Galerie Nagel Draxler zu Gast bei McLaughlin – The Class of Kirsi Mikkola The Young Painters Show in Berlin
05.03. – 24.04.2021
The Class of Kirsi Mikkola
In December 2019, Finnish artist Kirsi Mikkola showed up at our booth at Art Basel Miami Beach completely unexpectedly. Kirsi and the Basel Miami art circus – one couldn't imagine a greater contrast. Kirsi was there at the request of the Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo, who graduated from her class at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. "Whenever I opened the door of our room at the academy, I would see Amoako working." And now Amoako had asked her to come to Miami, where he had a presentation with Mariane Ibrahim Gallery in the Nova section - to stand by his side in the maelstrom of the art market going haywire.
Shortly thereafter, the world went into lockdown and physical encounters with art became nearly impossible. Virtual fairs, exhibitions and studio visits took its place. At the same time, Amoako Boafo's work quickly became a favorite asset of the flipperia, buyers who trade in art, usually without ever actually looking at it, and for whom "physical experience" is nothing more than a daily workout at the gym. Boafo’s art, however, proves strong enough to stand up to this, due in no small part to its great physical presence and makings.
We just read a brilliant article by Kenny Schachter about the NFT hype, in which he writes: "At present, most of these things look like screensavers or video-game stills and equate to (crypto) money chasing more (crypto) money (...) not having anything in the way of purpose other than its exchange value..." 
Kirsi Mikkola's artistic practice, as well as that of her student Amoako Boafo, form a counter-world to this scenario. Their works emerge, to use the perhaps somewhat pathetic phrase "existentially" from something that machines cannot simulate. The joke is, even if they could, it wouldn't matter. For computers can never catch up with what Walter Benjamin once called the "forgotten human" in manmade objects. Because it is not present in the result, but "forgotten," that is, it lives on as merely the possibility of memory (of the human).
We are extremely happy that Kirsi Mikkola has accepted our invitation to curate an exhibition with students from her Vienna class. This may be the first generation of artists who will actually be judged by whether they can keep up with what the virtual world holds out to art.
Saskia Draxler & Christian Nagel
The Class of Kirsi Mikkola. The Young Painters Show in Berlin
With works by:
Pourea Alimirzaee (1988, Teheran, Iran), Alexander Basil (1997, Archangel, Russia), Amoako Boafo (1984, Akra, Ghana), Nam Kim (1991, Seoul, Korea),
Laura Winter (1998, Moscow, Russia) & Kirsi Mikkola (1959, Helsinki, Finnland).
Curated by Kirsi Mikkola
 Kenny Schachter: “Kenny Schachter Gets Sucked Into the Surreal NFT Vortex… and Makes a Fortune Overnight in the New Virtual Art Market“, Opinion, artnet news, 24.2.2021.
The Class of Kirsi Mikkola
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