Due to restrictions on traveling and limited gatherings in the time of Corona, one of my favourite times of the year has unfortunately come to a halt. 2020 will see no international art fairs this summer, at least in the way we voyeurs are accustomed.
The prominent König Galerie in Berlin, however, will still be showing their Art Basel selection to locals, in its brutalist landmark Chapel of St. Agnes.
The lineup of their chosen artists this year is quite impressive. Even before inclusivity was on the tip of everyones tongues, Johann König has firmly maintained a diverse roster of artists from around the world. With pieces ranging from a sketch by Louise Bourgeois to a new sculpture by Monica Bonvicini, the dialogue is completely relevant, even with pieces ranging in age.
Below we have compiled a list of ten of our favourite female artists that will be on view this week.
If you share this article or one of the featured works below on Instagram, tag us and you will be entered to win two gallery admission passes and a limited edition tote bag, courtesy of the König Gallery.
Messe in St. Agnus will be on show from Wednesday 17 June to Sunday 26 June in Kreuzberg, Berlin
With news that Grosse will be taking over the entirety of Hamburger Bahnhof this summer, consider this piece at König an amuse bouche. Her grand scale gestures of swooping color overstimulate and expand beyond the walls within which she paints. No borders, no rules, and nearly no black. Once her exhibits are over, so is the paint. Here lies a good opportunity to see a permanent piece that is typically purposely transient.
Recently a number of Pousttchi’s pieces took over the Berlinische Galerie, and she has many other pieces floating around the city, both indoors and out. While her medium ranges from video to photography, the König will be showing one of her beloved jagged, abstract sculptures.
Shiota enjoys working in thread. And I don’t imply that she knits, so much as she covers entire gallery spaces with it, creating a haze of hovering pieces that seem to float like smoke around the viewer. Is it sculpture? Conceptual? For those who wish to have a piece of hers but don’t have the living room space nor know how to tie the proper knots, she is showing a new piece which could perhaps be considered a painting, sans paint, adding thread to canvas instead.
Known for her large scale sculptures, Kwade creates Escher-esque pieces that are as playful as they are puzzling. While most creations are made of steel, concrete, and other dauntingly heavy materials, there is a lightness to their existence. Because her sculptures should be walked around and contemplated through different vantage points, now is a wonderful opportunity to see her work.
Katz’ paintings are deceptively simple and colourful; snapshots from fleeting moments in time, with recurring subjects and symbols represented through still lifes. Considering the current state of political, societal, and environmental gloom, Katz gives us a glimpse into a world that is sweet to see, and is a reminder that small pleasures remain around us, that time is rapid and unstoppable, and that we should stop to observe it once in a while.
New York art world darling Douglas dabbles all over the creative realm. They are a face of the new Balenciaga, a performer at the Venice Biennale, and a painter of the comically grotesque and embarrassingly relatable. König chooses to show a piece from their Monster series, featuring an expressive goblin flashing identification.
Bonvicini’s work may be most recognised by its fetish elements: a conglomerate of leather belts and dragging chains, most loved by the Berlin scene. Her work is abrasive and demanding, poetic and graceful. Every element serves a purpose, and speaks loudly as a collective. Her new collection, however, has a far more approachable and human quality to it. It arrives in the shape of outstretched glass hands, offering up vulnerability and camaraderie. This is a big shift from her past collections, yet is as relevant as it is welcomed.
While Comte primarily works in geometric black and white, this show features a piece from her Jungle series. The canvas morphs from her traditional zig zag print, into a rainforest portrait, with a fade in of colours found in sunrise, in a style most commonly found in comic books. The morphing of nature and human abstractionism is on full display.
Baum takes multiple images, as well as reappropriated snippets from found printed material, and collages them, creating entirely new narratives within her composition. She approaches her materials straightforwardly and meticulously, rather than arranging in chaotic fashion. A nod to a pre-digital era, she is a Situationists dream.
Anderson creates a new relationship with how one moves and thinks around physical objects. Taken from her current Spiritual Machines series, an otherwise normal postmodern scultpure is given an Amazon Alexa on the inside, so that the observer may have a personal dialogue with the piece, and vocalise ones thoughts, thus becoming a memorialised piece of the sculpture itself.
Text: Janna Shaw
Photos courtesy of the König Galerie
Katharina Grosse, o.T. (2020); 240 x 161 cm
Bettina Pousttchi, Vertical Highwass A12 (2020); 210 x 130 x 130 cm
Chiharu Shiota, Skin (2020); 140 x 160 cm
Alicja Kwade, Be-Force (2019); 193 x 107 x 125 cm
Allison Katz, Untitled #3 (2012); 147 x 162 cm
Eliza Douglas, Untitled (Monster) (2017); 170 x 170 cm
Monica Bonvicini, Up in Arms (2019); 12 x 48 x 22 cm
Claudia Comte, Demon or the devil-piranha (zigzag jungle series: 1/8) (2019); 244 x 163 cm
Erica Baum, Shampoo (2008); 49 x 37 cm
Alice Anderson, Spiritual Machines Series: Totem 11 (2020); 195 x 29 cm