Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cady Noland Santiago Sierra, Curated by Alexander Koch and Nikolaus Oberhuber, in collaboration with the Schürmann Collection, KOW Berlin April 30- July 29, 2011, Brunnen Straße 9 10119 Berlin, DE by craniv boyd.

Cady Noland Santiago Sierra, Curated by Alexander Koch and Nikolaus Oberhuber, in collaboration with the Schürmann Collection, KOW Berlin April 30- July 29, 2011, Brunnen Straße 9 10119 Berlin, DE by craniv boyd.


We enter through a micro passage, a tunnel flanked by glass walls, that starts on the face of Brunnen Straße in Central Berlin we see large windows that provide light to a larger atrium space inside, reading sings about where to enter the gallery space, from the micro passage to the nude concrete basin in a Hinterhof, an elegant narrow postmodern stair well in concrete and zigzagging braided stainless steel cable that make the balustrade guide upwards, one, two, three levels and the back wall of this street facing building is sheathed in glass, thin balconies that conjoin the stair landings with the individual unit entrances add an air of ocean liner or ferry vessel. The first floor above ground level is where we, a public enter KOW gallery space, or rather exhibition space, when we enter there is a bookshelf packed with tomes on contemporary art and architecture, flat raised slabs of white that serve as, a pedestal to assorted art related ephemera you can see in the area, a black rectangular cushioned seat poised near the edge of the landing with a view over the atrium space where the art works are exhibited. Also on the entrance landing is the open and accessible office of the interns or Gallery Registrar, this is delineated by some kind of subtly implied wall that you cannot see with the naked eye. There is a zone behind the "ephemera and information dissemination repository" that zone is a kind of DMZ between the large desk directly adjacent the bright yet shaded window the long empty passage on the landing and the block for holding flyer's. It is a space that in some ways hints even when you (our public) enter you are kilometers apart from our Registrar.  Lets say you as a public want to ask who authored this space under the influence of MAYA or AutoCAD, you would transverse the landing or raise your voice to be heard, the available art space staff might mutter a Teutonic name and then re direct you to the book shelf you find the name Bradelhuber, Arno and see some of his previous plans in glossy magazine type publications. Perhaps you wanted to say thank you for the information, but either the cold awkwardness of the edge Zaha Hadidesque environs or the aloof demeanor of the gallery staff put you the public off it. The space KOW vies like many of the recently built to be gallery as museum, we have Italo- American co-production of Sperone-Westwater on the former Avenue of the Immigrants in lower Manhattan, a kind of sleek attention grabbing built statement that when written about in the gospel according to the New York Times, you can read a moment of oh new neighbor to the New, New Museum, building on the Bowery. Maggie, Stephen Crane's girl of the streets, would not have considered comparing the uber-gentrified of iconic playful yet nevertheless bombastic contemporary museum architecture, versus its close and recent neighbor of gallery space, through not so subtle means of architecture pretending towards the museum.  Arno Bradelhuber's plan for the space that KOW is in could be set, as I have it, against the backdrop of the digression written above, his spatial solution is so novel and overwhelming as to require it, eclipsing the decidedly unavailable contemporary art works that are in the cryptically dubbed exhibition space KOW, one letter more than the since 1990's viable institutional inhabitant of the vicinity.


The public goes down a set of stairs, they are wooden and painted grey, the stair passage requires attention many of its steps are irregular trapezoidal planks that torque as you descend, you are then at the bottom of the large atrium and confronted with the unavailable or distant and aggressive art works of American Cady Noland and Spanish born and Mexico City based Santiago Sierra. In the atrium we have a difficult biennial artist, Sierra exposed in a space where his art works make the most sense, that of the Biennial, or architectonic environs that seek to emulate it at least. A grid of black and white portrait photography, where the subjects a microcosm of central American Indians, a ethnic tribe are portrayed in a way that calls to mind the sobriety of B & H Becher and what they did for the depressed abandoned industrial remnants in the Ruhr Gebiet, but with out the dignity. Sierra, faces his subjects away from the camera and because he has remunerated these Indians in the most minimal way he can, the ethnographic type project is more of a perverted æsthetical one, with emphasis on the developed world hand me downs the central Americans wear which is in-turn collected by the Konsthalles or Kunsthallen of the North. Magazine Tre in Stockholm, recently showed the same if not similar work, the edition of the photographic prints they possessed were scaled smaller, than what is to see at KOW, the filling of the Atrium wall with a grid becomes a kind of ideal way present this work that with its aggressive or totalitarian capitalistic import is best viewed at a distance. In a lower room we have a "bad man" facing away in a corner, I say bad because in some culture to face the wall is punishment for wrongdoing. This man is youngish real and living he is standing at ease in plain clothes. The title of the work is Veteran Standing in the Corner, 2011, the man is cut off from the public and facing away, and paid to do so, Santiago Sierra utilizes a kind of slave trader's consideration of the bottom line in his post minimal depictions that are illustrations of what he as western European can pay people to do.


Equally unavailable are the selections from an "extensive" collection of the works of Cady Noland, American daughter to Kenneth Noland, a painter represented in Public Collections of American Modern art. Noland's work is for many Americana gone awry the tabloids the sensationalism the disregard for the infirm and aged, or latent violence and caffeinated beverages. Her work, bullets a grenade, or a shredded soft drink aluminum can suspended each in their own cube of clear acrylic, appear to be objects from a post modern eclectic cabinet of Alice in Wonderland like horrors. By craniv boyd. 

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