Thursday, November 23, 2017

Wiebke Siem and Ann Veronica Janssens at Esther Schipper, Berlin.

Damenskulptur: Wiebke Siem
November 4 – December 16, 2017
Damenskulptur: Wiebke Siem
Press Release: Esther Schipper is pleased to announce Wiebke Siem’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Under the title Damenskulptur, the artist presents seven new textile works and a series of new drawings. 
The new sculptures, made of soft knitted fabric and more than two meters long, hang in the exhibition space. Each consists of basic geometric shapes in different variations. The forms of the pompons or fringes refer to the history of modern sculpture (especially the Bauhaus and Minimalism), while the figurative elements such as head, hands or feet counteract this serial arrangement at the same time. 
The new series also explicitly refers to Siem’s early works and combines motifs from the artist’s sculptural iconography with formal elements from fashion. For example, Siem takes up the surrealistic designs of Elsa Schiaparelli. At the same time, the new series also revisits the topic of the usability of works of art. 
The drawings indicate this potential for the usability of these Soft Sculptures. They show the sculptures in their full length, as well as a scarf draped around the outline of a neck. The juxtaposition emphasizes the humorous side of the objects.
The works will be shown in a museum-like presentation. While some earlier exhibitions resembled the display of museum of the history of science or an ethnographic museum, here the display of a museum of fashion is evoked – although all associations are not mutually exclusive, especially in the work of Siem. At the same time, the placement of the sculptures in the darkened room recalls a stage, especially the black stage of Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet.
Starting from the history of fashion, art and design, Siem creates sculptures that address the legacy of modernism from a feminist perspective. 
Wiebke Siem was born 1954 in Kiel, Germany. The artist lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Siem studied Sculpture and Printmaking from 1973 to 1978 at Muthesius Kunsthochschule in Kiel, as well as Sculpture from 1979 to 1984 at Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg. She was a visiting professor for Sculpture at Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg, followed by a professorship for Sculpture from 2002 to 2008. 
Recent solo exhibitions include: Wiebke Siem, Zeichnungen, Neues Museum Nürnberg, Nuremberg (2017– ongoing); Wiebke Siem – What Things Dream, K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Labor, Düsseldorf (2016); Wiebke Siem, Lehmbruck Museum, Duisburg (2015); Wiebke Siem – Kaiserringträgerin der Stadt Goslar, Mönchehaus-Museum, Goslar (2014); Wiebke Siem im Atelier Karin Sander, Studio Karin Sander, Berlin (2014); Geister, Installation im Treppenhaus der Kunsthalle zu Kiel (2012); Die Fälscherin, Neues Museum Nürnberg, Nuremberg (2009); Maskenkostüme, on the occasion of the Edwin Schar Award of the city of Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle – Galerie der Gegenwart (2004), and Collection, The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2001). 
Among selected group exhibitions are: Edwin Schar Preisträger Hamburg, Edwin Schar Museum, Neu Ulm (2017), HONEY, I REARRANGED THE COLLECTION, Hamburger Kunsthalle – Galerie der Gegenwart, Hamburg (2016); Summer Guests, Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon (2016); Gesichter zwischen Figur, Porträt und Maske, Neues Museum Nürnberg, Nuremberg (2015); Regionalismus, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg (2013), and Gute Gesellschaft, Kunsthalle zu Kiel, Kiel (2012).

Damenskulptur: Wiebke Siem
Damenskulptur: Wiebke Siem
Damenskulptur: Wiebke Siem
Damenskulptur: Wiebke Siem
Damenskulptur: Wiebke Siem
Damenskulptur: Wiebke Siem
Ich rede zu Dir wie Kinder reden in der Nacht: Ann Veronica Janssens
November 4 – December 16, 2017
Ich rede zu Dir wie Kinder reden in der Nacht: Ann Veronica Janssens
Ich rede zu Dir wie Kinder reden in der Nacht: Ann Veronica Janssens
Press Release: “[…] and I talk to you as children talk in the night: my face pressed up against you and my eyes closed, feeling your nearness, your safety, your presence” – Rainer Maria Rilke to Lou Andreas-Salomé, August 10, 1903. Esther Schipper is pleased to announce Ich rede zu Dir wie Kinder reden in der Nacht, Ann Veronica Janssens’ fifth solo exhibition with the gallery.
Janssens—who has borrowed her title from one of Rainer Maria Rilke’s letters to his muse and lover Lou Andreas-Salomé: “I talk to you as children talk in the night”—will present for the first time in Berlin a new indoor iteration of her iconic mist installations. Once visitors pass the threshold of the exhibition space, they will find themselves immersed in a room filled with thick mist bathed in a combination of natural and artificial light, moving into an immaterial colored abstraction in green, yellow and pink, where any spatial or temporal landmark has disappeared. With this immersive environment, Janssens pursues an artistic experiment started in 1997 with MuHKA Antwerp, her first white fog room conceived on occasion of her exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in Antwerp. Since then, the artist has created a number of mist installations, either monochromatic or multicolor, using natural or artificial light.
Since the late 1980s, Janssens has developed an artistic practice based on light, color, and natural optical phenomena. She continuously experiments with the characteristic attributes of carefully chosen materials (glass, mirrors, aluminum, artificial fog), shapes, and light, wielding our perception of reality to create a recurrent vocabulary of minimalist motifs and beautiful colors.
Janssens’ fog installations place visitors in an unknown territory where senses of vision and audition cannot be trusted anymore. As explained by the artist: “Gazing at mist is an experience with contrasting effects. It appears to abolish all obstacles, materiality, the resistances specific to a given context, and at the same time, it seems to impart a materiality and tactility to light.” The experience provokes different reactions: some find it exhilarating, while others might experience dizziness or anxiety. By filling closed spaces with a haze of colored artificial mist, Janssens creates situations confronting visitors with their own perception of space and themselves in it.
In 2001, as part of her solo exhibition at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, the artist presented Blue, Red, and Yellow—a rectangular “mobile sculpture” shaped like a standard container—on the plaza of Mies van der Rohe’s modernist building. Each side of the pavilion was covered with a different color film (red, blue, yellow, and transparent), while inside a fog machine filled the space with mist. The work was one of the first colored fog rooms created by the artist and was reiterated on occasion of Janssens’ major 2016 exhibition at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas.
Ann Veronica Janssens was born in 1956 in Folkestone, England. She lives and works in Brussels, Belgium. 
Janssens’ recent solo exhibitions include: Naissances latentes, SHED, Notre-Dame-de-Bondeville, L’Aître Saint-Maclou and Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen (2017); mars, Institut d’art contemporain Villeurbanne/Rhônes-Alpes (2017); Ann Veronica Janssens, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2016); Ann Veronica Janssens: yellowbluepink, Wellcome Collection, London (2015); Philaetchouri (in collaboration with Michel François), La Verrière, Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, Brussels (2015); Ann Veronica Janssens (in collaboration with Nord Projects/Laurent Jacob), Museum Cappella Sansevero, Naples (2014); Septembre, Frac Corse, Corte (2013); Ulysses – Ellipse, Eglise Sainte-Honorat des Alyscamps, Arles (2013); Ann Veronica Janssens, Ausstellungshalle Zeitgenössische Kunst, Münster (2010); Serendipity, WIELS, Brussels (2009); Ann Veronica Janssens – An den Frühling, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen (2007); CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts (2003); Ann Veronica Janssens, Kunsthalle Bern (2003); Ann Veronica Janssens, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2002), and Light Games, Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (2001).
Her work was also included in the acclaimed group exhibition Light Show at the Hayward Gallery in London (2013), which travelled to Auckland, Sydney, Sharjah and Santiago (2014/2016).
In 1999, she represented Belgium with Michel François at the 48th Venice Biennale, curated by Harald Szeemann.
 

 ESTHER SCHIPPER

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Sislej Xhafa - shadow of curls. Blain Southern, Berlin.

Press Release:
Blain|Southern presents shadow of curls, Sislej Xhafa’s first exhibition in Berlin. 
At the core of Xhafa’s practice are the identity politics that surround the legal status of his country of origin, Kosovo, as well as broader ideas of power, politics, immigration and social and economic mobility. Many of these themes are explored in his pavilion this year at the 57th Venice Biennale, representing the Republic of Kosovo.
In shadow of curls, Xhafa works with a variety of materials associated with different types of migration, as well as a range of quotidian objects that have been re-appropriated, altered or rendered useless. Employing a conceptual mode, he draws upon the history of the readymade to ironic, humorous and subversive effect.
 
At first glance, an olive tree next to the entrance looks out of place amid artworks. Yet attached to it’s trunk, a tag reads ‘dont touch me’, drawing on ideas of ownership and privacy, while alluding to the history of the olive tree as a symbol of peace, or the tree as witness to history. 

In the corner of the space sits a large checked plastic bag, an object so common that it is almost synonymous with human movement. The open bag partially reveals a crystal chandelier, hinting at the hope of a new life, or perhaps a sense of suffocation. 
Hanging alongside one another, slightly away from the wall, are large canvases painted uniformly white and each partially covered in clear polythene. Closer inspection reveals barbed wire on the wall, a menacing barrier to another space mostly concealed by the pristine paintings. For Xhafa, the clean, perfect surface masks a darker, grim reality.
In contrast, a monochromatic black painting hangs opposite. The matt surface subtly broken by the word ‘Chicago’ painted in black gloss onto the canvas, which has been tipped on its side. This almost illegible reference is an example of the visual poetry common in Xhafa’s work. Avoiding direct metaphor, the work references multi-layered definitions of violence. 
Xhafa’s readymades are household objects, a garden hose, a refrigerator, garbage bags, mattress and a sun shade; his use of concrete has equally domestic connotations of home building, permanence and belonging, yet paradoxically of entrapment and brutal economics. 
shadow of curls creates a space where familiar objects are transformed into charged, ambiguous artworks, inviting visitors to participate in conversations about specific moments in history or current affairs, or universal questions about human freedom.
Sislej Xhafa. shadow of curls. Blain Southern, Berlin.
Sislej Xhafa. dear one. (convex acrylic mirrors, resin, cement).
Sislej Xhafa. still life on left lane (Plastic bag, crystal chandelier).
Sislej Xhafa. raw breeze -detail. (Acrylic on canvas, polythene, barbed wire).
Sislej Xhafa. raw breeze -detail. (Acrylic on canvas, polythene, barbed wire).
Sislej Xhafa. desert in hole (refrigerator).
Sislej Xhafa. dancing in the dark.
Sislej Xhafa. dry shade (wooden umbrella, resin, cement).
Sislej Xhafa. the bindery (Garbage bags, human hair).
Sislej Xhafa. stinging pocket (single mattress, cacti).
Sislej Xhafa. stinging pocket (single mattress, cacti).
Sislej Xhafa. shouting in the wind (3 lighters).
 11 November – 23 December 2017. Blain Southern.

Adrian Ghenie. The Graces. Galerie Judin. Berlin. 2017

Adrian Ghenie. The Graces. Galerie Judin. Berlin. 2017

Adrian Ghenie. The Graces. Galerie Judin

Adrian Ghenie. The Graces. Galerie Judin

Adrian Ghenie. Grace. Galerie Judin

Adrian Ghenie (detail).

Adrian Ghenie. On the Beach. Galerie Judin

Adrian Ghenie (detail).

Adrian Ghenie. The Graces. Galerie Judin

Adrian Ghenie. The Graces. Galerie Judin

Adrian Ghenie. The Graces. Galerie Judin

Adrian Ghenie. The Toy. Galerie Judin

Adrian Ghenie (detail).

Adrian Ghenie (detail).
Press Release:
The open­ing of Adrian Ghenie’s exhi­bi­tion The Graces marks—to the day—the 10th anniver­sary of his first solo exhi­bi­tion for gal­lerist Juerg Judin. The works in that exhi­bi­tion, Shadow of a Daydream, were all painted in muted, somber col­ors that upon closer inspec­tion were revealed as rich hues of unexpected var­i­ety and depth. Cre­ated at the very be­gin­ning of his career, they attested to what would make his paint­ings so dis­tinc­tive, rel­evant and ulti­mately influ­en­tial: his abil­ity to stage his per­sonal expe­r­i­ence of history, an under­stand­ing of the col­lec­tive mem­ory and his profound knowl­edge of art history in complex, mul­ti­lay­ered and sug­ges­tive paint­ings. In the ten years that fol­lowed this aus­picious be­gin­ning, Ghenie’s paint­ings have gained color and mate­r­i­al­ity—at the same time as they have become more abs­tract. He applies paint in broad brushstrokes, only to scrape it off the canvas. The richly tex­tured surfaces are the yield of what could be described as ‘action paint­ing’, reveal­ing the scars of the tackling that occurs dur­ing the artist’s bat­tle with his sub­ject. In his endeavor to fuse image and paint­ing, Ghenie welcomes ‘acci­dents’, alternat­ing between action and reac­tion.
In The Graces, Ghenie is not pre­sent­ing a homoge­nous group of works, as regards either the sub­ject mat­ters or the media he uses. As is often the case in his gallery exhi­bi­tions, Ghenie combines revis­i­ta­tions of sub­jects that he has explored in pre­vi­ous exhi­bi­tions with entirely new picto­rial inven­tions. Seasoned vis­itors of Ghenie exhi­bi­tions know that they will expe­r­i­ence both, the pleasure and comfort of recog­ni­tion, as well as the shock of the new. In this exhi­bi­tion (and the simulta­ne­ous exhi­bi­tion at Gale­ria Plan B), Ghenie reveals his skills as a drafts­man in a group of large charcoal draw­ings. This surpris­ing and highly successful foray into a, for him, new technique con­cerns both the con­tin­u­a­tion of the Berghof se­ries, and the new thematic groups.
Ghenie’s fas­cina­tion with the Berghof, Hitler’s hol­i­day retreat in the Bavar­ian mountains, can be traced back to a paint­ing he made in 2008. It showed an untidy stack of presum­ably stolen paint­ings left behind by Nazi lead­ers. The next Berghof, painted in 2012, did not allude to the chaos of the inglo­ri­ous end of Hitler’s rule, but rather showed a peaceful scene with a seated male fig­ure on the
famous terrace, looking onto the spectac­u­lar alpine panorama. In the new Berghof paint­ings, the mon­u­mental Alpine Retreat 2, Study for ‘Alpine Retreat 2’ and Berghof, as well as the large charcoal draw­ing The Happy Host and the collage The Way of All Flesh, Ghenie returns to the iconic terrace. It is the unsettling histor­ical footage of Hitler as a fam­ily man, friendly uncle and car­ing partner of Eva Braun, that fuel the artist’s imag­ina­tion. All the while, the fact that in Alpine Retreat 2 Eva Braun can be seen as being preg­nant starts off a whole differ­ent movie in the view­ers mind.
Both the large paint­ing Hunt­ing Scene and the charcoal draw­ing The Hunter are based on a typ­ical genre paint­ing by a minor Dutch mas­ter, which Ghenie dis­cov­ered in the Her­mitage. In it, a well-dressed hunts­man, flanked by his loyal dogs, stands in a graceful pose and looks confi­dently at the viewer. In the draw­ing, Ghenie picks up on this fig­ure’s grace, dis­clos­ing the pos­si­ble ori­gin of the com­po­si­tion. In the paint­ing, how­ever, only the dogs are dis­tin­guish­able, in the foreground of a furi­ous landscape. Rampant abs­trac­tion has gained the upper hand in this com­po­si­tion.
Beauty of a more con­cealed nature emerges from the paint­ing Grace and the charcoal draw­ing of the same title. The fig­ure of the walking woman, if it is indeed a woman, reminds us of the voluptuous­ness that was the def­i­ni­tion of female beauty in the days of Rubens. Ghenie is reflect­ing on the pre­em­i­nence of light skin (i.e. the ‘Cau­casian race’) in art history. It’s not just Euro­pean art that favored a white complexion. In Asian art from past cen­turies, the depic­tion of human flesh rarely relates to the darker skin color of the local pop­u­la­tions. This is a phe­nomenon that Ghenie intends to address in future works. The fig­ure’s lat­eral pose is atyp­ical in West­ern art history—it reminds us of Muybridge’s pio­neer­ing photo­graphic studies of motion. And indeed, the paint­ing is based on a black & white photo­graph of the artist’s mother walking on a Black Sea beach.
In The Toy, the white­ness of the fig­ure’s skin con­trasts sharply with the rich reds of the background. The fig­ure’s gen­der is unclear, but since it has shoul­dered a rifle, we assume it’s a boy. Like the female fig­ure in Grace, the body in this paint­ing seems over­ex­posed by an unlocat­able source of light.
The three self-por­traits in the exhi­bi­tion are a con­tin­u­a­tion of Ghenie’s exam­ina­tion of his own phys­iog­nomy. Recently, the por­tray­als have become more and more decon­struc­tivist. In the paint­ing On the Beach, we see him sitt­ing in front of a spectac­u­lar seascape. It, too, is com­posed in a decon­struc­tivist manner, made up of oddly shaped ele­ments in col­ors that we don’t nec­es­sar­ily asso­ciate with water. The artist has painted him­self face­less, rec­og­niz­able only by his silhou­ette, famil­iar from many other self-por­traits. His desire to merge his own face with that of a histor­ical fig­ure (Darwin, van Gogh, Hitler) or an ani­mal seems to have given way to a more exis­ten­tial­ist inquiry into human nature—using his own face as read­ily avai­l­able stand-in for the common man.

Adrian Ghenie. Study for Alpine Retreat. Self-Portrait. Galerie Judin

Adrian Ghenie. The Graces. Galerie Judin

Adrian Ghenie. Alpine Retreat 2. Galerie Judin

Adrian Ghenie (detail).

Adrian Ghenie. Hunting Scene. Galerie Judin

Adrian Ghenie (detail).

Adrian Ghenie (detail).

Adrian Ghenie (detail).

Adrian Ghenie. Galerie Judin

Adrian Ghenie. Self-Portrait. Galerie Judin

Adrian Ghenie. The Way of All Flesh. Galerie Judin

Adrian Ghenie. The Graces. Galerie Judin

18 November 2017 – 3 February 2018. Galerie Judin.

 



Transitions Ep. 3: Thresholds. Dada Post, Berlin 2017.

I'm criminally late in posting shots from the 3rd installment of the Transitions shows curated by Sheena Malone at Dada Post. The show ran from Aug 26th to Oct 7th.
Artists: Maria Bajt, Katya Fialkova, Charles Fréger, Carmen Gheorghe, Richard Proffitt,
Andrew Thomas.


Dadapost. Transitions ep.3. Carmen Gheorghe, Katya Fialkova, Andrew Thomas
Dadapost. Transitions ep.3. Katya Fialkova
Dadapost. Transitions ep.3. Carmen Gheorghe
Dadapost. Transitions ep.3. Charles Freger
Dadapost. Transitions ep.3. Maria Bajt
Dadapost. Transitions ep.3. Maria Bajt, Carmen Gheorghe
Dadapost. Transitions ep.3. Carmen Gheorghe
Dadapost. Transitions ep.3. Carmen Gheorghe, Charles Freger
Dadapost. Transitions ep.3. Carmen Gheorghe
Dadapost. Transitions ep.3. Richard Proffitt, Maria Bajt
Dadapost. Transitions ep.3. Carmen Gheorghe
Dadapost. Transitions ep.3. Katya Fialkova
Dadapost. Transitions ep.3. Richard Proffitt
Dadapost. Transitions ep.3. Carmen Gheorghe
Dadapost. Transitions ep.3. Maria Bajt, Carmen Gheorghe