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This category contains the following articles
"These are not Sunday painters" - Sophie von Olfers on MACHT KUNST
Make Art - The KunstHalle invites all Berlin artists to take part in a 24-hour exhibition
75 International Highlights in 2013
Maha Maamoun - Against the touristic eye
Everything is Illuminated: An Interview with Shahzia Sikander
Carlfriedrich Claus - Speaking Utopia's Language
The "Artist of the Year," Imran Qureshi, in an interview


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“These are not Sunday painters”
Sophie von Olfers on MACHT KUNST

Sophie von Olfers is curator at the renowned Portikus in Frankfurt. As jury member, she selected the best works from the 24-hour exhibition MACHT KUNST in the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle together with the gallerist and curator René Block and Friedhelm Hütte, Global Head of Art, Deutsche Bank.

ArtMag: How was the selection process for the winning works handled?
Sophie von Olfers: Friedhelm Hütte, René Block, and I decided that each of us should walk through the exhibition and propose a work that we should all take another look at together. The public’s prize was already emerging yesterday evening—a large two-part painting by the Croatian artist Lovro Artukovic. Selected were work by Sonja Rentsch and Rebecca Michaelis, an embroidered cloth and a drawing that is subtly reminiscent of planets, orbits, and the cosmos. I discovered a photograph by Nicolas Balcazar that I think is really interesting. It portrays the double-exposure silhouette of a teenager in a baseball cap, through which building and skyscrapers behind construction fences can be seen. The scene resembles the outerlying areas around Berlin. I liked that we chose painting, drawing, photography, and an object without having decided on specific media ahead of time. This is a wonderful reflection of the wide range of works in the show.
What did you think of MACHT KUNST (MAKE ART)? Do you really think that everyone is an artist?

No, not everyone is an artist. But I’d also like to correct something: the people who brought their works here are not lay people. Some newspapers wrote that the show consisted exclusively of amateurs. Of course, some of the participants make their art on the side. But despite that, it’s not a case of dilettantism. Most of these people are trained artists. Some are professors, and others are still studying art. They’re not Sunday painters or someone’s grandmother who brought by her watercolors. The reality is that a very large number of people have chosen the profession of “artist.”

And this exhibition also shows a reality beyond the institutions, major galleries, and the market.

Yes, of course. It happens very quickly that people speak only of this one percent at the top – the people who have made it, who are then called the “art world.” But this world goes much further than that.
It’s noticeable that this exhibition attracts a different, less insider-type public. You’re the curator of the Portikus. Did this exhibition make you think about the elite position of the art establishment?

6,000 visitors in 24 hours – every exhibition house would give their right arm for numbers like these. Anyone running a museum or an institution achieves this in a month at the very best. Yesterday evening, I noticed how people were standing in the exhibition and talking about art – for hours on end. Some people were there the whole evening, philosophizing over the works. That doesn’t happen all that often in the art world I know. But I have to add that we in the art scene are far more professional. We go to exhibition openings and events, and it’s our job, the work we do. And quite often, there isn’t enough time to talk about the art being exhibited. I think we all miss that. Still, though, it’s a matter of personal decision – one should always make the time to exchange views on the art. Everyone involved with the content of art should do that. It was quite nice to watch people, listen to them, stand next to them. I liked the way they clearly stated their opinion on what they found good – or less good. For us, as pros of the art scene, it’s often hard to judge, to risk taking a clear position.
Did this exhibition give you anything? Did it give the visitors anything?

I think it did. I find it incredible to see 2,500 works be submitted over the course of a single weekend. Think about what that means, to bring an artwork here because there’s this possibility of showing it. To have this pride and to stand in line, to submit yourself to the long waiting period. And then to be happy because your work is exhibited alongside hundreds of other paintings. That takes guts. And it embodies Berlin in a pretty cool way.

The second exhibition of MACHT KUNST takes place on April 28/29, 12 a.m. - 12 a.m. in the Alte Münze Berlin.

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