Fashion (and Art) Perspectives from a Distance – Schau 20 at Berlin Decks

It’s a small miracle how Berlin Art Week was able to pull off their festival this year, making it all the more enjoyable: familiar faces, favorite artists, countless events - just like in previous years! Everywhere galleries and museums opened their doors for various projects and exhibitions. It’s clear that the pandemic has brought about a new surge in creativity.

This year Berlin Decks also played host to art and fashion – two areas that have always had a close and connected relationship. Usually, fashion students at the Universität der Künste Berlin conclude their semesters with a show, but with the classic catwalk out of the question this year, a unique solution was called for. For the exhibition Schau 20, 32 UdK students invited guests to the spacious Berlin Decks hall, where on uniquely designed tables they displayed their fashion design projects. Visitors were able to bid for the pieces at an auction on the last day and take them straight home, with the proceeds donated to the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, which campaigns against hatred and intolerance.

The students’ fashion pieces were created from donated tablecloths, bringing the history of the material itself into focus. The young designers were also confronted with the restrictions and isolation brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. What can you create from a white tablecloth? It turns out quite a lot: embroidered boots, unusual dresses, ruched skirts and even painted jackets. Next to the clothes was another display: colorful, jelly-like food that evoked a strange mixture of disgust and appetite.

The event’s catering saw sustainable and regional products take top priority, with ice cream from Paletas whose cucumber-lemon and strawberry-lime flavors brought some late summer cooling. The gelato maker produces its ice creams organically and does away completely with plastic packaging. Guests also had a choice selection of drinks: in addition to eco-friendly water from Rheinsberger Preussenquelle, there were Pale Ales, Pils and Lagers courtesy of  Berliner Berg. Both brands are local producers, with Preussenquelle’s natural water coming from the Rheinsberg natural source in Brandenburg, while Berliner Berg’s beers combine traditional German brewing tradition with select ingredients and craftsmanship at their Neukölln brewery. A food truck from Kopka provided the culinary delights, including homemade curry sausages, bowls and sandwiches. As with the drinks, the company’s personalized catering also has a strong regional ethos.

The fashion show was just one part of the Berlin Decks Art Week program. A further exhibition "Zugunsten der Gegend" from virtual gallery Office Impart brought together artists Christian August, Susanne Bonowicz, Lena Marie Emrich and Moritz Neuhoff within the cavernous hall. The artists' works revolved around the theme of cities, specifically how the physical and social structures in a metropolis can merge together. The works comprised large-format, abstract painting as well as sculpture, creating a visual language to express encounters, coincidence and processes.

Meanwhile, KLUB7's outdoor installation showed how art can change the perception of urban structures and bring them into harmony with working and living spaces. Shining through the partially transparent fabrics were the pipes of a distant factory building, serving as a background for the vivid collage.

Another side hall was dedicated to the painter Thomas Grandi, whose solo show "CORSO" encompassed a 50-meter wide brick wall painted entirely in white. Unusually for Grandi, he filled the space with a dozen large paintings, their monochrome and neon abstract forms appearing soft, only in their entirety giving a blurred flow. The viewer meanders along them, becoming more and more a part of an almost meditative rhythm. A seemingly arbitrary mountain of color remains in the middle of the room, a reference to the process of creation. Any materials which fell down were swept together in full view, offering a fitting conclusion to a weekend full of art.

Ein Projekt der BEOS