Sunday, September 27, 2015

Griffin Art Projects

Yesterday I attended the opening of Griffin Art Projects, a contemporary art space initiated by longtime collectors and art patrons Brigitte and Henning Freybe. Although the Griffin's primary purpose is the display of artworks drawn from private collections, the building will also accommodate visiting artists, as well as those in need of production space.

Co-ordinating the Griffin is former Apartment principal Lee Plested, with the first two exhibitions curated by Presentation House Gallery's Helga Pakasaar. The first exhibition features works from the Freybe's collection and the collection of Kathleen and Laing Brown; the second exhibition is to be announced.

My initial impressions of the Griffin (can we call it the GAP yet?) are more positive than generous. Pulling up outside the gallery, I noticed that the building has received numerous coats of high-quality white paint, and that it is the right white, given its south facing aspect. The building literally glows.

The first work one sees is Liz Magor's KD - The Original (2000), a knapsack made of silicon rubber hung from the wall, while below it, very faintly, a spill of fluorescent orange powder ("KD" might stand for Kraft Dinner). (If I were to turn around and leave at that moment, I would do so knowing that the curator is aware that the gallery is not easy to access, that getting there without a car is something of a hike.)

The rooms that follow (the second one larger, the third one largest) feature a range of elegantly spaced works that include serial pieces by Santiago Sierra and Ian Wallace, as well as a number works (and their placements) that are as reflective as the gallery's highly polished floor.

A highlight for me is another wall-and-floor work, Alicja Kwade's 17. 08. 1931 (2012), which, from the angle of the picture I took (below), captures a second KD - The Original. Not sure whose collection Kwade's work belongs to, but for most of us it will not matter.

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