Despina Stokou @ Grimmuseum Until 10/31

Last week I did an interview with Shaded View contributor, Ana Finel Honigman, who curated a show at the Grimmuseum which opened this past weekend. I was participating in the show and when I went by to check out the space and options for installing my sculpture there, I came across a concurrently-running show by Despina Stokou. 


I was a bit skeptical when Ana first mentioned the space to me – Berlin has countless non-profit spaces, and while I always admire the intention behind the projects, I often find them lacking in terms of organization and execution. There's only so far you can push the whole 'crumbling walls' stereotypical Berlin aesthetic – call me bourgeois, but at a certain point I find myself craving a space that manages to stay true to goals greater than just making money, while offering an experience that isn't quite so DIY. From the moment I arrived at Grimm, however, I was impressed – located inside an old building that formerly housed the Luise Grimm Museum (Luise Grimm was a Berlin-based painter who lived in the building for 18 years), it authentically embodies an aspect of Berlin's character that predates the bombed-out period, making use of professional white walls and recessed lighting without feeling at all elitist or precious. 


D12 2010


The gallery spans either side of the building's lobby – a door to the right leads to one exhibition space, while the one on the left leads to another, along with the administrative office. In the left-hand space, Despina Stokou, an artist who runs the curatorial program at the Grimmuseum, currently has a show up, titled D12, part of a larger series that explores the idea of dual identities and alter egos. Stokou asks, "Where does one creative identity stop and the next one begins? Who are you and then how many? How do you define yourself? Are you what you do? I asked 5 art professionals (a gallery director, a fellow artist, an art critic, an art editor and a collector)  all not primary in the profession of curating to each invent a curatorial alter ego or show their existing alter ego. I was curious how different the creative process of putting together a show would be in each case and how their main profession would influence them in this."


Dirty Dozen 2010

Stokou's work fits into the task of exploring the fractured identities of many people involved with the arts. The show consists of 4 large oil and mixed material paintings incorporate snippets of text and images of historical figures, along with 2 collages. Stokou says, "the show is inspired by the thematic and dialogue of my curatorial projects this year, whether it is the gender discourse of "MadonnA Psycho Slut" or the identity discourse of the D12 series. Of course I only initiated these projects because these themes are of immediate importance in my work. A not so vicious circle." Considering that we live in the age of the hyphenate, when many Western economies continue to falter, most of us will end up needing to make sense of the same issues. 


Art Investor 2010



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