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Press release


Stefan Bertalan, Martin Boyce, Matti Braun, AA Bronson and Reima Hirvonen, Angela Bulloch, Nathan Carter, Etienne Chambaud, Jean-Pascal Flavien, Ceal Floyer, Simon Fujiwara, Ryan Gander, General Idea, Francesco Gennari, Liam Gillick, Andrew Grassie, Ann Veronica Janssens, Gabriel Kuri, Jac Leirner, Ari Benjamin Meyers, Roman Ondak, Philippe Parreno, Ugo Rondinone, Christopher Roth, Anri Sala, Karin Sander, Julia Scher, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Tao Hui

In a normal year Esther Schipper would be at Art Basel right now. The gallery curated a booth for this year’s fair, selecting major works and producing many new ones. Crated and shipped from around the world, the booth installed in three full days, the gallery team would be ready to greet you. As doors would open and visitors rush in, time would become elastic: a million short encounters compressed into these hours.

Instead the gallery has installed these works in their Berlin space. To some extent, this is an anti-fair: with certain social distancing requirements in place, there will be ample space and plenty of time to engage with each visitor. While access may be limited at times, time is not. With the exhibition PS81E the gallery acknowledges the irreplaceable experience of encountering an artwork in person. This is an opportunity. What might have been Art Basel 2020—the fair booth—has grown in long conversation to become part of a new beginning, a new way to tell the story of the gallery's exhibitions— live and online.

It begins when you enter: Julia Scher’s historical work Occupational Placement greets visitors in the main entrance hall, with Christopher Roth’s bright red sign announcing his ongoing project presented in the bookstore last summer, as to the left Ugo Rondinone’s bronzes from his 2016 series Primordial hang suspended, while Ari Benjamin Meyer's Duet invites a visitor to learn a song.

The central exhibition space is punctuated by two large diaphanous screens by Martin Boyce. Ann Veronica Janssens iridescent diptych, silk works by Matti Braun in deeply saturated colors, Nathan Carter’s playful “intersexual” collages, and Daniel Steemann Mangrané's glass Systemic Grid 124 frame sculptures by Gabriel Kuri and Francesco Gennari. Karin Sander’s colorful polished ping-pong balls, Jean-Pascal Flavien’s greenhouse, Anri Sala’s cinematic snail etched into a wooden textile stamp, and Ceal Floyer’s wry and witty work of facing loudspeakers, Mutual Admiration, meet below a new transparent marquee by Philippe Parreno. We welcome artists who have more recently joined the gallery: Jac Leirner with the sculpture Jewel, steel cables attached to one another according to their diminishing thickness, Etienne Chambaud panels from his series Nameless, produced with the urine of wild animals, and Tao Hui’s multiple monitors assembled for Screen as Display Body.

From a Plexiglas case two small dolls, AA Bronson and his husband, produced by the artist in collaboration with Reima Hirvonen, look out, across to a historical work by General Idea, the 1976 Search for the Spirit, and to Roman Ondak’s 1997 Sated Table, an assembly of household goods and philosopher-ingredients. A historical work by Liam Gillick invites you to sit and watch the new dynamic drawing machine by Angela Bulloch, as Simon Fujiwara’s enlarged earrings with the guillotined heads of the French monarchs hang suspended near Stefan Bertalan’s geometric drawing from the early 1970s and Sunset by Andrew Grassie, while someone or something is making away with a fistful of currency in Ryan Gander’s I’m never coming back to London again.

Visit the gallery to view in Berlin what might have been Art Basel 2020 but now is PS81E.