NATHALIE DJURBERG & HANS BERG, It Will End in Stars, 2018 at Julia Stoschek Collection

NATHALIE DJURBERG & HANS BERG

It Will End in Stars, 2018

Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin

From 25 January until 26 April 2020

by Elda Oreto

It Will End in Stars (2018) is a virtual reality project by Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg for Acute Art (www.acuteart.org). The project, directed and curated by Daniel Birnbaum, will be exhibited until April 26, 2020 at the Julia Stoschek Collection (www.jsc.art). Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg create an interactive VR work that combines the aesthetic of a video game with that of an escape room. The work investigates freedom of choice and the way each of us reacts to different possibilities. In order to make tangible the importance of decisions and intentions in human action, the work requires the viewer to move and operate “actively” within the virtual space. A sensor detects hand movements and causes the VR to react accordingly.

Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, It Will End in Stars, 2018, virtual reality. Courtesy of the artist and Acute Art.

The viewer of the work, once the VR glasses are on, has access to the virtual landscape: in a dark wood faces the first decision — to enter an abandoned hut or to remain in the woods, wandering aimlessly, exposed to unknown dangers. Entering the hut, inside, there is a gray wolf sitting on an armchair near a fireplace. Around him are scattered various objects, including a gramophone and a skull. Enclosed in a small birdcage, hanging from the ceiling, there is a miniature woman. Djurberg’s disturbing images recall the typical motifs of her work, creating an alienating and obscene world, like those described in certain nursery rhymes for children. Djurberg continues her artistic research into the archetypes of western mindsets, with her charcoal drawings in black and white, together with text inserts and a soundtrack by Hans Berg. Strange words appear suspended in mid-air. They remind us of the voices in our dreams: they make sense but are truncated and only partially intelligible. Among the writings, two passages captivate the attention: Let’s keep memories they make me company… I am scared… 

Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, It Will End in Stars, 2018, virtual reality. Courtesy of the artist and Acute Art.

The interactive element of It Will End in Stars requires the viewer to find an element or an object that activates the next level, in order to continue along the path and reach the end. The viewer must perform various actions: offering the wolf a cigarette, lighting it, touching the skull, touching the gramophone to make the wolf dance and finally, touching the woman in the cage. Performing these operations in succession allows to enter another dimension — the patio of a temple, where the tiny woman becomes a giant. While flashing, the woman turns into a skeleton that resembles some kind of primitive deity. Walking under the huge legs of the giant, who, among other things, seems to have cannibalistic intentions, one is able to escape the temple, becoming free into a starry universe.

Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, It Will End in Stars, 2018, virtual reality. Courtesy of the artist and Acute Art.

In It Will End in Stars, each choice leads to another choice and then to more. Time is always an eternal now, with a constantly flexible perimeter. If a choice we have made has not led us anywhere, we can correct it and revise it; we can go back and change it. There is no “game-over.” The past is reversible, without guilt. This double interactive and simultaneously programmed nature of VR creates a sense of openness to infinite possibilities accompanied by a limitation of choice.

Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, It Will End in Stars, 2018, virtual reality. Courtesy of the artist and Acute Art.

In Djurberg & Berg VR, what we encounter is more than a crossroad, it is like a three way junction. The past lies behind us, with the choices we have made (like the dark, endless wood); ahead of us is a future with two possibilities: following established habits (like the wolf on the chair who smokes cigarettes), repeating the choices of the past infinitely, inevitably leading us to the same point, as in a vicious circle, or changing, overcoming our fears (the woman in the cage) and evolving into something unexpected and bigger (the starry sky).

Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg, It Will End in Stars, 2018, virtual reality. Courtesy of the artist and Acute Art.

Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg’s research revolves around the primary fears and instincts of the human soul – jealousy, avarice, lust – analyzing them when they are still in a primitive and concrete state and not yet defined abstractly as feelings, bound by logical measures and moral norms. The complex symbolic universe they create represents a short journey inside the dark zone of our soul, reflecting the opportunities that a person encounters in every moment of life, on order to achieve what he wants. Their work combines Djurberg’s characteristic clay animation, which she developed in 2001, and Berg’s hypnotic musical compositions and sound effects. By mixing cinema, sculpture and performance, their most recent works have also created immersive environments rich in symbolic meaning. These works include We Are Not Two We Are One (2008) and Tiger Licking a Girls’ Butt (2004), which present a visionary world made up of grotesque figures and anguished atmospheres. The artistic duo exhibited together at various events including The Secret Garden (2016) at the Shanghai 21st Century Minsheng Art Museum, China; the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art and the Australian Center for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. They have also participated in group exhibitions, including the 53rd Venice Biennale (2009). 

Nathalie Djurberg was born in Lysekil, Sweden in 1978, and she received an MFA at the Malmö Art Academy, Sweden in 2002. Hans Berg was born in Rättvik, Sweden in 1978, and he is a musician, producer and composer, working mainly with electronic music. Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg live and work in Berlin, Germany.

Kris Lemsalu Malone & Kyp Malone Lemsalu, Love Song Sing-Along

Kris Lemsalu Malone & Kyp Malone Lemsalu, Love Song Sing-Along

KW INSTITUTE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART, Berlin

From 29 February to 3 May 2020 

Kris Lemsalu creates sculptures, installations, and performances that fuse the animal kingdom with humankind, nature with the artificial, beauty with repulsion, lightness with gravity, and life with death. She combines animal bodies and porcelain objects with found (natural) material such as furs, leather, seashells, wool, or paper in theatrical installations that whisk us off into a world of fantastic imagination. Endeavoring to erase any distance between herself and her objects, the artist also uses her installations as stages for performance pieces in which her sculptures become an integral part of her attire. Her works carry the memory of local mythologies onto the surfaces of objects that resemble artifacts and byproducts of contemporary civilization.
 
Since Performa 17, Kris Lemsalu has collaborated with New York-based artist and multi-instrumentalist Kyp Malone (born in 1973, US) to create enhanced installations and performances encompassing sculpture, ceramics, animation, performative elements as well as music and sound. The exhibition at KW presents a newly conceived body of work as a continuation of the multifaceted collaboration between the—in the meantime married—duo. The large-scale installation will take up the entire third floor and will serve as an environment in which the lines between objects, bodies, and action are blurred.

Kris Lemsalu Malone & Kyp Malone Lemsalu, 2019, photo: Eric Martin

During the opening Kris Lemsalu Malone and Kyp Malone Lemsalu will enliven this environment with a new performance to create an enchanting spatial continuum. Through the ephemeral embodiment the duo enhances the blending of seemingly opposed dualities such as object and subject, animals and mankind, life and death, as well as the power and vulnerability of longstanding mythologies, rituals and one’s own narrative.

HAPTIC FEEDBACK at Thomas Schulte Gallery / Berlin

HAPTIC FEEDBACK at Thomas Schulte Gallery / Berlin

THOMAS SCHULTE GALLERY BERLIN

UNTIL 22 FEB 2020

WALEAD BESHTY, DAVID HARTT, CAROLYN LAZARD,MARIALOBODA,IÑIGOMANGLANO- OVALLE, JEAN-LUC MOULÈNE, MICHAEL MÜLLER, JULIA PHILLIPS, WILMER WILSON IV

Galerie Thomas Schulte presents a group exhibition featuring works by nine artists who explore our changing perceptions of reality, identity, and a shift in mental space. Haptic Feedback deals with the changing psychological relationship to physical space and our sense of belonging and touch under the influence of digital technologies.

Iñigo Manglano, Ovalle – Die Hütte / The Hut 2013-2020, Charred Cedar 350x350x400 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Thomas Schulte

The exhibition was developed in collaboration with the Philadelphia-based artist of the gallery, David Hartt.
The term “haptic feedback” dates backto the late 1990s and was first used by computer game developers who installed haptic technologies within game controllers. These technologies create a tactile experience by applying forces, vibration and movement to the user. Simple versions are for example the vibrating of the phone in response to manual input or the rumbling of the controller during computer games.

David Hartt / Negative Space, 2019 / tapestry, 290 x 515 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Thomas Schulte

Today however, haptic feedback is understood more as a form of communication between man and machine than a specific technological application. It involves everything from the creation of a sense of presence, an emotional connection and affects our well-being and how we explore and interact with objects. At a time, when intimacy is increasinglydefined by touch screen interactions,the works in the exhibition can be seen as explorations and as the reaffirmation of the importance of haptic feedback in relation to our physical and bodily identity. The exhibition features works by Walead Beshty, David Hartt, Carolyn Lazard, Maria Loboda, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, Jean-Luc Moulène, Michael Müller, Julia Phillips and Wilmer Wilson IV.

JOSE DÁVILA THE MOMENT OF SUSPENSION

JOSE DÁVILA THE MOMENT OF SUSPENSION

KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin

ST. AGNES, NAVE

26 OCTOBER – 20 DECEMBER 2019

Over the course of a career spanning more than 20 years, Guadalajara-based Jose Dávila has engaged with the architecture, symbolism, and material integration of space. For his third solo exhibition at König Galerie, he has poised disparate kinds of lithic bodies—ranging from basalt stone and volcanic rock, to more quotidian materials like limestone and concrete—against each other to create a delicate interaction of volume and mass. Intimating utopian ideals, uncut rock and sculpted concrete are brought into uneasy congruence, realizing an equilibrium that holds differently weighted materials in place.


While the language of sculpture traditionally speaks to solidity and permanence, Dávila’s work evinces a decided fragility that contrasts with the density of the materials he puts to use. As though verging on the brink of collapse, his take on sculptural form introduces viewers to a clash  of directional energies, resulting in a precarious appearance that undercuts monolithic stability. What comes to light is less a single unified object than an exchange of physical forces, a cross-section of elemental processes that refer to the inexorable law of gravity. 

Dávila’s articulation of space mimics primal human behaviors, such as stacking and balancing, underscoring their capacity to express a collectively shared impulse toward construction. Several works in The Moment of Suspension feature uncut rock tethered to angular concrete blocks by a ratchet strap. An aura of weightlessness halos the topography of the linked stones. As individual works, these layered sculptures foreground the disintegrating influence of time, concretizing an entropic process that ends in perpetual stasis. 

Places of meeting and points of intersection also constitute recurring aspects of Dávila’s work. His architectural eye recasts volume itself as a raw material, using vertical surfaces, rectangles, and spheroid shapes to signify development and growth. The makeshift stratification underlying each sculpture invokes the uniqueness of a once visited place, or remembered physique, preserving only its constructed essence. 

A holistic attitude cuts through The Moment of Suspension. Every work on exhibit embodies an architectural rhythm where the vastness of geologic time becomes affixed to the spatial planes of a concrete surface. The necessary union of each element functions like the organs of a body, the vehicle of consciousness. Blending structural innovation with a cosmological understanding of duration, Dávila shows how individuated parts relate to an overarching design. If the microcosm is removed, the macrocosm collapses. 

Jeffrey Grunthaner 

All images > Jose Dávila, The Moment of Suspension, 2019, installation view, photo by Roman März

KAREL APPEL Late Nudes, 1985 – 1995

KAREL APPEL Late Nudes, 1985 – 1995

Galerie Max Hetzler announces its first solo exhibition with late nude paintings and drawings by Karel Appel.

NUDE N°6, 1994

A founding figure of CoBrA (1948-1951), which developed from the Dutch Experimental Group (1948), Karel Appel began his career in the aftermath of the Second World War. Over the course of six decades, the artist experimented widely, across painting, sculpture, drawing, and stage design, distinguishing himself for his astonishing capacity to innovate; Appel never settled in a signature style, media or subject. Going beyond his classical, academic training at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in Amsterdam, the artist looked at folk art, as well as the uninhibited work of children and the mentally ill, whilst also drawing from jazz’s spirit of improvisation. Alternating between abstraction and figuration, Appel adopted a material-oriented approach in his practice, and promoted a genuine form of expression, an art which writer and curator Klaus Ottmann describes as “divorced from any political or didactic purpose”.

NUDE N°12, 1994

In 1994, in his New York studio, Karel Appel started a new series of nudes – female and male. […] The paintings have a vertical format and are narrow, so that the upright human figure only fits tightly within, as if placed in a box. The surface is strongly dominated by the figure that appears in each painting in a different, expressive position.
The standing, frontal nude is a recurring topic in Appel’s oeuvre. Although he also made reclining nudes, usually in the traditional or classical connection with landscapes, he prefers the standing nude, that is, the figure who is not at rest. Reclining nudes are almost always idyllic and dreamy, that is their aesthetic role. The upright nude can move at any moment and change position. This movement could be abrupt, slow, dramatic, violent, aggressive; the painter can derive and develop a number of different expressions from this figure. This seemed to be also the artist’s intention.
To get a clearer picture of movements and to better direct expressions, Appel has worked with models. The contact with the living, moving model (opposite the artist’s lurking and measuring eyes) has given these new nudes a great freshness. This is mainly due to the attractive mobility of the nudes; it would have been said, at Rembrandt’s time, to be a very ‘graceful leap’. This mobility, lifelikeness, can be seen as a logical translation in the way the nudes are painted: with passionate, powerful strokes in bright colors. The painter’s movements are compressed on the narrow surface, making them appear all the more intense. Created within the focused atmosphere of the studio, these paintings are pure, freely executed studies – exuberant paintings from a painter who, [as he got older, only grew].” 

Rudi Fuchs, 1995

NUDE N°27, 1995
NUDE N°11, 1994

I paint the nude not in order to imitate nature, nor to come as close as possible to nature. I use the nude as inspiration for making a painting which is called a nude. For all that freedom that I won after fifty years of painting – freedom and technique, color and design – is then suddenly concentrated in the form of a nude. And every nude gives it yet another vibration, another emotional association, and this leads to a painting which is different in color and form. I look very much for a form which is more or less different. There’s not a whole lot you can do with a nude. We all have two arms, two legs, two eyes, a head, so that’s what you’ve got to work with.”

Karel Appel, 1995

Hanne Darboven ERDKUNDE UND (SÜD-) KOREANISCHER KALENDER

Hanne Darboven ERDKUNDE UND (SÜD-) KOREANISCHER KALENDER

SPRÜTH MAGERS, BERLIN  

SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 – FEBRUARY 29, 2020

Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers announces the first solo exhibition of Darboven’s work at the Berlin gallery, presenting Erdkunde I, II, III (Geography I, II, III) (1986) and (Süd-) Koreanischer Kalender / (South) Korean Calendar (1991). The exhibition marks the beginning of the gallery’s worldwide exclusive representation of the Darboven Estate. The Hamburg-born Conceptual artist is known for her serial writing pieces and date-based cross sum calculations hung as wall-spanning blocks of identically framed paper works. In the 1980s, Darboven began combining various forms of representation and presentation by collaging image and text panels together. Shown for the first time in its entirety, the encyclopedic work Erdkunde I, II, III (Geography I, II, III) will fill the gallery’s main space while the prior room features the calendar-based work (Süd) Koreanischer Kalender / (South) Korean Calendar

HANNE DARBOVEN
ERDKUNDE I, II, III (1986)
INSTALLATION VIEW
SPRÜTH MAGERS BERLIN

Erdkunde I, II, III (Geography I, II, III) consists of over 700 panels, each containing four vertical-format, annotated and collaged DIN A4 sheets. The artist constructs each collaged page with components characteristic of her work: wavy-line drawings resembling cursive script, handwritten encyclopedia quotes from entries about the “Earth” or “Geography,” copies from scientific non-fiction books, illustrations from display boards and black-and-white photographs of her studio or exhibition views. Each individual page is rounded out with lists of place names, monuments, objects, historical people and events, offering a survey of the full thematic range of Darboven’s work. The result is a kind of overall index of her encyclopedic oeuvre. Darboven expands the gargantuan wall hangings to include ten free-standing wooden classroom displays that add a third dimension to the work. The classroom displays visualize various elements of classic Geography and general study curricula. A map, views of a mountain landscape, and a schematic diagram of lignite and hard coal mining activity reflect the educational content of past decades while also offering insight into traditional, analogue means of educating and conveying knowledge. 

HANNE DARBOVEN
ERDKUNDE I, II, III (1986)
INSTALLATION VIEW
SPRÜTH MAGERS BERLIN

The panels Darboven selects serve as a point of departure and material for creating new connections and constellations and testing her own systems of order. Her artistic strategy of associatively engaging with traditional knowledge content recalls Aby Warburg’s method of combining reproduced pictorial materials of various kinds and origins for the panels in his legendary Mnemosyne Atlas (1924-29). At the same time, Darboven reflects the traditional didactic methods and forms of presentation of knowledge transfer. The title Erkunde (Geography)—identical to the school subject of the same name—is a nod to the science that deals with the Earth, both in its physical nature and in relation to the effects of geographical conditions on social order and cultural development. The title also alludes to the origin of this science, the age of voyages of discovery, which marks the beginning of modern (natural) sciences. Erdkunde I, II, III (Geography I, II, III) is a tribute to natural scientist and universal scholar Alexander von Humboldt, who appears on two photographs of the first index in the form of a bust. Alexander von Humboldt, who would have celebrated his 250th birthday on September 14, 2019, is considered the founder of empirical geography. Darboven’s work points to the entanglement of natural and cultural history that Humboldt explained in his famous “Cosmos” lectures and in his research.  Darboven’s Erdkunde I, II, III (Geography I, II, III) speaks to the basic, encyclopedic endeavor to summarize the totality of all knowledge. At the same time her art shows not only a cognitive recording and mediation of historical and scientific facts, but also an increased striving for the sensual immediacy and authenticity of the physical world. 

HANNE DARBOVEN
ERDKUNDE I, II, III (1986)
INSTALLATION VIEW
SPRÜTH MAGERS BERLIN

The first room in the gallery features Darboven’s (Süd-) Koreanischer Kalender / (South) Korean Calendar (1991), a work based on pages from a South Korean yearly calendar. The particular graphic elements and colors in these 365 identically-framed plates and cover sheet have a rather bold, visually striking effect that is unusual for Darboven’s work. Each sheet is dominated by large Arabic numerals, whereby the number is always framed by a header and footer section containing Asian and Arabic characters and numerals. The central numerals are printed in a lace-like pattern and surrounded by a series of little drawings representing luxury items such as diamond rings and wristwatches. Each of the 365 calendar pages contains handwritten entries in felt-tip pen showing Darboven’s typical cross-sum calculations based on the day’s date. These are calculated by totaling up the day, month, decade, and year, then translating that total into loopy, wavy lines that resemble cursive handwriting. The latter are arranged in to ten lines or fewer, with the sum of wave peaks recorded in the form of an Arabic number at the end of that line. At the bottom of each page are the handwritten words “heute / today,” which Darboven has crossed out; the wavy lines are stricken through as well. 

HANNE DARBOVEN
ERDKUNDE I, II, III (1986)
INSTALLATION VIEW
SPRÜTH MAGERS BERLIN

Lucy Lippard described Darboven’s date-based records as “a process which takes time to do, which takes time as one of its subjects, and which takes from time (the calendar) its numerical foundations.” The lengths of the wavy line in the drawings, which recede at the start of each month only to gradually increase again by month’s end, recall the recurring movements of the tides, ebb and flow, and visualize genesis and elapse. 

Miriam Schoofs

Pieter Schoolwerth and the relief of the soul

Pieter Schoolwerth and the relief of the soul

by Elda Oreto

Pieter Schoolwerth twistes the medium of painting, leading it beyond its limit, and into new narrative possibilities, through the virtual world, towards reality.
In his latest artworks, made for Virtual Relief, exhibited from April 26th to July 13th 2019 at the Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler gallery in Berlin, the artist, who lives and works in New York, presented a series of bas-reliefs.

Pieter Schoolwerth, Virtual Relief – Courtesy of Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler Gallery
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The theatrical scenario of the relief presents a broken up scene: some figures, faceless puppets, stand out on the surface, which melt into the background.
In Personality Settings Retractions (2019) there is an interior of a living room where some shadows, tangled up in one another, to the point that it is difficult to discern, become a unique creature. A formless torso with a thousand ends. A leg and a shoulder emerge from it, three or four heads of different sizes are side by side. It is a unique body that assimilates many others. Everything is very colorful. Blinding.

The technique developed by Schoolwerth to create bas-reliefs follows a complicated process. First of all, the artist takes an image and makes one or more shadows. He often uses himself as a model or his friends. Then he takes a wallpaper from the internet. Synthesizes and superimposes the images like a digital collage that he prints on a foam core (a type of material used to make posters). At this point he executes the painting in oil and acrylic and in this case shapes the bas-relief.

The basic idea of ​​his research is that our body is slowly fading away. Even if our times are dominated by commodification and consumism, the body is getting alienated from its most impure but authentic nature. Loses weight, little by little it thins and slowly evaporates leaving a two-dimensional copy as a trace.
The virtual reality and Internet are just perfect tools for this concept. Above all, Social Networks that sink people into an abyss of isolation instead of connecting them with the world and bringing people together. But let’s be careful, Schoolwerth is not a moralist, he doesn’t hate the Internet, but he translates an ambivalent, deeper feeling. Perhaps it is the body’s resistance to evaporation.

Pieter Schoolwerth, Virtual Relief – Courtesy of Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler Gallery
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Two of the bas-reliefs on display: Model for Personality Inventory (2018) and Model for Behavioral Surplus Capture (2019) go beyond the relief and in a vortex of shades and colors claim their own independent presence in fact they can be seen on both sides. Like magic doors, these artworks invite us to cross a dimension that leads to a parallel universe where time, memories and emotions merge with images, leaving subtle traces that have more of the mystery of shadows than of the purity of the soul.

In Compromised Personality Inventory (2019) we enter a domestic interior with the jagged but clear outlines, underlined by bright colors. There are two female silhouettes, one sitting on a chair and another is standing in front of her. They are discussing animatedly. Between them, some arms emerge and they mix with other shapes in a monochromatic hint that seems to swallow the first two.
A Hydra hidden in its den.

Pieter Schoolwerth, Virtual Relief – Courtesy of Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler Gallery
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The tangle of shadows that lives inside the apartment in Privacy Settings 8 (2019) is the ghost that inhabits a haunted house; the anguish of a world that feeds on images. These are projections, echoes of our multiple virtual personalities. These images that define our personality are contradictory. It’s a schizophrenic monster that camouflages with the environment that surrounds it.

Pieter Schoolwerth, Virtual Relief – Courtesy of Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler Gallery
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Schoolwerth received his BFA from the California Institute of the Arts and exhibited at the Hessel Museum of Art, Annandale-on-Hudson (2018), the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2016), the Center Georges Pompidou, Paris ( 2002) and his works are in the collections of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver Art Museum; the Orange County Museum of Art, Santa Ana; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco. In May 2019, his first monograph “Model as Painting” was published by Sequence Press, New York. From 2003 to 2013, Schoolwerth organized and produced concerts and music with Wierd Records and Wierd Party at Home Sweet Home on the Lower East Side of New York.

Pieter Schoolwerth, Virtual Relief – Courtesy of Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler Gallery
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The artist has the ability to show how anxiety and loss are constantly hiding in our daily life. He does it using the media of painting and the structure of the Internet and Social Networks like Instagram and Facebook. And he does it turning these tools upside down and then turning them around, to reveal the power they have striking our Fantasies.

Every shadow at the end is a self-portrait. In Schoolwerth’s practice, colored ectoplasms are the matrix that generates the painting and the bas-relief. Cast by shadows, as for revenge, the artwork gains a physical presence, becoming a real body of a thousand souls, a body that inhabits space of the gallery, haunting it.

Elda Oreto

The twisted circus of Kathryn Andrews at the König Galerie.

The twisted circus of Kathryn Andrews at the König Galerie.

by Elda Oreto

The circus is the ultimate entertainment for children: the colors and the magic of a suspended world where everything is possible, beyond imagination. But the circus is also ‘fiction par excellence’, the ambiguous place of illusions where clowns, acrobats, actors appear almost doomed to entertain people. Circus Empire is the solo-show of Kathryn Andrews at the König Galerie in Berlin that opened on Friday June 7th and will be on display until August 4th, 2019.

Kathryn Andrews, Circus Empire, 2019, installation view. Courtesy the artist, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles and KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin / London.

 
 

A gigantic circus tent, made specifically for the exhibition, is encapsulated in the nave of the former Church of St. Agnes, now the home of the gallery.
Outside the tent, we meet the first work: Picasso trace Buzzer, a sculpture that resembles one of those games that can be seen at an amusement park. The work consists of three elements. The silhouette of a bull, as drawed by Picasso, a high voltage cable with a hook at the end, and behind the bull a large yellow cage in the shape of a light bulb.
The device works like the well-known game for children Operation, where the high-tension hook must draw the shape of the bull without touching the metal tube. If it does, it starts an annoying buzz, the bulb and a neon sign lights up that says: Picasso not Picasso.
The exhibition seems to bring out the rascal child in us, staging an aspect of our society that incites fun at all costs. However the spectator can witness this fun without being an active part of it.

Kathryn Andrews, Circus Empire, 2019, installation view. Courtesy the artist, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles and KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin / London.

 
 

Through her artistic practice, Kathryn Andrews (Mobile, Alabama 1973 – lives and works in Los Angeles) investigates the dynamics of power and freedom. Using elements that refer to Pop culture, the entertainment industry and the movie world, mixed with the classical European tradition, from visual arts to archeology, Andrews underlines how culture is a practice of colonization and normalization of forms of control.
Kathryn Andrews, MFA of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and BFA of Duke University in Durham, exhibited in various institutions including the Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI (2017) , the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, (2015), The High Line, New York, (2016), and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany (2013).

Kathryn Andrews, Circus Empire, 2019, installation view. Courtesy the artist, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles and KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin / London.

 
 

Inside the tent, the American Claw Game welcomes the visitors, a plexiglass box that simulates the fishing claw machine. But there is no handlebar to drive it or no coin acceptor. There is no way to play, one can only look at it from the outside.
Inside the plexiglas box there are various toys that recall props from Hollywood movies. Among them, entangled in the mechanical claw, there is a mask of Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States. The mask is an imitation of the one used in the movie “Point Break” (1991), in which a group of reckless surfers robbed banks disguised as Presidents.
Walking inside the amusement park, there are five panels with Wheels of Foot in Mouth, another recreational device.

Five rounds panels reproduce diptychs with futuristic masks and of ancient sculptures.
Each mask has a ‘window’ on the mouth and one on the head. As in the wheel of fortune, a mechanism on the back of the panels randomly shows figures on the heads: games, weapons, symbols, flowers; while from the mouth are coming out sentences like: Did you get an invitation? You remind me of my ex, for example, or Oh, was that the end of your story? Your laugh is so boisterous, and again, We’ve already met, Do you dress yourself?
Expressions that belong to formal circumstances but that unveil sarcasm and hostility.
The masks are sphinxes that reproduce an enigma without solution.

Kathryn Andrews, Circus Empire, 2019, installation view. Courtesy the artist, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles and KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin / London.

 
 

Looking for John Conner, is the reproduction of Terminator arms attached to a metal tube and supporting another thinner tube. Ar the ends there are uncanny clown miniatures.
At the exit of the arena, the last work is composed of two sculptures, two giant faces, which look into each other’s eyes. Two steel tubes cross the forehead and at the end there are two words: Are you Happy with it? And You sound so nervous.
Like the phrases on the wheels, these statements always hide their true message.
In the background a 4-channel audio installation, Carnival, created by Kathryn Andrews with Scott Benzel, reproduces the atmosphere of the amusement park.

Kathryn Andrews, Circus Empire, 2019, installation view. Courtesy the artist, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles and KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin / London.

 
 

Circus Empire shows elements of contemporary society, but has something very ancient in it.
Indeed, it seems almost to go beyond time to connect the past and the present.
In particular, it reminds me that the circus was one of the favorite entertainments of the ancient Romans. In the Satire X, the poet Giovenale writes “at this point, since votes aren’t sold anymore, [the people] have lost all interest; they once cared about everything themselves, powers, legions; now lets everything get away, caring only for two things: bread and circuses (panem et circenses)”.

Kathryn Andrews, Circus Empire, 2019, installation view. Courtesy the artist, David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles and KÖNIG GALERIE, Berlin / London.

 
 

For the excessive and enigmatic tones, for the contrasting and strident elements, for all the clamor and the cumbersome installation, which occupies the space, the exhibition made me think about that and also about a comment by Cicero, the Latin writer and politician, about this satire. According to him the problem was not the fun, the circus, but the desire of people to sell their freedom and their rights in exchange for a full belly and excitement, which distracted them from noticing other appetites, the ones that belong to men who never get satisfied.

Elda Oreto

Pieter Schoolwerth at Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin

Pieter Schoolwerth at Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin

Pieter Schoolwerth, Virtual Relief
Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin, Germany
April 26 – July 13, 2019

The wild new model was fresh outa casting and lined up excited for his next big show!!!

HIIIIII models! Ok – SOOOO tonite your all gonna BE exactly what we put on you – your hungry little sponges so suck it up you guys! Some of you are gonna rock the exact same looks but your gonna flip that shit around and tweak it off that wall!

Heres what we need from you for this show – think blank, Blank, BLANK everyone, got it!? – Your EMPTY – NOOOO expression people – We see right through you – yr not even here, you ARE what you WEAR, so WHO TF CARES!?

We’re gonna paint ya’lls faces up all shiny and sexxxy – And you know what they’ll say when they see ya’ll hangin up there on that little flat screen in there lonely sad IRLife…omg there so 3D wtf WOOOW… love it – WHAT A RELIEF!!’

– Pieter Schoolwerth

All images > exhibition view, copyright and courtesy of the artist and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin  

Ritratto d’un capello inquietante at Galerie Buchholz, Berlin

Ritratto d’un capello inquietante at Galerie Buchholz, Berlin

Julien Ceccaldi, Nicolas Ceccaldi, Mathieu Malouf, Heji Shin
Ritratto d’un capello inquietante
Galerie Buchholz, Berlin
7 June – 24 August 2019

Galerie Buchholz presents the group show Ritratto d’un capello inquietante at the gallery’s original location at Neven-DuMont-Straße. It will be the first time the work of Heji Shin, Nicolas Ceccaldi, Julien Ceccaldi and Mathieu Malouf is featured in the same group show in Cologne. The title makes reference to a work by de Chirico, La Musa Inquietante (The Disquieting Muse), a 1975-1980 drawing in which a pile of objects assumes the uncanny likeness of a woman. Ritratto d’un capello inquietante literally means Portrait of a Disquieting Hair. For the artists, it serves as a vehicle through which various anxieties related to bodily and mental decay are funneled. All three works by Julien Ceccaldi feature Stéphane, a character conceived as self-sufficient without any love interest. He was created to appear optimistic about being alone, and set upon achieving his dream of becoming a pop-punk star. In the painting Crack the World’s Shell (2019), he is depicted naked, breaking out of an egg, reaching for something high above. The composition is inspired by a Chester Brown drawing dedicated to his crush in his autobiographical graphic novel I Never Liked You (1994). It is a picture of a skeleton, symbolizing himself, floating in the cosmos and stretching his arm towards a bird that represents the girl he likes. Here, however, the hero is the bird, and his hand reaches for something out of frame.

Like the characters in the anime Utena (1996, dir. Kunihiko Ikuhara), Stéphane destroys the shell of the world, to avoid dying without ever being born. This recurrent image in the anime paraphrases a quote from Hermann Hesse’s bildungsroman Demian. “The bird fights its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. Who would be born must first destroy a world. The bird flies to God. That God’s name is Abraxas”. Stéphane’s purpose is also to represent positive experiences of anonymous casual encounters. In the painting The Little Bird in the Pants (2019), he fishes out a small wrinkly pink bird out of a stranger’s boxers briefs. He is startled but nonetheless happy to engage with it. It is a reference to Catherine Breillat’s Romance (1999), in which Marie (Caroline Ducey) is so deeply enamoured with her boyfriend that she thinks of his flaccid penis as a weak bird that she lovingly nurses to life. The shadow of a disturbing figure appears at the door. It sports a single pubic-like hair on top of its bald head. It could be a husband walking in on an affair, or Stéphane’s future self, revisiting this memory. The photographs by Heji Shin are based on the long history of “portrait of the artist’s mother”. Shin’s mother suffers from a psychosis that compells her to cook large quantities of food from the early morning hours until exhaustion every day, which she then packs into unmarked plastic bags to dump them as anonymous offerings in various locations across the city of Berlin – near hospitals, in front of police stations, fire stations, etc. The mother poses next to professional models and performs her habitual duties as a fictional version of herself, putting contrasting representations of the Feminine in relation to each other: the mother and the model, the artist and the child, and on a deeper level, the origins of art and the origins of life.

The pieces titled Eaux Saines (2019) by Nicolas Ceccaldi are at once ready-made floor sculptures and room dividers. Consisting of pillows arranged in a row that extends into the middle of each room, these pieces were originally conceived in an attempt to establish boundaries between two people sharing the same bed. While these sculptures formulate a concrete, modernist solution to body contact, three paintings, A Rose for a Rogue (2018), Only a Duke Would Dare (2018) and Le Temps Retrouvé (2019), treat human embrace through the embellishment of stock images: two impasto oil paintings of youthful couples and the puzzle-piece reconstruction of a serene fishing scene between an elderly man and his grandson. Bracketing the exhibition are Mathieu Malouf’s paintings The Enigma of the Milky Way 1 (2019) and The Enigma of the Milky Way 2 (2019). Both are based on nude photos of the artist taken by Nicolas Ceccaldi, cut up and reconstructed, suggesting multiple simultaneous perspectives and the illusion of limbs breaking through the 4th wall – a process the artist refers to as “body cubism”. The figures are depicted in a state of deep focus characteristic of the virtuoso, with eyes fixated on the viewer wherever they stand. Contrasting with the emotionally neutral faces, bodies are dramatically contorted and unload a powerful blast of raw emotion. Out of their enlarged nipples, breast milk squirts out expressively, recalling tropes of abstract expressionism and action painting, historical art forms long associated with the myth of male self-expression. Casting himself as a nude performer on canvas and allegorically positing the body as a universe in constant expansion, the artist engages in a seductive dance for a gallery audience.

H.S., J.C., N.C., M.M


PUBLICATION LISTED IN THE ITALIAN PRESS REGISTER BY THE SASSARI COURT OF LAW WITH REGISTRATION NUMBER 447/2017.
EDITOR IN CHIEF: ALICE ZUCCA

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