MOUSSE MAGAZINE Review : A Minibar Mascot and Other Berlin Gallery Weekend Highlights

Camila McHugh on Berlin Gallery Weekend highlights 2021
Sleep, a group show at Haverkampf with paintings by Katherine Bradford, Lenz Geerk, Aubrey Levinthal, and Norbert Schwontkowski, tapped into a collective feeling of hibernation, as Germany enters its seventh consecutive month in lockdown. Hovering between the mythical and the mundane, the paintings shared a milky light and a wistful air. A self-portrait by the late German painter Norbert Schwontkowski titled Wolken Ziehen II (2005), with the artist’s eyes shut and head drifting in the clouds, faced Philadelphia-based Aubrey Levinthal’s oil on panel Swimmer (2020), where a woman’s face emerges from a sea-foam mist, her closed eyes and thin lips reflected in the water before her in subtly smudged lines. Other compositional parallels echoed across the show—Lenz Geerk’s figure lying down in The Tie (2021) like a highly contoured inversion of the floating pink body in Katherine Bradford’s Queen of Sleep (2021), for instance—but it was a shared sense of time suspended, perhaps in dreams or waking midnight hours, that held this show in its own arrested space. L’Invitation au voyage at Esther Schipper also took on the timely theme of traveling via daydream with works by thirteen women painters (unusual for the gallery’s focus on conceptual projects), where Almut Heise’s large-scale Bar (1970) was a highlight at the gallery’s entrance, its red curtain backdrop like a Lynchian invitation into the exhibition.

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