Berlin Art Week – Positions Berlin Art Fair

The Berlin Art Week is kicking the Summer away. We sent our guest-writer, painter Fleur Helluin, as a much needed guide into the Jungle of the Fairs. It’s a new year for Berlin’s Fairs as abc and Preview are now Art Berlin and Positions.


If you’re a seasoned Berliner, the Arena area will give you flashes of past summers: washing down falafels with Pastis at the Club der Visionäre, buying a fringed perfecto at the Flea Market, trying to avoid mushrooms at the Badeschiff, etc. Good times.

This Fall, I’m here for the Positions Art Fair. It’s easy to make weird jokes about this name, and therefore I’ll refrain and talk about the artworks instead. Again, it’s mostly about painting, I hope you learned how to live with it since yesterday.

Award of my Favorite Paintings

Goes to Tassos Missouras. WAW! How could I not know about him before? Have I been living in a cave all those years? Let’s blame it on the economical crisis, ok? Born in 1963, the greek artist gives us a lesson in psychological portrait, twisted perspective and color combination. Philippe Dagen said «(artists like Missouras) represent what is left of the visual freedom –and hence the freedom of thought– in a society which is increasingly uniform and shaped by the “market” and the consumption of products designed to be liked and forgotten. Which is why painters like Missouras are now more indispensable than ever.» Well said, fellow French. Still, I don’t agree with him when he states that this is painting in the « manner of the cinema » or « of the television ». Really the contrary. This is painting showing us how to invert the two-dimensional space into a room of its own where we – as viewers – can navigate and live. I hope you’ll also like it. (and yes, of course, we think about Neo Rauch.)

Award of the Best New Work and Best Suit

Goes to the lovely Michel Castaignet. I’ve known his work for a few years, and he’s been constantly producing exciting paintings. This new body of work is focused on ironic Barbie interiors that remind me of « Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? » from Richard Hamilton as well as the video clip from « I want to Break Free » by Queen. That’s a personal view, and you might want to check with Michel if I’m aiming even close to what he wants to say. Represented by the Gallery Nivet-Carzon, the artist was wearing a brilliant blue suit that complimented his work in a sparkly way.

Award of the Most Beautiful Trash

To Edith Torony. Did you know Romanian painters are hot hot hot? Torony is another good example of a young painter whose fun yet tragic work validates the statement. Her works represent junkyards that she interprets through vivid colors and playful spaces within her canvases. Represented by the gallery Senso from Bucharest, her works make us forget about the horrible website of her gallery. Seriously, that’s not cool. I’m looking forward following Ms Torony’s work in the future.

Award of Really Dark But Beautiful Paintings

Flavia Pitis

Goes to Gallery Martin Mertens (Flavia Pitis and Radu Belcin). His selection of artists (and the furniture he brought to Positions) screams academic depression and gloomy rainy summers in the Family House. That’s exactly what I love about it. This is serious business and we’re not here to put a feather up our butts. Mertens brought Flavia Pitis and Radu Belcin at the fair. Both are technically strong. They tend to dark brown palettes, symbolic figures and LOTS of varnish. They’re both romanian, and it’s beautiful painting. Martin Mertens is actually one of my favorite galleries. One day I’ll write more about it, I swear.

Radu Belcin

Awards of the Best Blur

Goes to Mateusz Piestrak at Assembly Gallery. Blur is a big thing at the moment, as we can see in the works of Jakub Matuška aka Masker, David Bradley and many others on my Instagram search. Is it thanks to the new mega make-up brushes with a gazillion hair? Probably. It’s enjoyable as a viewer. The Poznan Gallery opened a space in Berlin Neukölln and we should meet there some day.

Yesterday was also Monica Bonvicini’s opening at the Berlinische Gallery. It was full and I got a bag.

For tonight, I’m looking forward Miet Warlop’s performance « Fruits of Labor » at the HAU. If I don’t write another article for the Art Week, be sure to read all the cool PASSION PAINTINGS articles from the past and the future!

Sincerely yours,