Thursday, February 25, 2016

To the König Galerie in St. Agnes

I've been wanting to get back to the König Galerie in St. Agnes for several months. The last exhibit I went to, back in September 2015, didn't make good use of the space in my opinion, so I wanted to experience an exhibition that took advantage of the building's soaring ceilings.

But let me back up one moment and give you a little background on the Galerie. König Galerie was founded by Johann König in 2002, and currently represents 30 international, emerging and established artists. The program’s focus is on interdisciplinary, concept-oriented and space-based approaches in a variety of media including sculpture, video, sound, painting, printmaking, photography and performance.The primary location for the Galerie is in Mitte, Berlin, but that location is currently being renovated and is set to reopen in May 2016.

In May 2015, König Galerie opened a second location inside the Brutalist building that was once the St. Agnes Church in Berlin's Kreuzberg neighborhood. From the outside, the building is as stoic and imposing as one would expect a Brutalist church to be. The inside is just as imposing, but with the purpose of showcasing large works of art, it could never be called stoic.

There are two levels of works on display in the Galerie, both of which feature temporary exhibitions. The two main exhibitions happening right now are "Kiki Kogelnick: Works from 1962-1968" and "Tatiana Trouvé: From Alexandrinenstrasse to the Unnamed Path."

The works of Kiki Kogelnick, featured in the lower level St. Agnes Chapel space, are vibrant and energetic. The Chapel exhibitions at the Galerie tend to be small and very focused. Hence, the limited time span of the works featured by Kiki Kogelnick.

The upper level, the St. Agnes Nave, is the main attraction. Last year's exhibit by Camille Henrot, titled The Pale Fox, was not the best use of the sweeping interior of the Nave. In fact, once you stepped inside the manufactured "room" used to display Henrot's works, you could've just as well been inside any four-white-walled gallery space in the world.

While the show was well-received, I felt that the venue was not the most appropriate space in which to showcase it. Thus, I had to return to see the Tatiana Trouvé exhibition. Trouvé's works made excellent use of the open space, even taking advantage of the soaring ceilings, from which were suspended some of her pieces.

I appreciated the space allotted for each of the larger works, which consisted of furniture pieces and textiles painted in such a way that the graphics came together as a single work.

I'm hoping the König Galerie sticks around in this space even after its downtown location reopens. I missed out on visiting the Praxes Center for Contemporary Art, which was at St. Agnes up until early-2015.

König Galerie at St. Agnes is an amazing space in which to experience art. And, to entice you further, it's also open to the public for free.

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