Archive (selection)

Archive (selection)

  • Exhibition: Hoi Köln, 3.2. – 24.3.2024
    Bild: Paul Coker Jr.
    Part 3: Nightmare of Painting

    Opening: Friday, 2. February, 6 pm

    Marie Angeletti, Monika Baer, BLESS, Vittorio Brodmann, Jakob Buchner, Milena Büsch, Merlin Carpenter, Matthias Groebel, Fischli Weiss, Hansi Fuchs, Sophie Gogl, Hamishi Farah, Jacqueline Humphries, Dozie Kanu, Nora Kapfer, Morag Keil, Emil Michael Klein, Maggie Lee, Lorenza Longhi, Alan Michael, Kaspar Müller, Vera Palme, Gunter Reski, Jean-Frédéric Schnyder, Dennis Scholl, Nolan Simon, Dominik Sittig, Lucie Stahl, Megan Francis Sullivan, Alfred d’Ursel, Amelie von Wulffen, Jie Xu, Barbara Zenner, Damon Zucconi

    Faced with this rectangular void, anything could happen. The horizon of possibilities seems open. At any moment, an idea could flicker into my consciousness, and I’d be able to get it all on the canvas. Still better, perhaps, the brush could just start moving and the painting, sleepwalker-like, paint itself without me. The void gleams auspiciously; but never for long. Whatever image I may have had in my mind’s eye, it is wrecked by the first brushstroke. Its utter fatuousness is exposed. And every additional brushstroke just makes it worse. If one seems weak, the next, which was supposed to strengthen it, has come straight out of the repertoire of cheap effects. This merry-go-round of recycled gimmicks revolves with a deadening regularity. What’s left for you to do when the dice were all cast in the last century? Hum and ha, paint small paintings, paint huge paintings, dive into abstraction and the morass of ambition, revive formalism, figuration, raise tornados of pigment, embrace minimalism, flirt with technology. Subjects and points of reference change, but their form stays stuck to the ground, as if it were covered with some repulsive, viscous liquid. Trembling, the emoji in oil tries to pull itself out of the morass, drawing long strands behind itself like chewing gum. Brushstrokes as identity crises, with filaments trailing from their lips like burst bubbles of gum.

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    Curated by Valérie Knoll.

    The exhibition is generously supported by:

    Image: Paul Coker Jr.

  • Exhibition: Hoi Köln, 2.12.2023 – 21.1.2024
    Part 2: In the Belly of the Machine

    Marie Angeletti, Monika Baer, BLESS, Vittorio Brodmann, Jakob Buchner, Milena Büsch, Merlin Carpenter, Matthias Groebel, Fischli Weiss, Hansi Fuchs, Sophie Gogl, Hamishi Farah, Jacqueline Humphries, Dozie Kanu, Nora Kapfer, Morag Keil, Emil Michael Klein, Maggie Lee, Lorenza Longhi, Alan Michael, Kaspar Müller, Vera Palme, Gunter Reski, Jean-Frédéric Schnyder, Dennis Scholl, Nolan Simon, Lucie Stahl, Megan Francis Sullivan, Alfred d’Ursel, Amelie von Wulffen, Jie Xu, Barbara Zenner, Damon Zucconi

    Artificial intelligence is making great strides, generative systems are reaching new heights of image and text production. But what does it mean for painting if it can be produced by computing robots?

    In the past, technological advances often marked the beginning of long periods in which art shed its skin in revolutionary transformation. Before these advances, human beings could still flatter themselves that the privilege of creating things was theirs alone. After them, when they suddenly found themselves overtaken by technology, they had to confront their own limitations. Impressionism emerged form art’s dialogue with the new invention of photography, while a great deal of postmodern painting was inspired by the experience of computers. Right now we stand at the dawn of another period of this kind, in which human-made art must struggle against its own reflection in technology. What are these machines capable of, and what are the limits of their capabilities? By posing the question of how they differ from machines, and by finding their own niche, human beings can engage with technology to achieve a better understanding of themselves.

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    Curated by Valérie Knoll

    The exhibition in genereously supported by:

    Photo: Mareike Tocha

  • Exhibition: Hoi Köln, 29.9. – 19.11.2023
    Bild: Basel Tourismus/Peter Ziegler
    Part 1: Welcoming the Space

    With Marie Angeletti, Monika Baer, BLESS, Vittorio Brodmann, Jakob Buchner, Milena Büsch, Merlin Carpenter, Hamishi Farah, Fischli Weiss, Hansi Fuchs, Sophie Gogl, Matthias Groebel, Jacqueline Humphries, Dozie Kanu, Nora Kapfer, Morag Keil, Emil Michael Klein, Maggie Lee, Lorenza Longhi, Alan Michael, Kaspar Müller, Vera Palme, Gunter Reski, Jean-Frédéric Schnyder, Dennis Scholl, Nolan Simon, Lucie Stahl, Megan Francis Sullivan, Alfred d’Ursel, Amelie von Wulffen, Jie Xu, Barbara Zenner, Damon Zucconi

    Where I come from, “hoi” is what people say when they greet each other in the street. I’ve come to Cologne because I love painting, and can think of no better place to engage seriously with this medium. That’s why I’m welcoming my first exhibition here with an overview of the current state of one of visual art’s oldest genres. Painting is especially exciting right now, and this has nothing to do with my own passion for it; it is rather that a lot of people are painting again and that art’s questions are again up for negotation. This doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy for painting to find its way forward. Its own history casts a long shadow over its current flowering like an implacable judgement. However, its difficulties lie not so much behind as ahead of it. Since painting develops slowly, it needs to be able to imagine an enduring future, one where it can eventually hope to arrive by creeping along at its own modest pace.

    Right now, it is not just that the future is clouded over – it has become hard to imagine at all. Are people painting in the hope that the future, currently hidden behind a fog of dystopias and disaster scenarios, will eventually reappear? To keep on painting while everything familiar seems to be crumbling around you could be seen as an expression of the “principle of hope,” a way of resisting a world that has embraced darkness through the determination to see a light at the end of the tunnel. In this case, painting would be a way of going against the grain, of rising above social conventions with a wan smile.

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    Curated by Valérie Knoll

    The exhibition is generously supported by:

    Image: Basel Tourismus/Peter Ziegler

  • Solo Exhibition: Marie Angeletti – ram spin cram, 1.4. – 2.7.2023

    For her first institutional show in Germany, ram spin cram, Marie Angeletti (*1984) is presenting newly commissioned works across the entire building of the Kölnischer Kunstverein.

    Decisively articulated, each element — sculpture, photography, and video — receives equal attention. ram spin cram does not begin in the main gallery nor ends in the last room upstairs, it is all there at once. Each room can be read as a series of actions accumulated over time. The main gallery shows work made within the last two months. In the cinema, in the upstairs and basement gallery spaces, Angeletti has rearranged works from an unspecified period of time.

    Thanks to Nikola, Stefan, Line, Gianna, Henrik, Gérard, Anne, Anna, Olga, John, Michele, Dora, Matt, Tonio, Jakob, Lucas, Richard, Annie, Daniel, Jordan, Seb, Medhi, Toni, Pippa, Tim, Marco, Varun, Sol.

    Thanks Istal, Marseille, to have financed the production of the metal beams, and Quadrissimo, Marseille, for the prints on silver and Daniela Taschen for having hosted me in Cologne.

    Marie Angeletti (*1984 in Marseille, lives in New York) has exhibited at museums such as the Centre d’edition contemporain in Geneva; Künstlerhaus Bremen; Musée de la ville de Paris; Le Consortium, Dijon; Kunsthaus Glarus; Kunsthalle Zürich; Treize, Paris; Castillo/Corrales, Paris; and in galleries including the Galerie Lars Friedrich, Berlin; Edouard Montassut, Paris; Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York; Greene Naftali, New York.

    Curated by Nikola Dietrich

    ram spin cram Text

    Marie Angeletti, Men at Work, 2023, slideshow, 12:45 min, Courtesy: Édouard Montassut, Paris / Galerie Lars Friedrich, Berlin

    The exhibition is supported by:

  • Exhibition: Game of No Games, 13.11.2022 – 5.3.2023
    William Scott, Untitled, 2013.
    Instructions for Walking in High Spirits
    William Scott in Game of No Games. Instructions for Walking in High Spirits, 2022. Installationview Kölnischer Kunstverein, 2022. Courtesy: The Museum of Everything. Photo: Mareike Tocha.

    This exhibition presents historical and contemporary works by artists who have received little attention throughout art history. Their participation in society and the art world has been limited—as a result of conservatorships, disenfranchisement, or discrimination, to name a few. This is closely associated with the lack of stable institutional footholds or larger (art) networks and support systems. Conventional categorizations, such as Outsider Art or Art Brut, along with the concurrent emphasis on their alleged distinguishing characteristics—which have so far often been read as narratives on the spontaneous vs. planned, innate vs. learned, naïve vs. sophisticated, or even primitive vs. modern—are currently considered outdated and must be critically challenged. Accordingly, this exhibition intends to encourage a different understanding concerning established ways of thinking in the art world, as well as consolidate an approach to exhibiting and representing different artistic practices that is more readily assimilated.

    Through their works, the artists on view at the Kölnischer Kunstverein immerse themselves in self-alienating role-playing games. They can thus take on different identities and undergo a kind of metamorphosis—to the point of becoming animals. “I’m a frigging hunter, but I know that it causes trouble… I have to mask it [what is troublesome] so that I can continue to exist in society at all,” the artist Rabe perplexum declared (in Experimente, Der unbekannte Künstler, 1987). In both her works and life, she adopted a raven persona.

    Our aim is not to place the exhibited artists and their artistic practices in the margins of society, nor to portray them as artists that unveil repressed realities or develop suppressed longings behind their apparent detachment from the world. Rather, this exhibition explores how they deliberately work with their dependencies. Adelhyd van Bender, for instance, designed a large and complex body of work that breaks the world into mathematical formulas. Intertwining these with biographical details in associative chains, his practice builds a new order. As a model for his drawings, which were copied and revised several times, he often used letters addressed to him from official authorities, which testified to his constant struggle against the prolongation of his conservatorship.

    These artists have often positioned themselves within society, precisely in the non-places of art and interstitial spaces where a larger public could be found, so as to relate to this community and criticize it with a matter-of-factness that is peculiar to each of them. By leaving behind social conventions, norms, and dominant traditions, as well as undermining social or gender performances, these artists have frequently been met with a lack of understanding. This was certainly the case for Helga Goetze, who broke away from a conventional way of life in the 1970s and later advocated free love, sex, and female pleasure almost daily in front of the Memorial Church in Berlin.

    The radical potential of the works gathered here resides in the fact that they insist on unfulfilled socio-political promises and, as Dietrich Orth hints at in one of his works that gives the exhibition its title, provide instructions and suggestions for a better, fairer way of treating one another. They manifest a profound longing directed toward the future—something that can also be understood as a critique of the present.

    This exhibition was curated by Nikola Dietrich and Susanne Zander.

    With works by Adelhyd van Bender, Klaus Beyer, Lee Godie, Helga Sophia Goetze, Margarethe Held, Dietrich Orth, Albert Leo Peil, Rabe perplexum, William Scott, Wendy Vainity, and August Walla.

    Image: William Scott, Untitled, 2013, Courtesy of The Museum of Everything

    The exhibition is supported by:

    Further support: Jan Fischer, Entrepreneur and supporter of the Kölnischer Kunstverein and the NRW Kunstvereins landscape

  • Exhibition: Member's Edition 2022, 13.11. – 4.12.2022

    with Rosa Aiello, Genoveva Filipovic, Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff, Manfred Holtfrerich, Erika Landström, Luzie Meyer, José Montealegre, Dala Nasser, Daniela Ortiz, Thomas Ruff, John Russell, Jasmin Werner

    Opening of the exhibition: Saturday, 12.11.2022, 7 pm

    Orders for the Jahresgaben 2022 can be submitted in writing from November 12 up to and including December 04, 2022. If more orders are received than there are copies available, the decision will be made by drawing lots. The draw will take place on December 05, 2022. After the draw, all interested parties will be notified of the result by e-mail. All remaining Jahresgaben will remain for sale after the draw and can be purchased at any time.

    The Jahresgaben and editions are an exclusive offer exclusively for members of the Kölnischer Kunstverein. Other interested parties are entitled to purchase by joining the Kölnischer Kunstverein in the current calendar year.

    Please note our ordering procedures and the general terms & conditions.

    The exhibition is supported by:

  • Solo Exhibition: José Montealegre Nervous System, 20.8. – 16.10.2022
    José Montealegre: Nervous System, 2022.

    Opening: Friday, 19.8.2022, 7 pm

    In his first institutional solo exhibition Nervous System at the Kölnischer Kunstverein, José Montealegre continues his ongoing series of works from 2020 titled Páginas. The starting point for these sculptures is an extensive botanical archive of plant illustrations created in the course of the Spanish colonization of Mexico and published as Nova Plantarum Animalium et Mineralium Mexicanorum (1628). The archive saw the catalogization and re-systematization of hundreds of indigenous plants by the colonizers. In rich detail, Montealegre translates these botanical illustrations into copper sculptures and presents them on the second floor of the Kunstverein. In his artistic practice, which also includes writing, the artist tells stories that blur the line between origin and (mis)translation. Contrary to knowledge shaped by colonial powers, Montealegre allows marginalized perspectives to emerge thus challenging canonical history(ies).

    The exhibition will be followed by the first publication of José Montealegre.

    Methodologies I

    One. Like a protagonist in a cartoon drawing entering the revolving snout of a concrete goosebump city like, for example, New York, my brass-buckled leather briefcase snaps unshut and all my papers fly away. Now I’m late. Now I’m poor. Now I have dreams. Now they fly away. 

    Two. It is awfully obvious that any conversation about the methodologies of art begins and surely ends with life. Begins because it is the spring which taps the well. Ends because bloated goldfish are prey for hawks. 

    Three. Document whirlwind. Papercut city. The nerve, the nerves, nervous nerve of steel. The page tornado scatters order and logic, thus rendering the business pitch to be delivered into an unintelligible levitation where bureaucracy has no grasp and the tendril tether fails to anchor root. A misfiring neuron is perhaps what you have. 

    Four. Upon which I realize that what is sought cannot be accidental. The person who fails to hem the hole in their pocket is called a benefactor. 

    Five. It is the spinning paper cyclone that so destroyed my life, the site of the worlds autolysis. Where the invisible is not only seen but transforms. The papers levitated are crumpled into orbs. They hold, hide, and corrupt information. It is to look down into the well and see the golden meniscus that refracts the light, it is the cast and wilting blossom that falls gently on the surface of the water and is blown about by the wind, it is the goldfish that swims clumsily if not in grace and the talon that breaks its peace and plunges into the water and takes that goldfish into another ecstatic world. 

    Six. In May 2020 I downloaded a digital copy of the Nova Plantarum Animalium et Mineralium Mexicanorum (1628) from to a thumb drive. Then I took that thumb drive to a student printer. There I printed it in black and white on recycled paper. Leather bound front cover and all. The 1,104-page stack of documents has hundreds of drawings of plants and animals found in present day Mexico and Central America. Each drawing is accompanied by a Nahuatl name that has been scattered by the empires and a Latin name that has been reinterpreted by modern botany. Since printing this version of the ‘Nova Plantarum’ I have been going through the book almost every day. I look at the plants and sometimes, recognize them instantly. Other times it takes me months to realize that I have seen them in the past, but most remain unknown to me. When I google their name, nothing comes up. Familiar only through these drawings, I see faint possibilities in the landscape. When I feel like it and when I start to realize that I know them sculpturally, I make a sculpture of the drawing. So far, I have made around eighty plant sculptures. There are hundreds remaining. Every time I leaf through the black and white printer copy of this book I create a new order within it. The leather cover is now in the middle of the book with tons of scribbles and notations. Its order has become irrational and irrelevant. The page numbers jump by the hundreds. I have lost pages. I have crumpled them. I have stained them.

    Text: José Montealegre

    Methodologies II

    One. Looking at
    First look at the white walls, second look at the tiled floor. Looking around. Looking down. Get on your knees. Get closer. Discover. Repeat.

    Two. Claiming
    In 1517, during the Spanish colonization of the Americas, naturalist and physician Francisco Hernández de Toledo was sent to the first scientific and botanical expedition. The result of a seven-year expedition was an extensive botanical archive in the form of an illustrated manuscript with schematic drawings commissioned from Nahua painters. It was then stored in the Escorial Monastery, re-structured by the Italian medic Nardo Recchi, partly lost in a fire, and eventually published 100 years later under the title Nova Plantarum, Animalium, et Mineralium Mexicanorum historia in 1628.

    Three. Knowing
    Seeing, naming, knowing. The names of the plants in the book are both in Nahuatl and in Latin. Yet, since the references have been partially lost through appropriation, acquisition, and translation, attempts to find an equivalent in today’s botany are not always successful. As we walk through the city of Cologne, I see a strikingly dominant plant that has broken through the curb. “Didn’t you notice that paving stones in German cities are always in arches?”, he asked. Thinking through craft.

    Four. Narrating
    In 2013, I visited José Montealegre in his studio for the first time. He had just moved from Managua to Frankfurt am Main to start his studies at the Städelschule in the class of Willem de Rooij. I remember looking at, or rather observing, platforms of tiles on low pedestals on the floor displaying miniature jungle worlds in clay, at reliefs of tiny skeletons on the wall next to framed, seemingly historical book pages. It was with surprise when I found that those documents were fictional: digital prints on blank pages torn out of used books. Overwriting histories. Rewriting history. Reclaiming the narrative.

    Five. Expanding
    Montealegre’s works have the potential to extend beyond their edges. Like four rectangular cutouts of a larger environment, they seem to grow, to evolve, to reproduce. Outside, the mirroring surfaces of the plastic containers, used in Honduras to collect rainwater and hand wash clothes, reflect their surroundings. Stained-glass squares echo the influence of Catholic iconography and craft and the all-consuming European narrative. The Renaissance in Europe brought on not only the concept of perspective in art but also colonial expansion.

    Six. Collapsing
    What copper and nerves have in common is that they are both electrical transmitters. “Don’t trust me, I’m not telling you the truth”, he says. Trembling and shaking. Restructuring knowledge and power. Returning agency.

    Text: Miriam Bettin

    Curator: Miriam Bettin

    José Montealegre (*1992 in Tegucigalpa, Honduras) lives and works in Berlin. He studied philosophy and literature at the Universidad Centroamericana de Managua, Nicaragua, and with Willem de Rooij at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Klosterruine in Berlin, Mountains in Berlin (both 2021), Convent Art Space in Ghent (2019), and in group exhibitions including Lantz’scher Skulpturenpark Lohausen in Düsseldorf (2021), Städelmuseum in Frankfurt am Main, Natalia Hug in Cologne (both 2019), Futura Gallery in Prague, Gillmeier Rech in Berlin (both 2018), and Kunsthalle Darmstadt (2017, 2014). Parallel to the solo exhibition at the Kölnischer Kunstverein, a group show curated by José Montealegre and Rebekka Seubert is on view at the Dortmunder Kunstverein (until 30.10.2022).

    Supported by:

  • Solo Exhibition: John Russell CAVAPOOL, 20.8. – 16.10.2022
    John Russell, Cavapool, 2022.

    Opening: Friday, 19.8.2022, 7 pm

    Hello … hello … woof woof woof!

    My eyes are like watery ‘pools of love’, welling up, imminent to your arrival, as I stand here above you, waiting … woof woof! Looking down the stairs at you. … a coquettish mut.

    Heeeeello,” you say as you walk up the stairs, “Ooo you are a sweetie … what do you want us to do?”

    And there is something in my gesture, implied in the half-turn of my body, in the appealing angle of my head, in the slight skewing of my stance, in the skilfully painted wetness of my nose, in the hand-tooled seduction of my curls and fur, even in the suggestion of a flirtatious smile playing at the corner of my jaw …

    Woof woof!
    Oh sly coercion!
    Oh finely crafted insinuation!

    And then, as I trot along beside you, your spirit animal, as we enter the main exhibition space, breathing in the perfume of pine and maybe the hint of sandlewood – cleaning fluid or maybe air-freshener. Woof woof woof! And the succulent shine underfoot of glassy concrete.

    O this is amazing!” you exclaim, as the light bursts in on you.

    The ruptured gash, down through broken rock, a view of aquatic spectacle, a chasm into entangled swirls of waves, clouds, cliffs, skies, submerged architecture; baroque loops of liquid seduction, watery death and sunlit ripples. The horror of the ‘depictive’, coy perspectival fakery, the crude invitation of base representation for the sake of representation with its tricks and returns and re-animations, moving across the surface, the shine and glamour mixing desire and phantoms, as deluge or flood; ‘crafted with time-honoured technique and skill’ … woof woof! A proposal for glimmering surfaces and depths, doubled down and crowded with abstractions so clearly always only ever one millimetre thick; impishly critiquing the murderous ideology of ‘seductive surfaces and hidden depths’.

    And all the while the gloss feels so strange on my paws. I yelp slightly and you all laugh, “O you adorable pup!”

    And as we tip-tap across the floor of the of the former British Council building, where previously they used to present and promote Cold-War British high-art culture. O my doggy heart! On one level, this is a similarly trivial representational spectacle … but on another level … no … always this! Always only this!

    “Ha ha ha ha,” you laugh as we make our way across the ravine. And on the far side, horizontally and vertically aligned, a row of fly sculptures spaced across the span – a row of punctuation marks, of black dots. One of them is perhaps, frozen mid-flight in front of a flower, as an ‘anti-bee’ … not the happy, furry, orange, ecological pollinator whose buzz delights but more like the symbols of death and decay from Dutch still life, or just the vermin that cluster in the dirt. Woof woof woof! Or on closer inspection … on closer inspection … Rorschach ink blots … maybe you can see the head of Max Wall, English music hall star, famous for his character Professor Wallofski, comedy piano routines and acting in Beckett plays.

    Or maybe you can see me in the fly, can you pick out my adorable form mixed in … a Cavafloo? Or perhaps a charming Cavaflooloolooolooo to mimic the sound of a song bird perhaps. But anyway….

    Cavafloolooloo…” we cry out as we make our way out again.

    As I am trotting by your feet. Eager. With a look of love when you look down. Now leaping down the stairs and at one point I stumble, a bundle of fur tumbling down. Then back on my feet. Too full of juice! Too full of life!

    “Woof woof … follow me … down here” I cry. Such a cute docent. And downwards.

    “O this is wonderful!” you cry.

    And we walk down to the basement space, only partly accessible, roped off. A goat. Viewed from the raised foyer space. And another fly, sitting on the eyelid of the goat (an historical ecstatic fly! The same fly as sat on the eyelid of Margaret Thatcher as she died.)

    The goat – most damned of creatures, not least in its repeated use in art. O cursed spawn how many more times must its carcass be reanimated in artistic context. Dragged out to metaphorical affect! And here we are again, observing its satirical form with initially sad expression, clambering across a rock outcrop, in the style of German medieval realism. Folds of fleece highlighted, rendered in oil and gloss varnish, possibly mocking the echo of William Holman Hunt’s famous ‘Scapegoat’ painting of 1892, or the mascot of Cologne FC who was, on one occasion, punched by the fans of an opposing team. Doubling down its religious schtick in its gaze out to the viewer (as implicated). Bloated with sin; as a scapegoat or indexing other formats of art-goats, or cultural goats, erotic, mythological, occult etc. As well as being just a goat. This is a specific goat indicative of its own specific potentialities. And the maggots (baby flies) on the goat’s legs and in the folds of its fleece.

    Woof woof woof! “OK OK ! And where are we going now? Ha ha ha” We want to move on and there is a brief worry “Are we ghosts?” we all shriek. “Are we phantoms? Ha ha ha!”

    Such fun! And ascending back up, spiralling back up. Upstairs past the posters; amalgamations of sales pitch, supermarket pitch and politics, where sits, on the wall, on the first floor, the painted portrait of the goat, rendered in bas relief and oil, in the style, or spirit, of ‘A picture of Dorian Gray’, where the subject remains youthful and beautiful and the painting deteriorates. That old goat is smiling happily at us in its whiskery decay.

    And close by the goat painting, the painting of a crow, standing on a stump picking off ants on the ground below. The ants labour collectively but are snatched away by a force above them, greater than them.

    “Woof woof … that old crow … if I get my teeth into his feathers! Ha! Then he would feel my force … if only for a few seconds as I shake him dead! Ha ha! Woof woof!”

    “O darling so violent! Leave him … leave him … he isn’t worth it!”

    “Woof woof … give me just one minute and I will stop him plucking at our collective labour! Ha ha! Woof woof!”

    Woof woof! And finally, one more visit, one more leg on the trip, one more refrain, one last date, one last chapter, verse, prayer, homily, rapture, dream… Yes, to the cinema! The theatre of dreams! A sojourn in the darkness. In the shadows. Amongst the images projected on the screen. The crow features briefly and the ants … and the fly makes a fleeting appearance, drenched in the searing heat of rural France, the melting pollen, mosquitoes and coagulating history. Yes, you can sit back in the cushioned seats. I shall maybe trot up and down in the aisle. As we watch an ‘intense dialogue between two commuters, one taking the form of a Giacometti sculpture, choreographed across the platforms of a suburban train station’. As they search for the allusive Egghead.

    Egghead wants his eggs back!

    Egghead wants … woof woof!

    Sweltering intensity, warm to the bones, into your flesh, into your skull and teeth. Woof woof woof woof!

    And now in waves moving down. We flow outwards. And then lapping, flowing down the stairs and leaking out under the main doors, out into the street … joyous new cavapools in the street, across the pavement, in visions down through the concrete, under the paving stone. Gently lapping waters.

    O joy!

    Woof woof!

    Text: John Russell

    Curator: Nikola Dietrich

    John Russell (*1963 in London) studied History of Art at Goldsmiths College of Art and Fine Art at Slade School of Art and Saint Martin’s School of Art. He was a co-founder of the artists’ group BANK, of which he was a member for ten years. Since leaving BANK in January 2000, Russell has worked both independently and collaboratively in producing exhibitions, curatorial projects, and artist books. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions including Bridget Donahue in New York (2021 and 2018), High Art in Paris (2017), Kunsthalle Zürich (2017) and in group exhibitions at Viborg Kunsthal, DK (2018), Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow (2018), Galerie Crèvecoeur in Paris (2018), Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin (2017), Artists Space in New York (2014), The New Art Gallery Walsall, UK (2013), ICA in London (2011), Focal Point Gallery in Southend, UK (2011), The Grey Area in Brighton (2011), Kunsthalle Exnergasse in Vienna(2011), Tate Britain in London (2010), and Tate St Ives in Cornwall, UK (2009).

    Supported by:

  • Solo Exhibition: Dala Nasser – Red in Tooth, 14.5. – 26.6.2022
    Dala Nasser: Red in Tooth, 2022. Design: Leen Charafeddine.

    Opening: Friday, 13.5.2022, 7 pm

    Kölnischer Kunstverein is pleased to present Dala Nasser’s first institutional solo exhibition Red in Tooth, featuring her multi-media installation of the same title. Comprising a video work, patchwork paintings, and a commissioned sound installation in collaboration with sound artist Mhamad Safa, Red in Tooth is the point of origination for her ongoing examination of decolonial ecologies and human and non-human entanglement. It’s a grounding proposal of how to listen, smell, see and sense what has been tuned down/out and made invisible by the ongoing practices of extraction and protracted colonial erasure.

    Building on her practice as a material and process-based artist, through abstraction and alternative forms of image making, she cultivates a necessary discomfort through a renewed trust in the land, its rivers, and its more-than-human inhabitants. The works trace the Al Wazzani River, which flows through southern Lebanon into Occupied Palestine. Along this splintered journey, Nasser is forced to abandon state road infrastructures that are built to keep us in their lanes, and follow the soil and its color and smell, the burble of water, and other inhabitants of these lands; the animals; through vast wild ‘virgin’ terrains of southern Lebanon leading us to the border defying Wazzani. This frontier, which breeds life in its natural resources and wildlife is only partially accessible to a few families who live in the immediate area – and under difficult conditions. The trial to bear witness to ongoing slow violence, dispossession, and other colonial practices under constantly shifting, changing, and morphing conditions is (nearly) impossible. Nasser’s insistence to be guided by other environmental signifiers in her ongoing exercise to consider other possible social and political imaginaries, begs the question of how we listen to more-than-human ecological knowledges around us. How do we re-calibrate our relationship to the land and its wildlife and other beings, to find a way to listen to their unuttered testimonies? How can we learn from them to navigate the cracks of rigid colonial structures; both material and those of collective memory(s), history(s), and archives?

    Reverting to a seemingly ritualistic intuition, the paintings have been dug into the earth around the Wazzani, washed with collected rainwater and/or boiled in salt water, they smell of the wretched soil and carry accumulated matter within it. They are imprinted with an-other memory, reality, and futurity; years of erosion, degradation, loss of water, pollution, and increased salinity imbued with a history of natural life, extraction, death, blood, violence, and land grabs. It’s an attempt to listen to the soil, its ailments and hopes, through that which has truly witnessed and continues to survive there. The large patchwork piece has been reassembled for the lecture hall (Riphahnsaal), the paintings are suspended and cascaded down from the stage to the center where they disharmoniously meet the accompanying site-specific sound installation. The sound work, a collaboration with sound artist and architect Mhamad Safa, manipulates the temporality of the environment through time-based effects. It brings our attention to the crackles of the field recordings from the river and its surrounding area, the birds, the crickets, the wind. The result is an immersive abstracted visual, sonic, and olfactory conditioning that urges us towards a slower, more focused reading and sensing.

    In the second space, the video work negotiates and reveals other possibilities of being and relating through learning from the intricate nuances and complexities of the genuinely decolonial species, terrain, and wildlife of the area. Narrated by the wildlife as witnesses whose testimonies have no words, the film transitions between moving shots of a road most traveled, human produced waste, constructed borders, political signage, existing topographical markers animated as imaginary lines, the inhabitant’s voices, dead and living animals, and long, beautiful, desolate imagery of landscapes of southern Lebanon and northern Occupied Palestine. Through a studied use of imagery and sound, Nasser, at times, paints an impressionist-like painting that transports us to and from an-other possible way of life and lived reality.

    The exhibition demands a multisensorial presence and engagement as colonial practices and landscape are abstracted within the spaces on a material, olfactory, sonic, and visual level. Red in Tooth is a reminder that we have made the wrong decisions, we have trusted the wrong materials, we have been listening to the testimonies of those who have not witnessed for too long. It reveals to us an entrapped power dynamic between colonial structures, people, animals, plants, the river, and the soil, and invites us through Nasser’s subtle but radical language of abstraction to consider different forms of mobility and relationship to the land.

    Text: Reem Shadid

    The exhibition was curated by Nikola Dietrich.

    Dala Nasser (*1990 in Tyre, lives in Beirut, Lebanon) recently had solo exhibitions at VO Curations in London and Deborah Schamoni in Munich (2022, and 2021). She participated in a number of group exhibitions, including Centre Pompidou in Paris (2022), Villa Emplain in Brussels (2021), Beirut Art Center (2019); Bétonsalon – Centre d’art et de recherche in Paris (2019); Victoria Miro in London (2018); François Ghebaly Gallery in Los Angeles (2018); and ACT2 of the Sharjah Biennial 13 (2017).

    Dala Nasser: Red in Tooth, 2022. Design: Leen Charafeddine.

  • Solo Exhibition: Loretta Fahrenholz - Gap Years, 19.3. – 26.6.2022
    Loretta Fahrenholz, 2022. Courtesy: die Künstlerin und Galerie Buchholz.

    Opening of the exhibition: Friday, 18.03.2022, 7 pm

    Gap year: a reprieve from work and responsibility, time off before time starts again – or a chunk of time that lands in your lap when society unexpectedly stops.

    A vast and relatively unregulated space, Berlin’s Tempelhofer Feld is built on ruptures reflected in its various historical incarnations, among other functions Germany’s first football training ground, a 19th century Sunday destination, NS parade site, a concentration camp, and, of course, Berlin’s airport during the Cold War Airlift. Fahrenholz’ photo series Gap Years depicts the flourishing of leisure activities and new hobbies during the pandemic, when the Feld became everyone’s cafe, gym, bar, club, pick-up spot and music venue. Recorded with strobe-like time-lapse photography that registers movement like in a frozen jelly, the works in the series show people in self-defence classes, playing ping-pong, roller-skating, or engaging in impromptu raves and remote-controlled car driving, open-air bondage and snacking. There is also a blurry close-up of tahini poured on one of the unpopular e-scooters (we are among irritable Berliners all right).

    The contemporaneity of the activities cannot hide the belle-époque quaintness of the motif of leisure, or what Fahrenholz identifies as its ‘kitsch’ aspect. We have no illusions about leisure activities. As carefully measured breaks in the regime of work they can be the next best thing to being stuck in a rut. And in an urban context the display of street skill and everyday virtuosity is already inscribed in a layered visual economy: Fahrenholz’ photos trail instagrammable styles of social-media self-consumption but also the heroics of sports photography. Still, the social collapse of the pandemic provided an opportunity for other rhythms, for social reorganization on a micro-level, thus creating a space in which it was possible to get in touch with both dystopia and utopia.

    The film Happy Birthday (2022) emulates the perspective of a first-person shooter video game through a sole protagonist who wanders aimlessly across the Tempelhofer Feld. Little windows appear with snippets of mobile-phone-recorded birthday greetings. As the film progresses, darkness falls on the lonely social choreography, a non-celebration with long-distance missives from friends and family who should have been present. The birthday boy’s blank expression and the absence of action build up emotional pressure and expectation, as the air around him is perforated with songs, encouragements or scolding, shared memories, saucy messages, and existential musings.

    What is left, where are we now? Where do we go from here? – These questions emerge from the darkness surrounding the figures in Fahrenholz’ two works. To Henri Lefebvre, the ‘rhythmanalyst’ is someone who studies rhythms as a structure for the experience of space and time – someone who listens to “all sorts of already known practices” but first of all “to his body; he learns rhythm from it, in order consequently to appreciate external rhythms. His body serves him as a metronome.” What would Lefebvre’s rhythmanalyst make of a pandemic time out of whack? Lefebvre’s notion of the body as a metronome takes on other signification, both when held against the digitally scripted movements of the Happy Birthday protagonist and Gjon Mili’s photographic experiments from the mid-20th century that inspired Fahrenholz for her Gap Years series. New strobe technology enabled Mili to capture movement by arresting the human body in sequences in a single photographic image: Picasso making a drawing with light, a ballet dancer’s stride across the stage. Mili’s is a kind of portraiture in which psychology is reduced, or even effaced, in favour of speed.

    In 1960s counterculture the spasmodic gestation of the strobe was employed to chop up time and dissolve the body. Tom Wolfe describes the dance floor of a 1960s ‘acid test’:

    Ecstatic dancers – their hands flew off their arms, frozen in the air – a gleaming ellipse of teeth here, a pair of buffered highlit cheekbones there – all flacking and fragmenting into images as in an old flicker movie – a man in slices! – all of history pinned up on a butterfly board; the experience, of course.

    The psychedelic sensibility for the non-human side of technology inspired the filmmaker Jonas Mekas to say that “since there is nothing but the white light in [the strobe], it represents…the point of death, or nothingness.” But it is not only visual shrapnel; there is a theoretical bent in the strobe, too, a crystalline ur-cinematic logic: “One could even say that it dramatizes the light itself.” On the thin line between emancipation and control, stimulus and trauma, the strobe summarizes the modern onslaught on the nervous system with instantly changing signals. In the 1950s, flicker technologies were used for electroencephalographic research documenting how changes in the electrical rhythms of the brain have diagnostic value. In the nerve-brain click-regime of our digital era such stimuli have plenty of exchange value, too.

    “Writing in strobe” can invent “crazy speeds…where different themes connect up, and words form various figures according to the precipitous speeds of reading and association,” as Gilles Deleuze said about Hélène Cixous’ way of writing her way out of patriarchal regimes. In Fahrenholz, the icy strobe is no less of a poetics, a suitable aesthetic for our dreamless time. Departing from acceleration and Cixous’ call for “more body”, Fahrenholz instead presents meditations on the dissolution of normality and on caesuras in social time and space. Known rhythms of life begin to limp and falter as we are served up a new diet of (dis)embodiment, separation and togetherness, in the affective interstices between bodies and technologies. Maybe somewhere here, in a big blank space-time like the Tempelhofer Feld during the pandemic, we can find a way to acknowledge what happens – or what does not happen – as an event to be handed over to the future, so time can branch out into something new.

    Lars Bang Larsen

    This exhibition was curated by Nikola Dietrich.

    Loretta Fahrenholz, 2021/22. Courtesy: the artist and Galerie Buchholz.

  • Exhibition: Pure Fiction - Shifting Theatre: Sibyl’s Mouths, 12.2. – 6.3.2022
    Shifting Theatre: Sibyl's Mouths, 2022. Image by Aislinn McNamara.

    Pure Fiction: Rosa Aiello (in collaboration with Dylan Aiello), Ellen Yeon Kim, Erika Landström, Luzie Meyer, Mark von Schlegell
    Shifting Theatre: Sibyl’s Mouths

    An Exhibition at the End of Performance

    Opening: Friday, February 11, 2022, 5 – 9 pm

    Performances from 7 pm

    Closing: Sunday, March 6, 2022, 11 am – 6 pm
    Performances from 2 pm

    The 2G rule applies. No registration required.

    In the Sibylline cave near today’s Naples, the narrator of Mary Shelley’s 1826 novel The Last Man finds a collection of prophecies scribbled on scattered oak leaves. These fragments conjure the story of an epidemic that ravages the globe in the 2100’s, forever altering human history. Arguably the first science-fiction apocalypse, The Last Man touches on themes such as solitude, new forms of intimacy, repetition, and life on the edge of an epoch.

    In Shifting Theatre: Sibyl’s Mouths, members of the writing and performance group Pure Fiction—Rosa Aiello, Ellen Yeon Kim, Erika Landström, Luzie Meyer, and Mark von Schlegell—respond to the unpredictable cultural landscape of today by staging this strikingly relevant novel’s motifs in a shifting theatre of sound, installation, lecture, film and puppetry. Voices animate and prophesize; make presence out of absent figures and forces; translate from symbol to action and back.

    In a time when coming together physically as a group seems near impossible; coming apart together is newly significant. Like the fragmentary prophecies of the Sibylline cave, works made specifically for the exhibition come to life at various stages, and in accordance with their own internal script and time-line. Through a careful interrogation to the where and who, their individual unfoldings seem to ask in discordant chorus: what is performance?

    On the Kölnischer Kunstverein’s ground floor, a sound installation by Ellen Yeon Kim repeats while physically sprawling across the premises. Luzie Meyer’s new video work is accompanied by marionettes of the current Pure Fiction members, and in REAL BOOKS—a temporary book store of no set time or space—Mark von Schlegell offers the written word as time machine, for a price.

    In the adjacent cinema, Rosa Aiello (in collaboration with Dylan Aiello) entangles herself in sibling ribaldry and the libidinal potentials of performance (on and off screen). Meanwhile, in the former broadcasting room on the second floor, Erika Landström stages a dream machine of cognitive labour and space exploration.

    With live performances on opening night and closing day.

    The exhibition was curated by Nikola Dietrich.

    Rosa Aiello (*1987, Canada) is an artist, writer, and filmmaker. Her works have been shown at various institutions and galleries, including Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main; Cell Project Space, London; Bureau des Réalités, Brussels; and Stadtgalerie Bern, among others. She has had recent solo exhibitions at DREI, Cologne; Arcadia Missa, London; Lodos, Mexico City, and Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge. Her writing has been published in Triple Canopy, Starship, CanadianArt, Art Papers, Public Journal, and F. R. David.

    Ellen Yeon Kim (*1985, South Korea) studied at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main in the class of Peter Fischli and Simon Starling, and graduated from Slade School of Art, UCL. Her aesthetically complex work unveils the absurdity of the multiple irreconcilable expectations which are placed on individuals by society and its institutions. It reveals ways in which trauma is passed on and perpetuated by individuals themselves. Kim’s practice involves various media, including theatre, stand-up comedy, installations and drawings. She was awarded The Peter Mertes Stipendium in 2021 and has been part of the studio program at the Kölnischer Kunstverein since 2019. 

    Erika Landström (*1984, Sweden) is an artist working in sculpture, installation and performance. She is a graduate from the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main, and the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Independent Study Program in New York. Her most recent performance Holders premiered at the Emily Harvey Foundation in New York, 2020. She has been published by Sternberg Press and Texte Zur Kunst, among others, and her writing ranges from poetry to art criticism. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions internationally.

    Luzie Meyer (*1990, Germany) is an artist, poet, musician, and translator based in Berlin. She studied Philosophy at Goethe University Frankfurt and graduated in Fine Arts from Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main in 2016. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions internationally. She was awarded the studio residency of the Hessische Kulturstiftung at the Cité internationale des arts, Paris in 2018. She has received a pre-doctoral fellowship of the DiGiTal fund Berlin in 2020, as well as a research grant from the Berlin senate in 2021 for her research project “Unthinking Metatheatre”. 

    Mark von Schlegell (*1967, USA) is a novelist, critic and artist, Cologne-based since 2005. His first novel Venusia (2005) was honor’s listed for the Otherwise Prize in science fiction. In English he is published by Semiotext(e) and Sternberg Press; in German by Matthes und Seitz and Merve Verlag. His visual art has been shown in the US (New York), South Korea (Seoul), Denmark, and throughout Germany. A founding member of the Pure Fiction collective since 2011, he has taught art and literature at CalArts in Valencia, the San Francisco Art Institute, and Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main.

    Shifting Theatre: Sibyl’s Mouths, 2022. Image by Aislinn McNamara.

    Supported by:

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  • Exhibition: Exhibition closed, 24.12.2021 – 3.1.2022
    Daniela Ortiz: The children are not of the wolf, 2021. Installation view Kölnischer Kunstverein, 2021. Courtesy: the artist and àngels, barcelona. Photo: Mareike Tocha.

    The exhibition Daniela Ortiz – Nurtured by the defeat of the colonizers our seeds will raise will be closed from 24 December 2021 to 03 January 2022.

    We look forward to welcoming you back on 4 January 2022.

    For your visit to the exhibition, please also refer to the current information.

  • Exhibition: Jahresgaben 2021, 8. – 19.12.2021
    Jahresgaben 2021, Kölnischer Kunstverein.

    Naama Arad, Inessa Emmer, Sabrina Fritsch, Stefani Glauber, Selma Gültoprak, Melike Kara, Ellen Yeon Kim, Rory Pilgrim, Nora Schultz, Cally Spooner, Katja Tönnissen, Mark von Schlegell

    We are pleased to present to you this year’s Jahresgaben at the Kölnischer Kunstverein from December 8 to 19, 2021 during the regular opening hours and cordially invite you to a tour with the director Nikola Dietrich on Thursday, December 9 at 5 pm. Registration and presentation of a 2G certificate are required. Please note our information regarding your visit to our exhibitions and events.

    Some of the young and established regional and international artists who are supporting the Kölnischer Kunstverein this year with an edition were represented in the 2021 annual program, are current studio fellows, or are connected to the Kunstverein in some other way.

    Please find information about the artists and the available works under Latest Jahresgaben

    Orders for the Jahresgaben 2021 can be submitted in written from that date up to and including December 19. If more orders are received than there are copies available, the decision will be made by lot. The lottery will take place on December 20, 2021. After the draw, all interested parties will be notified in writing of the result. All remaining Jahresgaben are still for sale after the lottery and can be purchased at any time. Purchase only by members.

  • Solo Exhibition: Melike Kara – Nothing is Yours, Everything Is You, 13.11. – 5.12.2021
    Melike Kara, Kölnischer Kunstverein, 2021.

    Opening of the exhibition: Friday, 12.11.2021, 5 – 9 pm

    Under the title Nothing is Yours, Everything Is You, Melike Kara presents new paintings in a site-specific installation made of photographs from her personal archive, which gathers family pictures as well as other sources. It serves as an unofficial historical documentation of the Kurdish diaspora that has neither the means nor the resources to preserve their own history. The bleach-treated and faded wallpaper in the Kölnischer Kunstverein’s studio captures rituals and traditions, memories and narratives passed down from generation to generation, resisting oblivion. 

    Her paintings, on view as a triptych outdoors, are gestural-abstract compositions of hybrid forms and figures and borrow from the formal language of textile products of Kurdish tribes, including a special carpet-knotting technique. Kara interweaves the history of Western painting with influences from indigenous cultures and overcomes the outdated strict categorization of art and craft.

    In conjunction with the exhibition, a presentation of the publication WHERE WE MEET, 2021 (Exhibit. Cat. Jan Kaps, Wiels Brussels, ed. Fabian Schöneich, graphics: Anne Stock, 83 pages) with film screenings, installation, and an introduction by Fabian Schöneich will take place on Thursday, November 18, 2021 at 6 pm.

    The exhibition was curated by Nikola Dietrich.

    Melike Kara (*1985 in Bensberg, lives in Cologne) has had solo exhibitions at LC Queisser in Tbilisi (2021), Jan Kaps in Cologne (2020), Arcadia Missa in London, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam (both 2019), Yuz Museum in Shanghai (2018), and group exhibitions at Ludwig Forum in Aachen, Belgrade Biennale (both 2021), Wiels in Brussels, and blank projects in Cape Town (both 2020), among others.

    Supported by:

  • Solo Exhibition: Daniela Ortiz - Nurtured by the defeat of the colonizers our seeds will raise, 13.11.2021 – 30.1.2022
    Daniela Ortiz, Kölnischer Kunstverein, 2021.

    Opening of the exhibition: Friday, 12.11.2021, 5 – 9 pm

    In paintings, textile works, children’s books and installations, Daniela Ortiz develops anti-racist and anti-colonial narratives as counterpart to colonialisms that persist to this day. She confronts those players and power holders responsible for the institutional and structural racism that manifests itself, among other things, in the abusive and human rights-violating control of immigration and borders. The focus on craft media in Ortiz’s artistic practice stems from her increasing interest in shifting away from the aesthetics of Eurocentric conceptual art.

    The presentation at Kölnischer Kunstverein is the first institutional solo exhibition of Daniela Ortiz in Germany and, under the title Nurtured by the defeat of the colonizers our seeds will raise, shows new, context-specific series of works together with existing works. The exhibition is accompanied by the artist book The Rebellion of the Roots, 2021 (ed. Kölnischer Kunstverein, graphics: Ronnie Fueglister with Yves Graber, 80 pages), which is available for the opening of the exhibition.

    The exhibition was curated by Nikola Dietrich.

    Daniela Ortiz’ (*1985 in Cusco, lives in Urubamba, Perú) works have been shown internationally in solo exhibitions including La Virreina. Centre de la Imatge in Barcelona (2019), Las Ataranzas in Valencia, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art in Middlesbrough (both 2017), Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven (2016), àngels barcelona in Barcelona (2014), as well as in group exhibitions at LUM – Lugar de la Memoria in Lima, KADIST art foundation in Paris, neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK) in Berlin, Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna (all 2021), and Kunstverein Hamburg (2020).

    Supported by:

  • Exhibition: Guilty Curtain, 21.8. – 24.10.2021
    Ursula Burghardt: Ohne Titel (Reitstiefel), 1968, Photo: Stiftung Kunstfonds, (c) Nachlass Ursula Burghardt.

    Artists: Etti Abergel, Naama Arad and Tchelet Ram, Julie Becker, Ursula Burghardt, Noa Glazer, Omer Halperin, Gizela Mickiewicz, Oren Pinhassi, Michal Samama, Nora Schultz, Noa Schwartz, Lior Shachar

    Opening: Friday, 20.8.2021, 3 pm – 9 pm

    Guilty Curtain is a site-specific installation made for the historical space of the Kölnischer Kunstverein. Inside the long transparent exhibition hall, a group show will take the form of a glass house. The artworks on display all rely on surrealistic notions like covering and/or replacing. These gestures, performed by artists on various objects and materials, do not end at a cul de sac. The wrapping of a toaster oven in sheep’s wool uncovers an entangled relationship – instead of the sheep being placed in the oven, the oven is devoured by the sheep. This mixture of material, words and categories alludes to a symbiotic relationship between the body and the object. While the modernist attempt to dissolve separations between inside and outside only ended up emphasizing the divide, what is disclosed through the collection of all these bodily objects undermines the architectural structure of the Kunstverein itself; as one will experience space, in this particular glass house nature is no longer an exterior.

    The extensive group exhibition and event series brings together artists mainly from Israel with others from Poland, Germany, and the USA. In close cooperation with the Israeli artist and curator Naama Arad, a local and active art scene, which has formed mainly in Tel Aviv, will be presented at the Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne.

    Curated by Naama Arad and Nikola Dietrich

    Please note the information regarding your visit to the exhibition according to the Corona Protection Ordinance.

    The exhibition is sponsored by:

    With further support from:

  • Exhibition: reboot: responsiveness, 12.5.2021 – 8.6.2022
    reboot:, 2021.

    reboot: responsiveness is the first cycle of reboot: – a collaborative, multi-cycle, anti-racist and queer-feminist dialogue encompassing performance and research based practices, jointly presented by Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne and Ludwig Forum für internationale Kunst, Aachen.

    Conceived by Eva Birkenstock, Nikola Dietrich, and Viktor Neumann
    Core Collective: Alex Baczynski-Jenkins, Gürsoy Doğtaş, Klara Lidén, Ewa Majewska, Rory Pilgrim, Cally Spooner, and Mariana Valencia
    Graphic design by Sean Yendrys

    Further information under the following link. All previous events can be viewed in the archive. Upcoming dates will be announced via our calendar.

    reboot: responsiveness is a cooperation of:

    reboot: responsiveness is supported by:

  • Solo Exhibition: Genoveva Filipovic – Seufzer, 27.3. – 4.7.2021

    We are pleased to welcome you back. The exhibition is prolonged until July 4, 2021. Please note to the current applicable corona protection measures.

    At the time of writing this text, it cannot be assumed that visitors will be able to enter the Kölnischer Kunstverein, Die Brücke, in the near future and that the exhibition Bridge of Sigh will find any audience at all. Genoveva Filipovic’s exhibition will possibly be seen only from outside.

    “…If some ill luck forced him to speak, he managed to say only the most ridiculous things. Worse yet, he saw how absurdly he was behaving, and then exaggerated it still further; but what he did not see was the expression in his eyes; they were so beautiful and revealed such a fervent soul that, just as a good actor does, they gave charming significance to words that had none… he never said anything worth saying except when, distracted by some unforeseen event, he wasn’t trying to turn a well-phrased compliment.”
    Stendhal, The Red and the Black

    I made cactuses and placed them in a row. 
    After this work was completed, I changed the facial expression of each cactus so that, I thought, it might elicit a sigh.
    When that proved too difficult, I did this: I claimed that I was changing the facial expression of each cactus so that, I thought, it might elicit a sigh. But I inserted smiles instead.

    Then I try to imagine how it would be to ‘act out’ this scene.

    Very Ralph 
    The Artist wants no Erklärungsbrücken

    The exhibition was curated by Nikola Dietrich.

    Genoveva Filipovic (*1986 in Frankfurt am Main) lives in New York and currently in Cologne. She studied at the HfG in Offenbach am Main and at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste – Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main (until 2013). Her works have recently been shown at Galleria Federico Vavassori in Milan (2019), Kunsthalle Zurich (2019), Goton in Paris (2018), Dead Ends in New York (2016), Vilma Gold in London (2016), and Neue Alte Brücke in Frankfurt am Main (2014).

    The exhibition is supported by:

  • Exhibition: Jahresgaben 2020, 17.11.2020 – 31.1.2021
    Lena Anouk Philipp: Ums Mark kreisen 2017.

    We are pleased to present the Jahresgaben 2020 (annual editions) online for now starting Tuesday, November 17. Works by both young and established artists exclusively produced or donated for the Kunstverein are available: 

    John Baldessari, Kenneth Bergfeld, Tom Burr, Hanne Darboven, Dunja Herzog, Dorothy Iannone, Emma LaMorte, Marcel Odenbach, Lena Anouk Philipp, Luc Tuymans, Jeff Wall 

    By purchasing a Jahresgabe, you are making an important contribution to the support of contemporary art and artists and to the work of the Kölnischer Kunstverein. Thank you very much!

    Orders for the 2020 Jahresgaben can be placed in writing from November 17, 2020 up to and including January 6, 2021. If more orders are received than copies are available, the decision will be made by lot. The lottery will take place on January 7, 2021.
    Please note that the Jahresgaben can only be purchased by members of the Kölnischer Kunstverein. The complete ordering procedure can be found here.

    Currently and until January 31, 2021, the Kölnischer Kunstverein will remain closed according to the Corona Protection Regulation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia. As soon as we can open our doors again for visitors, the Jahresgaben will be on display in an exhibition on the 2nd floor. 

    We will keep you updated with news about the reopening and our program via our website and newsletter.

    We look forward to seeing you soon again!

    Lena Anouk Philipp: Ums Mark kreisen 2017.
    Jahresgaben 2020, Kölnischer Kunstverein.

  • Exhibition: THE KÖLN CONCERT – Dorothy Iannone & Juliette Blightman, 31.10.2020 – 7.3.2021
    Dorothy Iannone: (Ta)Rot Pack, 2016, Double-sided laser copies mounted on cardboard, from 54 original drawings from 1968/69. 27 × (26,5 × 20 cm). Courtesy Air de Paris, Romainville. // Juliette Blightman: Stages of Seed Development, 2020, pencil on paper, photographic print, gouache, 28 × (27,4 × 20,8 cm). Courtesy Juliette Blightman and Arcadia Missa, London.

    Opening on Friday, 30.10.2020, 3 pm – 9 pm

    ‘Image higher than angels: The Köln Concert’
    A text by Amelia Stein

    Life has no outside, say the psyche-celestial Ladies of Liberty with their microphones, say the fulgent cacti fountains, says the blooming pussy flower with an unmistakable wink. 
    This is the pact The Köln Concert stages with its audience, among its works, between its artists, Juliette Blightman (*1980) and Dorothy Iannone (*1933), who draw down time into all-encompassing symbologies of love, sex, care, work, autonomy, joy and other selfhoods. When I say symbol, I mean images that speak broadly and concentrate personally, that are partly mnemonic and partly divinatory, in which breakfast lives alongside Art Nouveau and narrative takes the place of noses. In The Köln Concert, forms, figures, messages layer in counterpoint, a leitmotif of sorts, the coexistence of harmony and clash played by Blightman and Iannone so that they too may listen. 
    Not that everything is practice but that practice reticulates: Blightman made the fountains in her stepfather’s garage, perhaps with her young daughter’s help. It is possible to imagine their visit to the hardware store to select the paint, a lurid yet somehow utilitarian green. Here in the world of handy things, also misappropriation, high jinks, making do, the phalluses’ gentle eruptions rely on whatever energy they can gather via solar panels; when stilled, they earnestly hold court as choruses performing in the rounds of paddling pools. Something’s always growing, which is to say requiring tending, in Blightman’s work. Children and plants, but also limitations, perspective, desire, sense of self: care is a matter of patterning, of understanding subject and process as one and the same. ‘Daughter’ is a process; so is ‘body’, so is ‘home’. The pencil and guache works in Stages of Seed Development (2020) appear at first as windows until their serialized arrangement suggests something more vociferous, perhaps phrases, at once contingent and complete.  
    These works in particular speak, sing, move to their muse, (Ta)Rot Pack (2016/1968-69), Iannone’s ecstatic allegory of her life with Dieter Roth, which offers some phrases of its own: ‘This Card Brings a Brief Respite Maybe’, says a nude Roth wandering a trippy Swiss path; ‘This Card Brings What Everyone Wants’, say the adorned lovers in tantric embrace. Iannone has said that this ability—to bring things—is the only way her cards reflect the (other) tarot. I would venture another: that the (Ta)Rot Pack, like Blightman’s Stages, celebrates a sense of everyday consequence that is not without a cosmic sense of humor. 

    Which may have something to do with itinerancy, an underlying cadence here. These works spring from places both loved and abided, and from the need amid frequent departures to sometimes return—to the United States, for instance, where Iannone and her Ladies of Liberty were born, to Germany, where Blightman first raised, and first painted, her daughter, and to the Rhineland specifically, where Iannone lived with Roth and began the (Ta)Rot Pack in the late 1960s. Image is how to get there: The Story Of Bern (Or) Showing Colors (1970), originally an artist book, shown in The Köln Concert as a diaporama, tells that highly generative periods are often live with contention and struggle. And that at the end of it all, when we finally surface, we can know only through reflection that the triumphal arc stands somewhere in the distance. 

    The exhibition was curated by Nikola Dietrich.

    In the course of the exhibition, a joint publication will be produced.  

    The presentation at the Kölnischer Kunstverein is a continuation of the exhibition Prologue at Arcadia Missa Gallery this year. A second version of the exhibition will open at Vleeshal in Middelburg, The Netherlands, in April 2021.

    Thanks to: Air de Paris, Romainville; Arcadia Missa, London; Peres Projects, Berlin; Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin; Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam; Collection  Alexander Schröder, Berlin; Roger Hobbs; Kentaurus, Cologne

    The exhibition is supported by:

  • Solo Exhibition: Dunja Herzog – Meanwhile, 5.9. – 18.10.2020
    Dunja Herzog, 2020, Foto: André Fuchs.

    With the solo exhibition Meanwhile by Dunja Herzog, the Kölnischer Kunstverein is realizing a comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s work, accompanied by a program of film screenings, artist talks, performance, children’s workshop and a guided tour of the Cologne-based Women’s History Society. Various elements and themes of different temporalities and backgrounds are brought together in a site-specific installation in which they coexist and relate to one another.

    The exhibition is a continuation of the examination of the history of the copper trade, as it is dealt with by the artist in particular in the project Red Gold and its focus on the omnipresent systematic exploitation of the global capitalist project, furthering the investigation with new work produced for the exhibition. In doing so, she looks back to the more distant past: to the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age, to the history of witch-hunting and copper production in Europe (e.g. by reproducing a 16th century woodcut by Georg Agricola depicting mines for copper mining, as well as a witches’ dance on the Blocksberg in the Harz Mountains). Alongside these are references to mechanisms of commercial profit in order to visualize today’s globally operating economic systems, and considerations of the role of women and reproduction in the transition to capitalism. Her personal background as a Swiss woman is essential in this context. Women’s voting rights in Switzerland, one of the last European countries to institute such rights, only became effective in 1971 (in the canton of Appenzell even only from 1990); another aspect is Switzerland’s role in the system of imperial exploitation.

    Not least of all, the material copper is one of the most important global economic indicators with its main trading center in Switzerland since 2011; the five largest Swiss companies are active in raw materials trading. In a new video work by the artist, a geographic and temporal arc is drawn from the Copperbelt in Zambia (a region with the most important copper mining area in Africa, where the Swiss company Glencore also operates mines) to a copper mine in the Harz Mountains, where the largest copper deposit in Germany once existed. At a depth of 165 meters, a film has been produced in Harz, showing the ceiling of a tunnel illuminated by light whilst driving out of the mine—a retreat from the mine and the overexploitation of both nature and labor that was once practiced there. For the artist, questions of resources, mining, exploitation and trade are central: How did it come about that cultural history in Europe transitioned from a reverence for nature, to its exploitation, and then, in the “logic of exploitation”, was exported from Europe to the whole world?

    A world where violence, foreign domination and profit prevail and our relationship to the earth, or how it is used and abused, is seen by the artist as synonymous with how bodies and their emotional “landscapes” are dealt with. The more resources, including copper—without which our contemporary digital world is inconceivable—are mined, the more the search for or connection to inner resources seems relevant.

    These various themes and their associated stories, which almost always speak of violence, are not necessarily addressed directly in the exhibition or reproduced. Rather, they are kept present through the materials enlisted, by relating to their origin, their use, their historical relevance, their development and the trade routes that have shaped our society very physically over time. Thus, for the exhibition, baskets made of copper wire from electronic scrap have been created in collaboration with basket makers from the Republic of Benin in Lagos, a city that belongs to one of the largest electronic dumping sites in West Africa; not only to detach the material from one value chain and transpose it into another, but to simultaneously pay homage to the women of Nigeria and Zambia, who made significant contributions to the independence of both countries. These colonial legacies seem particularly relevant to the building of the Kölnischer Kunstverein itself, since it was the seat of the British Council – the so called “Die Brücke” (The Bridge)—in the enduring colonial period of the British, and its proposition of a “bridge” to the world after the Second World War.

    The artist creates a space, in a certain sense a “third space”, in which a larger spectrum of stories and their complex interrelations with matter, material and their transformation and relationship to people can be experienced, and other perspectives made possible. From the materials and plants that are addressed, she extracts, in a way, the essence of their inherent energies and logics, makes them physically perceptible and thus ultimately also calls upon their nourishing properties.

    The two editions Sea field and Death of Nature will be published on the occasion of this exhibition.

    Dunja Herzog (*1976 in Basel, Switzerland) lived last year in Lagos, Nigeria, where she created some of the work presented at the Kölnischer Kunstverein. Her works were shown at the Kunstverein Göttingen; Swiss Art Awards, Basel (both 2018); Lagos Biennale, Lagos, Nigeria (2017); BLOK art space, Istanbul; 1646, Den Haag (all 2016); New Bretagne / Belle Air, Essen and at MAXXI Museum, Rome (both 2015), among others.

    The exhibition was curated by Nikola Dietrich.

    With kindly support of:

  • Solo Exhibition: Emma LaMorte – Aussicht, 5.9. – 18.10.2020
    Emma LaMorte, 2020.

    In her first institutional solo exhibition, Emma LaMorte takes on the architecture of the Kölnischer Kunstverein: With her textile works, performances, texts and installations, she reacts to given spaces and architectural structures in order to supplement, alienate or conceal them. In the Studio, a project room with an atrium on the second floor of the building, the artist produces an expansive quilted and sewn textile work. In reference to the location, she recreates elements of the real exterior space, integrates them into a fictional landscape backdrop and creates an inversion of inside and outside.

    The four-part work series consisting of a total of eleven panels shows a rocky sea coast and a pastoral scene at four different times of day, varying in lighting mood and colour. Her motifs are based on a fascination for gothic, fantasy, kitsch, fetish, and nature romanticism. The series of works Aussicht (2020) dispenses with the figurative in favour of an allegorical landscape depiction in which the position of the viewer is that of a 360 degree perspective on an observation tower. The preoccupation with the view—the yearning look outside into the distance or the future—is a recurring subject in fine art and literature, especially at the time of German Romanticism, and immediately evokes the visual world of Caspar David Friedrichs.

    The collages on stretcher frames borrowed from patchwork elude a simple classification as “textile art”: due to the rough and improvised processing, the variety of form language, haptics, and motifs as well as the nostalgic aesthetics appear exceptionally space- and timeless and are located in a dichotomy between absolute present and historicity. At the same time, the textile material is part of a craft traditionally associated with women. In her examination of economic issues, Emma LaMorte examines historically shaped gender-specific divisions of labor (emotional labor, caretaking, domesticity, household, motherhood on the one hand, monetary labor, career, profiling and prestige on the other) as well as the discrepancy between their respective values and recognition in society. Both in her medial and content-related work on traditional, reactionary gender roles, the artist looks at the mechanisms of public and private space that consolidate and maintain them: patriarchal infrastructures, discriminating labor economies, structural sexism and violence.

    An artist book has been published in the context of the exhibition at the Kölnischer Kunstverein with texts by the artist Rosa Aiello and images of the exhibited works (graphic: Thomas Spallek). The text medium is an integral part of Emma LaMorte’s practice and expands the scenographic backdrop of improvised quilting techniques with narratives. The repetition of the wall panels can be found as a stylistic device in the texts of Aiello. The daily rhythm and sequence describe a domestic routine in which temporality is variably extended or shortened. Emma LaMorte questions how civilization and social structures are formed and shaped—and how they are destroyed again—and creates a vision of the future that can be promising or hopeless.

    The exhibition is accompanied by a public program consisting of a reading, a lecture performance, a children‘s workshop, a tarot workshop, and a radio show by various guests, among them the artists Rosa Aiello, Bitsy Knox, Benjamin Marvin, the author Jessa Crispin and the musician Laura Sparrow.

    Emma LaMorte (*1984 in Victoria B.C., Canada) lives and works in Berlin. She received a Master of Fine Arts at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, Sweden. Recent solo presentations of her work have been shown at Galleri Thomassen in Gothenburg (2020, together with Anders Johansson), Gärtnergasse in Vienna (2019, together with Benjamin Marvin), Stadium (2018) and Ashley (2017), both in Berlin, as well as in group exhibitions at Polansky in Prague (2019), Braunsfelder in Cologne (2018), Sm in Marseille (2018), Hotdock in Bratislava (2018), INDUSTRA in Brno (2018) and Decad in Berlin (2018).

    Curator: Miriam Bettin

    The exhibition is part of Canada’s cultural programme as Guest of Honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2020. It is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of Canada.

    With kindly support of:

  • Solo Exhibition: Tony Conrad, 15.2. – 12.7.2020
    Tony Conrad: Yellow TV, February 3, 1973, Courtesy: Tony Conrad Estate und Greene Naftali, New York

    Opening: Friday, February 14, 7 pm
    9 pm Film screening Tony Conrad “The Flicker”, 1966, 16mm film, b/w, 30 min

    Tony Conrad (1940-2016) is an experimental artist and a key figure for media artists such as Tony Oursler or Mike Kelley. As a violinist, he was one of the co-founders of Minimal Music and a pioneer of drone music, together with La Monte Young and John Cale. As a central figure of the avant-garde and with a career lasting over six decades, his work radiates beyond America. With this exhibition it will be presented to the European audience, in all its complexity, after his participation at documenta 5. With his first movie “The Flicker” (1966) he created an icon of structural film. His musical work—in composition, performances, and self-made musical instruments—is inevitably associated with his work as a visual artist.

    The Kölnischer Kunstverein is realizing the first large-scale exhibition, performance and music series in Germany honoring Tony Conrad’s artistic work. It succeeds a retrospective at the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, and the MIT List Visual Arts Center and Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (2018/19). As a central figure of the avant-garde, Conrad didn‘t only gain recognition for his contribution to minimalist music and structural film in the 1960s, due to his pioneering role as violinist. Instead he also set the tone for various cultural fields, including rock music and public television. Conrad’s first film, “The Flicker” (1966), a stroboscopic experiment well-known for his assault on the cinematic medium and the senses of his audience, soon led to the projects in which he treated film as sculptural and performative material. In “Sukiyaki Film” (1973) for example Conrad brought shortly fried film on the screen and in in his “Yellow Movies” from 1972/73 he painted paper surfaces with cheap paint and presented them as slowly changing films. He paved the way for drone music and influenced the founding of Velvet Underground. At the same time, Conrad was a combative critic of the media and their monitoring tools. In the eighties, his ambitious films about power relations in the army and in prisons critisized what he would call emerging culture of surveillance, control and containment. His collaborative programs, created for public television in the 1990s, made him an influential voice within society (as can be seen in the installation “Panopticon” from 1988 or “WiP”, with films by Tony Oursler and Mike Kelley, 2013). Conrad was a master of “crossover”, the bridging and connection of various disciplines, making it seem impossible to think about the interdependence between art, film, music, and performance in contemporary art without including him. He also was a passionate pedagogue—his 40 years as professor at the Media Department at the University of Buffalo provoked and inspired generations of students until today.

    The exhibition was curated by Nikola Dietrich.

    It is a collaboration between Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, and MAMCO, Geneva, and is based on the touring retrospective organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York (2018/19).

    The exhibition architecture at the Kölnischer Kunstverein was developed in cooperation with Milica Lopicic.

    The reusable wall system has been made possible by the Imhoff Stiftung.

    Weiterer Dank an Galerie Further thanks to Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne/New York and Greene Naftali, New York

  • Exhibition: Jahresgaben 2019, 7. – 15.12.2019
    Jahresgaben 2019 at the Kölnischer Kunstverein

    Artists: Martin Assig, Olga Balema, Gerry Bibby, Juliette Blightman, Enrico David, Bradley Davies, Simon Denny, Ayşe Erkmen, Michael Krebber, Mischa Kuball, Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo), Morgaine Schäfer, Julia Scher, Gregor Schneider, Evelyn Taocheng Wang, Rachel Whiteread

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    Exhibition of the Jahresgaben: December 7 – 15, 2019
    Opening: Friday, December 6 2019, 7 pm

    We are pleased to present newly produced works for the Kunstverein together with earlier Jahresgaben, including unique pieces and limited editions. Many of the artist represented were recently participating in the group exhibition Maskulinitäten. A cooperation between Bonner Kunstverein, Kölnischer Kunstverein and Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf. Also part of this year’s Jahresgaben: Editions of the Salon Verlag to be acquired through the Kunstverein.

    Changed opening times during the Jahresgaben exhibition: open throughout Mon – Sun, 11 am – 6 pm, free of charge

  • Exhibition: Maskulinitäten. Eine Kooperation von Bonner Kunstverein, Kölnischem Kunstverein und Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, 1.9. – 24.11.2019
    Maskulinitäten. Eine Kooperation von Bonner Kunstverein, Kölnischem Kunstverein und Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, 2019

    Organised in collaboration by Bonner Kunstverein, Kölnischer Kunstverein and Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Maskulinitäten is an international exhibition with a series of events and accompanying publication project that explores the subject of masculinity via contemporary art. The tripartite presentation is premised by an interest in questioning how a feminist exhibition on masculinity could look.

    Conceived within the context of prominent and reactionary manifestations of masculinity and with an irreverent, uncompromising critique of its hegemonic forms, the collaboration aims to destabilise patriarchal and heteronormative notions of gender. Including public artworks, performances, plays, readings, lectures, screenings, and workshops, the exhibition seeks to open up alternative spaces of agency and bring performative and transgressive conceptions of identity, sexuality, gender and the body to the fore.

    The three institutions share a history in variously presenting radical, feminist and queer exhibitions. Whilst many of these focused on reclaiming femininity and female experience from a history of male authorship, this project turns its attention instead to the male subject. The exhibition and the accompanying programme explores shifting perspectives on the representation of the body, the associated politics of power and visibility, and how these are negotiated and deconstructed in art from the 1960s to the present. Encompassing artistic and art-theoretical perspectives from different contexts and periods, masculinity is encountered as a complex, evolving, social construct that remains in continual flux.

    Curated by Eva Birkenstock, Michelle Cotton and Nikola Dietrich

    Artists in the exhibition
    Vito Acconci, The Agency, Georgia Anderson & David Doherty & Morag Keil & Henry Stringer, Lutz Bacher, Louis Backhouse, Olga Balema, Lynda Benglis, Judith Bernstein, Gerry Bibby, Alexandra Bircken, Juliette Blightman, Patricia L. Boyd, Anders Clausen, Keren Cytter, Enrico David, Vaginal Davis, Jonathas de Andrade, Jimmy DeSana, Nicole Eisenman, Hedi El Kholti, Jana Euler, Hal Fischer, Andrea Fraser, keyon gaskin with Samiya Bashir, sidony o‘neal and Adee Roberson, Eunice Golden, Philipp Gufler, Richard Hawkins, Jenny Holzer, Hudinilson Jr., Allison Katz, Annette Kennerley, Sister Corita Kent, Mahmoud Khaled, Jürgen Klauke, Jutta Koether, Tetsumi Kudo, Klara Lidén, Hilary Lloyd, Sarah Lucas, Robert Morris, Shahryar Nashat, D’Ette Nogle, Henrik Olesen, D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus, Josephine Pryde, Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo), Carol Rama, Lorenzo Sandoval, Julia Scher, Agnes Scherer, Bea Schlingelhoff, Heji Shin, Katharina Sieverding, Nancy Spero, Anita Steckel, Evelyn Taocheng Wang, Carrie Mae Weems, Marianne Wex, Martin Wong, Katharina Wulff

    Bonner Kunstverein
    Lynda Benglis, Judith Bernstein, Alexandra Bircken, Patrica L. Boyd, Jana Euler, Hal Fischer, Eunice Golden, Richard Hawkins, Jenny Holzer, Hudinilson Jr., Allison Katz, Mahmoud Khaled, Hilary Lloyd, Sarah Lucas, Robert Morris, D’Ette Nogle, Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo), Bea Schlingelhoff, Anita Steckel

    curated by Michelle Cotton

    Kölnischer Kunstverei
    Georgia Anderson & David Doherty & Morag Keil & Henry Stringer, Louis Backhouse, Olga Balema, Gerry Bibby, Juliette Blightman, Anders Clausen, Enrico David, Jonathas de Andrade, Jimmy DeSana, Jenny Holzer, Hedi El Kholti, Hilary Lloyd, Sarah Lucas, Shahryar Nashat, Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo), Carol Rama, Bea Schlingelhoff, Heji Shin, Evelyn Taocheng Wang, Carrie Mae Weems, Marianne Wex, Martin Wong, Katharina Wulff

    curated by Nikola Dietrich

    Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf
    Vito Acconci, The Agency, Keren Cytter, Vaginal Davis, Nicole Eisenman, Andrea Fraser, keyon gaskin mit Samiya Bashir, sidony o´neal und Adee Roberson, Philipp Gufler, Jenny Holzer, Annette Kennerley, Sister Corita Kent, Jürgen Klauke, Jutta Koether, Tetsumi Kudo, Klara Lidén, Henrik Olesen, D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus, Josephine Pryde, Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivio), Lorenzo Sandoval, Julia Scher, Agnes Scherer, Bea Schlingelhoff, Katharina Sieverding, Nancy Spero, Evelyn Taocheng Wang

    curated by Eva Birkenstock

    Program during the opening weekend:

    Opening on Saturday, August 31, 2019

    2.30 pm Bonner Kunstverein
    5 pm Kölnischen Kunstverein
    7.30 pm Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf

    Saturday, 31 August
    Legal Gender, Performance conceived by Anita Steckel
    from 2.30 pm, Bonner Kunstverein

    Parallel Lines, Performance by Gerry Bibby with Ellen Yeon Kim
    from 5 pm, Kölnischer Kunstverein

    Naked Self (Transitioning) (21 Months On Hormone Replacement Therapy), Nude Performance by Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo)
    5.30 – 6.30 pm, Kölnischer Kunstverein
    8 – 9 pm, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf

    Sunday, 1 September
    Tectonic Mnemonic, a platform with readings with guests, invited by Gerry Bibby
    3 pm, Kölnischer Kunstverein

    With kind support of:

  • Solo Exhibition: Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda – The Auratic Narrative, 12.4. – 23.6.2019
    Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda, Untitled 2014

    Opening on April 11, 7 pm
    9 pm Moulting, a slideshow with the artists

    When organizing an exhibition surveying an artist’s body of work, the convention is to frame it as a story. Usually this story includes the artist’s birth (“Born in rural Romania”), a pivotal moment in their career (“She then moved to Paris, where she continued her philosophical pursuits at the Sorbonne”), and a period of striving towards artistic, cultural or political achievements (“these identities have informed his work for more than 30 years”i). These accounts of individual development, despite being factually accurate, are constructed, which is to say generated and maintained, by arts professionals. In an interview about the societal effects of quantitative metrics, sociologist Steffen Mau alludes to this practice, stating that “fictional expectations” for an artist are established “by means of a story, in the style of an auratic success story that will be realized in the future.” He continues:

    [In] the present-day artistic personality one looks for something that is still quite vague and speculative, but which in the future can determine whether he or she will attain a particular market position […] It’s a matter of the dynamic upward movement of a reputation, a positive vision. As always, telling this story requires the culture of experts, and thus professional critics, art marketers, or art educators and advisors.ii

    Mau’s assessment echoes the work of sociologist Olav Velthuis, whose book Talking Prices is a study of the principles used to set prices for contemporary art. According to Velthuis, narratives of an archetypal nature (e.g. tragedy, success story, Bildungsroman)—as opposed to economic laws such as supply and demand—determine art market prices, the subject of these stories being both individuals and developments occurring in the field as a whole. Like Mau, Velthuis emphasizes that these narratives are collectively told and reiterated by those working with art, while also stressing their imaginary character. He writes: “The issue here is not whether this narrative, or, for that matter, the ones that will follow, is true to historical reality or not. In fact, its truth content is questionable to say the least.”iii

    Such narratives contribute to the intangible quality of uniqueness and authenticity perceived in both artworks and artistic personalities, or “aura,” as literary critic Walter Benjamin termed it. The experience of this phenomenon, abstract and impalpable by definition, is laden with contradiction and ambiguity. For instance, it is commonly accepted, on one hand, that contemporary art is an entirely professionalized field in which the creation of art, as well as a wide scope of related occupational activities, is undertaken for the sake of achieving specific attendant outcomes. On the other, it is equally assumed, though rarely stated outright, that visions of an artist’s current or future significance may not yet, or ever be, realized (as indicated by the phrasing “fictional expectations”iv). Likewise, the distinctive qualities of an artist’s work and biography are referred to as the product of only a single individual, while it is seldom acknowledged that they are in fact bestowed upon the object or individual and as such are the collective expression of the shared beliefs, values, and lived experiences of art’s discursive community.

    The exhibition was curated by Nikola Dietrich.


    The Auratic Narrative, an exhibition of works by Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda, is on view from April 12 to June 23, 2019.

    i All parenthetical quotations from exhibition descriptions as of March 2019 on the website of MoMA, Museum of Modern Art, New York,
    ii Steffen Mau and Uwe Vormbusch, “Likes and Performance / A conversation between Uwe Vormbusch and Steffen Mau on the quantification of the social.” Texte zur Kunst 110 (June 2018),
    iii Olav Velthuis, Talking Prices, Symbolic Meanings of Prices on the Market for Contemporary Art (Princeton University Press, 2005), 145.
    iv See also Jens Beckert, Imagined Futures: Fictional Expectations and Capitalist Dynamics (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2016), 93: “The fictionality of literary texts, furthermore, is openly communicated, whereas it is hidden in the case of fictional expectations.”

    With kind support of:

    Additional support from Gaga, Mexico City and Los Angeles; ESSEX STREET, New York; Galerie Francesca Pia, Zürich; Cabinet Gallery, London; Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin. We would also like to thank Andra Lauffs-Wegner for her support of the artists’ book Letters, published on the occasion of the exhibition.

    Further information will be regularly announced on the website and via our newsletter.


    April 11, 2019, 9 pm
    Moulting (2019), slideshow with Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda

    May 14, 2019, 11 am – 6 pm
    Moulting (2019), slideshow by Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda

    May 28, 2019, 7 pm
    Show and Tell # 1
    Scalalogia and The Wheel of Life (2019), Book Launch with Jasmin Werner and a lecture by Philipp Kleinmichel in conjunction with a concert by pogendroblem

    Show and Tell is an ongoing, autonomous series of events with shifting formats. Various guests are invited to participate, among these artists, writers, and musicians.

    June 6, 2019, 7 pm
    Letters (2019) and Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda x Teruo Nishiyama (2017), Double Book Launch with Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda

    June 19, 2019, 7 pm
    Screening of a film by the directors Lev Kalman and Whitney Horn

    Public guided tours on Thursdays

    April 25, 2019, 5 pm with Miriam Bettin
    May 23, 2019, 5 pm with Lukas Flygare (in English)
    June 6, 2019, 5 pm with Nikola Dietrich

    Public guided tours on Sundays

    May 19, 2019, 3 pm with Jasmin Werner
    June 23, 2019, 3 pm with Jasmin Werner

  • Solo Exhibition: Power of Print – The Work and Life of Bea Feitler, 16.2.2019 – 31.3.2020
    Bea Feitler, announcement for the exhibition Power of Print at the Kölnischer Kunstverein 2019

    Opening on February 15th, 7 pm

    Guided tours
    Wednesday, February 21st 5 pm: Guided tour through the exhibition with Juliane Duft
    Wednesday, March 7th, 5 pm: Guided tour through the exhibition with Nikola Dietrich
    Wednesday, March 21st, 5 pm: Guided tour through the exhibition with Miriam Bettin

    An exhibition in collaboration with Marte Eknæs and Nicolau Vergueiro

    Power of Print is a comprehensive survey of the revolutionary work, and life, of the late Brazilian art director and designer Bea Feitler (1938–1982).

    The exhibition features original magazines, books, video documentation and reproductions from Feitler’s meteoric career, spanning from the late 1950s until her death, and personal photos and artifacts that document her life and circle of friends, collaborators and peers. Best known for her work in Harper’s Bazaar, Ms., Rolling Stone and the modern Vanity Fair, Feitler left an indelible mark upon the face of American graphic design by offering a new approach to the magazine experience.

    Feitler’s expressive freedom, evidenced by shifting standards to a female gaze, allowed her to renegotiate the commercial representation of women and to use the magazine as a mass vehicle to address social issues through her vibrant aesthetic. Power of Print threads some of her work’s recurrent themes – the human silhouette, centerfold as compositional device, collaging, innovative use of typography, solarisation and duotone, through which she reimagined the relationship between body, text and graphic design in both layout and sensorial terms. “A magazine should flow. It should have rhythm. You can’t look at one page alone – you have to visualize what comes before and after.”

    Bea Feitler was born in Rio de Janeiro, after her Jewish parents fled Nazi Germany. She moved to New York to study at Parsons School of Design and briefly returned to Brazil in 1959 where she designed posters, covers and spreads for books and for the progressive literary magazine Senhor.

    In 1961 Feitler moved back to New York and shortly thereafter, at the age of 25, became the co-art director of Harper’s Bazaar with Ruth Ansel following the legacy of their mentors at the magazine Alexey Brodovitch and Marvin Israel. During their 10 years at the magazine, they shaped the emergence of a new feminist popular editorial language. Attuned to the political and cultural changes of the 1960s, they created some of the most iconic editorials of the decade. Feitler and Ansel were ahead of their time: in 1965, with Richard Avedon, they used the first black model in a shoot for a major magazine, and in the same year, also with Avedon, they won the ADC medal for the April ‘space helmet’ Harper’s Bazaar cover. At the magazine, Feitle