A Weekly Digital Diary
 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 

Letter From Berlin



Daniel Steegmann Mangrané in his exhibition Fog Dog, 2020

By now a tenuous routine begins to set in and many of us may very well begin to miss our outings into the world of art and ideas. To give respite to the unsettling onslaught of coronavirus news we want to visit exhibitions with you. If you cannot come in person, we will accompany you on virtual tours. In the Letter from Berlin we will bring you stories about exhibitions, our artists, about works that have touched us, hidden gems and all-time favourites of our team.
In addition, across our digital platforms, we will bring you live conversations, DJ sets, book readings, talks and more from our artists, tour studios virtually, take an interactive journey through the history of the gallery, and share personal Instagram takeovers from our artists. We will also ask you what bespoke Online Viewing Room content you want to see. This is about connections. We hope you will join us!
For our first Letter From Berlin, our Head of Content Isabelle Moffat takes you into Fog Dog, Daniel Steegmann's exhibition at the gallery. Leah Turner, Director and Artist Liaison remembers her experiences at Art Basel Hong Kong, and we watch the wildly popular K-Pop band BTS disappear in Ann Veronica Janssens' fog room, Green Yellow and Pink, currently installed in Seoul as part of the Connect, BTS project.

Exhibition view: Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Fog Dog, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2020
Photo © Andrea Rossetti

I keep hearing the crunching of the gravel, feeling the pebbles crunching under my feet. Fog Dog is a funny exhibition: when you look into the first room it seems almost serene. The light streams into the space from the large triangular opening, a huge funnel-like construction extends into the room. But enter and the sound and the feel of the gravel change it all. Your body is immediately present.

The exhibition is a multi-sensory experience, but it also tells a story: a boy who accompanied his father, an architect, to visit Romanesque churches in the Pyrenes and saw the dust dance in the light, felt the light slow down. An artist who goes to Dhaka and finds unexpected similarities and differences to his home in Brasil and makes a film, an entire exhibition to bring this experience around the world. And then there is the story about the 14 tons of gravel.

Production shot: Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Fog Dog, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2020

Once you have entered the space and walk around the first room, the cicadas call you further inside. First a dark room awaits you and here you can see what the boy saw then: light entering the dark space, glowing.

Exhibition view: Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Fog Dog, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2020
Photo © Andrea Rossetti

It’s not just the memory of his childhood experience but the long tradition of trying to shape light, to understand what our experience of light does to us, that we encounter. All senses are sharpened in the dark, a pleasurable sense of dislocation and wonder sets in. Once we enter the screening space from where the ambient tropical sounds have beckoned us, this sense of dislocation only increases.

Exhibition view: Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Fog Dog, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2020
Photo © Andrea Rossetti

We see the school, rooms with white plastic chairs on the screen, just like the ones in the exhibition space. We become part of the scenery! Here too the gravel crunches with each of our movements. It keeps reminding us of our body, of sitting in this room that seems so out of place in Berlin were it not for the sense of being transported to Dhaka too.

Exhibition view: Daniel Steegmann Mangrane, Fog Dog, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2020

Even as colonialism and climate change become a topic, the film does not want to lecture us: it’s the sensory experience that hits home. The beauty of the lush landscape, the myriad sounds of insects and birds.

And then there are the dogs. Who are they? A gently presence throughout, they seem most comfortable with their life. A remarkably beautiful sphinx-like black dog bears battle scars on his bitten ear.

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Fog Dog, 2020, 2k video (color, stereo sound)
Film still © Daniel Steegmann Mangrané

Like any good horror movie, we want to tell the night watchman not to go looking in the dark! If you want to find out what happens, the entire 45 minute film can be watched in our viewing room. See the link below!

Exhibition view: Daniel Steegmann Mangrane, Fog Dog, Esther Schipper, Berlin, 2020

Online Viewing Rooms

In our Online Viewing Room you can see more of the exhibition, watch the entire film Fog Dog and see photographs the artist took in Dhaka. It also includes two interviews with Daniel Steegmann Mangrané.

Click here to watch the entire film


Recent publications

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané has just published an artist book on the light interventions. Designed by Manuel Reader with the artist, the book pairs installation views with texts by Stela do Patrocínio, a Brazilian writer who was diagnosed as a schizophrenic and lived in a mental institutional between 1962 and 1992. Her amazing poems were transcribed by the artist Carla Guagliardi from two tapes, recorded between 1986 and 1988 while in confinement. Texts are in French.
<b>Daniel Steegmann Mangrané</b><br>

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané

Ne voulais prendre ni forme, ni chair, ni matière
Publisher: Bom Dia Boa Tarde Boa Noite, 2020
Language: French

Available here

The poems have been included, in their original Portuguese and in English translation, in another recent book that is also available on our website:
<b>Daniel Steegmann Mangrané</b><br>

Daniel Steegmann Mangrané

The Spiral Forest
Publisher: The Green Parrot and Mousse Publishing, 2018
Lang: English

Available here

In early summer a major overview of Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s work will be published by Skira on occasion of his solo exhibitions at Bard College, the ICA in Villeurbanne and Hangar Bicocca.

Art Basel Hong Kong

A journey through our Art Basel Hong Kong booths over the years

Art fairs are going virtual. In a rapid response to the cancellations of art fairs across the globe in response to COVID-19, virtual viewing rooms are cropping up more widely, most visibly with Art Basel Hong Kong’s new Online Viewing Room, launched Wednesday. Rolled out quickly in replacement of the cancelled fair, Basel’s OVR is accessible in staggered VIP to public access to mimic the entry-format of the real fair. We’ve also built our own with additional exclusive content.
Click the image below to view our Art Basel Hong Kong 2020 Online Viewing Room.

We first participated in Art Basel HK in March 2015, three years after the inauguration of the fair, and three months after I had joined the gallery. The highlight of our booth that year was a massive, snowy Christmas tree by Philippe Parreno, rendered in cast painted aluminum and brass with oversized shiny baubles, topped with a golden star. We were completely overwhelmed by the crowds of visitors, and our long-suffering head art handler was enlisted to stand guard over the tree eight hours a day.
With one exception I’ve worked the next four editions of the fair, have grown from an associate into a director, and Hong Kong has become one of our most successful and important fairs. One that’s been the site of uniquely memorable mishaps too. Despite our Germanic-level planning, I still found myself taking a taxi at midnight with our production manager to a random apartment in Mong Kok in a last-ditch effort to replace a blown Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster neon.
But all’s well that ends well: the man in the apartment fixed the neon in time for the preview! Let’s see what next year brings, and in the meantime we can browse the virtual aisles…

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Splendide Hotel, 2015, neon, 10,7 x 200 cm
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2020 Photo © Andrea Rossetti

Ann Veronica Janssens and the K-Pop Band BTS

A fog room by Ann Veronica Janssens is currently installed in Seoul at DDP (Dongdaemun Design Plaza, designed by Zaha Hadid) as part of a much larger campaign initiated by the wildly popular K-Pop band BTS, and, as artistic director, the curator Daehyung Lee.

Entitled CONNECT, BTS the project has been staggered over the last few months, in its entirety it spanned five cities: with performances at Berlin’s Gropius Bau, at the Serpentine in London with a young Danish artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen, in Buenos Aires with Tomás Saraceno and in New York, with the British sculptor Antony Gormley in Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Broadly speaking, what connects the project is the dissolution of boundaries. A topic the band also speaks about in figurative terms: breaking down boundaries between people, countries, nations.

Ann Veronica Janssens, Green, Yellow and Pink, 2017, artificial fog, green, yellow, and pink filters, dimensions variable. Exhibition view: Green, Yellow, and Pink, Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Seoul, 2020
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2020. Photo © Jang Jun-Ho

As a measure of the kind of publicity: the exhibition is free but could only be visited with reserved tickets. All tickets were sold out in six hours.

Video conference between Ann Veronica and the Korean pop band BTS at the launch of the project in January.

The group is a global phenomenon and also known for its social engagement. In 2017 BTS started an anti-violence campaign in cooperation with UNICEF. The campaign was called "Love Myself." And in 2018 they were invited to speak at the UN's Generations Unlimited project and used the platform to address the difficulties faced by young people, advocating "empowerment and love."

The New York Times recently published an article on their filming a video in New York's Grand Central Station. It took two months to organize. Read the NY Times article HERE. Watch the music video shot for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon HERE.

In early March the band went to see Ann Veronica Janssens' works! The first scenes show them on their phones—they are not just taking selfies but watching the virtual reality tour guides on their phone before entering the fog room. To understand their popularity: since March 4, the video had been watched 2,568,774 times.

Click the image below to watch the full video.

BTS posing in front of Rose, another work by Ann Veronica Janssens installed at DDP, Seoul as part of CONNECT, BTS.

Ann Veronica Janssens, Rose, 2007, 7 light projectors, artificial haze, pink filters, ø 360-400 cm approx.
Exhibition view: Green, Yellow, and Pink, Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP), Seoul, 2020
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2020. Photo © Jang Jun-Ho

Ann Veronica Janssens Interview from the Lousiana Museum

While Ann Veronica Janssens’ solo exhibition at the Louisiana Museum has also been temporarily closed, the museum has posted a beautiful and very informative video on her work. It combines an older in-depth interview with views of the exhibition and new material.

Click the image below to watch the full video.

Ann Veronica Janssens in conversation with Associate Professor in Physics Troels Petersen in the exhibition at Louisiana Museum.