The 2008 Berlin Biennial

Too much grey art in this grey city, but still some good galleries.

Pushwagner

Berlin is home to more artists than any other city in the world, apparently. Therefore it makes sense that the Berlin Biennial should be one of the most cutting-edge, interesting shows around, pushing new directions in contemporary art. Hmm... If only.

When we arrive at the press preview on Thursday we hurry into the main Kunst Werke space with anticipation. We are sorely disappointed. Basically, the Biennial's a bit rubbish. There are pieces that wouldn't look out of place at a substandard degree show. There are three artists of note – and two of them made work mainly in the 60s and 70s.

Pushwagner's mammoth Orwellian comic strip of urban life is the best discovery. His image of a plastic world of cars, offices and mindlessness feels even more spot-on than when it was created circa 1970. Also holding the candle for the oldies was Japanese photographer Kohei Yishiyuki who took images with an early infra-red camera of perverts touching couples having sex in parks. The work makes a disturbing mass of voyeurism. The only younger artist worth seeing is Tris Vonna-Michell who filled the fourth floor of the gallery with a brilliant black and white installation of false walls and slide projectors showing fascinating black and white photos of odd details in run down Detroit.

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