Twelve artists of different generations, working in different media, were asked to take part in this exhibition. The subjects of identity, state superiority, war and destruction, advertising and consumption, social unrest and boundaries of the individual are explored.
Tina Bara and Alba D'Urbano show two works from their Kunstwerk project, in which they deal with the representation of the woman, progress and the concept of a domestic environment that makes people happy. Household items and furnishing from the 60s and 70s are presented in the style of advertisements. In the background, the video work Kunstwerke 36 shows contemporary James Bond movies, while the song 'okay' by Ide Hitze, which invokes Allen Ginsberg's lecture Meditation and Poetry, is played. In the photo series 'Die Kunst und das schöne Heim', the performance is combined with illustrations from the West German living magazine of the same name. Absurd combinations of images, sound and humorous scenes explore social norms of this era, and their significance today.
Anna Baranowski portrays New Ordos, the city in the Mongolian steppe, in Monumental. Built in just ten years, the megacity once declared 'the Dubai of China' is now a ghost town. Designed to the finest detail, monuments, squares and video projections on high-rise facades tell an untold story. Fully automated, the historical legacy is programmed into the surface of the city, omitting only the people who could admire and inhabit the monumental buildings. Anna Baranowski scans the post-apocalyptic scenery cinematically, where the buildings are the only signifiers of civilisation. The viewer becomes the survivor of a lost society, and the visitor of a place awaiting the future.
Christiane Baumgartner transfers photographic documents into graphic reproduction, creating false representations of real moments. In the series 'Nordlicht', shown here Nordlicht - 6:08 pm (2018), Baumgartner combines hard wood with a light moving motive. Movement and time is always present in her work. Schwarze und Weiße Sonne recalls the experience of the eyes; after looking into the sun and closing your eyes, the sun still appears to be present, in imitation. In Strip (2011) she shows a recording of a Second World War documentary, shot directly from the television. She engages with imagery of destruction and war, imparted via news broadcasts, imparting it on both monumental woodcarvings and smaller formats as photographic etching shown here.
In her work, Maja Behrmann considers shapes, their relationships to one another, their meaning and their location. Behrmann draws, builds, copies, cuts, pastes over, discards—she seeks an alphabet of shapes, personalities that are abstract yet still convey a feeling.
Birgit Brenner's work has always involved writing. Short precise sentences developed with images, implying stories with a beginning and a (happy) ending to the viewer. However, she no longer leaves it to the viewer, but summarises multiple narratives to create a complex story. The latest video work Sommer, Sonne, Sicherheit tells episodes of 'emotional and financial surviving'. The drawings encompass motives of recollection, hope and despair.
Stef Heidhues has created new works for the exhibition. Utilitarian objects act as starting points for her artworks and installations, considering architectural and social spaces and the interaction taking place in them. This includes empty billboards, sign hangers, store lighting, as well as spaces such as bars or entire districts. She disconnects things from their true meaning as things and assigns them a new value.
Laurette Le Gall deals with the learning of a new language in her work Ich spreche ein bißchen deutsch. The syntax is shortened and vocabulary is limited. What happens if you are in a conversation with this limited knowledge? Language is the means of getting in contact with our environment, and everyday misunderstandings, leave much unsaid. Absurd and funny dialogues are heard. Although language is limited, humour lasts as a connecting unit. Kristina Schudt extends her artistic oeuvre with works on paper, with the two oversized collages. In her latest canvases she deconstructs figures and objects, cutting first and then reassembling the pieces on the paper. The human and the movement remain the focus, image thematically, the tubular body forms are present in the work and await a dissolution.
In Naunyn, Jana Schulz portrays a group of teenagers of Turkish heritage. What do the gestures, mimicry and glances mean in group rituals? The structure, cohesion and transitions into tenderness aid the search for identity. The title of the work is a reference to the Naunynstraße in Berlin, Kreuzberg. Here, the fathers of the protagonists were active in a street gang called 36 Boys in the 90s. Although the gang is no longer active, gatherings are continued by the younger generation.
In the photo series 'Il figlio mistero', Hanna Stiegeler assembles illustrations of gates from blacksmiths' pattern-books and paparazzi photos of pregnant celebrities. She questions life in the public eye, privacy and the effect of our insatiable curiosity towards celebrities, particularly the female body during pregnancy. How much importance is attached to the change, and does it justify speculation? In Tissues Stiegeler transforms the gate structure to clothes, incorporating terminology to further question these values.
Ulrike Theusner is inspired by the metropolis, where individuals encounter one another in their everyday lives, with dreams and desires, where disillusionment occurs, and when reality and expectation do not meet. In pastel colours on paper, humans and observations meet. Chateau Marmont, a five-part work, shows a billboard in Los Angeles with proliferous plants in front of it. The series of drawings 'New York Diaries' follows the 'Gespenster', portraits or interpersonal situations that Theusner experienced that have previously been exhibited in public spaces.
Press release courtesy Galerie Eigen + Art.