Everyone wants to defy their parents and follow their own path of destruction, but perched on a heater with unconventional gallerist Anna Jill Lüpertz , an inspired thought strikes: perhaps the fate secured by background and upbringing isn’t necessarily one to ignore or avoid. Landing in the same business as your family need not be the easy option, providing you get there by your own absurd means. Braving the cold and risking a 40€ fine from my BVG pals, I hop the U1 to Kurfürstenstraße – hang-out for determined prostitutes and miserable sex-shops – back to Lüpertz’s out-of-place, unassuming gallery.
Being indecisive has its benefits. Why worry about settling down in one gallery when you can just use them all? This is seemingly the basis of AJL Art, a dynamic project run by Anna Jill Lüpertz and partner Sophie Weiser, which finally eliminates the barriers associated with a fixed space. With an abundance of white-walled creative spaces scattered around Berlin (well, mostly in Mitte – but I suppose we can cope with that, if we must), there’s no longer the necessity to pick your favorite and stick to it like a faithful wife. The idea of opening an art gallery surely doesn’t require being as traditional and normal as that; utilizing all of the best spaces available, allowing the freedom and flexibility to choose a gallery according to how well it fits the exhibition, is much more irrational and definitely more interesting.
I began with an unsuccessful mission – in the naïve hope of whisking away the renowned gallerist for a few words to change my opinion of rich kids enjoying a life of privilege on the back of the family’s successful art career – to the opening night of Olaf Hajek’s exhibition, “The King Has Lost His Crown.” Drawing inspiration from folklore and mythology, his color-soaked illustrations catapult the observer into a fairy-tale juxtaposition of reality and imagination.
With mystical themes being described as “magic realism,” I was hoping for flying unicorns and talking zebras but tried to keep the excitement under control. It’s an art gallery, not an opium cave. With an alarmingly elderly crowd dominating the room and the gallerist in high demand, I left disappointed, but with a complimentary glass of red to keep the winter chill at bay and a surprising insight into how the award-toting artist chose his favorite piece: “Because it’s really big.”
Artists Are Normal People Too
Returning for a second attempt, keeping cynicism in check and an open mind, my first impressions are dissolved on spotting the gallerist absorbed in a novel, exuding what can only be described as a vibe of normality, a great contrast when removed from the chaos of coordinating an exhibition opening. Then, I am drawn into the life story of a woman I definitely wasn’t expecting to meet. Far from my awaited stereotype, Anna Jill Lüpertz speaks with honesty, a quality hard to find in the cold Berlin art world.
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