Esther Schipper Will Temporarily Take Over Blain Southern’s Former Space to Show Ugo Rondinone During Gallery Weekend Berlin

The veteran Berlin dealer will show Rondinone's new bronze works.

Ugo Rondinone © Brigitte Lacombe.

For one month only, the veteran Berlin art dealer Esther Schipper is expanding her square footage to present a double feature of two artists from her roster.

Starting next week, the gallery will move into the now-defunct Blain Southern gallery space next door, where it will stage a show of new works by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. In Schipper’s own space, the gallery will exhibit a separate show by French artist Philippe Parreno. Both shows open on September 11 and run until October 17.

Rondinone will show a half-dozen large-scale sculptures as well as a major wall work. The new series of sculptures, titled “nuns + monks,” are made of painted bronze and continue the artist’s ongoing exploration of natural geologic forms, such as in his celebrated 2016 public artwork Seven Magic Mountains.

Rondinone is concurrently presenting shows from the same body of work at Galerie Eva Presenhuber in Zurich and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in Rome. (Brown confirmed the show is going on, following news that he’s shuttering his New York space to join Gladstone Gallery.)

Rondinone’s exhibition was initially planned to take place during summer, but Schipper says she felt it was important to give both shows the larger platform provided by Berlin Gallery Weekend and Berlin Art Week. The two concurrent events, which Schipper calls the “two most important annual dates in the Berlin art calendar,” begin at various venues across the city next week.

“The art industry has been hard hit,” Schipper tells Artnet News in an email. “The cancelation and postponement of physical art fairs and global travel restrictions have presented us with the opportunity to focus more of our energy and resources on exhibition-making—one, if not the reason, I became a gallerist 30 years ago.”

She expressed relief that the shows were able to overcome the uncertainty of rising infection rates this summer, as well the restrictions on shipments and travel. “Especially with all recent and upcoming international art fairs cancelled, postponed or uncertain, collectors are really looking forward to new exhibitions,” Schipper says.

The size and proximity of her old neighbor’s gallery, which shuttered abruptly earlier this year after declaring bankruptcy, made the choice easy.

The two-story interior and natural light is sure to provide a prime setting for Rondinone’s new works. “The scale of the works in the new series require a space, the size of which is difficult to find at short notice—even in Berlin,” Schipper says.

Many dealers are expecting the influx of art goers to Berlin to be a welcome in-person viewing opportunity ahead of a likely difficult winter. “It has become extremely difficult to plan anything,” says Schipper, “so opening these two large-scale exhibitions simultaneously at a time when Germany seems to be managing the pandemic comparatively well, is a great opportunity.”

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