Indian contemporary art arrives finds new fans in Berlin

As a former Gestapo interrogation centre in Berlin, the sprawling building at number 90-91 Zimmerstrasse once played a chilling role in the city's history, dpa reported.

Now the huge factory-sized premises near the German capital's former Cold War Checkpoint Charlie crossing has been renovated and transformed into a home for a cluster of major art galleries in the city.

On the building's top floor, in high-ceilinged, voluminous rooms is the recently opened Nature Morte gallery, where fans of contemporary Indian art indulge their tastes. New Delhi-born artist Dayanita Singh is currently showing a series of photographic shots depicting marginalised Indian communities.

Nature Morte Berlin is the second gallery in the capital dedicated to contemporary Indian art. The Bodhi gallery, located behind one of Berlin's major art museums, the Hamburger Bahnhof, was the first, opening in May.

Since then, it has been busy mounting exhibitions aimed at winning new audiences for the new wave of Indian art that has been sweeping the global art market.

Nature Morte, on the other hand, was originally part of New York's East Village art scene in the 1980s before re-establishing itself in New Delhi in 1997.

The gallery's Berlin director Julie Engelmeier first studied politics and economics in Paris, London and New York before getting hooked up in the art world.

She's excited about Nature Morte's debut Indian art exhibition, featuring Dayanita Singh's work in three distinct sections. The exhibition runs through to January 3 next year.

One section highlights images shot within the Anandamayi Ashram in the northern Indian city of Varanasi (Benares). From portraits of girls sequestered within this environment emerges a study of the tensions found in India today including the role of women.

Another section zeroes in on activities at a site in the western Indian state of Gujarat where mentally and physically ill patients go in the hope of a cure. Formerly suffering from epilepsy, Singh was originally drawn to the site.

Engelmeier is an enthusiastic fan of Dayanita Singh's searching brand of photography. "She is a highly profiled, super-serious Indian photographer, who is also a very funny and warm person," said Engelmeier.

"I'm happy to have opened with her work because it sets a great standard for the gallery," she says.

As to her own background, the Munich-born Engelmeier told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in an interview: "I was working for a consultancy firm for a spell, but then took a year out to reorientate myself.

"I had this affinity with India and made visits there whenever I could. My brother also lived in New Delhi, so there was this big connection and it was there that I started my work in the art world," she explains.

In India, Engelmeier met New Delhi-based American art entrepreneur Peter Nagy, at a moment when he was toying with the idea of opening a gallery in Europe, preferably in Berlin. "That's how everything fell into place for me," she smiles.

Engelmeier, 28, is fascinated by Berlin's thriving art world activity: "The city now has as many art galleries as Manhattan.

"There may not be a lot of industry or many big art buyers here, but there are lots of artists from all parts of the world. They like its free-wheeling, liberal atmosphere; its many cafes and pubs and its vibrant cultural life.

"All the big German art fairs now take place in Berlin, whereas previously the art hot spot was Cologne," she says.

As for art entrepreneur Nagy, he's confident his latest Berlin venture will be welcomed by collectors.

Nature Morte was the first Indian gallery to participate at the world's most prestigious art fairs. "In that sense we have a special edge in terms of brand recognition with the international art world," Nagy told The Art Newspaper recently.

"We think people will want to travel to Berlin to see what we are doing," he said.

In the years following the demise of the Berlin Wall, numerous galleries emerged along just one street in centre of what was the city9s former communist half.

Now it has spread to other parts of the city including the area around the old Checkpoint Charlie crossing point with a flood of galleries having opened up in recent years near where the Berlin Wall marked out the city's post-Second World War divide.

"Gallerists move here because there are large spaces available at much cheaper prices," explains Engelmeier.

Israel ready to deepen bilateral relations with Kyrgyzstan
Israel ready to deepen bilateral relations with Kyrgyzstan
Kazakhstan decreases export to Kyrgyzstan amid COVID-19
Kazakhstan decreases export to Kyrgyzstan amid COVID-19
BMB Trade Group eyes to provide services to Uzbekistan’s neighboring countries
BMB Trade Group eyes to provide services to Uzbekistan’s neighboring countries
Loading Bars
Latest
Average daily volume of gas production at Turkmenistan’s Uchaji field revealed
Azerbaijan Deposit Insurance Fund continues compensating depositors of closed banks
Azerbaijan raises propylene production
Georgia sees increase in hazelnuts exports
Pumps producer terminates memorandum with Kazakhstan's largest oil pipeline company
Iran's industrial production increases
Kazakh coal extracting venture opens tender to buy vehicles
French imports of leather goods from Turkey down
Georgia imports more steel from Turkey
Volume of delivered oil at Turkmenbashi Oil Refinery published
Azerbaijan unveils timeframe for commissioning road to highest mountainous village
Central Bank of Azerbaijan lowers interest rate
Azerbaijani ambassador talks Armenia's military provocation against Azerbaijan in popular US radio show
Iran and Pakistan discuss trade between border provinces
PETRONAS's upstream volumes to fall by about 4%
Ryanair cuts October capacity, blames travel restrictions
BMB Trade Group eyes to expand export products of Uzbekistan
“My Bakcell” – the ultimate solution for managing your account
EBRD to back up solar plant construction in Kazakhstan’s Karaganda
Kazakh Ministry of Ecology talks restrictions in industry sector
Georgia reveals volume of exported peaches and nectarines
Minister: Issue of Armenians destroying Azerbaijani historical monuments always on agenda
Georgia’s foreign debt increases
Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan interested in joint gas chemical projects
Kazakhstan's petroleum products export to Russia down twofold
Turkmenbashi sea port opens tender for repair of harbor crane
First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva makes Instagram post on National Music Day (PHOTO)
Italy to assist in attracting EU companies for cooperation with Azerbaijan
US plans to sign 5G security memorandum with Georgia
Uzbekistan achieves chemical enterprises development despite COVID-19
Nagif Hamzayev: The spectator approach to the process exacerbates the situation
Jordan to jail organisers of large social events to stem COVID-19 spike
PMCG reveals August dynamics of hotel prices in Georgian regions
Azerbaijan expanding use of modern irrigation systems
SOCAR starts repair of submersible electric motors
Russia records 5,905 new daily coronavirus cases
Apple to launch first online store in India next week
Israel imposes second coronavirus lockdown during high holidays
Ambassador: Italian companies interested in Azerbaijan
Gazprombank: Azerbaijani economy to rebound by year-end
Uzbekistan resumes international transport communication
Impetus to be given to cargo traffic through ports of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan
Real Gross Domestic Product declines in Georgia
EU: Cooperation with Azerbaijan on oil, gas supply continues despite COVID-19 pandemic
SOCAR Turkey’s Kayserigaz expanding to new areas
Uzbek confectionery to be exported to China
Kazakhstan developing mineral resources data system
Letter of Azerbaijan's FM on Armenia's illegal activities in occupied Azerbaijani lands published as UN document
Timeline for commissioning railway to Azerbaijan's Gabala revealed
COVID-19 cases exceed 3,000 in Georgia
UK retail recovery continues apace in August
Ericsson to acquire Cradlepoint in $1.1 billion deal
Kazakhstan's revenue from transporting cargo via internal water surges
Azerbaijan's State Customs Committee, World Bank to implement joint projects
Georgian APM Terminals Poti handles out of gauge cargo with mobile harbor cranes
GIE highlights Southern Gas Corridor’s role in ensuring South-East Europe’s energy security
Turkmenistan, Saudi Arabia to increase partnership in oil, gas sector
Number of coronavirus cases in Uzbekistan approaches 50,000
New textile shops opened in Turkmenistan
Azerbaijani currency rates for Sept. 18
Emirates sets up Kosher Arabia for airline food
Number of Turkish migrant workers in Israel rises
European gas infrastructure to help deliver Green Deal objectives
Kazakh demand for real estate in Turkey grows
Azerbaijan’s postal operator joins Central Bank's search system
Road expansions on Azerbaijani-Russian border
Iran discloses details of exports via Kermanshah Province
Global marketed utilization for floating rigs could dip to 56%
Oil eases as U.S. production returns after storm
Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 38 times
Kazakhstan’s Almaty Power Stations JSC opens tender to buy pumps
Georgian Mingrelian Tea company plans to increase list of exporting destinations
Turkey increases trade turnover with US
TAP project almost 98% completed
Apple to launch first online store in India next week
Chinese mainland reports no new locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases
China’s Universal Energy sets up remote management to maintain its renewable projects in Kazakhstan
Trump will deliver U.N. speech next week from White House
Bolivian interim President Anez withdraws from election race with socialists ahead in polls
Biden lambastes Trump over 'close to criminal' COVID-19 response
COVID-19 deaths in Brazil close to 135,000
Italy's exports and imports grow in July
Global COVID-19 cases surpass 30 mln -- Johns Hopkins University
ByteDance plans TikTok IPO if U.S. clears deal
Eight coronavirus patients die in Moscow in past 24 hours, says crisis center
Trump to announce $13 billion in farm aid on Thursday
Germany donates 63 mln USD to UN relief agency's program
Minsk forced to shut down borders with Lithuania, Poland and boost control with Ukraine
Turkey's trade turnover with Russia rising despite pandemic
Israel ready to deepen bilateral relations with Kyrgyzstan
Foreign Minister – Rescheduling of elections is not considered
Turkey records heavily low cargo shipment through Antalya Airport
Iran may allow increase of cargo transportation limits for Azerbaijan
Trump plans executive order to punish arms trade with Iran
U.S. charges three Iranians over satellite tech firm hacking
23 soldiers, 31 militants killed in clashes in Afghanistan: officials
UAE reports 786 new COVID-19 cases, 82,568 in total
Kazakhstan increases crude oil exports to Italy in 1H2020
Kazakhstan increases volume of cement imports from Turkey
South Pars Gas Company announces tender to buy insert
All news