October 22, 2015


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About art and the rise of the “It Girls”

One will start to notice the orange coloured leaves delicately falling onto Berlin’s asphalt, which inevitably announces the start of a new season. It is autumn in the city and I love it!
For me it is the beginning of a new time full of energy. You notice how life returns and everyone around you is getting underway again – summer is over. A summer that was kind to us with sun, warmth and lightness, but which has now come to an end with the abc – art berlin contemporary and the Berlin Art Week. So it’s time to take a look back at everything that has happened.

 

STATION Berlin – You can’t miss this event location if you want to feel and experience the growth and internationalisation of Berlin. Apart from the increasingly important PREMIUM fashion fair from 17-20 September, more than 100 galleries appeared here for the fifth consecutive time as part of the abc (art berlin contemporary art fair that accompanies the Berlin Art Week).

 

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Installation, Simon Starling, Neugerriemschneider

 

Apart from major exhibitions and great art such as Sprüth Magers with Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch, Mehdi Chouakri with Saâdane Afif, N. Dash and Luca Trevisani, neugerriemschneider with Rirkrit Tiravanija and Ai Weiwei, and Johann König with Camille Henrot, it is evidently the activities and events that surround the art fair, bringing surprises, which form an intrinsic part of the fair – as was the case with one of this year’s highlights, the abc dinner.

 

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Iron Grass, Ai Wei Wei, Neugerriemschneider

 

But of course, the excitement does not end there in ever-changing Berlin. Together with the collector Thomas Olbricht and Galerie Sprüth/Magers they held an enormous, internationally attended dinner; even Hollywood paid a visit to Berlin. James Franco was seen celebrating in several of Berlin’s famous corner pubs, as well as art collector Julia Stoschek, who has just joined the Board of the KW Institute for Contemporary Art. All in all, this was a successful and important event for Berlin. Even if the city is still in its infancy in the international art market, you can already feel how its considerable potential is growing, and how it can in any case be relied on as a networking platform.

 

However, just because the abc has come to an end and autumn is settling in does not mean that Berlin has nothing else to offer. My absolute highlight is the exhibition currently running at the Berlin Gemäldegalerie, “The Botticelli Renaissance”, or as I would describe it: The True Birth of the It Girls.

 

The Boticelli Renaissance
The Botticelli Renaissance

 

“The Botticelli Renaissance”, which opened on 24 September in Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie, for the first time brings together various reinterpretations of Botticelli in a single exhibition.
The Botticelli Graces have thus engraved themselves into our collective memory. For instance, you can see works by photographer Rineke Dijkstra, and artist Cindy Sherman, while photographer and director David LaChapelle repeatedly refers to Botticelli in his creations. In “Rebirth of Venus”, LaChapelle draws on a particular quirk of Botticelli to create an unnatural tension between figure and space.
The fact that Botticelli has become a “pop icon” is, however, principally due to Andy Warhol. He references the Venus figure – even if just as a fragment, as he only uses the head of the goddess as a motif – in gaudily coloured silkscreen prints.
The Botticelli Graces have thus engraved themselves into our collective memory.
When you then stand in front of them, their modern representatives immediately come to mind such as Julie Delpy, Kate Moss or Uma Thurman. Like Botticelli’s women, they are slightly aloof, pretty cool and above all timelessly beautiful. It’s almost as if Botticelli invented the “It Girls”.

 

Inspired by Botticelli and the “It Girl” style, there is one absolutely perfect place in Berlin to plunge straight back into Berlin life. “The Store” in Soho House, which for me is the best place in Berlin for fashion and curated goods, offers everything you could ever need. Along with all that is currently en vogue in the international fashion scene, you can even buy fresh flowers to take home with you, browse through international art magazines, drink a Power Smoothie (which you should definitely try it!) and then, after being freshly invigorated, you can head back out into the bustling Berlin autumn. Because this city never stops movingstands still!

 

By Guya Merkle
Photos: by Guya Merkle and courtesy of ABC

 

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Guya Merkle is the founder of Earthbeat Foundation and the CEO of VIERI, one of the first high-end jewellery brands using only ethically sourced gold. She divides her time between Zurich and Berlin, attending many gallery openings as well as cultural happenings while changing the world one jewellery piece at a time. Combining her passion for contemporary art with her elaborate network of strong minded women like herself, Merkle is constantly working on new projects and continuing VIERI’s collaborations with innovative artists.