View of “May the bridges I burn light the way,” 2018. From left: Nschotschi Haslinger, Brennende Tasche (Burning Bag) I and II, both 2018. Photo: Christian Siekmeier.

“May the bridges I burn light the way”


In the decade since its inception, Exile has partaken in several high-profile art fairs around Europe and attained an international profile as a major small gallery. But its growth has undoubtedly been impeded by gallerist Christian Siekmeier’s outspoken critical stance toward overarching power structures. In particular, he has refused to take part in much-lauded events such as Gallery Weekend Berlin, which he views as a kind of protectorate. Siekmeier embodies all the paradoxes of the individual burdened with a conscience, thumbing his nose at the gatekeepers’ pretensions toward exclusivity while never leaving the party, reveling in the utopian aspirations more commonly found among artists than among gallerists while remaining quietly cynical about the real chances of overcoming systematic inequalities that permeate (and are actively promoted by) the art world.

Now Exile has closed the

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