Tanja Wagner

Tanja Wagner. Foto: Daniel Faró
Tanja Wagner. Foto: Daniel Faró

The gallerist Tanja Wagner answers our questionnaire. On wool socks, art as a broadening of horizons—and the lack of female artists at high-profile exhibitions

What are you working on right now?
I am very much looking forward to Grit Richter’s upcoming exhibition, which will open during Berlin Art Week—right now we’re working at full speed to finalise everything.

What part of your work do you like best, what part do you like least?
Talking with artists, curators, and collectors, mediating and bringing together people and interests. I enjoy accompanying a work of art from its creation until its exhibition or until it finds a new home—that’s what I like most! The bureaucratic things are less fun, but par for the course.

Who or what has influenced you in your work?
My first intentional museum visits as a teenager and noticing how art broadens, inspires, and affects our horizons—those were the most influential factors in my decision to become a gallery owner. They are also the reason why I still engage with art on a daily basis.

What artwork do you keep coming back to?
Probably to the works of Caspar David Friedrich. It’s so easy to get lost in the vastness and landscapes.

What would you do if you had nothing to do with art?
I can’t imagine, so I’ll have to pass on answering that one.

What does your workspace look like?
We have a lovely office adjacent to the gallery spaces, with high ceilings and a view of the garden in the backyard. We kept a plant in the office until the lockdown, Esmeralda, but she unfortunately didn’t make it. We’ve just now decided that we would like to have a plant again. We always have favourite works by our artists (whichever favourite works we happen to have in storage) hanging on the walls around us.

What space would you like to enter sometime?
I can’t think of any spaces at the moment, but I decided this summer that I would like to see more Land Art.

What is your favourite thing to do when you’re alone?
Reading, meditating, knitting wool socks, although I’m not so good at it and the socks are usually never finished. But I like to start various socks in various colours.

What object enriches your everyday life?
Not so much objects, but people. My husband, my friends and family, the people I work with.

What are you reading at the moment?
›Where is Ana Mendieta?‹ (1999) by Jane Blocker, who analyses the Cuban-born artist’s fascinating works in depth. The title comes from banners raised during a demonstration in front of the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1992 and is a reminder not only of the suspicious and tragic circumstances of the artist’s death, but also of the conspicuous absence of female artists at high-profile exhibitions.

What was your last trip before the lockdown? Your first when it lifted?
My last flight before the lockdown was to a meditation retreat in Wales, where I spent seven days in complete silence. I travelled to Munich shortly afterwards for a meeting at the Haus der Kunst for Kapwani Kiwanga’s solo exhibition, which will open there in early October. Next week I’m going to Frankfurt, where I’m excited to see Frank Walter’s retrospective at the MMK Museum of Modern Art. It will include a new installation work by Kiwanga, and I’ve been invited to a panel discussion on digitalization in the art world.

Grit Richter. Mixed Feelings
11 SEP—31 OCT 2020
Special Opening Hours Berlin Art Week
9—10 SEP 10am—7pm
Opening Day 11 SEP 10am—8pm with Opening Reception 6—9pm
12—13 SEP 10am—7pm

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