In a normal year we would be at Art Basel right now. We curated an extraordinary booth for this year's fair, selecting major works and producing many new ones. Crated and shipped from around the world, the booth installed in three full days, our team would be ready to greet you. As doors would open and visitors rush in, time would become elastic: a million short encounters compressed into these hours.
Instead we have installed these works in our Berlin gallery. To some extent, this is an anti-fair: with certain social distancing requirements in place, there will be ample space and plenty of time to engage with each visitor. While access may be limited at times, time is not. With our exhibition PS81E we acknowledge the irreplaceable experience of encountering an artwork in person. We take this as an opportunity.
Yet, we also realise that our artists, friends and colleagues trust us to continue to be present around the world. Information, documentation, mediation: the gallery's in-house research department has always produced comprehensive viewing and reading materials focused on our artists, their works, and exhibitions.
When we launched our first Online Viewing Room back in October 2019, we wanted to bring our artists' program to a wider audience–this project has now found a new function: continuing to connect you with the ideas and works of our artists, bringing exhibitions, fairs, and works to an audience that cannot travel, near or far, In a similar spirit of connection, we have begun a new weekly newsletter, titled Letter from Berlin, with an editorial, narrative format that features texts by our team, artists and guest writers. All our digital content can now be found on our website at Continuity.
As the gallery has enhanced its digital accessibility, the last months have also led to an expanded dialogue with our artists that has informed this exhibition. What might have been Art Basel 2020—our fair booth—has grown in long conversation to become part of a new beginning, a new way to tell the story of our exhibitions—live and online.
It begins when you enter: Julia Scher's historical work Occupational Placement greets visitors in the main entrance hall, with Christopher Roth's bright red sign space-time.tv announcing his ongoing project presented in the bookstore last summer, as to the left Ugo Rondinone's bronzes from his 2016 series Primordial hang suspended, while Ari Benjamin Meyers Duet invites a visitor to learn a song.
The central exhibition space is punctuated by two large diaphanous screens by Martin Boyce. Ann Veronica Janssens iridescent diptych, silk works by Matti Braun in deeply saturated colours, Nathan Carter's playful 'intersexual' collages, and Daniel Steemann Mangranés glass Systemic Grid 124 frame sculptures by Gabriel Kuri and Francesco Gennari. Karin Sander's colourful polished ping-pong balls, Jean-Pascal Flavien's greenhouse, Anri Sala's cinematic snail etched into a wooden textile stamp, and Ceal Floyer's wry and witty work of facing loudspeakers, Mutual Admiration, meet below a new transparent marquee by Philippe Parreno. We welcome artists who have more recently joined the gallery: Jac Leirner with the sculpture Jewel, steel cables attached to one another according to their diminishing thickness, Etienne Chambaud panels from his series 'Nameless', produced with the urine of wild animals, and Tao Hui's multiple monitors assembled for Screen as Display Body.
From a Plexiglas case two small dolls, AA Bronson and his husband, produced by the artist in collaboration with Reima Hirvonen, look out, across to a historical work by General Idea, the 1976 Search for the Spirit, and to Roman Ondak's 1997 Sated Table, an assembly of household goods and philosopher-ingredients. A historical work by Liam Gillick invites you to sit and watch the new dynamic drawing machine by Angela Bulloch, as Simon Fujiwara's enlarged earrings with the guillotined heads of the French monarchs hang suspended near Stefan Bertalan's geometric drawing from the early 1970s and Sunset by Andrew Grassie, while someone or something is making away with a fistful of currency in Ryan Gander's I'm never coming back to London again.
We look forward to your visit in our gallery to view in Berlin what might have been Art Basel 2020 but now is PS81E.
Another dialogue has led to Festival__eh, a special exhibition project by Esther Schipper and Mehdi Chouakri with biweekly pairings of artists from each gallery presented at Mehdi Chouakri Mommsenstrasse beginning June 12, 2020.
Press release courtesy Esther Schipper.