‘State of Palestine’, Khaled Jarrar, 7th Berlin Biennale @ KW, April 26th, 2012

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Governmental documents serve the explicit correlation of identity and affiliation. Palestinian artist Khaled Jarrar uses these attributes as samples for alternative models of identity and anticipates the existence of a state, which until now is mere utopia. He created a stamp with which he stamps passports of travelers and pedestrians in Ramallah, Berlin, Paris and other cities since 2011. About 240 participants carry a stamp of the State of Palestine in their passport until this day challenging the Israeli border regime. Jarrar undertook his first stamping action at the central bus station in Ramallah for people arriving from the checkpoints. When he goes abroad, he uses any occasion to mark people’s passports and thereby develops a campaign based on nonviolent resistance. These stamps represent a sovereign independent country and opposition to the violent fragmentation of the Palestinian territory. Those who agree to have the stamp put into their documents sustain claims for Palestinian sovereignty and perform an individual political coming out which defines one’s position.

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A community of supporters grows. Official documents become a manifestation of citizen’s disobedience. And if you have a stamp, you might run into trouble: your entrance to Israel might be denied by border control at the Ben Gurion checkpoint, or you might be sent back to your country of origin. We even know of Israeli passports that have been cancelled due to the unauthorized stamp. Together with the 7th Berlin Biennale, Jarrar also produces postage stamps from Deutsche Post, which have a Palestine Sunbird and the inscription “State of Palestine” printed on them. Over 20,000 have been made so far. Used on letters and postcards, they have circulated worldwide.

Jarrar’s passport and postage stamps tell the story of a state-to-be. But reality goes against him and other Palestinians. Instead of continuing again and again the discussion about a one- or two-state solution, using these stamps is a simple gesture that helps to create normality. Text by Artur Żmijewski and Joanna Warsza

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‘Detail’, group show @ Galerie Open, April 5th, 2012

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A small, nondescript detail catches our eye; arrests us momentarily. Caught up in the moment, we stand and gaze at the scene or the image. But which fragment is it, and why? In the exhibition Detail,  Florian Japp, Madeline Stillwell and Peter Truschner show which moments of their perception influence their practice. Installations, collages and photographs explore how the fragmentary and fleeting reflects a wider reality.

Florian Japp (born 1971) likes to tease. Taking Franz West as his starting point, he constructs obviously non-functional large-scale sculptures in acid shades of bright. While associations with the gym (nets, balls, ropes, poles) are intended to frame the piece, these remain fragmentary. The viewer is left bemused, caught trying to imbue the pieces with functionality, but losing himself in the artist’s puzzle. The action of the pieces is thus restricted to the imagination, and one is left meandering in a slightly malfunctioning parallel universe.

Peter Truschner’s (born 1967) photographs resemble film stills with highly-saturated colours and seemingly casual compositions, fragments excised from a much grander narrative. Truschner  is a highly-regarded author, and his flair for the narrative spills over into his photographic practice. His focus is on the quietly grotesque: butchered carcasses contrast with the harmonious assemblage of a mid-day meal, the restful repose of a trader among the cluttered debris of the street. In the series Glue Trushner investigates the images come together with the personal experiences and associations of the viewer to form the delicate web which unites the depicted narratives.

Madeline Stillwell’s (born 1978) delicate collages take their life from sculptural remnants of city detritus. Decoupages taken from fragmental photographs of decaying machinery, rusting shutters or derelict outbuildings, their colours softened through wind and exposure, resemble fantastical machines. Objects are thus re-infused with life, but removed from representation, their origins no longer apparent. Stillwell thus hints at a wider reality, but leaves the viewer caught between the work’s constitutive elements and the alternative reality they suggest.

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The exhibition runs from 6th April to May 26th.

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‘eins’, students group exhibition @ Neuen Schule für Fotografie Berlin, March 30th, 2012

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The exhibition ‘eins’ is the first of two exhibitions from Eva Bertram and Marc Volk graduating classes at the Neuen Schule für Fotografie in Berlin. The presented works cover a wide spectrum: self-dramatization and long exposures in different contexts, conflicts with dreams, reality, fiction or literary produced exposures with no camera.

All the works reflect the resources used, whether searching for the formulation of its own position: how to draw a picture of light? How can the photographic medium make a difference to the seemingly familiar, often not perceived? How can uncertainties – out of focus, transparency, cut-outs, vacancies – open an image in its relations?

These questions are also questions about the process leading to image formation. The viewer is invited to read the images, viewing habits to question and bring it into alignment with our own experience and their own images.

In the first exhibition ‘eins’ will show the final works of Pablo Ruiz Holst,  Tanya Polz, Ingolf Sessler, Sarah Sperling, Birte Zellentin Liza Kunze and Charlotte Zellerhoff.

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Pablo Ruiz Holst in his ATELIERBESUCHE (STUDIO VISITS) deals with the classical portrait to artists and explores the space between pose and authenticity within such meeting.

Lisa Kunze is the author of WAS BLEIBT (WHAT REMAINS) which is as a visual translation of Judith Hermann novel “Alice”.

Tanya Polz in NOSCE TE IPSUM  goes in an unconventional way to personal memories, insights and experiences from the past.

Ingolf Seßler in his project TRANSFORMATION works about the connection between photography and dance, with long-term exposures to create his own characters.

Sarah Sperling in her work MINIMUM SEPARABILE examines the human eye operation with respect to screen errors representation.

Birte Zellentin in MAMAMASCHINE (MAMA MACHINE) engages unpretentious manner in disillusioning the dependent relationship between mother and infant breast-feeding and the concomitant alienation from the mother body.

Charlotte Zellerhoff in her work INSOMNIA deals narrative and forcefully with nocturnal insomnia condition.

Better view of pics in ulr

31. March – 06. May 2012

Text: free translation by me from the original in German available on

Robert Polidori @ CWC GALLERY, March 29th, 2012

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Feudal splendour and colourful patina – Robert Polidori’s search for vestiges of the past in the Palace of Versailles, the Kremlin and Havanna

The comprehensive exhibition will allow for an in-depth look into Robert Polidori’s impressive oeuvre. Fascinating photographs of the Palace of Versailles, the Kremlin and the Cuban capital Havanna will be presented next to selected works from the series »Zones of Exclusion: Pripyat and Chernobyl« and »After the Flood« with photographs from New Orleans after hurricane »Katrina«. In addition to these series, the exhibition will feature selected architectural photographs by Robert Polidori from New York, Los Angeles and Berlin.

The focus of the exhibition is on Polidori’s extensive photographic documentation of the rebuilding and restauration of the Palace of Versailles which he followed for over 25 years. The magnificent rooms, the elaborate renovation work on the palace during the 1980s and the portraits of noblemen and -women in golden frames that constitute Polidori’s subjects give the viewer an idea of the past of this historic place, conserving it meticulously. At the same time, history coalesces with the present and allows for a new aesthetic experience of this lavishly adorned, regally decorated and yet forgotten world. The fractals of his photographs, moreover in the paintings, make the work even brighter.

Gold embellishments, polished wood inlays and glittering chandeliers as far as the eye can see characterize Polidori’s photographs of the Kremlin in Moscow, which used to be the home of the of czars and other rulers and is the seat of the Russian government again today. These complex, quiet images complete the circle between yesterday and today.

The ravages of time are also evident in Polidori’s photographs from Havanna. They depict crumbling, flaking, cracking structures, while simultaneously fascinating the viewer with their brilliant, rich colours and contrasts.

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Traces of history in Robert Polidori’s architectural photography

Polidori’s photographs are distinguished by their graceful silence, their precise aesthetic composition and their colourful complexity and power. Though printed in very large formats, the images do not sacrifice their accuracy of detail, which allows the viewer to almost sense the structure of shapes and surfaces through his eyes: the complex photographs let us experience the pictured spaces in a new way.

The point of contact between old and new is a recurring motive in Polidori’s work. The rooms that he photographs, although completey void of any human presence, tell their manifold stories through their unique patina and their palatial splendour. In 2009, he photographed the »Neues Museum« in Berlin, which was elaborately restored and redesigned by British architect David Chipperfield, adding new features to the old structures while deliberately conserving those parts in which the ravages of time were clearly visible.

Polidori’s testimony to destruction: Nuclear exclusion zones and natural disasters

In his work, Robert Polidori also documents the often devastating effects of human interference with the environment, as he did in his photo series about the nuclear reactor disaster in Chernobyl. He has also portrayed the disastrous damage done to the city of New Orleans by hurricane »Katrina« in 2005. Selected works from both series will be presented in the exhibition. Polidori, portraying not only the palaces of the world, but also scenes of destruction and tragedy, thus uses architectural photography as a means to make the recipient think about the pictured places in a different way. His photographs of the Hotel Ambassador in Los Angeles, one of which will be shown in the exhibition, can be read in a similar way. The hotel won notoriety when it became the scene of the assassination of Robert Kennedy in 1968. It was torn down in 2005.

Polidori’s substantial oeuvre has also been featued in several publications, among others the three-volume photo book »Parcours Muséologique Revisité« with the monumental photographic documentation of the Palace of Versailles, which was awarded the Liliane Bettencourt Prix de la Photographie. 

Four rooms, 500 m2 exhibition space, CWC  (CAMERA WORK CONTEMPORARY) GALLERY is the second gallery in a Berlin building that is steeped in history: the Ehemalige Jüdische Mädchenschule Berlin (former Jewish girls’ school). The construction by architect Alexander Beer was finished in 1928, its facade combining features of late expressionism and New Objectivity. CWC GALLERY, in keeping with the name CAMERA WORK CONTEMPORARY, will show contemporary positions in photography, painting and sculpture in comprehensive retrospectives, conceptual group exhibitions or cooperations with private collectors and art institutions. The elegance and purism visible on the outside of the building are mirrored in the four spacious, well-lit rooms on the first floor as well as in the generous hallways of the CWC GALLERY. A reduced, stylish design, a sophisticated arrangement and a clear language of form produce a unique atmosphere, in which the ample spaces take full effect in allowing the visitor to enjoy an exceptional experience of reception.

February 10 – April 21, 2012

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‘Berliner Erinnerungslandschaften’, Manuela Warstat @ Galerie Peter Herrmann, March 22nd, 2012

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Über Walter Benjamin, Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels und den Palast der Republik | Fotografie.

Berlin turns 775 this year, and Galerie Peter Herrmann is contributing with a thematic reference to the anniversary through the eyes of an Afro-German artist.

Disappearance as process. Starting in 1989, Manuela Warstat began working – alongside her painting – on a poetic documentation of the changes in the city at the center of her life. Auguststraße is one of many images of the resulting photographic series that will be shown in the exhibition. Dilapidation garnished with bullet holes. So, too, the Berlin Wall on the banks of the Spree, captured by Warstat on video.

Over the course of two years, the artist was a witness to the dismantling and demolition of Berlin’s Palast der Republik on the former Schlossplatz. She documented a small, expressive series of this destructive process, compressed here for the exhibition. The dismantled monument of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels – or, the Marx-Engels-Forum – is closely related.

The rapid changes in Tiergarten Süd, the artist’s neighborhood, and Schöneberg, the next neighborhood over, provoked an unusual response to a deceased neighbor. The built environment of Walter Benjamin’s former apartment in the Kurfürstenstraße portrays his surroundings.

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‘Metalheads’, photography by Jörg Brüggemann @ Gestalten Space, March 16th, 2012

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Over the last three years, Jörg Brüggemann, member of the respected agency Ostkreuz, travelled to Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Egypt, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and the United States to photograph the fans known as metalheads. So the exhibition “Metalheads”  presents vivid images that capture the lives and passion of heavy metal fans from around the world. 

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In some of the resulting portraits, it looks as if Brüggemann not only travelled to different countries but back in time to the 1980s, the period of heavy metal’s supposed peak. But all of these images have one thing in common: they show that no matter who metalheads are or where they come from, they are united by their music across borders, generations, genders, religions, and social classes.

The show also feature Brüggemann’s other photographs of the metal scene. Shots taken at concerts catapult the viewer directly into the mosh pit. The atmosphere is captured so authentically that one can practically smell the beer and sweat and hear the ringing in one’s ears.

Text source:örg-brüggemann

‘London Pictures’, GILBERT & GEORGE @ ARNDT Galerie, March 22nd, 2012

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The exhibition open with a quote on the wall from Dickens and a text from Bracewell.

“… Gazing fearfully at the huge town before them, as if foreboding that their misery there would be but as a drop of water in the sea, or as a grain of sea-sand on the shore… Food for the hospitals, the churchyards, the prisons, the river, fever, madness, vice and death – they passed on to the monster, roaring in the distance, and were lost”. Charles Dickens, “Dombey and Son”, 1847

The exhibition is a  monumental body of 292 pictures and it is the largest series yet created by the acclaimed British artists. 19 pictures will be shown in Berlin.
For five decades, to international acclaim, Gilbert & George have been making art that is visionary, shocking, relentless, moral and richly atmospheric.

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In these new ‘LONDON PICTURES’ Gilbert & George present an epic survey of modern urban life in all its volatility, tragedy, absurdity and routine violence. Brutal and declamatory, these brooding and disquieting pictures have been created from the sorting and classification by subject of nearly 4000 newspaper headline posters, stolen by the artists over a number of years. In their lucidity, no less than their insight into the daily realities of metropolitan life, the ‘LONDON PICTURES’ are Dickensian in scope and ultra-modern in sensibility.

Drawing directly on the quotidian life of a vast city, the ‘LONDON PICTURES’ allow contemporary society to recount itself in its own language. Within the townscape of this moral audit, Gilbert & George appear to pass like ghosts and seers, alternately watchful and distracted, as though their spirits were haunting the very streets and buildings that these pictures describe. The ‘LONDON PICTURES’ seem to comprise a great visual novel, revealing without judgment the ceaseless relay of urban drama, in all its gradations of hope and suffering.
Text: Michael Bracewell, 2012

catalogue documenting all 292 of the ‘LONDON PICTURES’ with an essay by Michael Bracewell accompany the exhibition and fill the shelves…

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