+ - 7: Project for linking Latin American to German Art Scene|
This is not a place the usual Berlin art tourist would easily find. Yet a small crowd has shown up for an evening talk at allgirls, a gallery situated in the hip south side of, almost too gentrified, Mitte, Berlin's central district. The large glass pane facing the street has been plastered over with paper from inside, but still, an occasional car light makes shadows flit over the wall which serves, tonight, as a projection screen.
This evening, Mexican artist Erick Meyenberg is presenting his latest work. His talk is the last of three presentations of Mexican artists and curators this summer that was organised by +/- 7 (plus minus 7), a newly founded, German-Mexican art project. Meyenberg, who has studied at the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM), and is now a guest student at Berlin's Universitat der Kunste (University of the Arts), works with a specific Berlin topic. When he came to the city two years ago, he was stuck by the lingering presence in the city of Rosa Luxemburg, the German communist leader and utopian thinker. In his project, Meyenberg works with an edition of letters that Luxemburg wrote from prison during world war one, transforming text into elaborate visual and acoustic patterns: A personal view on a German historic figure.
+/- 7 Project for Contemporary Art - the title refers to the time delay between Mexico and Germany - started when artist Angelica Chio and curator Gonzalo Ortega from Mexico, and German art historian and journalist Kirsten Einfeldt came up with the idea of creating a platform for contemporary Mexican art and artists in Berlin. The Berlin-based project organizes talks as well as offering assistance to Latin American artists who are new in town. The initial spark was simple, and personal. When Chio, Ortega and Einfeldt or others received guests from Mexico, they remarked on interest of their visitors to present themselves and their work in the city, or to simply get more contacts there.
"Sometimes we would organise things privately", remembers Kirsten Einfeldt, "like a talk at an alternative communal artists' project, for example. It was like a dream to one day have a forum for people who are interested, or even a show room where we can exhibit works we like." All three organizers know the art scene in Berlin and Mexico intimately. Angelica Chio has been living in Berlin for 14 years as a member of the artist's collective Daily Services and realising her Masters studies at Berlin University of the Arts, as well as Gonzalo Ortega who returned to Mexico City in 2007, where he now directs MUCA Roma, Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte. Kirsten Einfeldt, who studied Spanish philology, has lived and worked in Mexico for more than two years and is working towards a PhD.