Rahmenprogramm – Nicole Cohen

There’s nothing evoking the decade of the 50s at Grill Royal, one of the art world’s favourite hangouts in Berlin, you might think. The interior design is quite contemporary, if enhanced with a 70s touch, and the audience far too stylish and sexy to have anything in common with the prudery of that decade. And yet the work by Nicole Cohen, based on an image from a 50s BBQ cookbook (Cohen’s work often engages with 50s interiors), poses an uncomfortably topical comment on the social goings-on at this restaurant. Watching and being watched might be fun, but on the other hand it forces the subjects populating the stage to play by the rules and take on roles others might want to see them in. Interestingly enough at this place assumedly frequented by the economically and intellectually affluent, members of a class that can afford a liberal attitude, coming as you are is not allowed. And this goes especially for women: nowhere do you see more girls that serve as mere decorative material than here (this is also the place where you’ll find men dining with the most expensive escorts). Just like the young girl in Cohen’s work pouring her neighbour a drink, they perform as they are expected to – while some of them probably secretly dream of what the girl in the picture might consider boring: a husband, kids and a BBQ in the garden…


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