Friday, November 06, 2009


Manon Duursma at the opening of the Feedback exhibit at Neurotitan in Berlin; photo by Val PhoenixNeurotitan Gallery, Berlin
Until 28 November

On a short trip to Berlin, I found myself this evening at the opening of Feedback, an exhibit curated by Danielle de Picciotto. Wandering the space, I tried to imagine the relationships between the visual art on the walls and the sound installations that stand in front of the works. What, for example, is the connection between the intricately cross-hatched drawings of Laurie Lipton and the strange mutterings of Algis Kizys?

Later, I spoke with de Picciotto, who explained that she asked the musicians to respond to particular art works, reversing the usual visual-response-to-music dynamic. "I like to flip things," she declared. An artist, not a curator, dePicciotto works to a particular plan in organising these group shows. Bringing together people who would not normally interact, working with artists she knows and installing the results in Neurotitan (where earlier in the year I viewed Transgression) are all purposeful statements, supporting bold work and independent spaces, such as Neurotitan, which is run by artists.

Art in Berlin, she feels, has changed dramatically, with the commercial element coming to the fore. With rents rising and the prices of work declining, it is harder for artists to get shown and to make a living. The scene has become more competitive, with artists in group shows fighting to be the one to get a solo show.

Cigarettes and beer bottles in hand, visitors mingled with participants including musician Alexander Hacke in a shiny brown suit, and sculptor Petra Wende. I also had a chat with Manon Duursma, whom I met earlier in the year and who is slowly venturing back into music, making field recordings at home. Most intriguing.

Gearing up for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall, Berlin is poised with uncertainty. Even the weather can't make up its mind, snowing one day and beaming with sunshine the next.
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