Import Projects “Say Good Bye to Hollywood”

Import Projects Berlin

Import Projects Berlin

Import projects describes itself as a non-profit curatorial initiative on it’s Artconnect Berlin profile. Although that’s a bit of an understatement. This week I spoke with co founder Anja Henckel about the space, the art world in Berlin and London, creating networks in the arts and their current exhibition, Say Good Bye to Hollywood, which runs until 19th of October.


Photo: Import Projects

Import Projects was founded earlier this year by Anja Henckel, a Berliner who crossed the channel and studied fine arts in London and Nadim Samman a young curator who has worked in Europe and further afield. Import Projects hosts exhibitions, performances and installations in their Gallery space in Charlottenberg. Their curatorial focus is exploring the intersection of technology, personal identity and community. Displayed by the front door the garish flyers for their exhibition create a striking contrast to the traditional stone buildings and the leafy street. Anja says she really likes being based in this area [hear that all you Neukölln people who never cross town?] and noted that it was more familiar than the east where she grew up because it’s changed less in the years she’s been away.

(installationview) Nicolas Provost, Long Live The New Flesh, 2009, Photo: Kalia Laycock-Walsh

I asked Anja about the decision move back to Berlin, after seven years in London, and she told me the story of how they got their gallery space, which makes Import projects possible. It was offered to them over a prosecco at an art opening in London. Anja talked about why Berlin is a great city to work in the arts [because we all still need to be convinced of that]. She commented that at the Venice Biennale and Documenta she noticed that although the artists were from all over the world half of them worked in Berlin. She also expressed her opinion that Berliners, who can be from anywhere in the world, often feel a need to protect the precious place that is Berlin. However, she feels if they take this too far over protectiveness can create negativity towards outsiders, something they experienced setting up Import Projects.

The describe their current show, Say Goodbye to Hollywood, as announcing the wrack of the twentieth century entertainment industry in the download era. It does have a strong theme of intellectual property and film, which you can’t discuss, of course, without also looking at the internet and piracy.

Nicolas Provost. Photo: Import Projects

Nicolas Provost. Photo: Import Projects

(Detail) Harm van den Dorpel, Redux series, 2012, Photo: Kalia Laycock-Walsh

The show features a select number of works. Art 404, a New York based artist collective, presents 5 Million Dollars 1 Terabyte, a standard black hard drive with five million dollars worth of illegally downloaded files on it. Harm van den Dorpel, brings the added insight of being a trained computer scientist to his work. In his Redux series, he creates elegant collages from blockbuster movie posters. A comment on the way sophisticated technology is used to make the films, and later used to illegally distribute them online. Nicolas Provost’s work Long Live The New Flesh, is a graphic and unsettling video montage of horror scenes melding into each other. It was one of my favourites despite the fact that it made me feel squeamish. Artie Vierkant’s work Daylight/Twilight rearranges the frames of the two films, from which the title is taken, from brightest to darkest and darkest to lightest, respectively. The show ends, or begins as there is only one door, with Elodie Pong’s work. It is more appropriate for it to be the end as the work is a montage of ‘the end’ cards from various movies, an endless loop of ends.

(installationview) Art 404, 5 Million Dollars 1 Terabyte, 2011, (background) Harm van den Dorpel, Redux series, 2012, Photo: Kalia Laycock-Walsh

The works in the show are diverse; each explores the theme of intellectual property and films differently. So despite it’s small size of I found the show a rich discussion of intellectual property rights, films and piracy. The show is only up until the 19th of october, so hurry up to visit Import Projects in Charlottenburg!



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