Three steps, stop. Two more steps, stop. Stop, breath. The smell of fresh cut pine from the inverted Christmas tree in the center of the room fills your nostrils as an eerily beautiful sound of Baroque harpsichord fills the cavernous great room at me Collector’s Room. Kris Martin’s immense white sculpture responding to the Hellenic sculpture "Laocoön and his sons" towers over you as you drift past immense tapestries, a stuffed Seychelles giant tortoise and brilliant jewel tone butterflies mounted on satin boards. The only word to describe the sensation you are currently experiencing is true wonder. Welcome to the magical and mysterious world of Thomas Olbricht’s personal art collection, his modern-day cabinet of curiosities: “Wonderful: Humboldt, Krokodil & Polke.”
At the risk of sounding like a complete a complete art nerd, this exhibition surpasses the normal contemporary art shows in Berlin and arrives on another plane which is nothing short of religious. From sleek, feathered sculptures from Kate MccGwire which look like some sort of coiled alien sea dragon to original Northern Renaissance prints from Albrecht Dürer, the exhibition seamlessly combines historical objects and artwork with contemporary pieces to create an artistic experience for the viewer which surpasses the confines of time. I think the true catalyst for this creative masterpiece lies with the ingenuity of the collector, Thomas Olbricht, and the dynamic ability of me Collector’s room to house a show with such a unique concept, something a gallery or museum could not do.
Delicious Art Soup
“It was not my original idea to create a ‘cabinet de curiousitie,’ ” Olbricht said. “I was just really starting to be interested in old things, seeing the craftwork and asking myself, ‘How could they do that?’ Why not collect these things and compare them with contemporary art because the ideas which surround all of these pieces are the basic ideas of life, death, maybe love…these ideas go through the ages.” From controversial religious artwork like David LaChapelle’s "The Last Supper" to Berlinde de Bruyckere’s morbid sculpture "Lingam" that looks like piles of human flesh suspended from a rope, the exhibition deals with an immense range of subjects with no unifying theme or concept.