Looking at the crowded September calendar, it appears obvious that gallery weekends have steadily gained in popularity over the past few years. That doesn’t come as a surprise: the format has proven to be among the most successful ways to attract art aficionados to a city and highlight its creative scene without the hustle and costs of a fair.
DC Open, the concept’s Rhineland variation, opens next Friday, September 8 in Düsseldorf and Cologne, historically two of Germany and Europe’s most relevant spots regarding postwar culture. We’re glad to announce that we’ve partnered with DC Open and on this occasion, we are launching Düsseldorf in our app. We will consequently provide you with some insight into the highlights taking place during these three days.
Even though their geographical closeness (a half-hour train ride brings you from one to the other) seems a convincing argument for cooperation, it is surprising to see those two towns collaborate on such an event. Indeed, Cologne and Düsseldorf have always had – and gleefully nourished – a complex and entertaining rivalry. Whose beer tastes better? Whose museums offer a more dynamic program? Where have generations of artists been able to innovate and illustrate their talent in a more stellar way? Those are only a few amongst many questions hotly debated for decades.
While different in style – Cologne is gritty, popular, and home to a population priding itself on its ability to party hard & well, while Düsseldorf has a more conservative, elegant and high-class flair – both cities have been incredibly fertile grounds for commercial art spaces to grow on. Some of them are now located in Berlin but were born in the area, the most famous of which might be transatlantic powerhouse Sprüth Magers. However, the sister towns remain filled with a wide array of galleries, including (sometimes very) young ones; during DC Open, some of those younger spaces will be hosting foreign counterparts in the frame of an initiative named Okey Dokey, bringing some additional depth to the whole enterprise.
41 galleries officially participate to DC Open, while Okey Dokey brings together nine of them. Additionally, many institutions and off-spaces are also part of the program, with countless interesting shows ranging from Egyptian Surrealism to conceptual installation. All details are available in our app Exhibitionary – check it out now for a comprehensive overview of the event including press texts, maps, and photos of the exhibitions.
|Samson Young at Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne|
At this year’s Venice Biennale, Young represented Hong Kong and was lauded for his work, which explored the odd 80-90s trend that was charity singles (if you’re older than 18, you probably remember the tune of We Are the World). “Furniture Music” is his first solo exhibition with Gisela Capitain, the Cologne gallery scene’s grande dame and one of Europe’s most respected dealers. Young’s reputation stems from his complex use of sound, which he employs as both canvas and brush for intricate reflections upon history, geography, and identity, often about his hometown of Hong Kong. While often used by artists as a mere accessory to more tangible things, sound is the key element in Young’s multimedia installations.
Galerie Gisela Capitain, St. Apern Strasse 26, 50667 Cologne
Matthias Bitzer at Kadel Willborn, Düsseldorf
Berlin-based artist Matthias Bitzer creates works that almost seem dragged up like their ancestors. What’s meant by that is that Bitzer has a talent for using the codes of past artistic movements and repurposing them in his work to create almost timeless objects. Klee, Calder, Judd, Richter, and others come to mind when you look at his block-like wall pieces, geometric paintings, or elegant sculptures. The artist also often uses historical portraits as a starting point for canvases that mix an archival flair with geometrical experimentation.
Kadel Willborn, Birkenstrasse 3, 40233 Düsseldorf
Anthony Caro at Galerie Hans Mayer, Düsseldorf
This exhibition could be subtitled “When Two Giants Meet.” One of the world’s most legendary sculptors is being shown in one of Germany’s most important galleries. Caro’s metal sculptures undoubtedly count amongst postwar art’s most radical experimentations, piercing and bending the space in which they stand as much as they seem pierced and bent themselves. In the exhibition at Galerie Hans Mayer, a wide range of pieces will be on view, including some the work the artist made shortly before his death in 2013. Caro was a master of materiality who never lost his curiosity for the primal aspects of object-making; in this exhibition, visitors might realize the great impact the British master has been having on the generations of artists succeeding his own.
Galerie Hans Mayer, Grabbeplatz 2, 40213 Düsseldorf
Reset III and Virtual Reality at Priska Pasquer, Cologne
As rather bluntly indicated in the title, this group show aims to broadly explore the exciting yet still somehow dark possibilities virtual teality has to offer. For the fans of the authentic experience, works done with VR will be on view, but many others will try to answer questions around the creation of virtual space in the digital age through the use of more traditional media such as painting or sculpture. To delve upon such a specific yet potentially revolutionary trend is certainly a risky choice; however, the exhibition is curated by Tina Sauerländer, who runs the semi-digital and nomadic peer to space. She can without a doubt be called a specialist of this hyper-contemporary aspect of artistic production.
Priska Pasquer, Albertusstrasse 18, 50667 Cologne
Moyra Davey at Galerie Buchholz, Cologne
Titled “Empties,” the Canadian artist’s exhibition at Buchholz is the second within two months at the legendary gallery (the first one, titled “Portrait / Landscape,” took place at its Berlin outpost in August). Davey’s photographic work mostly looks at the overlooked: dust, the inside of an empty can, coins and such things. Davey’s talent lies in her ability to present what could be boring as exquisite and subtle effortlessly. She must’ve been having a busy summer: before the Berlin and Cologne show, she exhibited works in Kassel and Athens for documenta 14. Back in May, many viewers who saw her photographs there felt the riveting charm of her unconventional approach; the artist seems to ignore aesthetic hierarchies and classifications while remaining selective in the subjects she chooses to shoot. It makes it all the more exciting that we get to see (even) more of her work in a gallery known for a consistently sophisticated program.
Galerie Buchholz, Neven-DuMont-Strasse 17, 50667 Köln
Okey Dokey – Hosting Lomex (New York) and Stereo (Warsaw), Lucas Hirsch, Düsseldorf
Hirsch’s gallery is still very new, but obviously, he’s been able to quickly establish himself as an important contributor to Düsseldorf’s exciting emerging gallery scene. In the frame of the previously mentioned Okey Dokey initiative, he’ll be hosting New York’s Lomex and Warsaw’s Stereo, both among the edgiest and trendiest galleries the art world has to offer currently. The group of artists exhibited is eclectic and exciting: Whether it’s Valerie Keane’s variations on verticality, Piotr Łakomy variations on gray materials or Lukas Müller’s variations on semi-illicit readymades. The show is set to present work by artists who venture beyond the immediate commercial appeal of art and in some way, have been exploring the possibilities of their practice with steadiness and intelligence.
Lucas Hirsch, Birkenstrasse 92, 40233 Düsseldorf
Generation Loss at the Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf
For this big, bold and beautiful exhibition, Stoschek invited artistic wunderkind Ed Atkins to select works reflecting on the fleeting nature of time-based media and the collection’s development since its inception in 2007. As a result, pieces of historical relevance by some of the video art’s most illustrious representatives (Barbara Hammer, Gordon Matta-Clark, Joan Jonas) have been savvily paired with younger, yet equally fabulous positions (Rachel Rose, Hannah Black, Jon Rafman). The intricate (and indisputably costly) exhibition architecture adds to the show’s success, allowing visitors to dive deep into a challenging medium without feeling burdened by it. And for fans of lavishly repurposed industrial complexes, the building itself is worth a visit.
Julia Stoschek Collection, Schanzenstrasse 54, 40549 Düsseldorf
– Karim Crippa