Out of the White Cube: An Intervention by Alexander Levy in the FvF Apartment - Friends of Friends / Freunde von Freunden (FvF)

Out of the White Cube: An Intervention by Alexander Levy in the FvF Apartment


The quickest way to change your perspective on a thing is to take it out of its established setting. This goes for relationships, ideas, and, as we experienced in a recent collaboration with gallerist and friend Alexander Levy, artworks.

Taking art out of the white-walled gallery, rigid institution or flurry of an art fair, and placing it in the approachable setting of the FvF Apartment meant that the context of the two-day event became as much about having meaningful exchanges with the artists as viewing the individual works.

Experimentation is an integral part of Alexander’s practice as a gallerist, just as it is for the small but fine roster of international young artists represented by the Berlin-based space. Alexander grew up in the art world – his father runs the established LEVY Galerie in Hamburg. Yet, Alexander wanted to branch out on his own, and his inaugural exhibition in early 2012, showing the progressive, often controversial, works of Julius von Bismarck, portended the change in direction he intended to take. Since then his exhibitions have become a must-visit on any gallery goers list.

Back at the apartment, for the first day of the event Alexander chose to present a single painting by Spaniard Vicky Uslé. This was juxtaposed on the second day with a kinetic tabletop sculpture by German artist Felix Kiessling. We had the opportunity to spend some time with Felix earlier this year, but it was our first encounter with the dynamic work and personality of Vicky.

Born in Santander, Spain, Vicky is now based in New York. El Viajero (2013), the oil on canvas work presented at the FvF Apartment, is a reliable representation of her greater oeuvre. Here, textured brushstrokes forming a number of amorphous shapes in the center of the large canvas, resulted in a indefinite form. Rendered in autumnal tones, her strokes are carefully layered, some thinner, others broader. Both sweeping and restricted, the effect of her touch results in a tension as the eye darts from one shape to the next, resting momentarily on the bold hints of color throughout. The work was well suited to the apartment’s large western wall, with the mood of the work transforming as day fell into night.

Conversely, Zeit (2011) reveals Felix’s tendencies towards meticulousness. Although in the recent past he’s worked on a much larger scale – think 3.5 tons of stone hung from the ceiling of Alexander’s gallery – here he focused on the diminutive. The inner mechanisms of a clockwork were placed in the center of a black table, one arm of the clock spun, dragging a small piece of chalk along behind it. As the evening carried on around the object, only a whispery hint of sound was emitted from the fleeting action, as circle of chalk slowly appeared.

After a short introduction by Alexander, the artists casually discussed their work with our visitors. Slight rearrangements to the furniture and décor made it possible to redefine the atmosphere of the apartment, transforming it into a space for the discussion of ideas, opinions and concepts. It didn’t take long for guests to get into the spirit of the evening and before long the apartment was buzzing with introductions and exchanges between artists and visitors alike.