Home to local and international talent, Berlin has been branded by many as the ‘creative capital city of Europe.’ A sense of authenticity and diversity that is near-impossible to find in other cities can be found in the German capital, and it is precisely this originality that is responsible for its burgeoning art scene. SLEEK spoke to five artists, curators and gallerists about their creative work, the German capital and the necessity of good tailoring. To make things more fun, we dressed these dashing men up in Giorgio Armani‘s SS17 suit collection.
Sang Woo Kim
Sang Woo Kim is first and foremost an artist, however he says that “modelling created a hurdle that really challenged my commitment to being an artist.” His artistic endeavours have reigned fully with the opening of his first solo exhibition in January, ‘If You See Me Now You Don’t’ at the Magic Beans Gallery in Berlin. Sang is of Korean heritage but grew up in London, thus explaining the exhibition’s focal point on first generation immigrants and their struggle with cultural duality. Of Berlin, Sang says “it can suck you up and spit you out without you even knowing it!”
Friedemann Heckel’s three-dimensional work combines sculptural, photographic and linguistic elements. “When I mix them, unexpected findings occur,” he says excitedly of his art. However, when asked if Berlin provides enough opportunities for young artists, his manner turns grave. “Berlin has become a difficult place for young artists due to the masses of young creatives that move here and the lack of support from the city’s government.” Fortunately, “the vibe is still good though.”
Dutch curator and critic Krist Gruijthuijsen is currently director of the KW Institute for Contemporary Art. Krist has a strong belief that conversation and discussion are an intrinsic part of experiencing art. When asked about the absence of a permanent collection at the KW gallery, he says that “this circumstance provides a high degree of flexibility in creating programs and addressing our audience.” Krist is using every opportunity to pursue his true love – work. “I think I would die if I didn’t have any creative projects coming up,” he jokes.
Lukas Feireiss’s profession is not an easy one to define. He is an editor, curator, teacher, author and artist. “All of my work aims to critically cut-up and re-evaluate creative and intellectual production modes.” Feireiss is currently working on a book about the possibilities of human settlement in outer space whilst constructing his own Master’s program at the Sandberg Instituut in Amsterdam later this year. “The variety of fields that I work in simply reflects my overall interest and curiosity in contemporary cultural reflexivity.”
An esteemed gallerist with a background in the music buisness, Alexander Levy presents experimental young artists who possess a certain edge to their work. His career in the art world was perhaps predestined due to the fact that his father owned an art gallery in Hamburg for more than 45 years. Art is valuable to him since it “reflects social structures whilst simultaneously changing people’s perspectives.” On the topic of the suit, Levy says, “My friend founded his own tailor company so I’m happy that someone makes sure I am dressed nicely.”