If The Shoe Fits

The majority of work hung in DUVE can usually be labeled as stark, subtle and unquestionably hip. Programming their gallery with a concious pulse on what’s fresh out of art schools and reblogged on Tumblr, DUVE has allowed me to get personal with works I’ve been familiar with online. This is naturally what led me to their doors for the latest exhibition featuring American painters Paul Cowan, Sebastian Black and Berlin-based German artist Markus Amm. Greeted by DUVE’s amiable director and viewing this cleverly curated show was the perfect dose of art I needed on a quiet winter’s day.

Asylum In The Gallery

The snow is gone, the sun is out, the ground is wet and I feel like I’m back in Virginia during the winter and not here in Berlin. It’s tough to know exactly what I should wear when I leave my apartment – a heavy coat will drench my shirt in sweat, and my favorite jean jacket will give me minimal protection for the occasional harsh wind. Despite this first world disaster of wintry outerwear, I traveled to DUVE’s unique location of Prinzentraße to check out some new work by some blog favorite artists.

duve-berlin-6A close up of one of Cowan’s fishing tackle paintings. Photo: Chris Phillips

What’s striking about this exhibition is how the artists have decided to focus on some of the more banal, aesthetically displeasing articles from every day life. Chicago-based artist Paul Cowan incorporates fish hooks onto his monochromatic works – definitely not something your father would have imagined fishing lures could be used for. Sebastian Black similarly appropriates dad friendly objects such as meticulously hand carved wooden duplicates of Croc shoes. I’ve never really considered wearing this infamous footwear, yet I can’t help but imagine that the wooden versions would actually be a clever addition to my wardrobe. Markus Amm, however, retained a theme of abstraction with his soft gradient works – a beautiful reminder that sometimes art’s best qualities can be found in it’s simplicities.

The majority of the work at Duve is not for those looking for a extravagence and ornate excess. The pieces are quiet, they don’t hit you over the head with content, and they most certainly aren’t going to cause any controversies any time soon. This, however, is where they success: in a world influxed with constant imagery via the Internet and beyond, it’s nice to take a break from this hyperactivity and take a deep breathe with the subdued. You may not overhear people arguing over this quiet exhibition on the U-Bahn, but this should deter you from visiting Duve while this exhibition is still up. 

  • DUVE Berlin – Group Show “Very New Works” – January 19th – March 2nd, 2013 [BAPS Estimated Price Range: €2,000 – €10,000]
Article by James Shaeffer