In light of widespread exhibition listings and gallery newsletters, we have decided on a new format that focuses more on narrative. Varied content and background stories will characterise this medium. Today we present the first edition of JOURNAL. On a bimonthly basis, we will report on topics remotely related to the gallery and spotlight the work of our artists. JOURNAL will also include exhibition insights, latest printed matters, and general art world news. We hope you will enjoy reading JOURNAL!
Anyone visiting the MAMCO museum collection in Geneva will make a surprising discovery. In one of the galleries, a white wall, as per the classic white cube presentation, opens to invite the visitor on a journey. A narrow, rock-like opening provides an exit from the actual gallery space, allowing entry into a dark cave. The installation Be Good! Be Bad! Just Be—the title refers to a perfume campaign by Calvin Klein from the ‘90s—was first presented on the occasion of Sylvie Fleury's retrospective in 2008 and purchased by the museum in 2011. The work should be understood as a ‘counterpart’ within her oeuvre, in which she often deals with consumption or luxury. Here, Fleury opposes presumed ‘superficiality’ with a kind of ‘dark bareness’; her celestial journeys, pursued by rockets and flying saucers, are contrasted with this place of personal retreat. As the title suggests, the cave invites you to explore your inner cosmos and return to yourself. In line with her freethinking artistic conviction, Fleury addresses the clash between superficiality and inwardness, and facilitates a moment of reflection for the visitors of the MAMCO.
For Gallery Weekend Berlin 2020 in September Mehdi Chouakri will present two solo shows with Sylvie Fleury at Fasanenplatz and Mommsenstrasse.
Marcel Proust X Lothar Hempel
Question No. 28: Who are your heroines in history?
„Katharine Hepburn, for example. Whether in front of the camera or generally in life, she was persistently able to be exactly the person she wanted to be. A self-determined woman.“
Lothar Hempel's exhibition FREITAG DER 13. is onview until April 18 at Mehdi Chouakri Fasanenplatz. Visits only by appointment.
After a comprehensive publication about John Armleder's exhibition at Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt was published last year, the Swiss artist's bibliography is yet again significantly expanding: the latest catalogue John Armleder – The Grand Tour covers two well-known and extensive exhibitions in Italy, at the Madre Museum in Naples and Museion Bozen. It presents an excellent retrospective overview of Armleder’s utterly diverse work. In great detail, the publication documents the two exhibitions in Naples and Bolzano; it shows a composition of installations and ‘total works of art’ that are typical for Armleder. Thanks in part to the innovative graphic design by Gavillet & Cie of Geneva, the reader is ‘dizzyingly’ immersed in Armleder's artistic cosmos. The publication includes an elaborate conversation between Armleder, Andrea Viliani, and Letizia Ragaglia, as well as an essay by Heidi Zuckerman on Armleder's painting and its historical relevance. Furthermore, both a comprehensive bibliography and biography by the art critic and historian Chiara Costa complete the catalogue. In her essay, Zuckerman emphasises the fact that Armleder’s continuously unbound, progressive practice has become a model for generations of younger contemporary artists: ‘In a time when the attempt to categorize as a means to understand as well as self-locate is prevalent in both life and art, John Armleder remains known for having no restrictions or fixed ways of working.’
The opening of It never ends – John M Armleder & Guests at Kanal – Centre Pompidou, Brussels is postponed to a later date.
Following a tedious period of to and fro, the United Kingdom left the European Union at the end of January; thanks to Hans-Peter Feldmann, however, it remains present in the gallery and beyond. 5 Pound Bill with Clown Nose is the counterpart to Feldmann’s iconic Dollar Bill with Clown Nose. Using a Dadaistic gesture, he reinterprets the celebrated banknote displaying a portrait of Elizabeth II by superimposing the red nose of a clown onto the queen’s picture—an ironic, humorous reflection on dignity and capitalism. For the newest version of his hugely successful series, Feldmann uses the current £5 note, which was introduced in 2016 and visibly differs from preceding notes. Previously, they had been produced with cotton paper; now, the Bank of England uses a synthetic polymer with a three-dimensional watermark, which highlights the fact that interventions by the state or institutions can directly impact the art market as well as the artwork itself.
Hans Peter Feldmann’s dollar note and many other editions and books will be soon available in our new online market Mehdi's Bookshop.
"Shoes and their soles are the diaphragm that separates us from the ground, and from the world.
They are a surface to reactivate, a skin to light up.
Doing so is a way to review the rapacious and deaf relationship that we, human, have with the things of the world.
To reactivate an animist look, break the anonymity in which we drowned the living things and the silent matter.
Thinking finally and happily with our feet."
– Luca Trevisani
Luca Trevisani's work Dream Republic is currently on view in the group show REAL_ITALY at MAXXI museum in Rome; until April 26, 2020.
It was a peculiar coincidence when the Almanac 18 catalogue from the Consortium in Dijon fell into my lap while I was planning an upcoming exhibition; in one detailed article a unique artist was highlighted. The 2018 exhibition in Dijon and our forthcoming show at Mommsenstraße in April have the same protagonist: Salvo. Salvatore Mangione (alias Salvo) was born in Sicily in 1947 and died in Turin in 2015, where he had moved with his family in the 1960s. By his teenage years, Salvo had already devoted himself to the art of painting by copying great masters such as Rembrandt and Chagall. During a trip to Paris in 1968, he was so impressed by the rebellious energy of the student movement that his art took a significant turn once he returned to Turin. Salvo spent a lot of time with Turin’s Arte Povera artists such as Merz, Penone, and Boetti (with whom Salvo temporarily shared a studio), and also got to know various conceptual artists including Sol LeWitt and Joseph Kosuth. From then on, he developed an oeuvre defined by his interest in diverse avant-garde aesthetics and from which he devised a rather unorthodox synthesis. Salvo was influenced by ideas from seemingly contradictory movements, paid little attention to art cliques, and often gave prominence to himself as the central figure in his works. Before becoming undisputedly successful, he exhibited with Gian Enzo Sperone in Turin and Paul Maenz in Cologne, and took part in documenta 5, curated by Harald Szeemann in 1972; he seemed destined for a notable, international career. But Salvo recognised the paradoxical conformism of the rather left-wing avant-garde at the time and, to everyone’s surprise, decided to return to painting in 1973. In doing so, he anticipated the international return to painting at the beginning of the 1980s. Henceforth, he devoted himself to both figurative and landscape motivs in which all elements were incredibly simplified: treetops appeared as vividly coloured clouds and architecture as simplified spatial structures. Salvo, who was very familiar with the artistic experiments of the 1970s, but who also grew up in the country of Giorgio Morandi and Giorgiode Chirico, achieved a fascinating, undecipherable symbiosis of formal reduction and the magic of colour in his paintings.
Salvo's exhibition Autogrill is on view at Mehdi Chouakri Mommsenstrasse until April 18.
February 1999: A crowd of people gather in front of Galerie Mehdi Chouakri in Berlin to visit the opening of an announced exhibition by the artist duo PlamenDejanov and Svetlana Heger. The visitors, somewhat perplexed and unable to enter the gallery on Gipsstraße, are greeted by two signs that have been attached to the window: ‘The gallery is closed for holidays.’ Confusion and curiosity ensue among the crowd. After two weeks, the gallery reopens its doors as if nothing had happened. The exhibition now shows photos of the jolly gallerist enjoying his holiday in Tenerife, where the two artists had sent him. Quite willingly, the gallerist tells visitors about his lovely holiday. What happened here? The action was part of a conceptual work by Plamen Dejanov and Svetlana Heger, who are primarily concerned with work processes in their art. By departing from a conventional exhibition and involving the gallerist, the classic relationship is turned upside down—the gallerist’s time off becomes the production of the show, which consequently begins with a two-week delay. A richly illustrated photo album with snapshots from the holiday was the visible result of this artistic intervention; it is now part of the FER Collection in Ulm.