Excuse Me…Is This Seat Taken?

It was Sunday in Berlin. Which means that although many stores are closed, flea markets are open to explore and luckily so is the “Hallelujah” exhibit by the German, Berlin based artist, Isa Genzken. Genzken’s exhibit is currently on display at the Schinkel Pavillon, conveniently located steps away from the Staatsoper on the historic Unter den Linden.

Bird, Bird, Bird. Bird is the Word. 

Upon entering the space, I found myself in a circular room with five sculptures, a few designer chairs, a print of the famous Berlin TV Tower and a single black chair in the middle of the room. Some of the sculptures had chairs atop them, upside down, jagged. But the singular black chair in the middle of the room, which on its backside displayed “Hallelujah”, seemed somehow inviting to me, and I wondered if I was allowed to sit there. I decided against it. Instead of sitting, I circled, like a bird.

A Bird’s Eye View

After my first circle swoop, I was back where I started. I stood in front of the Donald Duck painting, a fun and familiar picture of an aggravated duck. He was looking up, and propped against wood crates. I looked up to see what he saw, and became fixated on a solitary artificial Birds of Paradise flower, in between two other artificial arrangements. The Bird of Paradise is a beautiful and unique flower indigenous to South Africa. And with memories of my own coming back to me, I made my way to the next sculpture.

If Birds Ruled the Earth

A big bird hovering above tiny transport machines spray painted blue was what grabbed my attention in the second sculpture. I wondered why the cars, vans and motorbikes were facing different directions. And it wasn’t just me that had this bird’s eye view of the chaos. The over-looming bird stood perched above it all, part of it all. From where I was standing I looked to the right and saw the print of the TV-Tower placed next to the window where the real life structure is beautifully framed. The weather was clear and sunny and I had an amazing view of the Berlin sights, the Dom, the TV-Tower. And seeing the print compared to the famous tower was truly an interesting experience.

Isa Genzken - "Hallelujah"Photo: Isa Genzken, “Hallelujah”, 2012, Schinkel Pavillon, Courtesy of Galerie Buchholz Berlin

Up Close and Personal

Since I wasn’t in a hurry and the room was filled with new observations at each circle, I decided to make another swoop, and this time I felt like I was on a treasure hunt. Looking closely is a definite recommendation when visiting the “Hallelujah”, exhibit. At the bottom of the sculpture bases there are many things to discover, miniature action figures, headlights and globes. Throughout the sculptures there are mini figures combined with the works, which play with perception and observation skills. I recommend taking an afternoon to let your mind wonder with the inspiration drawn from visiting Genzken’s “Hallelujah”, Having a lot to think about, and feeling happy to be in Berlin, I decided to fly across the street and check out the books for sale at the flea market in front of Humboldt University, it was Sunday after all, and life was good.

Schinkel Pavillon Isa Genzken – “Hallelujah” 28th January – 11th March Thu-Sun: 12am – 6pm