Five artists from the German capital

Curated by Katharina Ziemke


« “Art is sacred“
effectively means nothing more than this:
the artist is an idiot, just let him talk. »

Alfred Döblin



Why is there no Berlin School?
Berlin is different from Leipzig: The city has no Neo Rauch but it has a myth.
According to the City Council 20,000 professional artists lived here in 2011. Just as during the first Berlin Hype in the 1920’s the city attracts artists from all over the world. Unlike in business orientated New York, the atmosphere here ranges from carefree spontaneity and improvisation to aimlessness or even precarity. Berlin is still rude, if not necessarily as remorseless as Alfred Döblin describes in his 1929 novel Berlin Alexanderplatz.
In order to make the ambivalent love for our city perceptible here in Copenhagen we have painted the Galleri Benoni black. Black like a run-down night club, black like the collector’s limousines during the Berlin Gallery Weekend. Today’s special: Some prime cuts from the shark tank of Berlin’s young contemporary art scene.


French artist Damien Cadio (*1975) has lived in Berlin since 2006. His work, shown in an international context, is the result of an ongoing meditation about the « images » of our time. Everywhere we are bombarded by images we don’t bring into question. At a time when anything - even in arts - competes for attention, Cadio extracts the unspectacular image from it’s context and gives it the aura of the artwork.

Heike Gallmeier’s photographs are complex room structures that concentrate in the eye of the camera. In her studio the artist (*1972 in Berlin) builds furious constructions evoking comparisons to Kurt Schwitter’s Merzbau. Gallmeier’s principle is different however: the apparent chaos produces a quasi painted picture, composed via the adjusting glance through her camera, with frequent reference to art history.

Paul Pretzer (*1981) came to Berlin in 2014. The Estonian artist was trained in Kiel and Dresden and has a taste for black humour. In a self-portrait he depicts himself lying in a wood. Full-length covered by a thick layer of snow. This painting is his tribute to the romantic Russian soul, just as the famous painter Ivan Shishkin expressed through his melancholic forest landscapes. Pretzer plays in an insouciantly yet technically sophisticated way with styles ranging from the « Old Masters », to Surrealism, Pop Culture and Bad-Painting.

Before the Albanian artist Majla Zeneli (*1980) came to Berlin in 2009, she studied in Poland where she discovered the ancient technique of Mezzotint. On small copper plates Zeneli creates incredibly realistic portraits that she then cuts up and reassembles to create unsettling collages. In addition she also prints abstract forms in varying colours and innumerable printings on the same sheet of paper. This creates a vibrant depth inviting us to enter an almost meditative state of contemplation.

I, Katharina Ziemke (*1979) have lived in Berlin since 2006. Through my work I try to uncover instants, processes or conditions that stay unrecognised and obscured in our busy perception of reality. In this vein I scratch glowing/shining images out of the black surface of my wax pastel drawings. In many of my paintings a sudden flashlight seems to illuminate a scene that was meant to remain hidden in the shade of the unconscious.




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