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Berlin Praha Barter

Trafo Gallery, Praha
Opening reception: May 16th 2019, 6-8 pm
Duration of the show: May 17th - June 26th 2019

Vystavující: Christian August, Jim Avignon, Hendrik Czakainski, Marion Jdanoff, Johannes Mundinger, Stohead, Sebas Velasco, Theresa Volpp, Fabian Warnsing, Lars Wunderlich
Kurátor: Pascal Feucher

After the first exhibition, titled “Praha Berlin Barter” (with the Czech artists by Trafo Gallery during March/April 2019) which was hosted by Urban Spree in Berlin, the gallery is this time being hosted by Trafo Gallery in Prague in a new group exhibition called “Berlin Praha Barter”. The artists are representative of the new Berlin scene that emerged since the Fall of the Wall, starting with the precursor – Jim Avignon – quite known for his painted decors of many of the Berlin squatted clubs of the early 90’s and large historic murals (East Side Gallery) and whose remixed cubist/pop art/Neue Sachlichkeit aesthetics are iconic of the Berlin art scene.

Going along the figurative trail, Marion Jdanoff develops a highly poetic and fairytale-like universe, fueled with middle age tales, strange characters, fabled animals in a rich palette of colors. Fabian Warnsing paints large-sized canvases in a faux-naïf style, creating still life paintings, urban landscapes and everyday scenes.

The graphite drawings of Lars Wunderlich are part of a series from 2017 titled “East German Realities”, whereby the artist applies his process of distortion and glitches to scenes witnessed in the Eastern parts of Germany where nationalism is still a vivid reality.

Sebas Velasco explores the remnants of the Eastern bloc in a series of oil paintings and drawings based on scenes from Yugoslavia and elsewhere, Plattenbau, old cars, graffiti, and neon hotel signs. Going further, Hendrik Czakainski creates 3D large-scale post-architectural panels which are radical anatomical explorations of the urban body. His works are impressive, immersive, chaotic urban scenes captured from above, on a bird’s eye view perspective.

Besides figurative and architecture-inspired works, a strong line at Urban Spree has always been “post-graffiti abstraction”, i.e. using the codes, techniques, roots, flow and philosophy of graffiti, where the letter becomes an abstraction, a substance.

While Stohead is closer in some instances to the true form of the letter (calligraphy, handstyle, overwriting), he has always experimented beyond it, trying to deconstruct and dissolve the Letter in a post-graffiti approach. Theresa Volpp’s practice is more focused on the very subject of abstract art and bears only a faint distance to graffiti, although some form of automatic writing exists in her work, in a pre-graffiti way, as if abstract art is trying to reconnect with a certain flow but before the invention of graffiti.

Christian August creates multiple layers of grey colors by erasing, scratching, repainting, and finally achieving a wall texture (in the scratchy meaning of Dubuffet and Brassaï in the early 20th century), then completing his work by a stunning dash of ultramarine color, the artist’s persistent signature.

Johannes Mundinger has also strong roots in wall painting and creates delicate abstract works in subdued tones, large shapes and blocs, stunning and contemplative abstract landscapes.

Oscillating between abstract and figurative art, Berlin Praha Barter shows a diversity of approaches and styles, seemingly loosely connected but united by an undercurrent practice of wall painting and shared values.

Urban Spree Galerie was created in Berlin-Friedrichshain in 2012 as a 400 sqm “artist-run” space with the objective of discovering and promoting the emerging international wave of post-graffiti painters and artists, with a strong focus on local talents.

The gallery is an essential part of Urban Spree, a 1.700 sqm independent multi-cultural complex comprising a Biergarten, a concert room, a bookshop, 5 artist studios, a screen printing studio, itself set in a 70.000 sqm postindustrial creative compound in the heart of Berlin (R.A.W.).

The gallery benefits from its large urban grassroots ecosystem and offers its invited artists an ideal space for experimentation through ambitious on-site residencies and monthly exhibitions that usually involve painting the outside walls of the compound.

It is armed with these values of generosity and openness, shared with Trafo Gallery, that we together decided to initiate a gallery exchange.

7 emerging Berlin artists you need to know in 2019

You don’t need us to tell you that Berlin is something of a Mecca when it comes to attracting emerging and underground artists. Every year, young artists flock to the city in their droves in search of bright studio spaces, rustic artist abodes, cheap beer and Döner, and of course, a nightlife just ripe for exhibition opening tales of excess. And unlike its counterparts in London, Paris or New York, the art scene here is also relatively accessible due to state-funded galleries and a plethora of independent projects spaces that stud the city from Wedding to Weserstraße. As we start a new year, we take a look at some of the most promising artists making waves in the German capital — from those who are just shy of making their big breakthrough to those bubbling beneath the surface.

Theresa Volpp is a recent graduate from the Art Academy in Düsseldorf and studied under the renowned painter, Katharina Grosse. We came across her work at Schaufenster Gallery in the group show, Dirty Voyage, in 2018, where her abstract approach to painting caught our eye. Volpp’s work explores how a canvas might be “a limiting and art historically-loaded, medium” but how it can articulate something nonverbal and complex at the same time.

Scrims and Blurs

Museo de Los Sures
Opening reception: July 19th 2018, 6-8 pm
Duration of the exhibition: May 19th - 28th 2018

Hosted by El Museo de Los Sures, and featuring current Residency Unlimited artists Kinu Kamura (France), Julie Leidner (USA), Mads Lindberg (Denmark) and Theresa Volpp (Germany), Scrims & Blurs presents a navigable pathway of paintings, drawings, sculptures, collages, photographs and partially site-specific installations. It's an exhibition that invites visitors to look at, into and through a variably interactive array of objects while pondering notions of blurry translucence, reflective transparency, dematerialization and and self-refraction.