The Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin Smells
June 5, 2010 MuseumChick
Being my first time to Berlin, Germany I did the rounds at all the tourist sights and met some locals (ie. storm troopers and native American Indians) at the Brandenburg gate. After defeating evil, I was super excited to visit the Guggenheim in Berlin! I walked up the famous Unter den Linden street, which means "Under the Linden", linden, which means limes. It's all very confusing, especially since I didn't see any of these alleged fruits.
Anyway…I found the Guggenheim…
Were you expecting an outrageous building? I was. This could probably be mistaken for a Deutsche Bank if you don't look closely for the banners marking it the Deutsche Guggenheim.
I didn't get an outrageous building to show you but I did get a fantastic exhibit from New York based artist, Wangechi Mutu, the newly crowned Artist of the Year 2010 by the Deutsche Guggenheim. Her solo exhibit, My Dirty Little Heaven strived to re-create a ghetto similar to one in Mutu's native Kenya, in the relatively small space (for a Guggenheim gallery) occupying the whole ground floor. Walking through the rectangular, one room space, all senses were engaged. Intrusive sounds of rattling and clanging played while olfactory senses were bewildered by a indistinct iron-like blood smell, similar to *whisper* a woman's menstruation. That came to mind because of the blood-like red stain on the floor and the overwhelming implications of women's issues, more specifically the oppression and viewed role of women in societies. Although overwhelming, women's issues are just one part of Mutu's engaging show. The idea of daily life in impoverished communities and the idea of economic borders and challenges play into the exhibit. Mutu is quoted saying, "I also wanted to question this idea with the show and to think about how poverty, how not having everything handed to you, adjusts your way of making things, your way of thinking about things, and how you go about creating beauty. And that's how the idea of shantytown came to me".
You can scroll through the pictures below to get an idea what I saw at Mutu's exhibit, although the pictures I took don't do her intricate collages justice. It's just difficult to see the details that you can see in person. Mutu often uses cut-outs of women's body parts from porn, fashion and auto magazines.
Before leaving, I grabbed the latest issue of the Deutsche Guggenheim Magazine (yea for free stuff!) where there is a thought-provoking interview with Mutu. She said about her own exhibit, "I think it reflects not only how people feel about women, but also how society feels about itself".
(Below) Blue Eyes, 2008 Mixed media collage.
The piece below is called "Fallen Heads" 2010 and is a mixed media collage.
©2010 Danee Gilmartin All rights reserved