Petrit Halilaj & Alvaro Urbano with Annette Frick. Die Blüten von Berlin
Die Blüten von Berlin, an exhibition named after a song written and performed by the late drag queen Ovo Maltine (né Christoph Josten, b.1966, Rech – d. 2005, Berlin). Showcasing works by artists and partners Petrit Halilaj (b. 1986, Kostërrc, Kosovo) and Alvaro Urbano (b. 1983, Madrid, Spain), along with photographs by Annette Frick (b. 1957, Bonn, Germany), the exhibition commemorates the individual histories connected to a place as it continues to adapt, evolve and grow.
The exhibition begins with a selection of Frick’s black and white analog photographs, set against a backdrop of larger-than-life floral sculptures by Halilaj and Urbano. Made with steel yet handpainted in a delicate blue, the sculptures emulate gargantuan forget-me-nots, which in the context of the exhibition become nostalgic impressions alongside Frick’s portraits of Berlin’s queer community.
Ovo Maltine, like many of the people Frick photographed, was a dear friend of the artist. Frick’s close proximity to her subjects is evident in these images, drawing significant parallels to the candid and poignant work of American photographer Nan Goldin, whose subjects were largely her friends within the queer and trans community, sexuality, drug addiction, and the HIV crisis.
Working with the interstices of memory and personal archives, the three artists approach their subjects with care and dedication, preserving details that bear witness to what once was. In this way, the exhibition becomes a testimony of the unwritten moments that shaped and continues to affect our personal and cultural circumstances, alongside the gallery’s own evolution.
Annette Frick was born in Bonn in 1957. From 1978 to 1988 she studied Fine Arts at the Fachhochschule für Kunst und Design with Arno Jansen, Daniel Spoerri and Robert van Ackern, where she also completed her Master of Fine Arts in 1988. At the same time, she worked as a photographer for various scientific institutes, published texts on art and photography, and founded the Hafensalon in her Cologne studio together with Achim Riechers and Doris Frohnapfel. In 1996 she moved to Berlin. She received the Emprise Art Award Düsseldorf in 2006; completed a research study for the DEFA Foundation with her film on Herbert Tobias in 2008, shown in the Panorama program of the Berlinale in 2011; and received the Cité Internationale des Arts scholarship Paris in 2016/2017. In recent years, her solo exhibitions have been shown in Frankfurt, Cologne, Berlin, Bremen and Leipzig. She won the Ellen-Auerbach-Stipendium from the Akademie der Künste in 2018 and the Dieter-Ruckhaberle-Förderpreis in 2020. She was also among the 2020-2021 grantees from the Pollock Krasner Foundation.
Petrit Halilaj (b. 1986, Kostërrc, Skenderaj-Kosovo) and Alvaro Urbano (b. 1983, Madrid) are two visual artists based in Berlin. Mostly working individually, their common practice combines specific aspects of each artist’s interests and complements each other’s research. Their joint production reflects on the dichotomy between built environments and nature, and on the possibilities of negotiation between these two realities: in that regard, the inhabitants that occupy these liminal spaces suscitate a particular interest for the two artists.