Bani Abidi, They Died Laughing / Gropius Bau, Berlin

Bani Abidi, They Died Laughing / Gropius Bau, Berlin

Bani Abidi, They Died Laughing
Gropius Bau, Berlin
6 June to 22 September 2019

Bani Abidi is known for her distinctive approach to filmmaking, which derives from the dark absurdities of everyday life. They Died Laughing is an extensive presentation of Abidi’s works, bringing together moving image and print-based works that span two decades. Abidi often uses video as her tool for mnemonic recall while embedding the medium with a poetic function and layers of fiction. Currently based in Berlin and Karachi, she assumes the role of a storyteller and urban archaeologist in telling the stories of cities she has lived in. Fictional narratives traverse individual experiences and ask complex questions on patriotism, framed by the historic power struggles and geopolitical relations between neighbouring nation-states India and Pakistan. Her works spin tales of ambition and failure, while thematising the relationship between state power, patriotism and megalomania.

Bani Abidi. Karachi Series I, 2009 Courtesy: the artist & Experimenter, Kolkata © Bani Abidi

For the exhibition at the Gropius Bau, Bani Abidi developed a new project, The Lost Procession, based on the experiences of the persecuted Hazara community from Quetta, capital of the Pakistani province of Balochistan, who have fled to Germany in recent years. While Abidi sketches encounters between these inhabited landscapes, she focuses on themes including expropriation, refuge and captivity. This project is commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation, where Bani Abidi will have a solo exhibition in October 2019, curated by Hoor Al-Qasimi and Natasha Ginwala.

Less is More by Herbert Zangs at Blain|Southern Berlin

Less is More by Herbert Zangs at Blain|Southern Berlin

Less is More by Herbert Zangs

Blain|Southern Berlin Potsdamer Straße 77–87

29 September – 17 November 2018

The exhibition features a number of signature works by the artist including Folding Reliefs, Mathematical Signs Collages (PlusMinus) and a group of his celebrated monochromatic Whitenings; all of which demonstrate the artists commitment to an improvised, informal artistic process. A student of the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he studied under Otto Pankok and was friends with fellow student Joseph Beuys, his artistic career began in 50’s Germany, where the impact of the war andthe effects of austerity found artists in various fields engaged in finding new ways of expression. Renownedfor his uncompromising nature, he never formally associated himself with any artistic movement however, his use of monochrome and serial structures could be seen as a precursor to the Zero movement, which emphasised art that was purely about the material and not the artist’s hand.

Zangs began working with found materials and objects early on, using cardboard, paper, wood and jute bags to create collages which often featured white paint applied onto their surfaces. Flying over a country devastated by war and blanketed in snow during pilot training is said to have affected him deeply, and thisis reflected in both the subdued colour and structure of his Whitening paintings. In Strukturelles Farbrelief(1978) – and throughout the series, bright white paint fresh from the tube was eschewed in favour of left- over colour or masonry paint. The intention was not to turn the object into something more beautiful but rather highlight the materiality and structure of an object.

Another key aspect of his practice was the incorporation of mathematical symbols, “x”, “+” and “–“. He used them in different ways, sometimes appearing prominently in the form of collage or cut-outs of wood as in Rechenstück (1950). The symbols function as a geometric and aesthetic repertoire of forms and appear throughout his oeuvre. They can be seen as mere forms, or, on a meta level, the mathematical signs stand for order and logic – a paradoxical element of his practice given his nonconformity. Other reoccurring motifs in Zangs’ work are the folding relief and the grid. The Grid has a special significancein that the artist was interested in its sculptural aspect along with what the grid represents – a rigid,inflexible system, against which the innovative Zangs fought and rebelled against his whole life.

Images > Herbert Zangs, Less is More 2018, Installation View Courtesy The Artist and Blain Southern, Photo: Trevor Good

Philip Loersch: Teaching Stones To Say Friendly Words / FeldbuschWiesnerRudolph, Berlin

Philip Loersch: Teaching Stones To Say Friendly Words / FeldbuschWiesnerRudolph, Berlin

Philip Loersch: Teaching Stones To Say Friendly Words / 

to 7 Jun 2018

Philip Loersch doesn’t just read books. He makes them his own by expertly fashioning them in stone. Drawn trompe l’oeil, the covers invite viewers to read a book that cannot be opened. Reason and logic are just as important for Loersch’s works as is humor; the boundless pleasure in drawing is just as elementary as patience and diligence. FeldbuschWiesnerRudolph presents a selection of the artist’s new drawings, sculptures and installations, which were created as a contiguous narrative for the gallery. Not only paper and pencil, but also soapstone and nylon threads are among the media he works with.

Philip Loersch is interested in making knowledge and knowledge structures visible – as well as in the idea that Michelangelo made visible the figure inside the stone rather than sculpting the stone into a figure. He is not a copyist – such as the protagonist in Nikolai Gogol’s novella, “The Overcoat,” which he counts as one of his inspirations – but a draftsman through and through, who represents his material exactly, who transforms it and who simultaneously has the courage to smash it to pieces thereafter. This is how he creates his quasi-archaeological finds – splinters of Reclam booklets made of stone that outlive their papery predecessors, but that can never be read. The idea of the text, however, immanently preexists in the stone.


The stones can now indeed speak. The title of the exhibition comes from one of those graffiti in Pompei that have been able to endure for a long time in the form of signs scratched into stone and that constitute one of the sources for the statements made by the exhibition. In Loersch’s stone sculptures, writing becomes what it is when there is no reading – a sign. An I was here scratched into the wall. Also part of the exhibition: a drawing of his pension statement, idyllically placed inside a North German garden, delicate and accurate, attentively executed down to the smallest leaf of grass and the tiniest letter. An official letter on cheap paper, one of those that habitually makes cultural workers laugh or that brings them to tears, is thus imbued with the penciled version of the kind of emotion and dignity due a beloved person. Philip Loersch calls it a self-portrait: “The Old Garden.” The artist’s special kind of humor immediately attracts viewers who take a closer look, drawing them into his work.

Images © FeldbuschWiesnerRudolph, Berlin





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