Berlin: still a magnet for artists?
Now, the artist Brunson was a member of the seminal Canadian artists collective general idea known for its radical interventions into the art world through a decorative ISM institutional critique and queer theory among other things. After spells in Toronto and New York Brunson has lived in Berlin for some years and he's showing in Berlin as one of ats in the show Studio Berlin in the famous nightclub burgoyne. I spoke to a about the show. He's troubling work in it and about how he feels about. Berlin Enter today. You're showing right now in Berlin in the begun club and I wanted to get a sense of what Bergen means to Berlin is and two people in Berlin because it symbolic in in the sense that it connects the art community in the nightclub community and those two things are very important in terms of the Cultural Community of Berlin right? yes. The Art Community, the club, community in the queer community, it's a powerhouse and it's a history. So to stands in the toll for all that's wild and wonderful about Berlin I mean it's a legendary. So I'm presuming that many of your hit many of your audience already know more about it than I do probably. is somewhere like is a place you've been to is it a club? The attracts people from across the sort of coal true sphere of Berlin. Berlin is a wonderful place and Burgon reflects that in many ways. So for example, it's not augist. So as a seventy, four year old man I can go and you know the doorman will let me in. while throwing out a twenty four year old hipster. And that's a wonderful thing for it'll person it's wonderful to be able to feel you have access in a way that I I wouldn't have in New York, you know, and you know there's different parts to it as the Panorama Bar, which is a different atmosphere than the main club, and then there's lab, which is a gay sex club on the ground floor as well and Then they haven't enor- this enormous space in the back, which is kind of the center of this exhibition at which is only used for special projects. It's otherwise Closed. And can you say something about the word that you're showing in in that in the exhibition called Studio Berlin and we're led to believe that some of the words but not all of them is that right are made during lockdown but others Oh, existing works. This was not made during lockdown was made before It's called white flag. It's an enormous About five meter long. American flag. Which I purchased just after nine eleven on Ebay. When I was living in New York I was below fourteenth. Street. I was in I was in the nine eleven territory. And ever since that time what had wanted to make a series of American flags which are are distressed in the sense that they're covered with the very same sort of greasy strange doffs, the covered all of downtown Manhattan at that time. And I was finally able to carry those out here and You know it's having also done so much work about the AIDS pandemic and now looking through the Koran of the covert pandemic as well. It's all these all these human tragedies have flow together rather nicely, and the the flag is like a gigantic emblem for some sort of imperialist decay I think and it So I don't know why it works very well in this exhibition, it's it feels like a centerpiece to me. and very kindly put it in in a very grand location, the middle of the Great Hall and I'm very, very happy to see it. There is. Also symbolic use of white in terms of relationship to a flower that she's in cemeteries in Europe as well. The White Iris White Flag as a plant that I worked with a lot at first of all to poisonous plant and I'm I'm very fond of poisonous plants. They're usually related not only poisons to medicines and to the whole subject of health and to death and so on. But the white flag was a traditional flower in. Arabic cemeteries and north. African cemeteries and IT'S A it's a plant that migrated with the Muslim people. So it migrated to Spain and it migrated to Europe as a whole and here of course, is a huge Muslim community with the especially the Turkish and Syrian and so on and so forth and there's a big Muslim cemetery. Here I'd plan to whole installation that I never did using that white flour and I worked. I've worked a lot with I've worked a lot with white also with the Christmas, rose, which is also a poisonous plant which blooms totally the wrong time of year it blooms at Christmas and and it's a flower associated with witchcraft and so on in northern. Europe? So yes, I've I've worked a lot with wide tennis and with white plants. Especially, I mean talking about the sort of entropy of the end of imperialism. CETERA. Seems to me that again, the timing of showing this now in the context of coronavirus, which is obviously just I mean as we speak, I think one hundred, eighty, five, thousand people have died in the US for instance. It seems such a pertinent image now is that also part of your thinking about showing it at this moment? Yes well, you know it's so amazing. The actually on nine eleven itself people couldn't believe that thirty, five, hundred Baruch and said died in one day now thirty five hundred is nothing you know like it's like a drop in the bucket. The world has changed indeed I. Feel Very, you know I lived in New York for very long time. I feel very lucky indeed to be here in Berlin. Where the death rate is so low and the the the people take the disease. So seriously, and the medical system is so amazingly good for everybody not just for the few. And and so much space and light. Germans love space and light and the. Is planned. is to give everybody as much space in light as possible. No matter how poor you are or how rich.