Johann König

Johann König. Foto: Lukas Gansterer
Johann König. Foto: Lukas Gansterer

The gallerist Johann König answers the twelve questions of our questionnaire. On young talents, Piero Manzoni, and the smartphone as workplace

What are you working on right now?
Right now I am working on the second edition of the Messe in St. Agnes, an art fair that puts the focus on artists and not galleries. We have brought together more than 200 artworks from the primary and secondary markets and are making them accessible to a broad public as part of Berlin Art Week. 

What part of your work do you like best, what part do you like least?
One thing I like about this project in particular is introducing and seeking out new talent. There are a lot of young painters this time around, some of whose works are included in the ›Now! Painting in Germany Today‹ exhibition at the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg. The thing I like least is the bureaucracy that goes along with it.

Who or what has influenced you in your work?
My team, first and foremost. And listening to podcasts, especially in these coronavirus times—they have always given me new ideas.

What artwork do you keep coming back to?
One artwork that I always come back to, mostly in my imagination, is Piero Manzoni’s ›The Base Of The World‹. A concrete block in Denmark reads ›Socle du Monde‹, but the wrong way round. So if you picture the earth sitting on this pedestal and the pedestal resting upside down on the earth, it is a conceptual work of art. What fascinates me about it is the simplicity that art can have. Here the world is declared a work of art, so to speak. 

What would you do if you had nothing to do with art?
I started working in art because I couldn’t make art. I can’t make art, so I work with art.

What does your workspace look like?
My workplace is virtually non-existent. I work in and out of St. Agnes church, but I have no workplace per se. My workplace consists of my smartphone.

Where do you most like to spend time?
In our sculpture garden. It’s where nature, sculpture, and art become one. There you’re in the fresh air; the day is punctuated by the school opposite.

What space would you like to enter sometime?
The disused underground station at Moritzplatz, which was built under the present one in the 1920s, but was never never put into operation.

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re alone?
Listen to podcasts, read, or meditate.

What object enriches your everyday life?
My smartphone.

What are you reading at the moment?
Right now I’m reading Leif Randt’s ›Allegro Pastell‹. A very interesting portrait of our time.

What was your last trip before the lockdown? Your first when it lifted?
My last trip was to The European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) and my first after that was a trip to Sweden to bring my daughter to her grandparents.

Messe in St. Agnes
12—20 SEP 2020
Special Opening Hours Berlin Art Week
12—13 SEP, noon—8pm
König Galerie
Sarah Morris und Alexander Kluge. Cats and ghosts
15 AUG—20 SEP 2020

You might also like this