South African Exhibitors Debut in Germany · Interview with The Kalashnikovv Gallery

The Kalashnikovv Gallery is a project established in 2013 by South African collaborators M.J. Turpin and Matthew Dean, who are now the gallery directors. They created an innovative hybrid environment, which is a combination of independent artist-run space and commercial gallery. The Kalashnikovv is dedicated to providing support to emerging and established artists and in our interview with the gallery directors Turpin and Dean we talked about their current projects as well as their plans for 2016 Berliner Liste art fair.

Despite the fact that Kalashnikovv Gallery is based in Johannesburg in South Africa, you decided to take a long trip to Germany to participate in 2016 Berliner Liste art fair. What is the main motivation behind this decision?

M.J. Turpin and Matthew Dean: We suppose the main reason is both strategy and timing, strategy being we feel its time to spread our wings into the European market and timing being we open Kalashnikovv Berlin 10 days after Berliner Liste on the 29th of September. We a super excited and honoured to create a new home base into Europe through our new gallery in Berlin. For more info and an invitation to our inaugural launch please feel free to mail us at

Is this your first time to participate in an art fair in Europe? If not, can you tell us a bit more about your previous experiences?

MJT and MD: Yes, this will be our first fair in Europe, we have participated in all the major fairs in South Africa and its time to expand our program and reach.

Kalashnikovv Gallery currently represents 13 contemporary artists from South Africa. What is the nature of their work, do they work in traditional or rather experimental media?

MJT and MD: The nature of their work is wide and differing both in theoretical frameworks and aesthetics. As far as experimental media goes, we facilitate project based blocks in both our galleries for this but in the art fair context which this interview primarily revolves around experimental media is a tough sell usually but never say never, only time will tell but for now its probably the smart idea to stick to so-called traditional mediums.

You collaborate with many prestigious clients, such as Nokia, Nike, and Converse. Is your collaboration based on producing unique promotional campaigns and what was your most memorable project so far?

MJT and MD: It’s a whole mix really, in Johannesburg we are so much more than just a gallery, we are creating a new wave of both artists and viewers, new platforms, new ways of appreciating, viewing and defining what art is and can be. As far as memorable projects go, every project has been so different, therefore each memory is uniquely special in their own right.

What are your plans and expectations when it comes to showcasing at 2016 Berliner Liste? Are you interested in making connections with some aspiring international artists as well?

MJT and MD: We think it’s best not to have expectations when venturing into the unchartered territory, we can only but trust in ourselves, our artists and the openness of the German art going public. To answer the second part of the question, yes indeed, making connections is imperative to us and the new gallery space and we will definitely endeavour to meet and include both German and international artists/curators that we feel share our aesthetic and theoretical inclinations and visions without a doubt! Bring it Berlin.

Featured image: Portrait of M.J Turpin and Matthew Dean – Courtesy of The Kalashnikovv Gallery