With Beyoncé sound loops, a beige video essay and booty-shaped seats, Berlin proves itself an influential force in art and culture
This article is part of a series on art today to support the Converse x Dazed Emerging Artists Award Check out the rest of content here and make sure to visit the Royal Academy in London before 17th May to see all the work IRL.
“Once gritty, now slick”, was a headline by the NY Times that summarised Berlin’s trajectory over the past 20 or so years. The city sure is pretty slick now, standing firmly as an influential force in art and culture – but as always with most booming metropolis’, the interesting stuff often bubbles under the surface. With a host of up-and-coming galleries and spaces, Berlin is nurturing a diverse horde of young artists, many of whom have travelled from all over the world to it’s arms. Beyoncé sound loops, a beige video essay and booty-shaped seats are just some of the creations made by the emerging bunch below.
“Beige is everything and nothing, beige is average, beige is not yes or no” declares Lippard in her popular and most referenced work – a six-minute long piece about the cultural (in)significance of the colour beige. Smoothly enunciating every word in her video-text essay, the Norwegian-British artist sounds out words with Siri-esque perfection using her chief artistic material – her voice. Lippard actually trained as a graphic designer at uni, but gradually became more fascinated by language and the spoken word, isolating speech as a means to experiment with narration and story telling.
Rennekamp works a sort of alchemy with sports paraphernalia, forcing huge basketballs into narrow transparent cylinders or stretching the tacky surface of sport balls over canvas. His installations render the function of his materials obsolete, distorting the familiar to uncanny effect. The Kentucky-native was formally part of the internet-art collective Loshadka (alongside artists like Petra Cortright and Eric Mack) but a large part of his current practice is installation, using sports equipment as his chief artistic medium- a by-product of growing up around professional polo and training horses with his father.
Hannah Black will remind you that bodies aren’t just flesh and bile. Working mostly through text and video, the London-born artist hasn’t got time for the stuff that goes on under the skin. Instead, Black creates work that picks at race and gender in a bid to explore how difference and identity shape alternative experiences of the world. Whether its layering the voices of Beyoncé and Ciara singing ‘my body’ over images of white business men, or using Whitney Houston’s trademark wail to mimic the scream of a falling body, Black explores notions of body ownership and representation by rearranging the very parts that make us whole.
Jealous Jasmine is a female-bodied sculpture, clad in a post-apocalyptic uniform of fishnets, puffer jacket and silver Uggs, frozen in time with a leg in the air and head in a pram. Booty Dummy Demo is a trio of stools with ass-shaped seats, named Bad Girl, BFF and Bitch, each donning a different set of panties (the Bitch ass wears a thong with a tattoo above the cheeks). Both works pretty much sum up the trajectory of this Swedish born artist – a fearless study of sexuality, identity, beauty politics and gender. Flexing skills in performance, installation, video and sculpture, Uddenberg scours our self-mediated present, putting an intense and often warped lens upon codes for power and sexiness.
There’s a subtle bluish/greyish veneer that blankets Britta Thie’s world in Translantics – her new six-part online video series that started last month. Described as a “digital chamber play embedded into the network”, the show follows three friends, herself included, as they traverse a world more “future” than ever. Thie’s always been privy to the aesthetic and social repercussions of technological advancement, (see ANOMALY, Sweat on Retina), and her new series acts as an extended gaze into an unsettling present. The first episode, Pores of Perception, is online now.
Juliette Bonneviot was trained as a painter in the most traditional sense, but her work steers well away from the old masters she was taught to emulate. From fashioning torsos out of PET plastic to rendering hyper-digital landscapes with oil paints, the Paris-born artist sticks with the touchable but uses it to interrogate the borders between materiality and immateriality. Bonneviot’s most recent series, Xenoestrogens, is currently on show as part of Looks at the ICA until 21 June.
Daniel Keller’s recent output includes Captcha font signs rendered with Maplewood, acrylic and 3D-printed sandstone. In collaboration with Ella Plevin, he recently exhibited an installation featuring three mannequins, broken 3D prints, driftwood and seashells. In what seems to be his trademark approach, Keller splices natural materials with technologies that fully encapsulate the ‘now’. Formally part of art collective AIDS-3D, which disbanded in 2013, Keller now rolls as a lone horse, contrasting the raw materiality of the past with physical embodiments of utopian futures. His solo show at Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Kai ❤ Dalston Bushwick, is on until 4 July.
The aesthetics of banking and sport have been Auer’s recent obsessions, their strict rules, codes and iconography worked into abstracted material and intersecting dimensions. It’s the tropes of stylised professions and cultures, brought to life through hyper-real sculptures (such as mock IBM screen or football shirts), which Auer uses to navigate consumption and desire. See Auer’s work as part of the group exhibition, Le Souffleur: Schürmann meets Ludwig, at the Ludwig Forum, Aachen Germany, until 31 January 2016.
Czech artist Martin Kohout is Berlin’s renaissance man, working through a multitude of different yet equally united platforms, questioning ideas surrounding consumer culture, productivity and it’s relationship with technology. In addition to making art (his recent video, sjezd, follows a phone as it jumps and speeds through tourist spots in Ticino, Switzerland), Kohout performs as his musical alter ego Tole. He also manages TLTRPreß, a “small & shady publishing enterprise”, that’s been shelling out printed matter since 2011. Catch Kohout’s work at the Generation Smart exhibition at NTL Gallery, on view until 6 June.
Defunct materials and waste – like crumpled plastic bottles, broken USB cables and fake flowers – sit alongside lifelike hand sculptures providing a dead human touch. Goyette, originally hailing from NYC, often navigates consumer culture and concepts of trash in her installations, often placing the natural and manmade alongside eachother – leaving just enough space for the onlooker to explore what lies in between those two opposites.
The Emerging Artists Award 2015 is free entry and is open from 18 April to 17 May at Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts