Art Gallery

‘Back to the garden’, Agnieszka Brzezanska @ Kamm Galerie, March 9th, 2012

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“Trees have long thoughts, long breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.” Herrmann Hesse, excerpt from Wanderings, 1918.

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Agnieszka Brzezanska photographs, films and paints pictures of her daily surroundings in which she sees a particular significance. In her second solo show at Galerie Kamm Brzezanska takes on the idea of a return to a place of rest and nativeness and the relationship between humans and plants.

The installation of the show with large-formatted prints hanging from the ceiling of the gallery space, a photograph placed on the floor and a sculpture in the space, creates the overall allusion to a forest. Leafs and tree branches – painted, photographed, filmed or computer-generated – serve as the common motif that tie the pieces together. They cover up a nymph-like creature, for instance, or seemingly form an entity with the movement and colour of human hair. Two unconventionally installed paintings, leaning against each other may recall childhood memories of building a “hut” as a hiding place in play, following a natural instinct. The film, which is screened inside it, formally echoes the fragmented image of the leaf-covered photographs. It shows a sequence of an open-air screening of a performance by dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch, which Brzezanska filmed with a simple digital camera from the window of her studio. In the background, the orchestral tunes of Sacre du Printemps by Igor Stravinsky are heard.

In this exhibition one comes across objects, images and sounds that can be surprising, humorous, mystical or even uncanny – much like in nature. While the works evoke an atmosphere of the metaphysical and spiritual, Brzezanska always manages to maintain a clear view and precise technique in her pieces. Leaning on theorists like Stephen Harrod Buhner, she calls into question our own position within the natural order, reviving the canon of theories and debates regarding the human being’s relationship with nature. In The Lost Language of Plants(2002) Buhner describes how man’s emotional disconnection from the Earth and plants causes a loss of health in ecosystems as well as a loss of “understanding of who we are”. In the communication with plants thus lies a healing power and potential source of joy that modern society has widely disconnected from. By taking the viewer back to the garden, Brzezanska opens up the realm of questioning our own relationship with nature,possibly taking a first step to reconnecting and communicating with it. As the Canadian painter Emily Carr observed in her life-long pre-occupation with nature: “Trees love to toss and sway. They make such happy noises.

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‘Set’, Gerold Miler @ Mehdi Chouakri, March 3rd, 2012

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The show present works from Miller who departs the 3-dimensional “frame-like-form” for the first time. The pieces are a composition of two overlapping rectangular color fields that swings between shade in shade and high contrast associations in order to let the colors to take on main role. This play is counteracted by the rigor of repetition. The result is an optical color effect which is reminiscent of Albers’ Hommage to Square for example. The strategy of repetition is explicit in Minimal and Conceptual Art. The eye and its own aesthetic sense are being challenged, not only through the direct industrial and chromatic appearance.

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The series call Set is a precise compilation of form, surface area and color. The hanging of the exhibition deliberately emphasizes this contrast-enhanced play. A series of seven work different sizes 60x40x3cm and 160x128x8cm await the visitor in the front space. In a second smaller room one is confronted with the dominating over-dimensional Set. (250x200x10,8cm) So the viewer experiences a shift in scale and weight, which almost seems menacing.

Text source: printed press release for the opening Gerold Miller in Galerie Mehdi Chouakri.

‘Reverse Engineering’, Raqs Media Collective @ Nature Morte Berlin, March 9th, 2012

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Raqs Media Collective are showing their ongoing project „The Euphoria Machine“ comprised of two demonstration tables, various drawings, prints and monitors. The large installation takes the form of a laboratory, which works as a diagram for a conceptual engine of the desire that fuels capitalism. The artists put forward the hypothesis that it the human desire for joy, beauty, satisfaction and love, which fuels economic growth and perpetuates our continuously growing culture of consumption. The point of departure for this project is the existence of the machine and to examine the evidence of it around us, in plans, projections, advertisements, policy statements, blueprints, balance sheets and reports.

The current global financial crisis has emerged through acquiring and transacting things that are notional rather than real. This is due to the fact that, for some time now, we have been told that the calculus of prosperity depends on the acquisition and transaction of virtual assets, but not that they are in fact tied to very real costs. The title of the show, “Reverse Engineering” refers to the inversion of the financial apparatus at work during the economic crisis, which at current is fuelled by fear and sentiment rather than by euphoria. Currently, the euphoria machine’s exhaust only produces despair.

The Raqs Media Collective enjoy playing a plurality of roles, often appearing as artists, occasionally as a curators, sometimes as philosophical agent provocateurs. They make contemporary art and films, curate exhibitions, edit books, stage events, collaborate with architects, computer programmers, writers and theatre directors and follow their self-declared imperative of ‘kinetic contemplation’.

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‘Die Gesetze der Malerei. §2: Ein Gemälde ist eine Fläche’, Sumiyo Nagai @ Espace Surplus, March 2nd, 2012

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Ein Gemälde ist eine Fläche = A painting is a surface

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Duchamp dreamt of the fourth dimension, of time going by and of movement within the strict frame of the picture. But there was no longer a painting. We decided to regard the surface as a dance floor, to resist the urge to enter the endless space inside the frame, to stay on the surface and dance. And we invite you to dance.

There is a deep mistrust of the spatial illusion in all painting and at the same time a great need to penetrate the canvas in all of us. Let’s try to stay afloat in the vast landscape of the painting while the eyes dance in the rhythm of colour and form. There is the elegance of the marionette to be reached, the oblivious grace of those lost in the pictorial space.

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‘Space Release # 1: 12 Titles’ @ Stedefreund, November 25th 2011

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Space Release # 1: 12 Titles. Part 1 of the three-part exhibition series about Space Release.

Free translation by me, original in german, source:

Art takes up space. Art creates and defines space and is determined by the same space. Taking the advantage of a new site Space release will examine space as formative moment in art with a set of three groupal exhibitions that will take place between November 2011 and February 2012.

In the exhibition series, will address our location as a project space in Berlin and at the same time reflecting the relationship between art and space. The individual exhibitions and artistic positions will formulate different approaches to the subject of space to discuss its architectural, institutional, social, cultural, psychological and physical aspects.

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Space Release # 1-12 Titles deals with the appropiation of space and with one of the most fundamental questions in art: what is its own location and the relationship to its surroundings . 12 Stedefreund artists will explore the possibilities of an unknown space and they will redefine it. In the commun spatial analysis  each artists position will be accentuated and differentiated from the others. The exhibition space itself becomes the display with the artists’ responses to it facilitating a variety of spatial experiences.

Artists: Stefka Ammon // Astrid Busch // Nicole Degenhard // Anne Gathmann // Kerstin Gottschalk // Marlena Kudlicka // Rebecca Michaelis // Julia Prezewowsky // Marcel Prüfert // Katja Pudor // Alexandra Schumacher // Julia Staszak

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‘Pareto optimality’ from Danilo Correale @ Supportico Lopez, November 11th 2011

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The “Pareto optimality” is a concept used in economics to demonstrate how in a given group it is impossible to improve a subject’s condition without worsening another’s.

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Moving from this theoretical premise, Danilo Correale defines his viewpoint through three passages in a single compositional process:

A dictionary of financial and market terms on whose spine the artist has transcribed a passage from Borges’ Lottery of Babylon.

In the three works made of recycled paper. This is made of pulped losing lottery tickets, which thus reestablish their value, turning from tangible signs of failure into a work of art.

The video “The surface of my eye is deeper than the ocean” (2011) shows several people engaged, absorbed, concentrated in the obsessive gesture of scratching, a gesture that is depersonalizing in an alienating and almost pornographic way. These are every-day life glimpses of players whose gesture, which summarizes the failure of a whole society, is placed here under an inquisitive gaze.

Material illusions, today transformed into needs, and the idealization of statuses are the results of an abysmal gap that has opened up between reality and the “Televised reality” we are force-fed every day. Our culture is saturated with images of prizes, competitions, piles of money, golden coins, and all sorts of commodities. These images are reflected back by the “spectacularization” of ordinary life.


Marc Brandenburg @ 032c, November 3rd 2011

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Marc Brandenburg by Paul Feigelfeld 

MARC BRANDENBURG is a multimedia artist who was born in 1965 in Berlin, where he currently resides and works. Brandenburg is known for his graphite-on-paper drawings that adopt the look of photographic negatives. Interested in scenes of power and excess, his drawings, made from original and found photographs, depict crowds at soccer games and political protests, as well as celebrities and consumer objects appropriated from mass media.

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“I’m interested in people who embody something very contemporary and progressive, and yet seem removed from the current time. With their own style, their own stance, their own world vision, they simply can’t be characterized. Reinhard Wilhelmi, Michael Jackson and Yves Saint Laurent are all examples. Yves’ legendary nude portrait, taken to his own specifications by Jeanloup Sieff, was an absolutely modern and confident picture that embodied the homosexual man. Michael Jackson blew up race, gender and age boundaries. He was the most radical entertainer of the 20th century. Through his extreme wealth, he transformed himself into an art figure with undefined racial and gender identity. In addition, he fathered three white children. I don’t believe there is a middle-class African American family in North America that would be awarded white children for adoption. This kind of tragic corruption reveals just how far we are from a truly free society. For Michael Jackson to have these children was a flamboyant demonstration of political power.”

For 032c Workshop’s exhibition vitrine, Brandenburg has created a unique phosphorescent, film-like montage installation of his works. The idea to incorporate black light to his drawings and prints is the result of a chance visit to the famed Berlin bar, “Kumpelnest 3000″. Distortion and disorientation enforce a concentration on some of the essential aspects of an image. By hand drawing photographic negatives, Brandenburg intimately disentangles the mediating forces that manifest popular images.