You Talkin’ To Me?

I had been anxious to check out Kleine Humboldt Galerie’s latest group exhibition “Universalsprachen” since I received notification of the opening. As I read through the list of art titans exhibiting, I couldn’t understand why the gallery would group these people together. Work by Internet savvy artist/curator Mike Ruiz, linguistic enthusiast Yoonhee Kim and sometimes performance artist Daniel Salomon were a few of the wildly diverse group of artists curated by Berliner Yasmin Meinicke. It seemed that based on the variety of artists presented, they might as well be speaking different languages to each other in the exhibition space. As it turns out, this was precisely the point.

An Alien Planet

It’s always a pleasure to visit some of the few vestiges of classic architecture that still remain in Berlin. While most art galleries here in the city lie in districts that were rebuilt after 1945, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin has turned a lobby in one of it’s epic historical buildings into an exhibition space. Off Unter den Linden through an elegant courtyard adorned with equestrian statues and marble steps is the Lichthof des Hauptgebäudes that contains the Kleine Humboldt Galerie. Hosting at least two exhibitions a year, they make each one count. So with a list of 13 international artists I was confident that they had something big in store. 

As I navigated through the very academic environment provided by the university, I was guided by a series of posters portraying the Pioneer Plaque. Designed by Carl Sagen in 1972, NASA hoped that after it was launched into space potential life forms from other words would be able to communicate with mankind. Given the exhibition title “Universalsprachen” (Universal Languages), this image seemed quite appropriate. But what an alien did I feel like when I finally entered the gallery and was greeted by a giant sign with the silhouette of a Martian warning extraterrestrials to go home! I collected myself and braved onwards to try and communicate with this exhibition.