Drawings / Painting

“Robert Walser: Der Spaziergang” (group show) @ Zink Galerie, November 23rd, 2012

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Robert Walser‘s novel “Der Spaziergang (The Walk)” has inspired Galerie Zink for the homonymous exhibition “Robert Walser – Der Spaziergang”, in which the next artists Euan Macdonald, Marcel van Eeden, Jana Gunstheimer and Natalie Czech  participate to approximate to the person of Robert Walser and his work.

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Euan Macdonald presents a bundle of 85 pencil drawings, which have been developed over a period of three years at different locations. The drawings are complemented with 22 antiquarian postcards. In his drawings, Macdonald uses the various manifestations of landscape and questions the familiarity of this phenomenon. Connecting the drawings to the postcards -from the period 1911 to 1913, period referenced in Walser’s writings and starting point of his retirement in Switzerland (1913)-, serve as historical reference. The interplay between familiarity and unfamiliarity an indeterminacy of the visual world can perfectly illustrate Robert Walser’s novel.

Marcel van Eeden used in his great drawing “Celia” (2006) long passages from Robert Walser’s “Der Spaziergang”. In Zink’s exhibition he shows the series “Herisau – Wil, 23.April 1939”, 2012. The work is inspired in a walk of 28 kilometers taken from Herisau to Wil by Robert Walser’s admirer and later guardian, Carl Seelig on 23rd April, 1939 materialized in his writing “Walking with Robert Walser”. Van Eeden uses text fragments from Carl Seelig’s report in the installation presented here. As it is usual in his work, the artists refers to events before his own birth in 1965.

Jana Gunstheimer approaches the person of Robert Walser in a sort of indirect portrait. For many visual artists, the writer, who lived between euphoria and despair, has became a fascinating person. He withdrawn himself in the protection of asylum in Waldau near Bern in 1929. In the last years of his life, Robert Walser lived fully retracted and no longer wrote. This state of isolation is what Jana Gunstheimer transfers to drawings with an atmospherically charged interior similar to a burnt house.

The work “Adieu ihr schönen Worte”, 2010, by Natalie Czech refers to a quote by Ingeborg Bachmann, but it has special validity in terms of the biography of Robert Walser: „Adieu, ihr schönen Worte, mit Euren Verheißungen. Warum habt Ihr mich verlassen, war Euch nicht wohl?“

Very free translation from me, original text in German. Text source: http://www.galeriezink.de/fileadmin/zink/press_releases/Pressetext_Robert_Walser_Der_Spaziergang.pdf


‘Mortadella and Other Works’, Christoph Hänsli @ Nolan Judin Galerie, August 24th, 2012

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The painted work “Mortadella” (2007-2008) by Christoph Hänsli  is also a highly regarded artist’s book and a text by the writer and art critic John Berger (“Ways of Seeing”). Four years after its creation it is for the first time on public display. It consists of 332 individually framed paintings, which are all identical in size and technology: just under A4, acrylic and oil on paper and cardboard. 164 sized tip of a cut mortadella sausage – always two sides. Hänsli has chosen for this task an elaborate technique: hide under the visible surface, eleven building up layers of paint, first few layers of acrylic paint, followed by a multi-revision in oil, sealed with multiple glazes varnish. Also the whitish background is carefully zoom painted , so that the surface of the painted disk appears exactly at the level of cardboard carriers. Total claimed this process 15 months of work.

The effort does not serve as a hyper-realistic rendering of the sausage. Upon closer inspection it can be seen that actually the granular structure of the meat mixture can disappear through a monochrome paint in pink. The finely painted peppercorns vary its position. Even if the two sides of a disc is 1.5 millimeters mortadella meat lie, the respective successive painting not identical. The size and position of the white fat and lots of peppercorns vary slightly from image to image. Hänslis interest is the static (upper) surface and the almost endless variety of ways to build them. In the surfaces to write a history, memory and desire, their reproduction is in search of clues. Hänslis dealing with brushes, paints, pigments and glazes is masterful, and he takes for each picturesque challenge an individual solution. His image surfaces seduce the viewer to scan the painting with the eyes to detect the hidden. 

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The conceptual artist Hänsli avoids the personal gesture. As motifs, he often chooses objects that are beaten to everyday barely. He subtly conveys to the spectator. It is more than a description of reality. In its unadorned beauty to draw our attention to the images that surrounds us, and they remind us that we handle large part of our daily lives un-or subconsciously.

Besides “Mortadella” nine other works (created between 1998 and 2012) of Christoph Hänsli can be seen  at Nolan Judin. Including the 22-meter long painting facade. In none of Hänsli pictures ever a man is to be seen, and yet the images always permeated our absurd earthly existence. Without pathos and sentimentality. Despite their striking visual presence do these modern vanitas motifs create an expression of absence and emptiness of the viewer that triggers a wealth of associations.

Text source: http://www.nolan-judin.de/ausstellungen/2012/christoph-haensli/ueber.html. Original in German, very free translation from German by me

‘Self # Governing’, Marina Naprushkina, 7th Berlin Biennale @ KW, April 26th, 2012

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Known in Western democracies as “the last European dictatorship”, Belarus became an independent country after the collapse of the USSR. It has been under the authoritarian rule of President Alexander Lukashenko since 1994. For years now he has used repression as a political tool against the opposition; civilians are at the mercy of the whims of the military, the Internet is under surveillance, and there is barely any free press. This is arguably the high price that the population has to pay for Lukashenko’s alleged, much-touted “stability” for the entire country.

Marina Naprushkina works in close collaboration with key figures of the cultural and political scene in Belarus in order to strengthen democratic processes in the country. 2011 saw the first edition of Naprushkina’s newspaper, Self # governing, whose aim is to develop future models for Belarus outside of the bloc-building confines of the EU or Russia. The newspaper’s Russian edition was widely circulated in Belarus thanks to the efforts of many activists. The second edition of the paper analyzes the patriarchal, masculinist system of government in Belarus. It shows how women themselves unwittingly perpetuate this model, and possibilities for changing the situation. Considering the recent wave of protest and resistance across the globe, Self # governing can be read – and used – as a guide for daring to think about political alternatives worldwide. Text by Martin Schibli.

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Project partners: Kalmar Konstmuseum, Sweden; Krytyka Polityczna, Poland; Olga Karatch, Nash dom, Belarus; Marina Naprushkina and Irina Solomatina, Institute of Future, Belarus; Tobias Weihmann, Germany; Utrikespolitiska Institutet, Sweden.

Text source: http://www.berlinbiennale.de/blog/en/projects/self-governing-a-newspaper-of-marina-naprushkina-20074

‘Sleep Late, My Lady Friend’, group show @ Horton Gallery, April 5th, 2012

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Sleep Late, My Lady Friend, is a three-person show of recent paintings and drawings by New York based artists Joshua AbelowElla Kruglyanskaya and Daniel Rios Rodriguez.

Ella and Daniel met and became friends in graduate school in 2005. Joshua and Ella met in New York in 2010. Ella introduced Daniel and his work to Joshua in 2011. Joshua posted many of their works on his blog. Then he met Ella and Daniel at the bar and they knocked back a few drinks.

Sleep Late, My Lady Friend (After a Harry Nilsson song): Asking figuration and abstraction out to breakfast at 2pm. Eggs over easy. Coffee. More coffee. Yes, please. Ah, that’s better. My head isn’t hurting as much now, thank you. Now, where was I? Ah, yes…

A dream held at bay until the pencil squat between the forefinger and thumb. They will retired, and with it, the fear. The line displays those unseen things for all to see. At times the line is as playful and lively as a schoolyard in spring. It is a knock knock joke told after three dirty Martinis. At times it is erotic, let loose, and uncomfortably revealing. The line is lazy and inclusive, pulling in kitsch and decoration, comic books and movie posters, you and me.

Exhibition: April 6th – May 18th, 2012

Text source: http://hortongallery.com/exhibition/146/sleep-late-my-lady-friend/pr

‘Mask’, Terry Haggerty @ Kuttner Siebert Galerie, March 30th, 2012

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The exhibition Mask at Kuttner Siebert Gallery is comprised of works on paper by Terry Haggerty, who has in recent years become known to a wide audience with his site-specific wall pieces and his paintings on canvas. His recent exhibition gives an insight into his drawings for the very first time. Monolithic forms, painted in black acrylic on plain, gridded paper are framed by fine, colourfully outer contours.

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As Ursula Ströbele writes in the accompanying catalogue: “The partly entwining and overlapping black bands of colour conjure up associations with topological figures, much in the manner of the renowned Moebius band. The flowing transitions from inner to outer, from front to back, and the refusal to provide any concrete anchoring points, evoke an instance of disorientation upon first glance. Repeated observation is required in order to comprehend the entirety of the form across a succession of perspectival shifts. (…) They recall sculptural artefacts and space-bursting installations such as Max Bill’s Unendliche Schleife [Infinite Loop] or Richard Serra’s Matter of Time. As they disallow any definition of beginning and end, the gaze becomes drawn, during its search, into the folds to be consumed by the opaque and indifferent darkness. (…) On the whole, the drawings are founded upon a rough, dynamic style of paint application within the bounds of the outer contours, instead of the thoroughly professionalised, meticulously perfected surface glazes—requiring a myriad of precisely coordinated working steps—that have been characteristic of his work in the past. These present works allow for a spontaneous mode of working and the development of new formal concepts.”

31 March – 12 May, 2012

Text source: http://www.terryhaggerty.net/terryhaggerty.net/NEWS.html

Andreas Schulze @ Berlin KUNSTSAELE, March 29th, 2012

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Andreas Schulze paintings open up a colorful, simplified strange world. The large sizes inflate what makes up the idyllic everyday life of middle-class. He only pays attention to things -“indifferent domed” shapes, as he even noted on sketches- which are the protagonists in a story in where humans have no place.

In the 1980s he moved around the Mülheimer Freiheit and Jungen Wilden, from he took the ‘sound’ of expressive brushstrokes but not the importance of the artistic subject. With seething flow and planar, thin paint, he does nothing contrary to prevailing artistic trends as combative. Set in the seemingly random references to his works as modern art works, whil eradiating an “offensive gentle kindness”, he emptied the clarity and rigor of these approaches. “I wanted to be misunderstood. As when someone who is familiar with modern art and has not prejudices, tries to paint a modern picture”, said Schulze in a interview in 1987.

Innocent as it seems, in the 1980s, his painting presents a minimalistic body in perspective amateurishly executed, while Donald Judd conjures with his specific objects (1965), the abandonment of anyillusionistic effect. In some paintings he adds small items, such as an apple or a pair of glasses, as someone that have lost in thought on the theory to put heavy object. They become fixtures, simple things, which humorously Schulze also gives attention in his later work. He paints sections of terraced houses, home-style living room furniture, combining landscapes with imaginary, biomorphic-abstract objects. Not only on the canvas, but also with large-scale installations and murals he created this human blank retreats. A bizarre coziness, which is in its seemingly naive obliviousness, unsettling.

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The Berlin KUNSTSAELE showed a small selection of Schulze’s works. Even in this small collection, it contain various creative periods. It becomes clear how Schulze for years has remained true to his style and not tried any other adaptation. “Abstract Composition” a painting of the early 80s, denied itself by its size (2 x 4 meters) to be placed above the living room couch as a focal point. Like many of his works, it consists of several composite screens. With repetitive compositions of simple planar shapes from the background (spheres, cubes, or, as in the picture, ovals) let the piece as a reminiscence of ornamentation. In later works , as the four exhibited watercolors (each 70 x 90 cm), he takes again from those repetitive patterns, backgrounds and figurative elements. In other of the paintings, some objects can be seen at first glance as flowers or cars.

Kunstsaele Berlin combines gallery, collection and SALON-talks at one place. The exhibitions are made up of altering shows from „Sammlung Bergmeier“ and „Sammlung Oehmen“, now opened for public exploration, and of positions of conceptual and minimalistic art, which will be shown by the gallery Aanant & Zoo. The events of the SALON – a project conceived by THE OFFICE and Arthur Berlin – is an experimental space for discourse on art and related, current topics.

Text source: free translation by me from original in German in http://www.kunstsaele.de/?com=exhibition&id=33

‘Reversed Limbo’, Ryan Mosley @ EIGEN + ART Lab Galerie, March 29th, 2012

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With the works in the exhibition “Reversed Limbo”, Ryan Mosley continues to examine historical sources, which has already been an approach in his earlier works. The singular images crafted by Mosley, works that range from the wondrous to the monstrous, often rest on the artist’s transgressive attitude to the classical genres of painting. Still life, landscape, and portraiture collapse in on each other, as studies of shoes morph into human likenesses, and botanical renderings become strangely animated and threatening scenes. Mosley’s interest in the anthropomorphic potential in various forms and characters, from top hats to cacti, means that in spite of his often grotesque hybridities (which include limbs with afros and snakes in drag), a sincerely human presence is never far from the canvas.

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Motivated by a sense of the carnivalesque, Ryan Mosley’s canvases offer up a surreal world of invented characters and rituals that are simultaneously archaic and futuristic.

„In one of Mosley’s latest paintings called Heavy Nelson two figures (or, are they figures) are seen from the back, whereas the one on the left with harlequin-diamond garb and stable legs, is distinct from the figure on the right who seems to be constituted of pitchers or ewers perched on strange spindly legs that mimic the accompanying foliage. Beyond is a forward-facing male figure that appears to be wearing a puritan’s hat and presenting a bottle. You look again and realise they also create an overall visual effect of a mask or grotesque head, since teeth appear between the legs of the foreground figures that constitute a mouth. The edges of the painting have a pictorial framing with foliage derivative of the palm or cacti forms familiar from Mosley’s earlier paintings. But here they actively function as framing arabesques, remembering that the ‘arabesque’ itself is derived from the classical or antique concept of the grotesque. At the same time the spatial depth is constantly shifting between a theatrically staged offering, a grotesque mask, a strange frieze-like convention, or even a Mexican carnival event. But it is these constantly shifting uncertainties that create the very qualities that vindicate Mosley’s continuous use of pictorial references to a carnival aesthetic.” Mark Gisbourne, from: Carnival of the Senses, exhibition catalogue

29 March – 19 May 2012

Text source: http://www.eigen-art.com/lab/index.php?article_id=802&clang=1&detail=12&back=8