s memoir as well as the book’s cover image. Marton lived in Europe during the 1990s conflicts in the former Yugoslavia while her late husband, American diplomat Richard Holbrooke, negotiated the 1995 Dayton peace agreement, but this backdrop is mostly absent from her romantic

  • Sophie von Hellermann

    Sophie von Hellermann’s exhibition “Swirls and Circles” was like a trip to a funfair. Like the ghost house or the freak show, her large, brightly colored canvases were fictions sustained not by their credibility but, quite the opposite, by their total fancy and one’s willingness to indulge it. There were centaurs, a sleeping beauty, and women in yellow hovering around a giant eye, everything wrapped in pastel hues and fluorescent flashes. These apparitions were easy to get into and hard to hold on to.

    In all the paintings, but especially in the larger, more elaborate compositions such as Urania

  • diary November 13, 2019

    Basic Extinct

    I SPENT THE WEEKEND IN A FORMER CREMATORIUM thinking about death. The occasion was a two-day symposium organized by SAVVY Contemporary as part of their exhibition “The Long Term You Cannot Afford: On the Distribution of the Toxic.” The colloquium coincided with the thirtieth anniversary of the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, and though it had already been a month since David Hasselhoff made his traditional appearance for the official reunification day, a kind of kitsch-comedown still weighed on the festivities. I’ll admit that I hadn’t exactly looked forward to contemplating the apocalypse over

  • “Rust & Bones”

    While some things deteriorate with time’s passing, others resist its effects. Or so the title “Rust & Bones” seemed to remind us. But this tight gathering of works by Ulf Aminde, Nilbar Güreş, Laurel Nakadate, and Justin Liam O’Brien was more oblique than that. It was an exhibition about relationality and confrontation that asked viewers to privilege efforts at reconciliation and togetherness over the conflict and isolation that often seem their inevitable outcome.

    In Nakadate’s short video Exorcism in January, 2009, the artist, a young woman, visits an older man in his messy, gray apartment.

  • diary September 26, 2019

    Coup de Graz

    “STYRIAN AUTUMN SOUNDS LIKE BEER TENTS AND NATIONALISM,” a bike messenger said to me upon my return to Vienna from Graz, where I attended the Fifty-Second Steirischer Herbst, Europe’s oldest contemporary art festival. “It’s precisely the opposite,” I retorted. “Think cool graphic design and radical leftist politics—you can add quotes around ‘radical,’ depending on your temperament.” But is this time-honored event actually so incongruent with its rustic surroundings, the undeniably progressive typeface aside? Graz is a place where everything, including Ekaterina Degot’s program, walks the line