As I walked into Galerie Wedding, smack dab in the middle of the district, directly next to the hustle and bustle of the Bürgeramt, I didn’t know that I would soon be surrounded by an heir of regalness and mystery. Entering the gallery, I was greeted by a beautiful, bright, rich space, with wrap-around windows. Galerie Wedding is currently housing an exhibition, Metamorphosen, with artwork from the late Pantelis Sabalitois. Originating from Greece, Sabaliotis, was the former curator of the gallery. And with all of the symbols, gold, and seemingly ancient sculptures it made me wonder… Was I still in Wedding or had I been transported to an ancient Egyptian party for the Pharaoh?
The Queen Bee
Sabaliotis integrated a number of natural materials into his mixed media artwork and as I walked around the gallery I found myself peering closer and closer to the art. What was it that I saw within? Gold, feathers, dirt, sand, wood, wax, leather…and honeycombs? How did he make all of this look so royal and elegant? Especially interesting to me was the large mixed media piece, Kypseles, which looked like a large honeycomb covered in wax. While the manipulated wood in the Kypseles only looked like honey combs to me, I still imagined that there could have been a Queen Bee who had made her home in the gallery. She could look outside where all of her worker bees, the residents of Wedding, could be properly supervised. While she was confined within her elegant home amongst the Metamorphosen exhibit.
A Living Mystery: What Does That Symbol Mean?!
There is certainly a reoccurrence of symbols, which resemble ancient hieroglyphics throughout the exhibit. I decided to ask if they were in fact ancient Egyptian or Greek symbols. The answer was no. Sabaliotis was from Greece, and had studied ancient history. He self-created the symbols found within his art and he never explained what they stood for or represented. One of the first images I saw when walking into the gallery was a massive hanging sculpture of the un-identified symbol.
“Chrismos” – Pantelis Sabaliotis, Photo: Jackie Smith, Courtesy of Galerie Wedding
Metamorphosen is an exhibit which includes multi-media pieces as well as sculptures, so walking in between it all I really became obsessed with the mystery of what they meant! Luckily, I had two friends with me and they were just as inquisitive as I, about what they could mean. As we stood before the gold-leafed mixed media Chrismos, we were silent coming up with our own ideas and meanings for the symbol we were staring at. When we finally started comparing our ideas it was funny to see the differences between what we saw… was it representing a roller skate, a factory, a face, a penis, a foot? Ok, so maybe our ideas weren’t the brightest but it was easy to wonder about what it meant to the artist himself and fun to compare our own reactions to the mysterious symbols!
An Ode to Pantelis Sabaliotis
As I left the Metamorphosen exhibit, a tribute to the former curator of Galerie Wedding, I was glad that I had been able to have been treated to such an experience in the middle of Wedding. The combination of raw materials and ancient history kept me thinking. My friends and I decided to stay awhile longer in Wedding, grabbing a coffee at the nearby “Coffee Star” two doors down, continuing our discussion and brain storming about the mystery of the symbols of Sabaliotis and the mysteries of life!
Galerie Wedding Pantelis Sabaliotis – “Metamorphosen” January 21st – March 10th Tue-Sat: 12pm – 6pm