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Berlin - Paris 2010

DSCN7638 Text: Brendan Seibel

This year's edition of Berlin-Paris kicked off throughout the city Friday night. Building on the successes of last winter's inauguration fourteen German galleries are being represented by their French counterparts, mirroring the previous week's activities in Berlin. Gallery concentrations in particular neighborhoods encourage visits as complimentary to strolls. Five venues stretch across the high-rent district between Musée d'Orsay and Place Saint-Michel; three cluster on the narrow side streets surrounding Centre Pompidou; three run the length from Filles du Calvaire to Chemin Vert; three sit atop Belleville's peak; one solo exhibition lies within reach of Bibliothéque François Mitterrand.

One unifying theme amongst the collections is modernity. Pieces tend towards small installation or sculptures over the traditional paintings or photographs; the work is overwhelmingly esoteric if not highly pretentious. However the involvement  of over forty artists guarantees that there is going to be something for everyone, assuming that visitors are willing to be challenged. As a rule of thumb the galleries in Belleville house the more student or underground aesthetics with an increasingly refined and glossy tone growing as you work towards Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

VINGT PARIS was able to stop by several galleries on opening night, revealing these impressions:

Nelson-Freeman (Sofia Hultén & Wolfgang Plöger)
59 rue Quincampoix
Mº Rambuteau

Upon entry there is either a quickly done installation of construction pieces or the result of poorly timed renovation. Two walls are adorned with photo-realistic manipulations of found art materials, providing the most contemplative assortment in the gallery. There is a fun piece of florescent lighting and film against the back wall and an upstairs installation making good use of the space by means of three projectors and reels of film.

Carlos Cardenas (Carla Scott Fullerton, Petrit Halilaj, Heike Kabisch)
43 rue Quincampoix
Mº Rambuteau

An incredibly small space contains an intriguing molded sculpture of a man clinging to a lamp. One wall displays a couple geometric designs best left to indie-rock enthusiasts but the second wall hosts two exceptionally intricate pencil-works of fantastical birds.

Natalie Seroussi (Rosa Barba)
34 rue de Seine
Mº Saint-Germain

This collection reveals two commanding video pieces. One, displayed on a hanging flatscreen with headphones playing über-German automaton noise, frantically edits together assorted shots of foreign lands, all crowds and streets and claustrophobia. The second, looped on a small device embedded in a lightbox, is of a hand lazily tracing dots with a marker. There is a small, richly textured geometric piece on a wall and another free-standing sculpture but both are quickly forgotten in lieu of the audio/video stimulation.

Jousse Enterprise (Jeppe Hein, Annette Kelm, Alicja Kwade, Kris Martin, Michaela Meise, Tatiana Trouvé)
18 rue de Seine
Mº Saint-Germain

Fiercely design oriented these pieces helplessly blend into the gallery's oppressive aesthetic. Refusing to be overwhelmed, an amazing polished metal sphere floods the front window with soft florescent lighting, which unfortunately renders the nearby architectural photographs lifeless. One other polished metal piece hangs on a random post, but the other fragments toil in pop-art cliche such as the bottle filled with shards of broken glass or the poster art piece of an inverted eclipse.

Galerie 1900-2000 (Gerold Miller)
7 rue Bonaparte
Mº Saint-Germain

Easily the most yuppie-oriented show, Miller's finely polished lacquer shapes hang on the walls as though you've walked into a living catalogue. The technique of design and fabrication is admirable but the end result lacks any sort of impact. One solitary photograph, expertly rendered, furthers the geometry theme but is unable to compensate for what are essentially things to cover your boredom at a corporate party.

Berlin-Paris 2010 continues until February 6th. See individual galleries for hours of operation

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