31|12|20 - 30|02|21
curated by Sascha Brosamer
Daniel W J Mackenzie
Art keeps going.
In various creative communities that continue to weather the storm that is life these days, this brave and defining statement has ridden the grey wave of stress and horror alongside us. The simplicity of these words makes a memorable and repeatable statement, solemnly absorbed by penniless artists, broadcast on social channels from the smartphones of collectors, dealers and millionaires.
Reductionism has its uses, but in this case we see it betray the full extent of depth in such a statement. Art came from nothing and when little else is left, art will keep going - the last thing to detach from the soul.
No three word statement, however, can truly encapsulate the spirit of the artistic underground. The underground is built on resilience, co-operation and determination. It is built on sheer will and passion, and makes incredible things happen not for money or fame, but to share in the wonder that is pure expression. It is defiant. Not all artists come through its warehouse spaces, car parks and abandoned offices, meeting on the way some of the most supportive and inspiring people they will ever meet, but those that do should keep with them the richness of their experiences.
Free of the trappings of the industry at a time when it cannot operate as it usually does, social badminton echoing around the wide walls of almost identical rooms strewn across the world, the underground is activated. Ever resourceful, tools are explored to their limits, and the two way conversation of globalism and localism is stretched further through the uncanny experience of being locked in a room with remote access to the world.
This freedom allows an exhibition to take on new meaning, and in Sascha Brosamer’s offering the setting is one of domestic familiarity - the home. The Second Wave isn’t merely a(nother) comment on the pandemic or lockdown life, it’s a bold reminder of the power of art and artists borne out of fervour and obsession, and an insight into what’s possible when the edges can be blurred.
It is not so much an exhibition, even, as an environment. In times that feel empty and disconnected, the Neukölln room is quite the opposite. Sascha worked remotely with the artists to produce pieces and subsumed the influx of material into the space, inviting visitors where physically possible (and within safety guidelines), and connecting over the airwaves otherwise. Wall hanging art merges with the furniture, prominently placed record decks stand ready to deliver an updated soundtrack, and indeed the work on show includes sound work. Elsewhere work exists as an instruction, extending part of the exhibition experience over limitless distances, dispatching effortlessly any notions of creative confinement.
In Ellen Lupton and J. Abbot Miller’s introduction to The ABCs of: The Bauhaus and Design Theory they describe the institution as ‘a changing and often divisive coalition of students, faculty, and administrators, interacting with the often hostile community outside.’ Our future gazing concept of inside and outside may have been abstracted to some degree, but the image of an amorphous pool of creative minds existing within yet apart from common narratives rings truer than ever.
Text by Daniel W J Mackenzie