reviews

Simon Martin, Untitled, 2008, digital animated HD video, color, sound, 16 minutes.

“Jaguars and Electric Eels”

JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION | Berlin

Simon Martin, Untitled, 2008, digital animated HD video, color, sound, 16 minutes.

The second exhibition of new media works drawn from the Julia Stoschek Collection, presented in its new Berlin exhibition space—formerly East Berlin’s Czech Cultural Center—includes thirty-nine works by thirty artists. Curated by Monika Kerkmann, the show focuses on contemporary artists’ engagement with nature, and its title, “Jaguars and Electric Eels,” is taken from Alexander von Humboldt’s 1853 narrative of his explorations in the Americas, during which he developed an early ecological concept of the natural world.   

I was particularly drawn to Juan Downey’s The Laughing Alligator, 1979, part of his 1973–79 “Video Trans Americas” series, shown here on a monitor. Downey and his family lived with the Yanomami Indians in Venezuela for several months, and the video alternates footage of Downey among the Yanomami with shots of the artist back home in New York. This work

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