March 2008, Ruhe Bewahren exhibition @ Kunsthaus Tacheles, Berlin
Adham Faramawy and Melissa Frost Adham Faramawy, Liesel Thomas and
prepare their wall and floor Gareth Cadwallader preparing the
respectively fanzine that accompanied the spaces
In August 2007, partnered by Whitehot Magazine Of Contemporary Art, writer Oliver Guy-Watkins acted as curator for the Ruhe Bewahren exhibition at Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin’s Mitte. The show featured twelve international artists and ran for twelve days.
Gareth Cadwallader (London)
Adham Faramawy (London)
Boo Saville (London)
Sindy Butz (Berlin)
Tom J Mason (Berlin)
Melissa Frost (California)
Gabriel & Don-Daniel (Berlin)
Matthew Stone (London)
Lan Hungh (Taiwan)
Joao Paglione (Brazil)
Liesel Thomas (London)
Jennifer Martin (London)
Oliver Guy-Watkins with Art Students Oliver Guy-Watkins in Tacheles
interacting with Melissa Frost's floor installation
Tom J Mason: I was invited to be in the Ruhe Bewahren show after OGW saw an exhibition of mine in Neukolln. I didn’t know any of the other artists, and was initially skeptical about a show being staged at a venue that I, and to my mind the Berlin Art world, had written off long ago; however, the resulting exhibition comfortably hovered to one side of what most know as the Tacheles, and its content was free to do its own thing in a less defined space. My work comprised of collages, and for me the show itself was collage-like; imperfect, rough round the edges, yet energetic, brash in places, while elegant or more mysterious in others, as all but the most seamless of good group shows are (and a show of younger, or ‘upcoming’ artists just shouldn’t be seamless. That would be plain wrong!).
Tom J Mason finishing off his wall Artists (L-R) Gareth Cadwallader, Boo Saville,
collage Melissa Frost, Liesel Thomas at the opening of
Adham Faramawy: Ruhe Bewahren felt like an attempt at curating an exhibition that was unburdened by thematic devices. The artists were, to a great degree, left free to produce work in the knowledge and hope that a dialogue between pieces would emerge organically. Where the artists had a relationship prior to the show this occurred quickly and to great effect. It was a fantastic success. It was an opportunity to meet and work with a variety of new artists. Also seeing Susan Sarandon and Christina Ricci at an opening in a Berlin uber-squat was a very special experience.
Sophie Rook installing Matthew Stones wall poster Lan Hungh installs his acetate sushi
Oliver Guy-Watkins: With Ruhe Bewahren I wanted to create a show that featured a number of stand alone pieces of artwork that when displayed in a certain fashion became something of a statement of intent. The title phrase was taken from the signage on the German U-Bahn system, where emergency instructions order the traveler to Keep Calm first and foremost, I liked the idea that this related to fact that the show would be staged at a venue that divided opinion and was overtly stigmatised. The battle to persuade the art world to take an exhibition seriously that was staged at Tacheles was intriguing in itself, and I soon realised this was irrelevant. The space, although only fifty square metres, accommodated the work in a comfortable and intimate way, without any artist intruding into another’s environment. With the premise that this exhibition would feature a large number of artists, the decision was taken to ignore a theme and allow the work to dictate the direction of the viewer’s thoughts without a curatorial push. I am constantly frustrated by those people who tell us we have to choose, ‘Are you a writer or a curator?’ ‘Are you a painter or a sculptor?’ These questions limit the individual and create an automated response from a viewer or reader. I wanted to eliminate this and leave the door open for artwork to be displayed without excuse, therefore creating an honest and literal response. During the exhibition we also welcomed a number of art students from local colleges who participated in the installation work of Melissa Frost and Lan Hungh. I feel it is important to link with a generation who will be the ones we enjoy the work of in the future and give them an access into the art world that aside from large-scale galleries is sorely missed. The partnership with Whitehot Magazine, as well as the hard work from Eleanor Rosenberg, Joao Paglione, Sophie Rook and Alicia Reuter was vital to the success of Ruhe Bewahren and I pass on my sincere gratitude.
Noah Becker: Editor-in-Chief