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Be Mohr

 

From Patrick Mohr’s show in Berlin Fashion Week, Winter 2014

Berlin might be considered as one of the leading places for fashion designers nowadays, since it’s become a spring for young talents during the latest years, but it hasn’t always been like that. After its reunification in 1989, Berlin was struggling to stand next to Munich or Düsseldorf even as a reference point for the german fashion world, long before becoming the fashion capital of Germany. Turning the table around, Berlin Fashion Week first took place in 2007, embracing creatives streaming from around the world or even emerging from the city’s huge DIY scene.

Since then, Patrick Mohr’s creations are very much anticipated and so was this time. Mohr chose an off-site location (as the main part of BFW typically takes place near the Brandenburger Tor) and on January 14 the former warehouse of Eisenwarenhandlung Lademann was lit in blue in order to host his installations. The Munich-born designer kept his new collection style right in the margins of “sophisticated sportswear” – as his work has been characterized. The city street style consisting of jacket layers, protective gear and cropped trousers – almost all of them in blue tint. Led by Papis Loveda – who gained fame through a United Colors of Benetton worldwide campaign in 2003, the models went to stand still as sculptures placed right in the middle of the audience under the industrial-electro soundtracks, wearing blue facial hair, hair extensions and contact lenses.

 

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Dolls (Back-stage)

The word “doll” serves a compliment word in the greek conversational language in order to address someone for his nice looks.  Opened in 1994, “Dolls Bar” (pronounced Koúkles / Κούκλες in greek) was given this name by its owner Marilou in order to honor the girls who were working / performing the shows there. The bar is located at an alley by Syngrou Avenue (a six lane street beginning from the Temple of Olympian Zeus at the center of Athens and ending at the south Attica seasides), which even today remains a synonym for working place of trans- and cis-gendered sex workers (mainly owing its reputation to the former ones).

Although not historically accurate, in many cases and up to a point these kind of shows are considered to be held by men dressed in drag just for the needs of the show. But from the first moment on, Dolls Bar resides shows only by trans women, contributing to the visibility of the trans community in general, as well as to the demarginalization of individuals who historically get discriminated in the labor market on the basis of their gender identity. It has been just recently when, despite the economic crisis and the rise of the alt-right and neonazi agenda, the feminist and LGBTQI demands for equality have gone solid, letting such projects (even though still perceived as “exotic”) to gain some space in the public sphere.

After the first years, the program gradually went from improvised shows to a more “proper” style drag performance bundle. Today five women, Eva, Mania, Alice, Ria and Tania impersonate a number of greek and international movie/theater characters, singers and public figures, lighting up the place with their fancy costumes and hilarious performances. As for my presence there, after having watched the show a number of times i FINALLY got the courage to propose to Marilou (the owner – as mentioned above) a backstage photoshoot. Whoever thinks that dressing in drag and preparing for the show is an easy and cheep (in terms of effort AND money) thing, has to definitely think twice.

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Dolls (On-stage)

The word “doll” serves a compliment word in the greek conversational language in order to address someone for his nice looks.  Opened in 1994, “Dolls Bar” (pronounced Koúkles / Κούκλες in greek) was given this name by its owner Marilou in order to honor the girls who were working / performing the shows there. The bar is located at an alley by Syngrou Avenue (a six lane street beginning from the Temple of Olympian Zeus at the center of Athens and ending at the south Attica seasides), which even today remains a synonym for working place of trans- and cis-gendered sex workers (mainly owing its reputation to the former ones).

Although not historically accurate, in many cases and up to a point these kind of shows are considered to be held by men dressed in drag just for the needs of the show. But from the first moment on, Dolls Bar resides shows only by trans women, contributing to the visibility of the trans community in general, as well as to the demarginalization of individuals who historically get discriminated in the labor market on the basis of their gender identity. It has been just recently when, despite the economic crisis and the rise of the alt-right and neonazi agenda, the feminist and LGBTQI demands for equality have gone solid, letting such projects (even though still perceived as “exotic”) to gain some space in the public sphere.

After the first years, the program gradually went from improvised shows to a more “proper” style drag performance bundle. Today five women, Eva, Mania, Alice, Ria and Tania impersonate a number of greek and international movie/theater characters, singers and public figures, lighting up the place with their fancy costumes and hilarious performances. As for my presence there, after having watched the show a number of times i FINALLY got the courage to propose to Marilou (the owner – as mentioned above) a backstage photoshoot. Whoever thinks that dressing in drag and preparing for the show is an easy and cheep (in terms of effort AND money) thing, has to definitely think twice.

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Anish Kapoor @ Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin

‘I have nothing to say as an artist, but [my] process has a lot to say’

Anish Kapoor is considered as one of the most important figures in contemporary art. Born in 1954 in Bombay, India, Kapoor started exhibiting his artwork during the late 70’s and the 80’s, when he gained recognition for his sculptures consisting of geometrical or symmetrical shapes. Not so “clean” but rather minimalistic, his sculptures were covered in paint which would go on spreading in the floor, stressing the importance of the surrounding space as part of the showpiece, while at the same time pointing out the nonrepetitive nature of the exhibited work.

Staying faithful to this tradition of his, Anish Kapoor used the whole of the ground floor of the Martin-Gropius-Bau in order to present his works – a 70 in number survey from 1982 to the present – many of them consisting of expendable parts of wax and paint. Sometimes giving the impression of medieval machinery, sometimes that of high-tech parts, while others just using raw material burnt down to pieces or spread through the whole room, Anish Kapoor used wax, PVC skins, stone, glass, steel and mirrors for his installations. Martin-Gropius-Bau, a 19th century imposing building destined to open as a museum of applied arts (and as of 1966, a listed historical monument), served the great purpose of hosting Kapoor’s first major exhibition in the city.

Friday, May 17th the artist held a press conference which he ended with the phrase ‘I have nothing to say as an artist, but [my] process has a lot to say’. Commissioned by the global art platform ‘Berlin Art-Parasites’ i was there in order to cover the event.