ArtReview / / 25.03.15

Haute Presents: Opulence

A tableau: a Renaissance-style clock, fancy and dripping with lace and pearls, on a mahogany table decked out in the colours of gold and champagne, preserving a timeless elegance. This is just one of the embellishments which show a conscientious and touching attention to detail, all part of the setting for the lusciously-titled Opulence, Haute Presents first birthday.

The baby of Maxine Noth, who relocated from England to Berlin in 2013, Haute Presents began staging large-scale events around Berlin last year, with the aim of providing an immersive environment for the appreciation of contemporary artworks in a variety of different mediums, providing a platform for exposure for up-and-coming artists based in Berlin and elsewhere. The project quickly expanded into a more permanent presence, with a residency in the GH36 gallery in Berlin Mitte.

Past events have played host to the glassworks of Thor Karlsen and Brandt Parker’s surrealist oil-painted dreamworlds alongside the bespoke gin-stylings of the Alchemist Marcus O’Shea; these artists all have a presence this evening, alongside the filmed work Beauty from Rino Stefano Tagliafierro and the graffiti-influenced work of French illustrator Stipone. O’Shea has created a bespoke gin specifically for the evening, the wittily-titled ‘Alchemist No. 5.’ – ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, cinnamon, juniper, tea trea and valerian. We are also treated to an apothecary-like display of his ‘Undrinkables’ – ‘Here even the earth is rich’, infused with photographic slides of palace gardens, gold and flowers; and `Here even the hills are strong’, infused this time with slides of mountains, iron filings and wild herbs. Alongside the grand piano, the decadent displays of fruit and taxidermy, and the elegant and ethereally naked golden post-Raphaelite beauties who linger silently throughout the crowd, The Alchemist transports us to a realm of magical grandeur as we peruse the artworks presented for our appreciation.

The exhibition also features a new installation by visual artist Ildikó Buckley, another Berlin-via-London relocatee, which was inspired by the old silent movie theatre on whose boards we tread, the old haunt of Marlene Dietrich which plays host to the evening. SMOKE // & \\  MIRRORS  takes its cue from the lights and mirrors of backstage dressing rooms, invoking the moments of glamour, illusion and revelatory becoming which occur within spaces of transformation. It lingers languorously down the side of the theatre wall, inspiring heady thoughts of costume and the giddiness of masquerade.

This is the fourth large scale event from Haute Presents, and things are looking pretty slick. The attention to detail in creating an immaculately-realised environment for the appreciation of the artworks is beautifully executed, and if Opulence is anything to go by, expectations can be deservedly high for future large-scale events – not least the upcoming collaboration with Berlin Alternative Fashion Week at the end of March. The ‘Where Art meets Fashion by Haute Presents’ runway will be showcasing alternative haute couture, installation, sculpture and blurring the line between art and fashion even further.

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