Vereinte Gegenüberstellung – Gagik Kurginian, Archi Galentz
26.1–16.2.2023

For German, Russian and Ukrainian, please scroll down


Exhibition Vereinte Gegenüberstellung by Gagik Kurginian and Archi Galentz.

Opening: Friday 26.01.2024 18.00-20.00 hrs

Opening hours of the exhibition: Sat 27.01 and Sun 28.01 from 16–20,
2 –3, 9 –10 and 16 February: 16–20 and by appointment by phone: 0179 54 75 312.

Archi Galentz
Archi Galentz


The year 2024 could be decisive. Another state could disappear from the world map. Completely or within the borders we know. After several years of the nightmare unfolding around us and the tragedy lurking within, this possibility no longer seems unimaginable. Last year, we Armenians lost an important part of our homeland – Artsakh. An independent democratic state, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia is in danger. Ukraine is in danger. Who is next? We are artists, and we have no ready-made recipes on how to bring back peace and stability, prosperity and confidence in the future. But we do have a refuge – our love of and belief in painting as a world of its own. In this exhibition, we want to reflect on the limits of this world.

Gagik Kurginian
Gagik Kurginian: Attack

We got to know each other at a vernissage at Galerie Taube in 2019. Gagik had been to Berlin several times before and was invited to take part in the December Salon. As it turned out – in the last catalogue of Galerie Taube. The next year, the Covid pandemic closed the borders and artistic exchange slowed down drastically. In February 2022, bombs fell on Ukraine and Gagik decided to leave his new home, studio, library and artworks to save his family. (The war began suddenly and insidiously. Modern missiles can reach any point in the country, no one is safe). The picturesque town of Uzhgorod, where Gagik lived with his young wife and daughter, lies on the border with Slovakia. I offered to come by car and pick up my colleague at the border. Many countries from Switzerland to Canada invited the Ukrainians, but Gagik was already familiar with Berlin and settled in the German capital with his family. In the Berlin district of Pankow, we ran a gallery together with the artist Andreas Wolf and Wolf&Galentz could not help but reflect on the situation after the outbreak of military aggression. In June 2022, we offered the public a group exhibition Commentaries on Betrayal and Violence. Gagik was the painter at the centre (focus) of this project. At the same time, we could not expect the 69-year-old artist to be able to immediately produce new works for the exhibition. After his arrival in Berlin, Gagik had to go through a long process of finding accommodation for his family, a school for his daughter and sorting out paperwork. However, Gagik brought his experience and vision of art to Germany and masterfully commented on the works of numerous artists of different generations and from different countries in our group exhibition. Gagik continues to actively participate in artistic life in Berlin, his works are light and virtuosic, lively and fascinating. I would also like to allow myself this freedom of expression. 30 years of living in Berlin have disciplined and somewhat constricted me. In this exhibition, I would like to allow myself to be a painter who comments. In addition to Gagik’s paintings, I am presenting a series of objects. Some are found, others are placed in the context of the frame, but all are not created with brush and paint. In addition, we – both Armenian artists – have created a joint print for this exhibition Vereinte Gegenüberstellung: Back to back, I – a Russian citizen and Gagik – a Ukrainian citizen try to demarcate a small free space for us. Thanks to Berlin, where artists find refuge and to Andreas Wolf and Toolbox where Gagik Kurginian and I are allowed to exhibit together.

Archi GAlentz
Archi Galentz

Archi Galentz, born 1971 in Moscow (Russia as part of the USSR), 1989 studied at the State University of Fine Arts and Theatre in Yerevan, Armenia (part of the USSR), 1992–97 studied art at the Berlin University of the Arts, master student of Klaus Fußmann. Since 1989 over eighty international exhibitions, since 2000 working as an exhibition curator, journalist and lecturer. Founding member of a platform for Armenian diaspora artists ‘Underconstruction.Home’. 2008 founding of his own project space InteriorDAsein in Berlin. 2019 founding, together with Andreas Wolf, of the gallery Wolf & Galentz Galerie in Berlin Pankow. Father of two children. Archi Galentz lives and works in Berlin.

Gagik
Gagik Kurginian: Self Portrait

Gagik Kurginian, born 1953 in Yerevan, Armenia (part of the USSR). 1966 resettlement with parents to Zaporizhia, Ukraine (part of the USSR). 1977 graduated from the State Medical University. In addition to being a doctor, he worked as a jeweller, sportsman and artist. Since 1989 participation in numerous international exhibitions. 2015(?) Relocation to Uzhgorog, Ukraine, 2022 relocation with family to Berlin. Father of two children. Gagik Kurginian lives and works in Berlin.


German

Das Jahr 2024 könnte entscheidend sein. Ein weiterer Staat könnte von der Weltkarte verschwinden. Vollständig oder innerhalb der uns bekannten Grenzen. Nach mehreren Jahren des Albtraums, der sich um uns herum abspielt, und der Tragödie in unserem Inneren, scheint diese Möglichkeit nicht mehr unvorstellbar. Letztes Jahr haben wir Armenier einen wichtigen Teil unseres Heimatlandes verloren – Arzach. Ein unabhängiger demokratischer Staat, auch bekannt als Berg-Karabach. Armenien ist in Gefahr. Die Ukraine ist in Gefahr. Wer ist der nächste? Wir sind Künstler, und wir haben keine fertigen Rezepte, wie wir Frieden und Stabilität, Wohlstand und Vertrauen in die Zukunft zurückbringen können. Aber uns ist eine Zuflucht geblieben – unsere Liebe und unser Glaube an die Malerei als eine eigene Welt. In dieser Ausstellung wollen wir über die Grenzen dieser Welt nachdenken.

Gagik und ich haben uns 2019 bei einer Vernissage in der Galerie Taube kennengelernt. Gagik war schon öfter in Berlin gewesen und war eingeladen worden, am Dezembersalon der Galerie Taube teilzunehmen. Wie sich herausstellen sollte, war es der letzte Dezembersalon: Im nächsten Jahr wurden wegen der Covid-Pandemie die Grenzen dichtgemacht und künstlerischer Austausch verlangsamte sich drastisch. Im Februar 2022 fielen Bomben auf die Ukraine und Gagik beschloss, sein neues Zuhause, sein Atelier, seine Bibliothek und seine Kunstwerke zu verlassen, um seine Familie zu retten. (Der Krieg begann plötzlich und heimtückisch. Moderne Raketen können jeden Punkt des Landes erreichen, niemand ist sicher). Das malerische Uschhorod, wo Gagik mit seiner jungen Frau und seiner Tochter lebte, liegt an der Grenze zur Slowakei. Ich bot an, mit dem Auto zu kommen und meinen Kollegen an der Grenze abzuholen. Viele Länder von der Schweiz bis Kanada luden die Ukrainer ein, aber Berlin war Gagik bereits vertraut, und er ließ sich mit seiner Familie in der deutschen Hauptstadt nieder.

Ich betreibe zusammen mit meinem Kollegen Andreas Wolf im Berliner Bezirk Pankow die Galerie Wolf & Galentz, und wir kamen nicht umhin, die Situation nach dem Ausbruch der militärischen Aggression zu reflektieren. Im Juni 2022 boten wir der Öffentlichkeit die Gruppenausstellung Kommentare zur Verrat und Gewalt. Gagik stand als Maler im Mittelpunkt dieses Projekts. Gleichzeitig konnten wir nicht erwarten, dass der 69-jährige Künstler in der Lage sein würde, sofort neue Werke für die Ausstellung zu produzieren. Nach seiner Ankunft in Berlin musste Gagik in einem langen Prozess eine Unterkunft für seine Familie, eine Schule für seine Tochter finden und Papierkram erledigen. Gagik brachte aber seine Erfahrung und seine Vision von Kunst mit nach Deutschland und kommentierte meisterhaft die Werke zahlreicher Künstler verschiedener Generationen und aus verschiedenen Ländern stammend in unserer Gruppenausstellung. Gagik nimmt weiterhin aktiv am künstlerischen Leben in Berlin teil, seine Arbeiten sind leicht und virtuos, lebendig und faszinierend. Diese Freiheit des Ausdrucks würde ich mir auch gerne gönnen. 30 Jahre Leben in Berlin haben mich diszipliniert und ein wenig eingeengt. In dieser Ausstellung möchte ich mir erlauben, auch ein kommentierender Maler zu sein. Neben Gagiks Gemälden präsentiere ich eine Reihe von Objekten. Einige sind gefunden, andere werden im Kontex des Rahmens gestellt, aber alle sind nicht mit Pinsel und Farbe geschaffen. Zusätzlich haben wir – beide armenische Künstler – für diese Ausstellung Vereinte Gegenüberstellung eine gemeinsame Druckgrafik erstellt: Rücken an Rücken versucht ich – ein russischer Staatsbürger und Gagik – ein ukrainischer Staatsbürer einen kleinen Freiraum für uns abzugrenzen. Danke an Berlin, wo Künstler Zuflucht finden und and Andreas Wolf und Toolbox wo Gagik Kurginian und ich gemeinsam ausstellen dürfen.

Archi Galentz, geboren 1971 in Moskau (Russland als Teil der UdSSR), 1989 Studium an der Staatlichen Universität für bildende Künste und Theater in Jerewan, Armenien (Teil der UdSSR), 1992–97 Student an der Hochschule der Künste Berlin, Meisterschüler bei Klaus Fußmann. Seit 1989 über achtzig internationale Ausstellungen, seit 2000 Tätigkeit als Ausstellungskurator, Journalist und Lehrbeauftragter. Gründungsmitglied einer Plattform für armenische Diaspora-künstler „Underconstruction.Home“. 2008 Gründung eines eigenen Projektraums InteriorDAsein in Berlin. 2019 Gründung der Galerie Wolf & Galentz mit Andreas Wolf in Berlin Pankow. Vater von zwei Kindern. Archi Galentz lebt und arbeitet in Berlin.

Gagik Kurginian, geboren 1953 in Eriwan, Armenien (Teil der UdSSR). 1966 Umsiedlung mit den Eltern nach Saporischschja, Ukraine (Teil der UdSSR). 1977 Diplomabschluss an der Staatlichen Medizinischen Universität. Neben der Beschäftigung als Arzt betätigte er sich auch als Juwelier, Sportler und Künstler. Seit 1989 Teilnahme an zahlreichen internationalen Ausstellungen. 2015(?) Umzug nach Uschhorod, Ukraine, 2022 Umsiedlung mit Familie nach Berlin. Vater von zwei Kindern. Gagik Kurginian lebt und arbeitet in Berlin.


Russian and Ukrainian

2024 год может стать решающим. С карты мира может исчезнуть ещё одно государство. Совсем или в знакомых нам границах. После нескольких лет кашмара происходящего вокруг нас, и трагедии, которая в нас самих – это представление не кажется невообразимым. В прошлом году мы – армяне потеряли важную часть своей Родины – Арцах. Демократическое государство известное также под именем “Нагорный Карабах”. Армения в опастности. Украина в опастности. Кто следующий? Мы – художники и у нас нет готовых рецептов как вернуть мир и стабильность, процветание и уверенность в завтрашнем дне. Но у нас осталось пристанище – наша любовь и вера в живопись. На этой выставке мы хотим задуматься о границах этого мира. 
Гагик Кургинян и Арчи Галенц стейтмент выставки

Мы познакомились в 2019 году на верниссаже в галерее Таубе. Гагик бывал не раз уже в Берлине и был приглашен для участия в Декабрьском Салоне. Мы оба оказались и в одной выставке и в одном каталоге. Как оказалсь – в последнем каталоге галереи Таубе. На следуюший год пандемия Ковида закрыла границы и затормозила художественную жизнь. В феврале 2022ого на Украину обрушились бомбы и Гагик решил оставить свой новый дом, мастерскую, библиотеку и работы, чтобы спасти свою семью. Война началась внезапно и вероломно. Современные ракеты достигаю любую точку страны, никто не застрахован. Живописный Ужгород, где Гагик жил с молодой супругой и дочерью лежит на границе со Словакией. Я предложил приехать на машине и забрать коллегу на границе. Украинцев приглашали многие страны от Швейцарии до Канады, но Берлин был уже знаком Гагику и он с семьёй обосновался в столице Германии. В районе Панков Берлина, вместе с художником Андреасом Вольфом мы держали галерею и … не мог не обратиться к осмыслению сложившейся ситуации после начала военной агрессии. В июне 2022 года мы предложили публике групповую выставку …. Гагик был в фокусе этого проекта как живописец. Одновременно мы не могли ожидать, что 69-летний художник сможет сразу выдать новую художественную продукцию к выставке. По приезду в Берлин Гагик попал в долгий процесс поиска жилья для семьи, школы для дочери и оформления документов. Но Гагик принёс с собой в Германию свой опыт и своё видение искусства и мастерски прокомментировал на нашей групповой выставке работы многочисленных художников разных поколений и из разных стран. Гагик продолжает принимать активное участие в художественной жизни Берлина, его работы легки и виртуозны, живы и интригующие. Я хотел бы тоже позволить себе такую свободу выражения. 30 лет жизни в Берлине сделали меня дисциплинированным и немного скованным. На этой выставке я хочу позволить себе тоже быть живописцем – комментатором. Рядом с картинами Гагика я представляю серию объектов. Некоторые найденные, некоторые ожившие в контексте рамы, но все не созданные кистью и красками. И ещё: для этой выставки я – гражданин России и Гагик – гражданин Украины, но оба армянские художники приготовили совместную графику где мы спиной к спине пытаемся вычерчить для себя немного свободного пространства. Огородиться от кашмара 
Арчи Галенц для выставки “Совместное противостояние”

UKR

2024 може стати вирішальним.З карти світу може зникнути ще одна держава. Зовсім, або або у знайомих нам кордонах. Після кількох років , жахіття яке відбувалось та відбувається навколо нас, і трагедії, яка , також в середині нас – це уявлення не здається неймовірним. Минулого року ми – вірмени втратили важливу частину своєї Батьківщини – Арцах. Демократична держава відома також як “Нагірний Карабах”. Вірменія в небезпеці. Україна в небезпеці. Хто наступний?

Ми – художники і ми не маємо готових рецептів як повернути мир та стабільність, процвітання та впевненість у завтрашньому дні. Але в нас залишився притулок – наша любов і віра у живопис. На цій виставці ми хочемо поміркувати про межі цього світу.
Гагік Кургінян та Арчі Галенс про виставку

Ми познайомилися у 2019 році на вернісажі у галереї Таубе. Гагік бував неодноразово вже у Берліні і був запрошений до участі у Грудневому Салоні. Ми обидва опинилися на одній виставці, і в одному каталозі. Як виявилося – в останньому каталозі галереї Таубе. Наступного року пандемія Ковіда закрила кордони та загальмувала художнє життя. У лютому 2022 року на Україну обрушилися бомби і Гагік вирішив залишити свій новий будинок, майстерню, бібліотеку та роботи, щоб врятувати свою родину. Війна почалася раптово та віроломно. Сучасні ракети досягають будь-якої точки країни, ніхто не застрахований. Мальовничий Ужгород, де Гагік жив із молодою дружиною та дочкою лежить на кордоні зі Словаччиною.

Я запропонував приїхати на машині та забрати колегу на кордоні. Українців запрошували багато країн від Швейцарії до Канади, але Берлін був уже знайомий Гагіку і він із сім’єю влаштувався у столиці Німеччини. У районі Панків Берліна, разом із художником Андреасом Вольфом ми тримали галерею і … не міг не звернутися до осмислення ситуації, що склалася після початку військової агресії. У червні 2022 року ми запропонували публіці групову виставку…. Гагік був у фокусі цього проекту як живописець. Водночас ми не могли очікувати, що 69-річний митець зможе одразу видати нову художню продукцію до виставки. Після приїзду до Берліна Гагік потрапив у тривалий процес пошуку житла для сім’ї, школи для доньки та оформлення документів. Але Гагік приніс із собою до Німеччини свій досвід та своє бачення мистецтва та майстерно прокоментував на нашій груповій виставці роботи численних художників різних поколінь та з різних країн.

Гагік продовжує брати активну участь у мистецькому житті Берліна, його роботи легкі та віртуозні, живі та інтригуючі. Я хотів би також дозволити собі таку свободу вираження. 30 років життя в Берліні зробили мене дисциплінованим і трохи скутим. На цій виставці я хочу дозволити собі також бути живописцем – коментатором. Поруч із картинами Гагіка я представляю серію об’єктів.

Деякі знайдені, деякі рами, що ожили в контексті, але всі не створені пензлем і фарбами. І ще: для цієї виставки я – громадянин Росії та Гагік – громадянин України, але обидва вірменські художники приготували спільну графіку де ми пліч о пліч намагаємось викреслити для себе трохи вільного простору. Відмежувати себе від навколишнього жахіття. 
Арчі Галенц для виставки «Спільне протистояння»


Galerie/Projektraum TOOLBOX
Koloniestraße 120
13359 Berlin-Wedding
U-Bahn Osloerstraße

An Feiertagen ist die Toolbox geschlossen
On Bank holidays Toolbox is closed

10 Years Toolbox | 2012–2022

Read in German (PDF)

Read in Finnish (PDF)

Chronicle

Foto

In Berlin’s district Wedding, more precisely in the lively Koloniestraße, lies Gallery Toolbox, which for ten years has provided a showcase especially for the diverse world of Finnish contemporary art. This Finnish-German project space, “taidetila” in Finnish and “Projektraum” in German, was established in 2012 and has organised more than 80 art exhibitions and dozens of other events over the past years. At the time of this publication, the members of the Toolbox are the artists Maija Helasvuo, Sampsa Indrén, Minna Jatkola, Mika Karhu, Niina Räty, Ilkka Sariola, Juha Sääski and Andreas Wolf.

Gallery Toolbox is currently run by an artists’ cooperative with eight members and, from the very beginning, it has been quite an ambitious art export project in Berlin, which is, without a doubt, one of the most important centres for contemporary art in Europe. The importance of the Toolbox is particularly emphasised by the fact that it is one of the few still active galleries in the city that is mainly specialised in Finnish art. However, the success of the project space can by no means be taken for granted, as, in addition to its achievements, the Toolbox has experienced both small and sometimes greater challenges on its ten-year journey. The main reason for the success of the project may be that, from the very beginning, it has been primarily a project of passion by artists for artists.

The Toolbox is a space between the Finnish and German art worlds, where people from inside and outside of the art field can meet each other.
Andreas Wolf

happy endBut how did it all actually start? Gallery Toolbox, which is now celebrating its milestone anniversary, was officially established in 2012. However, the first discussions about a Finnish gallery in Berlin already date back to the early 2010s. Juha Sääski, one of the founding members, recalls how the topic came up regularly with Mika Karhu, for example, in the break room at Aalto University, where they both used to work at that time. These vague visions surprisingly concretised into an executable concept when an opportunity arose in 2012. Mika Karhu was visiting Berlin for his planned exhibition at the Finnish-owned Kuma Gallery in the district of Mitte. However, to the surprise of the artist, who had already arrived in Berlin, the gallerist Suvi Lehtinen informed him that the exhibition could not be organised after all, as Kuma’s activities unfortunately had to be terminated. Yet, after talking to the gallerist for a while, Mika Karhu came up with the idea that he himself could possibly rent the premise left vacant. Lehtinen provisionally agreed on the proposal, and Karhu promised to gather the required members in the coming days.

Nevertheless, the implementation of Mika Karhu’s plan was not written in stone. Although there was great interest among the invited artists in establishing a gallery, the other side of the scale weighted heavily with the challenges of a project space. Firstly, it was obvious that activities in Germany would further increase the workload of the ones who would join as members. In addition, the financial risk and burden connected to the project lead to many invited persons rejecting the offer. For example, for establishing the gallery, each member had to contribute a starting amount of 2,000 euros for the kickoff of the activities, and at that time, it was still unclear which kind of bottomless pit for money this project could possibly become in the future.

Despite these factors, the decision to establish the gallery in Berlin was made shortly after the premise in Mitte was offered for the use of a new Finnish gallery. The artists who were interested in the project understood how important it was to start activities in Germany, both for the expansion of their own exhibition activities as well as for the export of Finnish fine arts.

Over night, I pondered over Mika’s inquiry and considered the possible financial risks and the additional amount of work for my life, which was already filled with work. My biggest concern was the financial risk, but I realised that this was one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and I joined in and have not regretted it.
Juha Sääski

Already during the same spring, the Artists’ Cooperative Toolbox started its activities with its founding members Maija Helasvuo, Minna Jatkola, Mika Karhu, Jukka Lehtinen, Niina Räty, Juha Sääski and Jan Kenneth Weckman. The first opening of the new gallery located at Novalisstraße 7 was celebrated on 1st September 2012 with the members’ group exhibition “Social Box”.
However, starting activities in a foreign country brought its own challenges which, according to Sääski, were greater than the members could have expected. Especially the fact that the members of the gallery did not live in Germany themselves caused surprising problems. According to Helasvuo, even managing seemingly simple things, such as concluding an electricity contract, depended on, among other things, the friendliness of the clerks who dealt with the matter. Networking and publicising of the project space also had to be started practically from scratch.

In addition to the hard work of the members, the students who traveled from Finland to Berlin and worked as interns, made it possible to set the activities in motion: Their role as link between the two countries and in running the gallery has been truly significant throughout the Toolbox’s ten-year existence. Furthermore, the Finnish Institute in Germany was of great help in building networks in the foreign city, and during the first years, financial support for art transportation was provided by the Frame foundation. Nonetheless, the most important driving force behind the project was the burning thrive of the cooperative members to contribute to the important task. This helped to overcome the arising obstacles.

Our motivation was high and we were ready for action. We felt like we were on the verge of something new. So I barely remember challenges; it felt like everything is possible.
Maija Helasvuo

In the first years, however, it slowly became clear that the Toolbox’s activities in the gallery in Mitte were not on a sustainable basis. The biggest difficulties were related to the costs, as the rental costs and other expenses of the premise in the Novalisstraße were quite high even compared to the price level of the rest of Berlin. In turn, this had lead, among other things, to the fact that exhibiting Finnish artists had to be charged fairly high usage fees in order to be able to cover the costs. Even the location of the gallery proved to be problematic: Although the Toolbox was only a few kilometres away from the lively tourist centres of downtown Berlin, the Novalisstraße itself and its surrounding quarters were located in a rather quiet, mainly residential area. Thus, it was evident that the Toolbox needed to be relocated in order to be able to keep its doors open also in the future.

In 2014, a turning point occurred after all, partly due to a coincidence which could be described as perhaps the most important one in the entire history of the Toolbox. According to Andreas Wolf, who nowadays is also a member of the project space, his partner Anna E. Wilkens invited him and the artist Jovan Balov to an exhibition opening at a Finnish gallery, which was at that point still unknown to all three of them. There, they met Mika Karhu. This encounter marked the surprising beginning of a collaboration which still lasts until this day, and which came to change the future of the gallery in a decisive way.

The timing for new acquaintances was perfect, as Wolf and Balov had a solution to offer for the relocation plans of the cooperative. That solution was the Kolonie Wedding: as the name implies, an organisation operating in the Wedding district, which today includes more than twenty non-commercial art spaces, in German Projektraum. Soon it became clear to the Finns that being part of the gallery community in Wedding would contribute to the Toolbox’s task of presenting Finnish art in Germany. First of all, it was important to the cooperative to finally increase their long-needed contacts and partners in Berlin, which joining the Kolonie Wedding could also offer to the Toolbox. Additionally, the membership was crucial from an economic point of view, as the city of Berlin supported the community, among other things, by subsidising the rent of the project spaces.

Based on these factors in particular, the Toolbox decided to apply for the membership at the Kolonie Wedding, which was accepted and the gallery relocated to its current address in the Koloniestraße in April 2015. On top of that, Andreas Wolf, who had proposed the membership at Kolonie Wedding, became a member of Gallery Toolbox in 2015, which was an essential improvement for the local management: Through him, there was finally a local member in the group, who was well-acquainted with Berlin’s art world.

In addition to these opportunities, the new location also brought forth new kinds of challenges. Firstly, the gallery in Wedding was smaller than the previous one, and there was, for example, significantly less storage space than in the Novalisstraße. Initially, the Toolbox also had a residency for artists and interns at its new location, but eventually, it had to be given up due to the fact that Berlin’s regulations on short-term rental of residential spaces became stricter. Even the district Wedding itself had its own challenges: One of the main reasons for the city of Berlin to offer support to the Kolonie Wedding community was their wish to calm down the neighbourhood, which was even considered as a part of the city with a bad reputation, through means of low-threshold culture and art spaces. However, the negative reputation of the area stuck firmly in the locals’ heads. According to Juha Sääski, for example, a Berlin-local van driver who helped move the gallery from Mitte to Wedding was amused by the Toolbox’s new location: “The person started laughing that it was impossible to run an art gallery in Koloniestraße as it is a slum.”

Deux Ex MachinaDespite these thoroughly negative predictions, Gallery Toolbox managed to consolidate its position as part of the Kolonie Wedding community, and with its new location, also the number of exhibition visitors increased. Furthermore, through relocating the project space, the activities became more international. Besides Finnish art, the Toolbox has particularly presented works by Berlin-based artists over the years. Through the membership at Kolonie Wedding, Gallery Toolbox has also partaken in art export projects with Sweden, Great Britain and the United States of America alongside Germany. In return, Kolonie Wedding organised a group exhibition at the Hyvinkää Art Museum in 2017. This exhibition was curated by Mika Karhu, Andreas Wolf and Anna E. Wilkens.

Silenced earsApart from contemporary art, the Toolbox has offered its spaces also for other cultural events, of which live music has achieved an important position throughout the past years. The internationally renowned saxophonist Harri Sjöström has taken the leading role in organising concerts in the premise. The musician has lived in Berlin since the 1980s and has promoted music export over the past decades. He got to know the members of the Toolbox already in 2013, and ever since, the project space has regularly functioned as a stage for the Soundscapes concerts, which were conceptualised by Sjöström and focus on improvised music. Over time, the concerts, which had started in the Toolbox, expanded from Berlin to Munich and Helsinki. A broad spectrum of Finnish and international top musicians perform at these concerts.

The cultural exchange between Finland and Berlin is important to me, and the Toolbox has offered me a unique opportunity in the realm of new music and improvised music. The concerts that are held in these spaces have also contributed to the visibility of Finnish contemporary art in Berlin, as they have attracted plenty of audiences from outside of the art world.
Harri Sjöström

However, the upswing of these years of development was slowed down by the COVID-19 pandemic that began in the spring of 2020, which severely shook the Toolbox like the rest of the cultural sector. This was especially serious for the Toolbox, as the activities of the gallery are particularly aimed at internationality. This brought forth great challenges when the borders stayed closed for one and a half years. Amidst the uncertainty and the ever-changing regulations, it was practically impossible to, for example, plan the exhibition activities so that Gallery Toolbox had to keep its doors almost fully closed for one and a half years.

Anssi TauluIn August 2021, the regular exhibition activities could finally be resumed and, although the decade that started bleakly has shown that the future is unpredictable, this has not prevented the planning for the concept’s further development. In some respects, the hopes for the next ten years of the Toolbox are clear: The long-term wish of the members has especially been to establish a second gallery in Helsinki or to organise regular summer exhibitions in Finland, which would function as a direct link between the art fields of the two countries. In turn, the development of the activities and the networking on the German side would be facilitated by a permanent gallerist. Admittedly, these dreams would require funding as background, which has hardly been allocated to the cooperative’s activities over the years, with the exception of a few project grants. In particular, the problem has been the difficulty of obtaining Finnish funding for a project space operating abroad. On the other hand, there has been just as little German funding available for the Finnish-owned Toolbox. If there was external financial support available in addition to the members’ own wallets, the development of the project space’s activities and the realisation of its full potential would be significantly facilitated.

The Toolbox is of greater importance than one might realise. The Finnish art field is observing the Toolbox from Finland’s point of view, without having a holistic understanding of our activities.
Maija Helasvuo

Nevertheless, running the project space mainly on the members’ own financing and volunteer work has not been a hindrance to producing high-quality exhibitions in the heart of Berlin, and in that way, the Toolbox has established an artistically respected position as part of the Kolonie Wedding community. One of the founding members, Niina Räty is threatening in a trustful tone that she will continue the project “at least until the age of eighty”. The future of the cooperative also continues to enjoy the complete confidence of the rest of the members. One thing is for sure: The project space in the Koloniestraße will stay indispensable for a long time to come, both as a link between the Finnish and German art fields and in order to enable this wide variety of exhibitions and events.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to and participated in our ten-year story!

Juha Sääski, Kenneth Pils, Lotte Nilsson-Välimaa, Kabinett: Esther Horn | 29.04.–21.05.2022

Vernissage: 29. 04. 2022, 19 h
Eröffnungsmusik von Harri Sjöström (Saxophon)
Opening music by Harri Sjöström (saxophone)

29.04.–21.05.2022
Öffnungszeiten / Opening hours: Mi–Sa 15–19 h
Kolonie Weekend: 01 05. 2022: 14 –18 h

An Feiertagen ist die Toolbox geschlossen
On Bank holidays Toolbox is closed


Lotte Nilsson-Välimaa (Stockholm)

Lotte Nilsson-Välimaa

“Diana”. Ich weiß nicht, ob es das Licht war, das ihr seltsam in die Augen fiel. Aber ich erinnere mich, wie berührt ich war, als ich in ihr blau-meliertes Rund, ihre Iris, sah. Und der Blick wurde weiter in die dunkle Pupille gezogen. Das monumentale Gemälde entstand in einer performativen Situation 2022.

 

 

Kenneth Pils (Stockholm)

Kenneth Pils

Von Kindheitserinnerungen inspirierte Aquarellbilder in einer Mixed-Media-Installation.
Von der Bildwelt in den physischen Raum – ein Kunstwerk, das man umrunden und lesen kann wie eine 3-dimensionale Collage und dabei totalen Szenenwechsel erlebt. Ein wenig, als ob man sich erst streitet und dann Freunde wird.

 

Juha Sääski (Helsinki)

Juha SääskiDie Mixed-Media-Arbeiten auf Papier beschäftigen sich mit der Frage: Was ist ein gutes Leben in einer Atmosphäre von Unsicherheit oder gar Angst? Ist es möglich, die schlimmen Vorfälle auszublenden, die in unsere hoffnungsvollen Gedanken, in unser
glückliches Zuhause eindringen? Ist es Eskapismus?

www.juha-saaski.fi

Esther Horn (Berlin)

SEsther Horn

Danke, ich komme nun mit der Dunkelheit zurecht. Tatsächlich kann sie wahnsinnig schön sein. Es kommt auf das Licht an, das man setzt, um sie zu erkennen.
Aus: „A Ghost song und die Wahrhaftigkeit der Collage“, blog Artikel Esther Horn vom 22.12.2021

www.estherhorn.de

 

Seven Operations for Finding Meaning
28.04.–25.05.2019

Antero Kahila, visual artist
Kirsi Poutanen, poet-musician

painting, poem and sound installation

 

Welcome: Vernissage / Opening: Friday / Freitag 26.04.2019, 7pm |

Open on Sunday 28.04.2019 from 2-6pm

Ausstellungsdauer / Exhibition open: 28 April – 25 May 2019 |
Öffnungszeiten/ Opening hours: Wed-Sa 3-7pm |

An Feiertagen ist die Toolbox geschlossen
On Bank holidays Toolbox is closed

Die deutsche Version steht weiter unten

Painting: Antero Kahila, Seven Operation for Finding Meaning, oil on cotton, 190 x 335, 2019


Seven Operations for Finding Meaning 2 is a joint project by visual artist and painter Antero Kahila and poet-musician Kirsi Poutanen. An impulse for the project was given by the poem Das Kind ist erstaunlich by Poutanen (from the book of poems Villonin puutarha, Helsinki: Tammi 2014).This multidisciplinary joint installation consists of three independent components and is a result of a chain reaction: first there was a poem that inspired a painting, which in turn inspired the audio piece heard in the gallery.

A large painting by Antero Kahila in the gallery is accompanied by Poutanen’s sound installation, which exposes the surface to the senses, to exploration and auditory probing, to an attempt at uncovering the existence of something that evades conscious perception in the events and situations shown on the surface of the painting.
Maybe that ‘something’, let us call it variable x, has been waiting for exactly this moment, the very moment of the birth of this work of art, in order to be encountered as ‘otherness’.

Antero Kahila is a Finnish visual artist and a painter. In his latest series of work Kahila has dealed with alienation and withdrawal. His art explores the boundaries of human understanding and seeks answers to impossible questions. It explores the being of the world in us; Where does the self end and the world begin? Where and what are the beginning and end of a subject that one seeks to understand? This is Kahila’s second exhibition in Toolbox. During the last few years he has made several co-operation projects with poet-musician and actress Kirsi Poutanen. Poutanen is a well-known singer and musician in Finland, especially for her skills in Portuguese fado music. She has released a number books of poems and also been seen on theatre stages as an actress, performer and as a scriptwriter.


Sieben Maßnahmen zur Bedeutungsfindung

Antero Kahila, Maler
Kirsi Poutanen, Dichterin, Musikerin

Installation aus Gemälde, Gedicht und Soundinstallation

Sieben Maßnahmen zur Bedeutungsfindung 2 ist ein Gemeinschaftsprojekt des Malers Antero Kahila und der Dichterin und Musikerin Kirsi Poutanen. Den Anstoß für das Projekt gab Poutanens Gedicht Das Kind ist erstaunlich (aus dem Gedichtband Villonin puutarha, Helsinki: Tammi 2014). Die multidisziplinäre Installation besteht aus drei verschiedenen Elementen und ist das Ergebnis einer Kettenreaktion: erst war das Gedicht, das das Gemälde inspirierte, das wiederum den Impuls für das Soundpiece gab.

Im Galerieraum ist zu einem großen Gemälde von Antero Kahila das Klangstück von Putanen zu hören, das die Oberfläche des Gemäldes der Sinnenwahrnehmung öffnet, der Erkundung und dem hörenden Tasten – dem Versuch, die Anwesenheit von etwas zu erspüren, das sich bewusster Wahrnehmung entzieht. Vielleicht hat dieses „Etwas“, man könnte es Variable x nennen, genau auf diesen Augenblick gewartet, auf genau diesen Initialmoment des Kunstwerks, um als „Anderes“ erfahren zu werden.

Der finnische Maler Antero Kahila beschäftigt sich in seiner jüngsten Werkserie mit den Themen Entfremdung und Rückzug. Er lotet die Grenzen menschlicher Verstehensfähigkeit aus und sucht Antworten auf unmögliche Fragen. Seine Arbeiten erkunden die Welt in uns: Wo hört das Selbst auf und wo beginnt die Welt? Wo und was sind Anfang und Ende des Subjekts, das man zu verstehen versucht?
Sieben Maßnahmen zur Bedeutungsfindung 2 ist Kahilas zweite Ausstellung im Projektraum Toolbox.
In den letzten Jahren haben Kahila und Poutanen einige gemeinsame Projekte entwickelt. Kirsi Poutanen ist in Finnland besonders als hervorragende Fado-Sängerin bekannt, darüber hinaus hat sie einige Gedichtbände veröffentlicht, ist als Schauspielerin und Performance-Künstlerin auf Theaterbühnen aufgetreten und hat Drehbücher geschrieben.

Abbildung: Antero Kahila, Seven Operation for Finding Meaning, Öl auf Leinwand, 190 x 335, 2019

The Vox Populi Print
Collective | 30.6.–21.7.2018

ArtHelix Gallery and Shim Art Network in collaboration with Gallery/project space Toolbox and okk|raum29.

Welcome: Vernissage / Opening: Friday / Freitag 29.06.2018, 7pm |

Open on Saturday 30.6. and Sunday 01.07.2018 from 2-6pm

Ausstellungsdauer / Exhibition open: 30.6. –21.7. 2018 |
Öffnungszeiten/ Opening hours: Wed-Sa 3-7pm |

An Feiertagen ist die Toolbox geschlossen
On Bank holidays Toolbox is closed


Vox Pop Catalog Essay

A guild /ɡɪld/ is an association of artisans or merchants who oversee the practice of their craft in a particular town. The earliest types of guild were formed as confraternities of tradesmen. They were organized in a manner something between a professional association, trade union, a cartel secret society authority to enforce the flow of trade to their self-employed members, and to retain ownership of tools and the supply of materials.

Toolbox Berlin
The Vox Populi Print Collective

In January of 2017 organizing an exhibition of artists that wanted desperately to show their revulsion at the election of, and swearing in of President Trump was both a necessary, and yet sadly, somewhat typical reaction by the art world. What Barry Carlsen and I had in mind was something different. We saw this moment as a time to not only register our individual confusion, outrage, and disgust; but as a moment to institute a potential structural change in the ways those emotions could be more permanently expressed collectively.

As printmakers, or more correctly as artists who also love and embrace traditional printmaking, we both knew the long history of artists- from Goya, Daumier, and Kollwitz, to Wangechi Mutu, Wendy Red Star, and Lorna Simpson- who have made printmaking a historically powerful tool for holding power up to some form of public accountability, and because by definition printmaking is a way to make an image reproducible, and thus democratically (small D) available to many at low cost the inherent nature of printmaking was a perfect vehicle for our new concept. However, the real irony is that to imagine this new sustainable organization that could carry out a long term goal of bringing together many artists into a shared community, yet retaining individual voices inside that group we finally turned to a model that was a thousand years old…the guild. The guild as referenced above in Wikipedia is a shared association of tradesman who negotiates for mutual benefits and protects the interests of its members. The guild we envisioned would be different in that in would not be a local, or geographically based version as it was in medieval times, but rather a global network that relies on social media to connect and promote one another. The guild could then grow to accommodate all the artists within it, while maintaining the core purpose of the reproducible image using traditional printmaking media.

Once conceived, the guild, now named the Vox Populi Print Collective needed to resolve a second important problem. How to bring these artists and their works from distant points efficiently? For this we turned to the concept of only sending the print itself, and purchasing the frame in the locale of the exhibition. So we determined for the inaugural exhibition of the guild, and possibly thereafter, the prints would be made in one standardized size to allow the guild to have multiple sets of frames available by utilizing the Ikea global store system. We could now quickly and cheaply send these exhibitions around the world in a low cost manner. The costs of producing exhibition catalogs also became easier by making all the prints one size. Lastly Barry and I decided the first print of all the artist editions would be one low price. The artist would then be free to change pricing for their own works according to their own market value after the first print was sold.

The final issue was to find a series of galleries and art fairs nationally and internationally that the guild could apply to. Here is the part I am most proud of. In the past three years I and several other partners have been hard at work creating a novel approach to creating ways for artists to engage the art world. Rather than a gallery based model that asks represented artists for commissions, our company, the Shim Art Network, allows artists and groups of artists to apply using fees instead of commissions. So the guild could now locate and apply for shows in New York City, Berlin, Miami or elsewhere with membership fees and retain all sales for the individual artists. The ultimate aim is for the guild or any group to function like a gallery minus the fixed cost or overhead of owning its own space. Vox Pop is just the beginning, but it is a crucial beginning for this idea. Artists coming together to share costs and lower risk while retaining their individual identities inside a global shared network can, and we are convinced, will change the very structure of the art world. We smile thinking to begin that journey we needed to embrace and re-engage an idea that was hiding in plain sight for two or three centuries.

Ultimately Response, the title of our first show, and of this catalog is then both a tactical and strategic “response” to the growing global white supremacist, neo-liberal hegemony. Tactical, because over 60 artists from around the world have been willing to join in to this exhibition, and by doing embrace the resistance to this person and to what he represents to them, and that is something we must all be willing to do if we wish to see change. At another level however, there is a strategic shift in the ways we can express that dissatisfaction. By creating a group, a guild, a collective we are announcing that we are not alone in this struggle. That by relaxing for a brief moment our own autonomy we actually become stronger as individuals, and by extension we are now committing to a possible new economic model for artists. Shared risk groups bargaining for themselves with markets. This way we can begin to expose the lie that undergirds the neo-liberal economic myth of “winner-take-all” and “each for themselves”. The “shame” of the unrepresented artist, who cannot find a foothold inside highly regulated “space” where the cultural dialogue is produced, slowly gives way to the networked artist collaborating with others on specific projects that can be self-funded without waiting for institutional approval. I am proud to be a part of the Response exhibition, but I am more excited to be a part of the new emerging response to self-imposed isolation, sadness, and alienation from others who share in my goals for a different world.

Peter P. Hopkins, Artist and Printmaker
Owner ArtHelix Gallery, and Founder and CEO of Shim Art Network,
New York City, January, 2018

https://www.instagram.com/voxpopuliprintcollective/

Liminal | 27.1.–18.2.2017

Visual artists from Germany and Sweden approach the topic of Liminality.

Vernissage / Opening: Freitag / Friday 27.01.2017, 18 Uhr
Öffnungszeiten Kolonie-Weekend / Sunday 2-6pm
Ausstellungsdauer / Exhibition open: 27.01 – 18.02.2017
Öffnungszeiten/ Opening hours: Mi-Sa / Wed-Sat 2-6pm
Finissage: Friday, 17.2. 5pm

An Feiertagen ist die Toolbox geschlossen
On Bank holidays Toolbox is closed

Liminal: etymology “limes” (Latin) meaning threshold. The word liminal is used in connection with: (1) a transition period or the initial stage of a process, (2) that something occupies a position, or both sides of a border or threshold.

 

 

Liminal condition can be described as a place where we are open to anything; where we leave the “ordinary” and allows something else to occur. The transition can be described as passing a threshold or break through a membrane. The shift may be perceived as intimidating as the need for control is suspended, but at the same time a possibility for change and renewal. The liminal in-between space is characterized by openness, active listening and adherence to things that occur.
How does a liminal place feel; where can you find it, and what does it look like? In the project “Liminal” the participants gives their vision on the theme. Art can open doors  and let us enter places in new ways, not available before.

The project is part of “Being In The World,” an international and interdisciplinary practice-based art project that explores temporal and spatial perception. The idea is that participants work together to come closer to the topic, get together, discuss it and make new works.

http://beingintheworld.net/project/liminal

‎ITO – Part 1 | 24.7.2016

Frauke butoh dance performance with
Julia Holzberger 4 channel sound performance

Sunday 24.7. at 8pm
Duration: 45 min
FREE ENTRANCE

FRAUKE / Caroline Lundblad
Frauke is a choreographer with a focus on butoh and performance. She is based in Gothenburg, Sweden, but also does work internationally.

www.frauke.se

Julia Holzberger
Composer & Sound Artist
Lives and works in Berlin.

http://www.juliaholzberger.de

Photo credits: Photo: Mile Nagaoka, Costume: Hiromi Onodera

PERFORMANCE VOYAGE 6 Tour
18.4.2016

Artists’ Association MUU presents:

PERFORMANCE VOYAGE 6 Tour

in Toolbox: Monday, 18.4. 8pm

A series of international video performances on the theme of ‘Future/Tomorrow’

http://www.facebook.com/events/1582037878782581

The videos for this year’s Performance Voyage have been published and the project has started its world tour. The collection is a series of international video performances produced by Artists’ Association MUU. The premiere exhibition at the Finnish Institute in Stockholm was festively opened on the 10th of March.

The next screening will be held on the 18th of April in the Projektraum TOOLBOX – Finnish-German Art Space, Berlin, Germany.

The tour compilation of 14 video performances will be shown as a part of the international Index Performance Festival. The spring season’s other tour locations include Wrocław.


 

Performance Voyage 6 artists:

Caroline Blais (Canada),

James Duesing (USA), Roberto Fassone (Italy), Rick Fisher & Don Rice (Canada), Andrew de Freitas (New Zealand/Canada/Brazil), Stefan Hurtig (Germany), Henri Hütt (Estonia), Linda Lenssen (The Netherlands), Michael Mallis (USA), Roberta Orlando (Italy), Johanna Reich (Germany), Pia Sirén (Finland), Niko Skorpio (Finland), Willem Wilhelmus (The Netherlands/Finland) & Tomasz Szrama (Poland/Finland).

READ MORE ABOUT THE ARTISTS AND THEIR WORKS:

http://www.muu.fi/site/?p=9465&lang=en

Spring Tour:

  • 11 Mar – 9 Apr: The Finnish Institute in Stockholm, Sweden
  • 18 Mar: Index International Performance Festival, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • 14 Apr – 17 Apr: FAR OFF art fair, Cologne, Germany
  • 18 Apr: Projektraum TOOLBOX – Finnish-German Art Space, Berlin, Germany
  • 14 May – 5 Jun: ‘AIM Wrocław 2016’, Barbara, Wrocław, Poland

The tour continues in the summer with locations in France, USA, Italy and elsewhere. Additional information later!

READ MORE ABOUT THE TOUR LOCATIONS:

http://www.muu.fi/site/?p=9458&lang=en


 

The works in Performance Voyage 6 were chosen from submissions received in response to an international open call. The theme Future/Tomorrow inspired artists to explore our ever receding future and search for thing as-yet-to-be, whether future hopes or dystopias of desperation. How do we see the future? What hopes, fears and expectations does it awaken in us? Artists around the world were invited to send in their visions of the future, which could be the literal tomorrow, the world in the year 2050, or something inexplicably far away from us both in time and in space.

The works were selected by a jury composed of Annette Arlander (artist and professor), Juha-Heikki Tihinen (curator, Pro Artibus Foundation) and Timo Soppela (director, MUU).

PERFORMANCE VOYAGE SINCE 2011 – The Performance Voyage project was launched in 2011 as an ancillary event of the Amorph! festival. Since then it has become a staple part of the annual project operations of MUU, and it has increased in prominence every year. The purpose of the Performance Voyage project is also to record and document transitory performances and thereby to extend their life also beyond the moment itself.

Enquiries:

  • muugalleria@muu.fi,
  • +358-(0)9-625 972
  • www.muu.fi