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Oh Berlin, you culture creature you; hiding little pockets of inspiration on every street corner. A few weeks back we shadowed our photography team on their trip to this super fine city to find out what’s crackin’. We were not disappointed.
With shoot locations including the abandoned fairground in Spreepark, the Badeschiff outdoor swimming pool and a whole load of artistically graffitied streets, we were spoilt for choice for stories to tell. But we wanted more didn’t we? Greedy were our expectations to what was really going on in Berlin. So off we popped to Urban Outfitters Mitte to ask our fellow Urbanites what to check out…
Here our good friend Thomas pointed us east, to search down the Yassemeqk Kollectiv, a group of 13 French-Korean artists shacked up in their very own Berlin Studio. “Sold” we said. A few S-Bahn stops later (and at one point in the totally wrong direction) we found ourselves at their door.
To understand the Kollectiv and explain their creative intentions is a tricky task at best. So we leave in their capable hands to explain what it’s all about.
“Yassemeqk is a set of differentiated artistic personalities, each following their own path, refusing to sacrifice its diversity to alleged homogeneity. Yet over time, something tenuous and unspeakable happened, a kind of sail came to settle on the group. Born was a strange machine animated by its contradictions. Its parts cease to be contradictory to become complementary.”
There to greet us were 2 of the13, Mathias and Nicolas, covered in paint and bearing gifts of strong coffee and German biscuits. Caffeinated out of our minds, they showed us about the studio whilst we fired off some questions…
UO: So tell us about yourself?
YK: We are a French-Korean artists collective of 13 people. We settled two years ago in Berlin.
UO: What does Yassemeqk mean?
YK: Yassemeqk is a shortcut of a certain kind of Marseille slang, the one that we used to talk while we were students in the Fine arts school in Marseille. The closest translation would be “there are those guys “or “look who’s here”.
UO: There are quite a few of you within the collective, what does each one bring to the team?
YK: We all give some energy that keeps the machine going.
UO: The detail in some of your work is amazing. How long does it take to finish some of your pieces?
YK: Time doesn’t matter; we decide that a work is finished when we’ve reached a piece of satisfaction.
UO: What can you tell us about the art scene in Berlin?
YK: Because of the amazing number of galleries there are many different art scenes. Each day you can discover something new. That gives motivation because here you know that you are not the only artist in the place.
UO: Are there any other cities in the world you’d love to be working in?
YK: New York, Rome, Tel Aviv, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo, St Petersburg, Hamburg, it doesn’t matter, wherever you can enjoy both your life and your art practice.
UO: The content in your artwork is seen as “thought provoking”. What’s the process before putting brush to canvas/pencil to paper?
YK: Obviously there is a quest for information, pictures and thoughts before you start a painting, but the real challenge begins after putting brush to canvas.
UO: What are the good and bad with working with 13 people?
YK: The good part is that we can substitute someone’s lack of motivation by the motivation of another person.
UO: Ok, so we want to join the Yassemeqk Collective. In 3 words, give us some advice to make this happen…
YK: We have no intention to expand the collective. We’ve never thought about it. In fact it’s a matter of affinities.
UO: What’s your favourite piece of art created?
YK: Because of your question, some of us are injured due to the fight we had.
UO: What’s your favourite cartoon?
YK: Our favorite cartoons are the “Wonderfull Bisounours” (Care Bears) and the excellent “My Little Pony”.
UO: Would you rather have more time or more money?
YK: We think that “le fric, c’est chic”.
UO: Anything exciting coming up you’d like to share with us?
YK: Right now we have an exhibition in Hamburg, at the Affenfaust Gallerie until the June 22nd.
And with that we parted ways, in awe the art Yassemeqk had to offer.
Featured throughout, the above pictures are the work of…
Nicolas Frémion , Sinyoung Park ,Victoire Decavele, Juliette Déjoué ,Hadrien Alvarez, Nicolas Nicolini, Elsa Benzrihem, Mathias Schech, Elsa Dessarps, Yooree Yang. Sohyun Kim, Clement Couderc.
On our return, our photography team had been very busy indeed. Just check out these shots they captured on the streets of Berlin (Click the pics to shop at Urban Outfitters)