Saints and Sinners
at The Ballery in Schöneberg

Leonardo Julian Rossi,'Bacchus', 2015, oil on canvas. 

When it comes to organizing an art exhibit, Suzy Royal, together with co-curator Nadir Catalano, knows how to provide a pop. Her latest show, Saints and Sinners, that opened the 12th of February and runs until the 7th of March at the Ballery, Nollendorfstraße 11, 10777, Berlin, entertains with its snaking theme of Saints and Sinners. The show is a teasing study into the ‘real’ lives of Saints and the very earthly surrounding from which they emerge.

Saints and Sinners showcases 10 international artists, all who play with the idea of saints or sinners, and how these images connect Christianity to the religions that came before it. At the time of its inception, Christianity needed a scheme to win over the people. The saints are a way for mere mortals, victims all to the temptations of the seven deadly sins, to pave a way for devotion to and redemption through the church.  With her collection of artists, Ms Royal weaves this theme throughout the exhibition, balancing the razor thin line between sin and virtue with elegance.

The saints are exemplified with Lucio Palmieri’s exerpts from his Saint’s Calendar. Consisting of collage and mixed media, the pieces were originally created as a project for Dolce and Gabbana, he portrays a saint for each day of the year, 40 of which are displayed at the Ballery. Take your pick, there is a saint for you, to whom you can take your pain or dream, and plead your case. Each small piece is lush, with gold and colors, reflecting the quasi-religious fervor that is often paid to the fashion world.

Theodore Brouskomatis, 'David Bowie' 

Andrea Galad, with The Flayed Man, the epidermis delicately peeled off so that the integrity of the underlying tissue is complete, takes one by surprise with its reminiscence of renaissance art. His Solome with the head of St. John the Baptist is creepily realistic while beautifully rendered with his unique wax technique over the photographs. The frames too, are found by him in various places, and paired specifically with each work.

Leonardo Julian Rossi has large, bold paintings combining academic training with modern paint smearing; represent the pagan aspect of the show. His oil on canvas Satyr as well as Bacchus, add depth to the exhibition with his use of chiaroscuro.

Eni Steinhausen Amor“, 2015 Wood, paper maché, canvas, silver leaf (sculpture) 

Then there is Thodoros Brouskomatis, the Greek artist who creates miniature shrines to deceased stars. animATheka is a small reliquary where deceased pop icons are shown with saintly regard. Meticulously done, each one has different attributes, in the same way a saint would have an attribute.
Eni Steinhausen, who lives in Berlin, created pieces specifically for the show. Molding the idea of the saints into rich sculptures he hints at fighter saints like perhaps Joan of Arc, complete with silver leaf with ‘Amor’, and perhaps a holy relic in his installation ‘Untitled’. Hector de Gregorio, with his photography of painstakingly created costumes, hints at how modern saints could be viewed. He dresses his friends and poses them with theatrical gestures and costumes resulting in rich, painterly photographs that ooze mystery.

Hector de Gregorio, 'Portrait of Ernesto Tomasini',2008. Giclée and oil varnish on archival paper. 

Stanka Koleva, Bulgarian, plays with religious ideas instead of representing specific saints develops ideas from the Bible. Her ethereal, ghostly images are unique; only one of each is ever printed.

Kiril Bikov creates a saintly atmosphere with his large format, posed pictures; the seeming suffering of a man wrapped in barbed wire as the barbs cut into his flesh, but with a face is serene and unafraid. Michal Andrysiak presents a video instillation showing the act of original sin. From the instillation are extracted stills of Adam and Eve after the biting of the apple, suffering from the agony of repressed desire.

Kiril Bikov, 'The Martyr', 2015. Injected fine art print on archival platinum paper. 

Aaron McElroy introduces the purely sinner side with his simple, almost banal shots of the human figure. Hung simply with clips or magnets, a raw feel accompanies his work.

From the viewers perspective, whether religious or not, the logic of the saint system emerges as the fledgling Christian Church’s endeavor to attract lost souls. Saints and Sinners is a voyeuristic glimpse into the human spirit, and offers a connection into the mysterious world of Christianity.


Saints and Sinners at the Ballery
Nollendorfstraße 11, 10777 Berlin
12 February to 7 March, 2016
 Mon thru Friday 15-19:00, Saturday 12-17:00
T: 01755597977

By Sasha Prince
Sasha is a classical singer and animal lover and has been in Berlin since 2014. She is from the US and the place she lived the longest is Austin, Texas.

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