— Alona Rodeh presented by Grimmuseum as a part of ABCBerlin Contemporary 2016, along with artists from Ellis King, König Galerie, Galerie Koal, Kraupa-Tuskany Ziegler, Galerie Neu, Société, Sprüth Magers, Galeria Stereo and more.
Berlin, it is widely known, is a global centre of the “emerging” artist, even if said artist doesn’t emerge from his nightlife long enough to see the sun. And the city, now nearly profligate with pop-up project spaces, has decided to dedicate an entire summer month to nothing but. In what (in retrospect) seems a curiously belated move, Berlin celebrates its inaugural Project Space Festival Berlin, inviting 30 of these sites throughout the city to open their doors with a different surprise event scheduled for each day of August.
To open the festival, the Import Projects curatorial initiative screened Austrian artist Ursula Mayer’s contemporary art film, ‘Gonda’ (2012), written by Belfast-born writer Maria Fusco and partially shot in a real-life smoking volcano. The event, titled Vibration / Frequency / Substance, was followed by a conversation between Mayer and curator Nadim Samman, discussing the artist’s approach to narrative structure and notions of the “queer audience”. Despite the seeming abundance of art events on any given night in Berlin, the screening ran past capacity, dozens of nodding heads spilling out of the small room and straining to see amid mid-20s Berlin.
As with anything amalgamating 30 distinct artistic ideologies and practices, Project Space has the potential to be diverse at best, disjointed at worst. Following Import Projects’ Friday film screening, the festival’s opening weekend introduced Agora‘s ‘Stravaganza’, a group performance installation involving, among other things, a man in a billowy white dress that stretched across the Neukölln space’s garden, as well as tête‘s culinary art event, Hors d’œuvre: The Secondary Concern.
By mostly only revealing events for the first two weeks of the festival, Project Space forges ahead with an air of last-minute mystery. Some of the venues –such as the Selda Asal-founded Apartment Project (one of the first artist initiatives in Turkey) –have yet to announce their events, and all that’s left to go on is the promise of eclecticism laid along the conceptual platform of the project space.