Blain|Southern opened its Berlin gallery on 30 April 2011 with an exhibition by the celebrated British artists Tim Noble and Sue Webster.
Monumental both in scale and ambition, Turning the Seventh Corner is a site-specific installation inspired by the tombs of the Egyptian Pharaohs which has been made in collaboration with the internationally acclaimed architect David Adjaye.
The new gallery, a concrete, steel and glass structure with a floor space of more than 1,300 square metres, was formerly the printing presses of the German Liberal newspaper, Der Tagesspiegel. The publication’s motto, ‘Rerum cognoscere causas’, or ‘To know the causes of things’, has also inspired the artists.
Tim Noble and Sue Webster are best known for their ‘shadow sculptures’ in which they use discarded rubbish, animals and other matter that are then illuminated from a single light source creating portraits of themselves. Their work also includes light sculptures which elevate the kitsch of low art forms, such as Las Vegas strip hotels and tattoo parlours, into iconic tropes of pop art.
Turning The Seventh Corner draws on these and other practices. However, the artists’ desire for an element of surprise and mystery has led them to hold back on revealing every detail of the work, which they have created as a journey of exploration.
Upon arriving at the doorway on the second floor of the gallery the viewer enters a labyrinth of man-made tunnels, dimly lit with narrowing passages. These ascend and descend in a spiral-like manner and have been designed to disorientate and, in doing so, steer the mind towards a more open and meditative state, one alive to enquiry.
After passing the seven corners, an allusion to the Book of Proverbs, 9:1 - "Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars", the viewer enters a tomb-like area where the artwork by Tim Noble and Sue Webster, one of beauty, surprise, wonder and enlightenment, is revealed.
Says Webster: “Since I was a teenager I’ve been enthralled by the idea of Berlin and by the way it has attracted the creative energies of two of my great heroes David Bowie and Nick Cave - and so following in this great tradition, Tim and I are proud to initiate our most ambitious project to date in this fabulous city.”