Mario Bermel is an art dealer and founder of Berlin-based gallery specializing in contemporary Asian, African and Oceanic Art. His gallery regularly works with established international artists and he selects the highest quality artworks coming from the exotic parts of the world. His criteria are always based on a timeless expression of beauty which shines through the most diverse historical and cultural backgrounds. Mario Bermel often takes part in international art fairs and for the occasion of our 2016 Berliner Liste he will present the works of two innovative artists, Nur Dann and Barbara Navi.
Mario Bermel Fine Arts is a successful gallery based in Berlin and it is known to work with many prestigious international clients located in far-flung places such as Asia and Africa. When was your gallery founded and what are its goals?
Mario Bermel: I started as an art dealer in 2010. I worked for private collectors and searched for masterpieces to build up their collections. It gave me the chance to travel around the world, build the strong network and obtain access to prestigious collections. My aim is to look for rare artworks, highlights with strong provenance. Now the target of the gallery is to work on the concept of crossover: it is to show masterpieces from any period of time and to create a dialogue between them. I am looking for art that is timeless, where past and future fusion. It is aesthetics and beauty that I would call universal, since they can be understood by any culture.
Mario Bermel takes part in various international art fairs and advises important collections. Can you tell us something about your experiences with art fairs in Europe? How do they compare to art fairs abroad? What are the main differences, if any?
MB: Every art fair has the same goal. It is to initiate an event which shows the artistic tendencies around the world and consequently to create a reliable art market. However, every art fair has its own characteristics, public image and program. These factors are related to geography, culture and traditions of a country and its attending audience. I would say that there is an established art market in Europe, but as the world is globalized, it is important to follow emerging markets too.
Your gallery also co-organizes international exhibitions between Berlin and Paris, where you collaborate with 24 Beaubourg. Would you say that contemporary art scenes in Berlin and Paris are similar, when it comes to main artistic tendencies? Which one seems to be more alternative?
MB: Berlin and Paris are definitely two different contemporary art scenes that is exactly why I like to work in both cities. Berlin and Paris are both important art centers in the world, where contemporary art flourishes and you can discover raising talents. Berlin is maybe more alternative art scene. It attracts a great amount of artists from all over the world. It brings huge diversity and this makes it really exciting. However, Paris has a very strong market. It is an international city with very important collectors, strong galleries, international auction houses, amazing exhibitions and private museums. I started to work with 24 Beaubourg as it is one of the best places in Paris. 24 Beaubourg organizes top international exhibitions and puts its focus on quality over quantity. We decided to build a bridge between Berlin and Paris, to exchange ideas, to give the chance to new artists and let them exhibit in both cities so they can strengthen their international position.
You’ll participate in our 2016 Berliner Liste with the artworks from Nur Dann and Barbara Navi. Can you tell us a bit more about these two artists?
MB: I discovered the works of Nur Dann in Glasgow. She studied at the Glasgow School of Art and had her final degree show last year. She does abstract artworks with studies on symmetric patterns, colours, symbols of the past, which remind us of things that we know from somewhere but we can not place them anywhere in time. It is also about meditation, transformation and existentialism. She tries to convey the quest, the search and the struggle between her inner world and the reality. She was selected this year at the Aon Community Art Awards in London and exhibited at the iconic Leadenhall Building. So, it is now the time to present such a huge talent to a broader audience in Berlin.
Barbara Navi is one of the most promising artists in Paris. She found a painting language that is close to the Leipziger Schule. She works on the issues related to history of art, myths and historical events. She collects data and images on the web and uses them as a tool to construct new realities. Technology changed our ways to represent reality. It was similar with the invention of photography, which changed painting at the beginning of the 20th century. Saturation, pixelation, overlapping of elements create a sense of mystery in her paintings. It is her first exhibition in Berlin and her paintings will surely have power to seduce great German collectors.
What are your expectations and plans when it comes to this year’s Berliner Liste? Are you looking to make connections with aspiring artists as well?
MB: For the Berliner Liste, we are proud to show two big talents from Berlin and Paris. These two ladies have a great career ahead and a magnificent place like Kraftwerk is an outstanding venue to exhibit emerging art. The Berliner Liste will surely bring interesting contacts and future projects. At the same time, we will enjoy making new discoveries.