New pop-up exhibitions every Friday!
QueensLand by Mikey Woodbridge
Mikey Woodbridge is from Stockton in Australia.
He has been a Berlin resident since 2015.
Influenced by indigenous cave art in its devotion to important cultural legend through the generations, Mikey portrays a transcendental state by using mystical symbols/icons through his artwork. Mikey has always questioned inherit and conventional systems of identity and opportunities. From an early age he explored dance and music that would give him his earliest tools of poetic expression. After leaving school Mikey was lured to New York and London in his own journey of self discovery leading him into the fashion world where he engaged with celebrated photographers, designers and queer club culture.
Mikey first learned to paint his own face in New York and explored creating looks for himself that soon evolved into statements that set him apart from other party goers.
After a dance production which Mikey was involved in made a tour stop to Berlin, Mikey decided to return and experiment with many of the international creative people of his generation who had also recently moved to Germanys capital.
After five years devouring Berlins night life and becoming a regular figure in its flourishing underground queer club culture, the covid pandemic brought things to a halt. During this time Mikey was invited to set up residence at The Ballery in Schöneberg and work alongside director Simon Williams on exploring new creative ideas.
Now with galleries, performance spaces and night life closed and with access to creative space and art supplies, Mikey delved into a period of constant creation. A new language developed, painting symbols with black ink. Smaller sized works soon evolved into larger scale paintings with longer brush strokes developing and a new confidence allowing for greater freedom in embracing the energy of each new painting.
This new painting style found its way on to outfits for music videos, fabrics and ceramics.
Inspired by many of the artworks that were flowing in and out of The Ballery at the time, in 2021 colour was introduced into the palette. First starting with primary colours and a period of exploring ones connection to the perception of colour, Mikey soon took his use of colours to new extremes incorporating spray paint, oil and even fruit!
This exhibition features a selection of small and large scale paintings made in house at The Ballery between 2020 and 2022
How do twins view twinship?
Good things come in pairs. Twins by Twins explores the incomparable bond formed from sharing a womb and how this connection shapes the lived experience of the twin artist. The closeness that twins experience often gives them a particular perspective on life: balancing a special connection and external similarities with the desire to develop a distinct identity. This tension between sameness and uniqueness has the potential to both bring them together and tear them apart.
Instead of showing an “outsider” view of a topic often muddled by stereotypes and misconceptions, the work presented is an intimate portrayal of how it feels to be a twin – from the perspective of twin artists.
Chris Phillips interview
Hello Chris, for people who don’t know you, could you please give a short introduction to yourself.
My name is Chris Phillips, I’m originally from Brazil and I’ve been in Berlin for 9 years. I’m the founder of the art collective Pornceptual and one of the co-founders of the queer festival WHOLE. I’ve been working in Berlin as an artist and creative director for different projects.
How would you say you have evolved as an artist during this time?
I definitely found my true self in Berlin because I was able to experience freedom like never before. I arrived here being quite naive, so the past decade has also showed me how to embrace the darkness of life while still staying optimistic about the future. As an artist, I’ve learned that collaborating is the best way of staying creative.
I met you in 2013 and I have been following your career with much interest. In fact your first Berlin show in 2014 at The Ballery ‘My Berlin Tales’ seems long ago and yet here we are again in 2022 with a new solo exhibition TWINS. I think I suggested this idea of twins to you and I guess I was curious about how you would approach it. As I have yet to see the full series and I have yet to get to know the work, perhaps you can say something about what took you in the direction you have gone in and what has been your process?
My work has always been very focused on eroticism and nakedness, so I was intrigued about working with a theme that wasn’t sex-related this time. When you are a twin, you can’t really escape this subject. People are easily fascinated by it and they have a series of weird questions that they ask you all the time. So, before every shoot, I was asking all the twins what questions they get asked often annoyed them the most. I would then ask them what their special connection is. This was setting the mood of the shoot.
Looking at the work that you have now developed, what can you say about the process and the final selection?
My goal is to present a more experimental process, so I’m working with different materials including fabric and resin. So instead of only framing photos on a white wall, I’m exploring the concept of photos as sculptures. Since the process is quite experimental, I can’t re-create some of the images more than once.
What would you do next in your research as an artist?
Finding new ways of connecting with people while creating art. Also to get deeper into understanding queer identities and pushing sexual freedom.
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