Anselm Reyle Marks His Comeback with Show at CFA’s New West Berlin Space

The artist retired in 2014.

Anselm Reyle. Photo: BILLY FARRELL/PatrickMcMullan
Contemporary Fine Art will inaugurate its new west Berlin space on Thursday. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Contemporary Fine Art will inaugurate its new west Berlin space on Thursday.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Anselm Reyle will celebrate his art world comeback this Thursday with a presentation of new ceramic works at Contemporary Fine Art’s (CFA) new space. The gallery’s second Berlin branch opens in the leafy and fashionable west Berlin district of Charlottenburg to coincide with Berlin Gallery Weekend.

This year, Berlin’s popular and oft-emulated Gallery Weekend sees some 54 Berlin galleries hosting coordinated openings over the last weekend of April.

Two years ago, Reyle closed his studio and retired amid rising overhead expenses and declining demand for his work, as the German daily Die Welt reported in February 2014. The artist himself said that the factory-like production of his brightly-colored foil works and metallic sculptures cost him up to $1.1 million a month. In contrast, Reyle’s global auction sales volume slumped from $6.01 million in 2008 to $2.17 million in 2013.

Anselm Reyle. Photo: BILLY FARRELL/PatrickMcMullan

Anselm Reyle.
Photo: BILLY FARRELL/PatrickMcMullan

Now Reyle has ended his self-imposed hiatus with a show inaugurating CFA’s new space, which the gallery announced in a low-key email invitation last week. The show will present a completely new body of work rendered in a new medium, as the artist hasn’t made any ceramics before.

Despite the art market’s tumultuous relationship with Reyle, CFA has continued to showcase and promote his work. His last solo exhibition took place only seven months ago, in October 2015. According to Monopol, gallery co-owner Bruno Brunnet even admitted to propping up the artist’s auction market by purchasing the Reyle’s signature striped canvasses, which were the subject of last fall’s show.

At a talk during the opening—the artist’s first public appearance since his retirement—he denied any suggestions that his creative break was linked to his waning market. Instead, he insisted that he put a stop to his mass production studio because “the work became fruitless and lost more and more technical perfection.”

Anselm Reyle, installation view of Streifenbilder at CFA, Berlin. Photo: Courtesy of CFA, Berlin

Anselm Reyle, installation view of Streifenbilder at CFA, Berlin.
Photo: Courtesy of CFA, Berlin

But as often is the case with early art world retirements (see Maurizio Cattelan’s new gilded toilet), talk of a comeback started shortly afterwards. In a subsequent interview with Monopol in October 2015 he admitted that he was back in the studio after almost two years. “I’m enjoying the peace and quiet and I’m beginning to develop new work in the studio,” he told the German art magazine at the time.

Meanwhile, CFA’s expansion to Charlottenburg adds to the growing love affair Berlin’s hip art world has with the city’s west, which fell out of favor with galleries in the ’90s. Back then, most galleries preferred to associate themselves with the cool-factor of the city’s eastern neighborhoods rather than the older and more affluent west. Now, the district has become home to contemporary art galleries such as Galerie Max Hetzler and Galerie Buchholz, younger spaces such as Mathew and Neumeister Bar-Am, and recently, a new branch of famed eatery and art world hangout Grill Royal, named Petit Royal.

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