One name immediately catches the eye on the Gallery Weekend roster: Heidi. That’s the name of a promising new addition that Pauline Seguin, 32-year-old owner of the gallery, opened last fall. If you ask the French about the label, she should smile a little. Of course, Seguin says, he relates to Joanna Sperry’s children’s book.
“When I was little, I couldn’t do anything with it,” she says. “Today I find it interesting that the story of a Swiss author has been made into a popular anime all over the world. Heidi evokes many associations and at the same time does not represent anything.”
Art to the present
Leave room for interpretation – this can also be your exhibition concept logo. Seguin doesn’t want to tell her audience how they react to art. Neither artistic media nor subjects should limit their repertoire. “My goal is to show artists who have something to say about the present,” she explains. Even if Seguin’s focus so far has been on young positions like Benjamin Lallier, more and more established names are moving into her show — including Joan Jonas, who has a solo exhibition at Gallery Weekend.
Jonas, who is celebrating her 86th birthday this year, has become known as part of the New York art scene around Richard Serra. But unlike her male colleagues, the trained sculptor was not interested in heavy materials. At the end of the sixties, I began to create stands in space, combining fast performance and video art.
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Her experimental arrangements allow her to combine dance, painting and theater into one work. Over the years it has developed its own kind. Invitations to the Documenta and Biennale ensued, which Haus der Kunst in Munich will honor retroactively in the fall. Pauline Seguin thinks she knows what makes her work so relevant right now: “Jonas talks to people because she deals with global topics that are still very relevant today – from feminism to myths to climate change.”
Body Drawings by Joanne Jonas
The fragility of our environment appears time and time again as a component of Jonas’ work. This is also the case in “Draw on the Wind” (2018), a series of abstract kites made of paper and bamboo that gently dance in the breeze on the gallery’s ceiling. As part of the mentoring program, masters student Joan Jonas accompanied artist Thao Nguyen Van, across Vietnam. There Jonas discovered the dragons that she drew at home and developed them further with colored paper. And so things embody Jonas’ practice as such, which relies on collaboration and reassembles parts from different cultures.
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In addition to her films, her drawings play a major role: on the one hand, there are “body drawings”, in which Jonas traces the outlines of her body as part of the performances. On the other hand, charming watercolors of bees, which are spread on paper as abstract Rorschach figures.
The emotional connection between nature and culture, which Jonas constantly revolves around, is particularly impressive. In the interaction of business, Heidi has created a micro bioenvironment that unites all the forces that make up Jonas’ world.
From New York to Berlin
When you listen to Pauline Seguin’s remarks at the exhibition and follow her talk passionately about her vision, you will immediately notice: Here sits a woman with a sense of the zeitgeist, for whom the works of her artists mean more than mere. own profit. The works are sold on commission, because Seguin does not represent Jonas, but works with her on a project basis.
Seguin and Jonas first met at the Gavin Brown Gallery in New York, where the French artist worked for seven years. But Seguin’s fascination with the art world began earlier. Her parents run a furniture art gallery in Paris; They were among the first to trade internationally in pieces by design greats such as Jean Prouvé.
[Heidi, Kurfürstenstr. 145, bis 30.7., Öffnungszeiten zum Gallery Weekend, Fr 29. April 18-21 Uhr, Sa/So 30. April/ 1. Mai 11-19 Uhr, heidigallery.com]
After studying art history, Seguin moved to America, but the pandemic brought about change. When Gavin Brown closed his gallery in the summer of 2020 and joined Gladstone Gallery as a partner, Seguin also had to reorient himself. I’ve only known Berlin from her travels, but the city seemed the right place for a fresh start.
Showroom in the former furniture store
She ended up in a part of Schöneberg where sex workers define the street view. But here, too, a lot has happened in the past few months. Seguin shares its space — a former furniture store with floor-to-ceiling windows and industrial charm — with CCA, a new contemporary art institution. The galleries also have to move to the opposite new building.
When Seguin opened here, the area was still in a transitional phase. It is very important for her to preserve the spirit of the region. Exposition that shuts itself off from the outside like a foreign body does not suit her. “In my eyes, the original Berlin can still be felt in this neighbourhood,” Seguin says. “The different layers of the city’s history lie in the old and new architecture, but above all in the people who live here.” In Heidi, the door is open to everyone.