Multidisciplinary / multiformat
On Thursday August 16th we were able to see Künstlerhaus Bethanien artists studios. The atmosphere in the studios was like a international artists dorm as they become scholars from different countries. Strolling through customized workshops, it was offered the exciting opportunity to see the artwork on the scene and deal directly with the artist.
Among this year’s artists, which are funded through the International Studio Program, include:
Mats Adelman (Guest Artist), Viktoria Binschtok, Mauro Cerqueira, Hadassah Emmerich, Jan Freuchen (Guest Artist), Roey Heifertz, Sharon Houkema, Hyein Lee, Michael Lee, Joris van de Moortel, Daniel Palacios, Linn Petersen, Judy Radul (DAAD ), Constantinos Taliotis, Aiko Tezuka, Mark Themann, Jane Ritchi, Rebecca Wilton, Daniel Young and Marie Zolamian.
FRANÇOIS MARTIG – “The Dawn”
The artist François Martig uses a wide range of media, from sculptural and sound installations to radio documentaries and photography in his pieces. In addition to his visual work, he produces live sound and music performances as well as soundtracks combining soundscapes, field recordings, electro-acoustic music and noise. In 2005 Martig started working on his long-term project Robinsonhotel, where he explores landscape as an evolving socio-economic and political spatial entity and phenomenon. In reference to Robinsonhotel Martig created his exhibition “The Dawn” at Künstlerhaus Bethanien highlighting the human will to manage the landscape. The Zone Rouge (Red Zone) refers to an area of approximately 120.000 acres in what used to be First World War battle-ground in Northern and Eastern France. The war’s impacts on nature were so devastating that there are still measurable chemical residues in the grounds, which are closed to the public, whilst cities like Verdun have become hot spots for military tourism today. As a post-war decree, Germany gave France Black Pine trees to help reforest the land around Verdun. Currently this forest is known for its cheap timber. For his project “Zone Rouge” (2007-2012) Martig bought 1 m3 of pine timber from the area and brought it back to Germany. He combines the wood with postcards, which show an image of the former battleground and inform the viewers about this unknown story. In addition a wasteland occupies the gallery space with soil taken from the sculpture garden in Berlin and a two-channel film projected from a watchtower shows found-footage videos of the worldwide deforestation.
YLVA WESTERLUND – “Evolutionary throwback”
In her drawings, installations, performances, and videos Ylva Westerlund explores various scientific models of knowledge. By assuming alternate roles she switches between the artist-as- researcher to the subject of study itself. Westerlund’s work is influenced by her interests in social studies, post-structuralist feminism, and monsters. In the exhibition “Evolutionary throwback” Ylva Westerlund weaves a visual net, which oscillates between the past, present, and future of human evolution. Inspired by a visit to Berlin’s Natural History Museum – Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and Biodiversity and their displays of casts representing homo sapiens’ ancestor australopithecus anamensis, who has been extinct for four million years. Westerlund developed a complex multi-media installation presented as subjective scientific research. A part of it is her video “Evolutionary throwback” (2012). A plaster cast of the artist’s face as an australopithecus anamensis helps the artist to transform into a fictional creature, a mixture between homo sapiens and australopithecus anamensis, evoking notions of the art activist group Guerrilla Girls.
TOBIAS ZIELONY – “Zuspiel: Big Sexyland”
In a further edition of the ZUSPIEL-series, Künstlerhaus Bethanien presents the film “Big Sexyland” (2008) by photographer and filmmaker Tobias Zielony. In his works Zielony portrays groups of youths in desolate surroundings: the interchangeable peripheries of cities such as Berlin, Bristol, or Marseille. He works in the style of reportage, however, his images are not limited to simply documenting living conditions. Instead, he raises sociological questions: what types of signs construct these young-adults’ identity? What influence does their environment have on their understanding of self, what impact do they have on their environment? Zielony’s works combine and reflect a young seemingly lost generation’s issues of self-perception and judgement of others in the ghettos, prisons, and suburbia of our society. To produce the film presented in Künstlerhaus Bethanien Zielony followed young rent boys in a Berlin sex cinema and park over a period of several months. The film “Big Sexyland” (2008) is set in a Berlin sex cinema, which is not only a place of work, but serves as a “safe haven” for prostitutes. Zielony’s protagonist, a young man, is shown asleep, lying in one of the shabby upholstered seats of the projection area. The only source of light in the darkness is a porn film in the background. Projections outlining mechanical physical movements, monotonous moans and groans, envelop the sleeping young man. In his dreams, the young sex worker transcends the “Big Sexyland” represented in Western Europe, he seems far far away from his daily physical presence and sexual labour. His body is at the centre of Western capitalist society, fulfilling society’s promises – such as venal sex.
DAVID ARMSTRONG-SIX – “Civil Elegies From The Vacuum State”
For his exhibition at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, David Armstrong-Six reinvestigates notions of materiality and objecthood in relation to sculpture. The ten new sculptures in wood, bronze, plaster and glass which are collected here under the umbrella “Civil Elegies From The Vacuum State” are meant as a series of ruminations which seem to emerge equally from the vestiges of dada, Cubism, Situationism and Minimalism. Indeed, the vacuum state, which is the lowest possible field of sustainable energy in quantum physics, is equated here with a studio-based practice and the cumulative conflation of a studio-based language. David Armstrong-Six is searching for the specific shape of sculpture between noble grace and mere refuse, high cultural pretensions and casual collage, technology and nature, between the minimalist’s material sensitivity and the surrealist’s faith in contingency, between familiar forms and un-forms, i.e. elements that have been deplaced, reworked or destroyed. Using statics that are often scarcely credible, he constructs networks within which things communicate.
Text source: http://www.bethanien.de/
BERLIN.STATUS (1) investigates the big-city phenomenon of art, starting out from the observation that Berlin today is “an art city with no consensus”. Whereas it had been possible to observe an organic weave of sense of reciprocal interplay between tradition and renewal until into the 1980s, young art in Berlin today lives primally from international influences, multi perspective orientations and globally determined lines of production. This development was triggered long before the fall of the Wall by the grant programs of the DAAD and Künstlerhaus Bethanien, the Transmediale after 1990, a growing avantgarde electro and club culture, and by successful intermedia and thematic projects at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, the Volksbühne and the HAU. Additional bonds between Berlin and its artists are created by working grants awarded by the State of Berlin, and the provision and mediation of affordable studio spaces by the Bundesverband Bildender Künstler (Federal Association of Fine Arts).
If Berlin is a landing area for young international artists today, it is not only because of continuing favorable opportunities to live and work here -the culture of “interim uses” that passed its high point long ago. Even though the developments of globalization have had a noticeable impact in Berlin, in many cases artists want to work in the city precisely because they as individuals are consciously struggling against the pull of uniformity. And although Berlin is caught in a lasting state of radical change, young artists do not regard the city itself as worthy of capturing in images; we have also registered a reduction in site-specific and situational research projects. After a twenty-year phase of transformation, Berlin is becoming -neighborhood after neighborhood- a “normal” place to work. However, this does not mean that reasons for worry and doubt have turned into delight, and new interest in ornament, design and non-representational formal languages does not indicate that criticism of society and consumerism is drying up, either. Today, aesthetic debate is shifting towards cultural debate, and some artists react to this development in a decidedly formalist manner.
The exhibition presents artists who doubt in the necessity for large-scale mobilisation and are therefore working intellectually and aesthetically to supplement or sharpen their own very personal profile. Although they have definitely moved the focus of their lives to Berlin permanently, it is not “the Berlinesque” here that provides fertile ground for the extraordinary, but the individual ability shown by every outstanding artist. For BERLIN.STATUS (1), therefore, the curators have selected both well- and lesser-known artists: the common characteristic being that they are laboratory practicians – pure and idiosynchratic.
The main conceptual interest of the exhibition curators is in the doubt inherent in almost all current tendencies: “Somewhere, there is always ‘one small village in Gaul’. We search for that and reveal nuances of change by distancing, i.e. the signals prior to radical change, not trends. We ignore the opposition of ‘newcomers’ and ‘established artists’ because the market is greedy; in the end it will turn everything into mincemeat, but now and then we ought to consider a more innovative dish.” (Curators: Sven Drühl & ChristophTannert).
The exhibition will show works by:
Gabriel Acevedo Velarde, Silva Agostini, Angelika Arendt, Dafni Barbageorgopoulou, Madeleine Boschan, Jessica Buhlmann, Hannah Dougherty, Zhivago Duncan, Wiebke Elzel / Jana Müller, Hadassah Emmerich, Lu Feng, Shannon Finley, Wolfgang Flad, Torben Giehler, Andrew Gilbert, Ane Graff, Stella Hamberg, Secundino Hernández, Gregor Hildebrandt, Nico Huch, Klaus Jörres, Sven Johne, Jan Koch, Astrid Köppe, Alicja Kwade, Alon Levin, Eoin Llewellyn, Alexej Meschtschanow, Daniel Mohr, Jan Muche, Regine Müller-Waldeck, Xuan Huy Nguyen, Catalina Pabón, Katinka Pilscheur, Bernd Ribbeck, Tanja Rochelmeyer, Egill Sæbjörnsson, Michael Sailstorfer, Adam Saks, Ariel Schlesinger, Judith Schwinn, Martin Skauen, Emmy Skensved, Kei Takemura, Alex Tennigkeit, Philip Topolovac, Luca Trevisani, Nasan Tur, Elmar Vestner, Ulrich Vogl, Jorinde Voigt and Ralf Ziervogel.
Text source: http://www.bethanien.de/kb/index/trans/en
To see, what one doesn’t see, sounds paradoxical. This however can be experienced at any time. The human eye is blind in one specific area – the so called blind spot. Anatomically it is located where the optical nerve meets the retina. In contrast to the rest of the eye this spot doesn’t have any light receptors and thus cannot perceive any visual information. At the same time recognition is only possible through that nerve. As the brain is constantly compensating for, or‚filling in’ the blind spot in our visual field, one can only become aware of it in a specific situation of perception. In the same way that the blind spot cannot be fixed, as it follows the movement of the eye, x o brings together works that sharpen the awareness of how fragile fixed interpretations of meaning really are. Using different methodologies the works focus on the view itself and the forms of its perception.
Artists: Benjamin de Burca, Hiwa K., Phanos Kyriacou, Grischa Lichtenberger, Pia Linz, Federico Maddalozzo, Anna Oppermann, Nasan Tur, Kara Uzelman,
Video below, Kara Uzelman, Expanded Radio
Video below, Phanos Kyriacou, Accumulation of Leftovers
Curated by Silvia Ploner and Anna Schäffler
Text source: Grimmuseum Press release, more info http://grimmuseum.com/
Galerie Suvi Lehtinen present Gravity, Money, Concrete, Fabric, an exhibition that creates an encounter with an array of different media and examines matter as dynamic, significant and tense. Approaching the world as an assemblage where there are no innocent and self-evident objects and in which the agents are not always human.
Chador-dadar by Haleh Anvari, Live installation documentation, slide show
If the chador is the icon for Iran, let it meet the icons for some other nations. Chado- dadar became a live installation in every city it was photographed and ultimately revealed as much about the nature of the people it visited that it did about itself. We made it to Dubai, to Taj- Mahal, the Amber Fort in Jaipur,we went to London and joined a peace protest, we visited Big Ben, then onto Paris, the Louvre, where we were thrown out because the Hejab is a hot button issue and to Istanbul where the only model I could find wouldn’t wear the Chador because she was a secularist, so in Istanbul I became a model and she photographed!
Ihr könnt auch scheitern (You can also fail) by Sarah Michelle Harrison & Lydia Hymen, video.
The works deal with the disindentification, with the production of the self as a distinct individual and the value of systems of cultural capital. In the video, a human body undresses itself from different things and identities while staying thing-like itself.
Sticks: class B by Martin Kohout, different sticks made of aluminium, rubber, leather and other materials – varios lengths-.
This series of fairly similar sticks have handles with straps that you could slip around the hand as with a ski pole. In order to get s better grip, in order to fail: flail the air, exercise, produce pain, produce pleasure, break something. They seem pleasant to be hold, it is hard to resist touching them (because one must touch the handle). However they scape a particular use, they are tools for nothing or they are just almost: almost whips, almost sports equipments.
Contemplating the concept of trust-A script for a lecture by Mikko Kuorinki & Topi Äikäs, booklet, 10cm3 of matter, possibly for practical use, concrete.
It is a script for a performance that took place in Pori, Finland. It deals with trust: how it is born, what its conditions are and its necessity for being able to act. The performer must trust the audience and the audience the perfomer, but also there must be trust for the structures in the performance space, that the concrete around endures. In addition, the work examines the relation between money and trust as well as money as a requirement for artistic activity (that money comes from grants and fees, but mostly from other jobs or family)
Juego de Cama by Almudena Lobera, ink, pencil and collage on paper 34,2 x 25,5.
In Almudena Lobera’s drawing, Juego de cama there is a small trampoline and above it a cloth that gums on the trampoline or is about to land on it for the first time. The trampoline is static and looks almost like an instruction picture: here is a trampoline. It is anchored into gravity and the vibration and elasticity of the mat are always attached to the metal frame. It enables the movements of other things and bodies while staying tightly attached to the ground. In the work, the cloth bundles, opens, flutters and jumps, merging into the air, almost without gravity, nearly a ghost. It carries with it the art story of portraying folds (not the manual, never). There is a tense relationship between the trampoline and the both, they act and move in relation to one another (the movement has either just happened or is about to happen and almost inevitably repeats itself, it is a feature of the trampoline). In Lobera’s drawing, the trampoline and the cloth are material agents, their thingness is vibrant.
Curated by Vappu Jalonen
March 31 – April 21, 2012
‘Difference a bend #2’, Anja Majer, Rebecca Michaelis & Arne Schreiber @ Stedefreund, March 30th, 2012
Michel Foucault, “Of Other Spaces” in Heterotopia and the City, (Abingdon: Routledge, 2008), 17.
“In the mirror, I see myself there where I am not, in an unreal space that virtually opens up behind the surface; I am over there, there where I am not, a sort of shadow that gives me my own visibility, that enables me to see myself there where I am absent. Utopia of the mirror. But it is also a heterotopia in so far as the mirror does really exist, and as it exerts on the place I occupy a sort of return effect; it is starting from the mirror that I discover my absence in the place where I am, since I see myself over there. … The mirror functions as a heterotopia in the respect that it renders this place that I occupy at the moment when I look at myself in the looking glass at once absolutely real, connected with all the space that surrounds it, and absolutely unreal, since in order to be perceived, it has to pass through this virtual point, which is over there”.
The reflection in the mirror is thus always the inversion of a material, physical world of objects and persons into an immaterial image, which demands that the viewer reposition himself in relation to his physically perceived location. Within the actuality of space and time, the perceiver moves along shifted, bent paths running parallel to reality. In the process, the interplay of observation, perception and conceptualization is constantly engaging with the parallel conception of images.
Another investigation of the viewer’s position between physical and intellectual percep-tion is the piece Still playing by Anja Majer. A flat-screen TV mounted on the wall shows a video loop of the color blue. Stuck to the screen is a picture of a bird, thanks to which the blue is promptly experienced as its physical counterpart, the sky. As a virtually generated image, though, the blue monitor also refers both to the blue screen used as a back- ground for compositing multiple video images together, and to the computer error screen known as the “blue screen of death”—and thus to our perception of content and material- ity. While the bird image initially grants access to a simulated reality of an actual realm of experience, in its physical nature as a sticker it simultaneously marks a “real” boundary between the physically perceptible and the dematerialized image. Eject, another piece by Majer, expands the artist’s inquiry into various levels and spaces of perception.
Rebecca Michaelis has a very different way of connecting a physically present object with the idea of the image as a space of imagination. Taking her own biography and the history of Stedefreund’s current location as her starting points, she presents an object titled Gneez: a five-pointed sheet-steel star powder-coated in green. The piece grows out of the idea that symbols, in ways that are both tangible and intangible, simultaneously occupy spaces (physical and mental) and express specific cultural mentalities and identi- ties. Thus the star may be read, in the context of the exhibition space on Straßburger Straße, which served as the ruling party’s motor pool during the GDR era, as a symbol of the socialist or communist worldview. On the other hand, the artist is also taking up the star as an abstract sign that fulfills specific formal requirements. In the process of perception, the concurrence of this purely abstract form with the narrative engendered by the possibility of cultural-historical interpretation mediates between reality and fiction. Here, Michaelis finds, the activity of painting comes into contact with the activity of read- ing: “A succession of abstract signs, of letters, gives rise to places, people, conflicts in the world of the reader’s thoughts; the abstract signs become a world of their own.” In this connection, the title Gneez has a literary analogue as well: It comes from the book Jahrestage by Uwe Johnson, in which “Gneez” refers to a fictional city in Mecklenburg, whose geographical location corresponds roughly to that of the real city of Grevesmüh- len.
By contrasting the conceptual differences between the artistic positions of Anja Majer, Rebecca Michaelis and Arne Schreiber, it becomes possible to investigate pictorial con- ventions and conceptions. The image is interrogated not only as illusionistic space, but also as a mirror of the world or a window, and thus understood as part of the multimedia interplay of an art exhibition.
March 31–April 28, 2012