Berlin Day Two, morning

Monday May 29, 2017

Our room at the Berlin Hilton is a bit small, but my roommate and I have divided up the space. The breakfast buffet is marvelous, and I can get my lattes every morning.

Our first venue was the Boros Collection.  The building, which had been a WWII bunker, was renovated for the art collection, and a penthouse (which we did not get to see) added as the residence for the art collectors.  This photo I took of the exterior of the Reichsbahnbunker (Railway Passenger Air Raid Shelter), which was built by forced labor after WWII bombings; the “windows” on the exterior are fake.  I found photos of the penthouse (which is totally awesome) online, but they are copyrighted by Ailine Liefeld für Freunde von Freunden. However, they’re on this website: christian-und-karen-boros

The listed air raid bunker was constructed during the second world war… The building could house up to 3000 seated people distributed on five floors during air raids… a 1,8 meter thick outer concrete wall and a 3 meter thick concrete ceiling. In the year 2003 an art collector bought the bunker and commissioned Jens Casper of Realarchitektur to design a place for him and his family to live in and house his collection.
Outer additions were removed, the facades were cleaned and have been structurally refurbished. Selected ceilings and walls were cut out of the building, the resulting overlapping spaces now join the floors vertically throughout. Only parts of the interior walls are plastered and painted white. Traces of all former uses and incidents, graffiti, scars, bullet holes remain present.

To connect up to the newly created dwelling on top of the building, around 150 cubic metres of concrete were cut out of the bunker roof. The apartment is reached through this opening by way of a steel staircase and an internal open lift. It is laid out as an open plan with the living spaces flowing through the entire area. It has a ceiling height of 3.75 meters. Only few materials were used for the interior: concrete, smoked oak and shell limestone. The apartment is surrounded by a load bearing steel-glass facade, gardens, terraces, a pool and the Berlin roofscape.

The project has been widely published and received many prestigious awards…  bunker

We were allowed no photos of the collection.  Here are some of my notes, with similar photos from the internet:

One room had egg cartons of different sizes on the floor, by Chinese artist He Xiangyu. Gee, I recognized these bronze items right away, as I had made one in my lost wax class.  (‘Cept He covered his with gold leaf; I only sprayed mine with gold paint.) There is a photo of mine in this blog, before I spray-painted it: Lost Wax

His first egg carton installation had a “single actual egg – personal reflection of the artist on the one-child policy in China”1. This installation had two eggs, for obvious reasons.  There was also a painting of his – lemons, them in white, the background yellow – similar to the one on this website: lemons

Two giant heads by Brooklyn artist Justin Matherly.  In the entry this eagle head This (photo on Pinterest).  They are carved originally from styrofoam, then cast in concrete, and set on walkers.

Next, Kris Martin, a Belgian artist, with Life after Death.

The Belgian artist brings together sculpture, drawing, photography, and works on paper that examine themes of morbidity, beauty, destruction and time.2



Avery Singer, from New York, does paintings, some huge, that look like black and white photos of computer animation, with lots of heavy, fuzzy shadows.

Employing the 3D-modeling software, Google SketchUp, to create an under-drawing, Singer applies acrylic paint to the canvas via an airbrush, creating images that are both digital and analog… part human and part cyborg…3

This website gives some examples: avery-singer


A large canvas by Danish artist Sergej Jensen, similar to this:

Jensen employs a range of ready-made materials in lieu of canvas including wool, silk, linen, and burlap. His works often eschew painting altogether, relying instead on sewing, bleaching, or staining. When used, paint has been applied subtly, sparingly, and at times from behind the canvas.4

Martin Boyce, from Glasgow, won the Turner Prize4.5, and represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale in 2009.  A few nice mobiles and ventilation grilles with messages (much the same as these), venting to a closed-off space.5

German artist Johannes Wohnseifer, plastic trash in corner.  I looked him up on the internet; his works are all over the board, but couldn’t find anything resembling what we saw.

Johannes Wohnseifer’s video works, photographs, sculptures, and installations contain references to the history of art and design—analyzing our everyday life as defined by the media, in which the hierarchies between highbrow and lowbrow have become invalid.6

Katja Novitskova from Estonia was in the Venice Biennale.  This is the work we saw in the Boros Collection, Pattern of Activation, 2014 from Art Basel 2015 – larger than life-size horse digital print on aluminum looks 3D, arrow on trampoline is.  arrow on trampoline

German artist Peter Piller‘s photos of houses in series.  These photos are from the Sleeping Houses series.  (They are boarded up and “sleeping”.)

In 2002, German photographer and archivist Peter Piller obtained over 20,000 aerial photographs from a bygone business venture that endeavored to sell homeowners images of their own houses. In the statement for the work, somewhat dryly titled Arial View Archive, Piller explains:

“The salesperson had used a ball-point pen to add some revealing notes to the back of the photographs: “Not interested in pictures”, “looks nicer from the ground”, “wife keen, but house too expensive”, “you’ll get half a moped for that”, “doing it himself” or simply: “deceased”, for instance.

After several archive inspections, I was led to the first collection themes and classification categories: “Sleeping Houses”, “Floral Objects” and “Person in front of House”. Whilst sifting, for the forth, fifth and sixth time, through 18 removal boxes packed with yellowing photos and negatives; I eventually discovered the material that now constitutes the content of this book.”7



A few pieces from Norwegian artist Yngve Holen. Two sets of Hater Headlights that were similar to this, and a section of an airport fence, possibly entitled Butterfly, a symbol of death.  yngve-holen

Right, this massive piece of metal, the face of a CT scanner covered with a fishnet stretch fabric.  I don’t trust anyone for the most part. But then again, I am my own creature, 2015, plastic, fabric, metal.

For his first solo show at Galerie Neu, the artist has produced a new series of works with the face of CT scanners, the machines that create tomographic images from computer-processed X-rays… beige medical-grade plastic, and dressed with black, white, or yellow fishnet stretch fabric.8

Hubcaps that look like snowflakes, such as this one, right. yngve-holen-at-schloss

And a washing machine part, with a chicken, not with a car brand, but similar to this description (foto: Anna Kærsgaard Gregersen):

Sensitive to Detergent, Moving Forward (2012), which includes a VW-branded, ghost-white, 3D-printed chicken breast resting on the drum of a washing machine.9

Swiss Fabian Marti – photograms, some massive, covered with resin, of eggs.  fabian-marti

The only note I have for Michel Majerus is big, upstairs.  Cannot remember the piece(s).  This from Wikipedia:

Michel Majerus was a Luxembourgish artist whose work combined painting with digital media. He lived and worked in Berlin until his death in an accident in November 2002.

Swedish artist Andreas Eriksson did an interesting installation of mole holes, in bronze, scattered about a room.  Homage to Mole, I think it was entitled.  I couldn’t find any on the Web, so just imagine this dirt entry to a mole hole (right), without the grass, cast in bronze with a black patina.  Has to be done in the winter when the ground is frozen.  There were a few paintings too.

…Andreas Eriksson works with a variety of materials. Here in Basel he does painting, photography and sculpture, for which he uses structures from nature. His still works have their origins in the isolation of his homeland, a small place in the Swedish countryside. In accordance with the famous quote from Cézanne, he does not work subject to nature, but in parallel to it, such as when he traces the painterly structures and rhythms of a group of tree trunks…”.10

Some of the works, we were told, were chosen by Christian Boros’ wife, Karen, an art historian, such as a number of works by the German artist, Uwe Henneken, whose work has been described as kitsch or romantic, and reflects the “inner child of the artist”.  There were three paintings, and a number of sculptures of Monsters in boxes, like this.11

There were a few bronze (except for the parasol) sculptures from Chinese artist Guan Xiao, and this may have been one of them: Slightly Dizzy (2014)12, which I loved, and a video.  This was not it, but you get the idea: Guan Xiao

The works we saw of Swiss artist Pamela Rosenkranz dwelt on skin color, both in bottles of silicone, and in paintings, one done on gold.  She was influenced not only by the beauty industry, but also by Yves Klein… a notable French artist known for his innovative blue monochrome artworks.13

At the Venice Biennale 2015 (which we attended) the [Swiss] pavilion is filled with a monochrome liquid matching the standardized northern european skin tone.  (photo by marc asekhame)

pamela rosenkranz fills the swiss pavilion at the venice art biennale 2015 with an immersive installation … her chosen materials — bionin, evian, necrion, neotene, silicone, viagra (to name a few)14

But there was also a satellite photo kaleidoscope of earth.15

In the collection was a muslim robe, hand embroidered by Brazilian artist Paulo Nazareth,

He exhibits quite regularly in Europe, recently in the Lyon Biennale, and in Oslo for instance. Still the continent hasn’t had the opportunity to greet him personally, as he plans to walk the earth of Latin America and Africa, before going to Europe. He’ll get there eventually, finding his way via Africa. It is not a matter of dislike of Europe, Silva tells me, it is just a matter of priority, as Nazareth wants to understand his own roots first. In 2011 Nazareth went by foot to attend Art Basel Miami Beach. His trip took him almost a year. He was met with disbelief by border patrol; sometimes they didn’t accept his passport. He was wearing flip-flops, not washing his feet so they gathered the dust of all the America’s, to be washed off in the river Hudson as an apotheosis of his journey. While travelling, he took pictures of himself and the indigenous people he met during his travels, to look for similarities, to look for differences (‘Noticias de Americas’, 2011). It is his own background, being of African, Krenak and Italian descent that fuels his search for identity. Sometimes people think he is black, either indigenous. In Cuba, he was perceived as local. On Facebook he posted a message: “Being mixed-race and travelling through the Americas, my skin changes every day. At home the labels are not so well defined…I cannot open my mouth because then my skin color changes, there are days when I am an Arab, Pakistani, indigenous and other adjectives which may change according to other people’s gazes and the words to come out of my mouth at any rate, sometimes in the United States of America, when I go into white people’s shops, everyone is afraid, including me.”17

The curator giving our tour mentioned that he is now hyped in the art world, but when his art sells, half goes to the galley, and the other half he gives away (as the kaftan).  His suitcase was a sugar sack from Brazil (in the collection).  He is very much a performance artist.  Here is a video of him walking backwards around the Tree of Forgetfulness: Tree of Forgetfulness

Nazareth’s long walks question the notion of boundaries and the global scale. In L’Arbre D’Oublier, filmed in Ouidah, which was once home to one of Africa’s biggest slave trafficking ports, the artist walks 437 times around the Tree of Forgetfulness, which men were made to encircle seven times in a rite meant to erase their memories of the past. The performance gesture, a poetic attempt at rewinding history, is repeated by Nazareth around other trees, in Africa and Brazil, including an ipê amarelo (golden trumpet tree), the national symbol of the latter country.18

For the last artist I have written Ama Blanca and Brazil, but cannot find her.  It translates White Love.  Perhaps that was the name of a painting…

Phew!  On to Clarchens Ballhaus for lunch, then the afternoon collection.

4.5 The Turner Prize, named after the English painter J. M. W. Turner, is an annual prize presented to a British visual artist… Awarding the prize is organised by the Tate gallery… Since its beginnings in 1984 it has become the UK’s most publicised art award. The award represents all media.
As of 2004, the monetary award was established at £40,000… A prominent event in British culture, the prize has been awarded by various distinguished celebrities: in 2006 this was Yoko Ono, and in 2012 it was presented by Jude Law.
It is a controversial event, mainly for the exhibits, such as The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living – a shark in formaldehyde by Damien Hirst – and My Bed, a dishevelled bed by Tracey Emin. Controversy has also come from other directions, including a Culture Minister (Kim Howells) criticising exhibits, a guest of honour (Madonna) swearing, a prize judge (Lynn Barber) writing in the press, and a speech by Sir Nicholas Serota (about the purchase of a trustee’s work).

One Response to “Berlin Day Two, morning”

  1. Jim Says:

    Very nice collection. Better than what I saw in NYC.

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