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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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!
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:
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.
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:
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:
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
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
Please note that the annual editions are exclusively reserved for our members. Find your membership application form here:
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
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
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
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:
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, https://www.moma.org
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), https://www.textezurkunst.de/110/likes-and-performance
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
Opening on February 15th, 7 pm
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, Feitler forged tight relations with photographers that lasted throughout her career; Avedon, Bill King and Diane Arbus, among others, were in her tight circle of friends. Her role as a main connector of the scene is portrayed in Power of Print through a collection of original artwork, personal photographs, postcards and letters from collaborators and friends, also including Andy Warhol, Annie Leibovitz, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Ray Johnson, Tomi Ungerer, Candy Darling and Gloria Steinem. Her natural collaborative approach elevated the commercial editorial to an art form.
In 1972 Feitler joined Gloria Steinem to launch the feminist Ms. magazine. Here she created an experimental look using day-glo inks and mixtures of photography, illustration and typography compositions, activating the content of the magazine in both an accessible and critical way. Controversial messages were made more powerful through her masterful design, while feminist topics could enter into the mainstream. At Ms. Feitler had full control of visual content and a freedom that fueled her career. Today, the magazine is still pertinent and ahead of the curve and a hallmark of Feitler’s powerful, influential and unmistakable aesthetic.
Between 1974 and 1980 Feitler designed seminal books, such as The Beatles, Henri-Jacques Lartigue’s The Diary of a Century, Helmut Newton’s White Women, Vogue: Book of Fashion Photography. Reflecting her belief that the modern book should be 50-50 in terms of visuals and words, she negotiated to receive cover credit and royalty along the authors and/or photographers of the books she designed. She also art directed ad campaigns for Calvin Klein, Halston, Max Factor, Diane Von Furstenberg etc., record covers, as for the iconic Rolling Stone album Black and Blue, and posters and costumes for the legendary Alvin Ailey dance company.
In 1975, thanks to the insistence of Annie Leibovitz, Feitler started working for Rolling Stone, beginning her six-year association with the magazine which would lead her to redesigning its format twice. Feitler’s final project was the design of the premiere issue and overall concept of the revived Vanity Fair.
The exhibition was curated by Nikola Dietrich.
It has been made possible with the generous help of Bruno Feitler. An exhibition of Bea Feitler was also presented at Between Bridges in Berlin and UKS in Oslo, both in 2017, co-curated by Marte Eknæs and Nicolau Vergueiro. We would like to thank Between Bridges for their generous loans and Eugen Ivan Bergmann for his exhibition design contribution. Furthermore, we thank The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh for their loan and The New School Archives & Special Collections, New York, as well as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, New York for providing additional material.
With kind support of:
Further information will be regularly announced on the website and via our newsletter.
Opening on November 22nd, 7 pm
Cut-Up is a four-week program of exhibitions, lectures, music, performance, screenings, and a magazine launch. Artists, musicians, writers, publishers and an international project space were all invited to transform the various spaces of the Kunstverein (exhibition halls, theaters, and studios) with a wide array of activities and diverse programming. Cut-Up is a method of collage imagined first by Brian Gysin and William S. Burroughs as a strategy that implements the cutting and re-arranging of text, images and sound as a means of liberating them of their (pre-)designated meanings and categories and (re-)assigning them to new systems of readings and understanding. The invited guests all have their own unique approaches to this kind of strategy. Together, this cacophony of mediums and tactics creates a unique kind of “living-structure” that privileges the dynamic over the static – one that is constantly changing, shifting and adapting according to its own conditions and needs. With this fluid structure of exhibitions and events, the Kunstverein becomes a site for a diversity of international and regional interactions that champion new avenues of engagement and collaboration.
Together with the participants:
Michael Amstad, Marie Angeletti, Bonnie Camplin, Eric D. Clark, Kerstin Cmelka, Marte Eknæs, Helene Hegemann, Karl Holmqvist, Ellen Yeon Kim, Mario Mentrup, Luzie Meyer, Johanna Odersky, Deborah Schamoni, Mark von Schlegell, Starship, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Nicolau Vergueiro, Adrian Williams
Sorry I’m Late. XOXO Echo
Upon the invitation of the Kunstverein, the formely Zurich-based exhibition space, Taylor Macklin, will organize an exhibition addressing the nature and possible interpretations of spaces and their conditions.
With: Der Alltag (Sensationen des Gewöhnlichen), Andrea Büttner, Nicolas Buzzi, Brice Dellsperger, Maya Deren, Ayasha Guerin, Eva Meyer & Eran Schaerf, Carissa Rodriguez, Ben Rosenthal & Flavio Merlo, Li Tavor, Miriam Yammad, Constantina Zavitsanos
On the occasion of his 2018 Members Edition, Wolfgang Tillmans will build a Playback-Room in the studio space of the Kunstverein, giving visitors the unique possibility to sit and listen to his music under near-perfect conditions on the original vinyl pressing. The Members Editions itself stems from his on-going interest in music and became a special limited edition LP with a specially designed cover and sleeve. The recording is a “Kehrschaufel” (Dustbin)-Concert for the A-Side with a musical collage of edited radio-recordings from the 80s and 90s and the original song, “The Future is Unwritten” from 1985 on the B-Side. Tillmans conceived of the 3-part exhibition series Playback-Room at his non-profit space Between Bridges in 2014, the same year that the space opened at its new location in Berlin after having operated in London since 2006. In 2016, Playback-Room took up residency at the Lenbachhaus in Munich, and was re-animated again as part of his solo exhibition at London’s Tate Modern in 2017.
Curated by Nikola Dietrich
Thursday, Nov. 22nd
7pm Opening of the exhibition with introduction by Nikola Dietrich
Friday, Nov. 23rd
3-5 pm Workshop with Ayasha Guerin
7 pm Film screening with Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Karl’s Perfect Day, 2017, 94 min
with an Artists Talk and reading from Karl Holmqvist
Friday, Nov. 30th
7 pm Opening of the 2018 Member’s Edition Exhibition
9 pm Mark von Schlegell and Ellen Yeon Kim, MUFA (Museum of Unfinished Art) Radio Play / Performance, 40 min
Tuesday, December 4th, 2018, 7 pm
Im Trailerpark der Angreifbaren: A Sideshow-Varieté to the film Die Angreifbaren (Release Anfang 2019)
with Kerstin Cmelka & Mario Mentrup
Guests: Rainer Knepperges and Sven Heuchert
Friday, December 7th, 2018, 7 pm
Lecture and filmcreening: Helene Hegemann & Deborah Schamoni
Thursday, December 13th, 2018, 7 pm
Marte Eknaes & Michael Amstad, A People Mover Evening
& Artist Talk with Nikola Dietrich (in English)
Sunday, December 16th, 2018, 7 pm
Magazine launch: 20 years of Starship, Berlin, 18th edition
Filmscreening and Talk with Bonnie Camplin;
Record Release Musix’ lost its colour with Eric D.Clark
Wednesday, December 19th, 2018, 7 pm
Filmscreening: Luzie Meyer, The Flute, 2018
Exhibition and Performance: Johanna Odersky,
organised by Juliane Duft
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Graphic by Karl Holmqvist, 2018
Opening on Friday, September 7, 2018, 6 pm
Reading from the comic Solito by Julien Ceccaldi (in Engl.), 9 pm
followed by snacks und drinks in collaboration with Okey Dokey II
Produced on site at the Kölnischer Kunstverein over the course of two months, Julien Ceccaldi’s Solito is a large-scale exhibition in which a fairy tale unfolds around a character of the same name, a concupiscent and boyish 30-year-old virgin willing to give himself to anybody. The plot is inspired by stories such as Beauty and the Beast, Bluebeard, and The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, in which the female protagonists end up in love with ugly men, and sexuality manifests itself through power and violence. However, all Solito gets out of his unsightly, quickly aborted love story, is a fading souvenir of happiness.
Misery is all the more evident in the comic book published by Ceccaldi for this exhibition. In what could be interpreted as a dream of his own doing, the titular character goes so far as to make advances to death itself. He follows Oscar, a soldier from a magical land who is nothing more than “a cadaver, an empty shell [he] projects on” (J. Ceccaldi). Solito is presented as ambivalent: Desperate for partnership and security, he also acts masochistically in that he orchestrates a self-fulfilling destiny of being forever rejected. He plays with the dead like one does with dolls, and dreams of an eternal tea party with skeletons, all the while unconsciously wishing they would turn on him. Betraying their trust ultimately gets him thrown back onto the cold sidewalk of the real world – an allusion to The Little Match Girl by Hans-Christian Andersen, one of the most prominent fairy tale writers.
Ceccaldi took descriptions of the author’s life as a template for Solito’s character traits. Andersen never engaged in sexual relations with women nor men, indulging in intense masturbation after each encounter instead. Described as childish and love-obsessed in equal measures, he was considered an outsider and a loner within the Copenhagen elite of the 19th century, and he died alone at the end of his days. His original tales were perverse and morbid; his suffering heroines often dying a painful death. Later adaptations of his more tragic stories have been rewritten with a happy ending.
Further aesthetic and conceptual references can be found in the animation TV-series Revolutionary Girl Utena (1997) by Kunihiko Ikuhara, and the manga The Rose of Versailles (1972) and Oniisama E (1975) by Riyoko Ikeda, which weave together fairytale symbols, androgyny, and inescapable fates along with modern backdrops and contemporary preoccupations. The exhibition also borrows from these works the liberty to blend myths from different places across history from the Middle Ages, to 19th century Europe and our present time.
These different starting points establish the framework for the figures and setting in Solito, which are transferred onto various surfaces both inside and outside the exhibition spaces: animated video loops, sculptures, digital drawings, and paintings on plastic. The works no longer follow a consistently linear narrative as on the pages of the book. Inspired by cel art, a technique used in animation to separate backgrounds from foregrounds, images of different moods manifest themselves through overlays, off-sets, and trompe l’œil effects. They circulate around the figure of Solito, with whom visitors get closer to as they walk through the exhibition hall. Like the fragmented pieces that come together to form identity itself, repeated variations of the same figure elicit feelings of vanity and confinement, but also moments of emancipatory liberation.
The exhibition was curated by Nikola Dietrich.
Julien Ceccaldi created the comic book Solito especially for the exhibition [36 pages, edited by Nikola Dietrich, September 2018]. It can be purchased at a price of €12 (members €8).
Julien Ceccaldi was born in 1987 in Montreal, Canada and lives in New York. Solo exhibitions include Gay, Lomex, New York, NY (2017); and King and Slave, Jenny’s, Los Angeles, CA. He has recently participated in group exhibitions such as Painting Now and Forever 3, Greene Naftali, New York, NY; An Assembly of Shapes, Oakville Galleries, Ontario, Canada; and The Present in Drag, 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Berlin.
With kind support of
And further help by Gaga, Mexico City / Los Angeles & Jenny’s, Los Angeles
Fr 9/7, 9 pm
Reading from the comic Solito
by Julien Ceccaldi (in Engl.)
Sat 9/8, 4 pm
Guided tour through the exhibition with Juliane Duft (in German)
Sun 9/9, 7 pm
Artist Talk with Julien Ceccaldi
with the presentation of Japanese Animes (in Engl.)
Thu 9/13, 5 pm
Guided tour through the exhibition with Jasmin Werner (in German)
Thu 9/20, 5 pm
Guided tour through the exhibition with Nikola Dietrich (in German)
Thu 9720, 6 pm
Screening in the cinema
Kunihiko Ikuhara, La Fillette Revolutionnaire Utena, 1999 (in the original with German subtitles)
Tue 9/25, 6 pm
Screening in the cinema
Catherine Breillat, Barbe Bleue, 2009 (in the original with Engl. subtitles)
Sun 9/30, 3 pm
Guided tour through the exhibition (in German)
Thu 10/11, 5 pm
Guided tour through the exhibition with Juliane Duft (in German)
Thu 10/11, 6 pm
Screening in the cinema
Catherine Breillat: La Belle Endormie, 2011 (in the original with Engl. subtitles)
Thu 10/18, 6 pm
Screening in the cinema
Mori Masaki, The Door into Summer, 1975 (in the original with Engl. subtitles)
Sun 10/21, 3 pm
Guided tour through the exhibition (in German)
Thu 10/25, 5 pm
Guided tour through the exhibition (in German)
Thu 10/25, 6 pm
Screening in the cinema
Catherine Breillat, 36 Fillette, 1988 (in the original with Engl. subtitles)
Wed 11/7, 5 pm
Guided tour through the exhibition with Nikola Dietrich (in German)
Wed 11/7, 6 pm
Screening in the cinema
Chantal Akerman, Golden Eighties, 1986 (35mm, in the original with German subtitles)
with an introduction by Juliane Duft
With kind support of the Filmclub 813
Alex Da Corte (*1980 Camden, New Jersey, USA) uses painting, sculpture, installation, and film to explore the conditions and intricacies of human perception and the reactions associated with it. Special attention is paid to the complexity of today’s consumer world and how it intertwines with social, cultural, and political spheres. And thus, concepts like desire, hope, and longing account for just as much of his work as the examination of terms like dependence, alienation, and a sense of being lost. The starting point for his artistic works is mostly found in objects and scenarios from his personal and more general social environment which he then transforms into works of art through modifications, changes of perspective, or contrasting juxtapositions that appeal powerfully to all the senses.
Four cinematic works come together at the center of Alex Da Corte’s presentation to form a haunting installation in the large hall of the Kölnischer Kunstverein. These works include TRUƎ LIFƎ, which was made in 2013, as well as the three-part work BAD LAND, which was created in 2017. Despite being created at different times, both pieces share a point of origin that is closely connected to a personal experience of the artist. A friend sent him a photograph a few years ago that seemed to show him in front of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa in the Musee du Louvre in Paris, although the photograph was actually of the American rapper Eminem. This confusion was based on a certain similarity between the two and prompted Alex Da Corte to begin working with the idea of the world-famous musician, who had been repeatedly criticized in the past for glorifying violence and being hostile towards homosexuals and women, and his Slim Shady alter ego. He was interested in the question of what makes up Eminem as a person, what psychology is involved, and how he would behave in a private environment. His interest finally culminated in the work TRUƎ LIFƎ, for which he took on the role of the rapper by dyeing his hair blond, putting on the appropriate clothing, and adopting his persona. In reference to the documentary 66 Scenes from America by Danish filmmaker Jørgen Leth in which Pop Art artist Andy Warhol eats a hamburger, TRUƎ LIFƎ depicts Eminem as played by Alex Da Corte eating a North American breakfast cereal called Life. Despite a compositional sophistication that recalls the simple actions of artists like Bas Jan Ader, Gilbert & George, and Bruce Nauman, the plainness of the scene forms a contrast to the glamor and fame – not to mention the drive and drastic behavior – that the rapper embodies. Eminem is portrayed by Alex Da Corte more as a human being than as an inaccessible and invincible celebrity, whereby the casual but nevertheless noticeable placement of a package of Cinnamon Life with the image of an African American boy on it also expands on socio-political aspects.
The three Bad Land films, the title of which refers to an underprivileged district of Philadelphia where the artist’s studio is located known as the Badlands, were conceived by Alex Da Corte as a cohesive work and are a continuation of the ideas addressed in TRUƎ LIFƎ. The first film shows the musician in a setting divided into two areas: Its clear-cut, uniformly red and yellow tones is reminiscent of a pop version of Ellsworth Kelly or Blinky Palermo. In the almost eleven-minute sequence, the protagonist is busy untangling a chaotic bunch of old Playstation controllers and then arranging them neatly on a table-like base. For Alex Da Corte, the action functions as an allegory of fear, power, and control, whereby the banality of the scene once again breaks away from the general image of Eminem.
In contrast, the second film in the BAD LAND series makes significantly clearer reference to the practices of a rapper. Accompanied by atmospheric sounds, the film shows how the musician smokes cannabis with homemade pipes and bongs. It is surprising how perfectly, artistically, and humorously the smoking devices are made from various everyday objects, and without losing their functionality. In the course of the consumption, the smoker appears to fall into a trance-like state that is accompanied by a deep laugh and intense cough that seems to trace back to a lack of routine.
Finally, the third and last film in the BAD LAND series shows the rapper performing probably the most unusual action. Eminem, as depicted by Da Corte, stands in front of a grey background and is busy coloring his hair by rubbing yellow mustard into it while accompanied by ambiguous sounds and tones. As the film progresses, he puts on a paper crown from a fast-food restaurant, which is then repeatedly rubbed with the condiment although it already shows clear traces of the treatment. This symbol of power, which is particularly popular in hip hop culture, is thus not only associated with the excesses of consumer society, but is also questioned with palpable humor. It can hardly come as a surprise in this context that the rapper seems to increasingly lose his mind towards the end of the sequence. After all, a symbol of power like a crown is always associated with the fear of losing power, while fast-food chains often stand for seductive illusions.
The examination of psychological parameters as they are revealed both in the BAD LAND films as well as in TRUƎ LIFƎ represents a significant driving force for Alex Da Corte’s work in which the traditional boundaries between the different genres seem to dissolve. It can also be seen in the exhibition THE SUPƎRMAN, in which the films are embedded in a complex architecture that plays with the viewer’s perception and emotions with remarkable intensity. It is not just the sculptural presence of the films that becomes overwhelming, but also the picturesque installation that melts somewhere between Pop Art and Surrealism into an intoxicating gesamtkunstwerk that evokes memories of nightmares just as much as those of Disneyland.
Alex Da Corte has had solo exhibitions at the New Museum in New York (2017), the Secession in Vienna (2017), the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams (2017), the Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam (2015), and the Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia (2015). He has also participated in group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (2017), the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk (2016), and the Biennale in Lyon (2015).
Walter Price was born in 1989 in Macon, in the US state of Georgia, and currently lives in the multicultural metropolis of New York. The artist’s predominately small-format work can be broken down into paintings and drawings in which he deals with personal experiences, social conventions, as well as historical developments. His works usually depict interiors or exteriors that are occupied by objects, creatures, signs, symbols, and forms. They contain references to limbs, figures, palm trees, huts, sofas, urinals, and cars as well as the outlines of architecture or vegetation. At the same time, these visual elements – which are sometimes more easily deciphered than others – are not always brought into a clear relationship with each other, making a form of narration palpable, yet intangible. This is supported not least by the fact that the American artist forgoes traditional patterns of order in his compositions, subverts hierarchies, and does away with perspective, all of which lends his paintings and drawings an unusual appearance that occasionally refers to the beautiful simplicity and purism of drawings by children.
Occasionally letters and writing can be made out in Price’s works, although they are mostly only visible when truncated and partially hidden and therefore seem to be more like an echo of a verbalized thought rather than designed for instant readability. Another characteristic feature of many of Price’s works is an intense, vivid use of color that can be put down to a superb handling of the pallet. In addition, a large number of works are characterized by a heightened interest in the materiality of the raw materials he uses, which can be traced to both a strongly gestural and therefore palpably tactile application of paint as well as to leaving the painting and drawing foundations visible. In doing so, a conscious confrontation with representatives of classical modernism in Europe and the last outliers of American post-war art can be seen in the strong and expressive use of color as well as the specific handling of materials, one in which the artist authoritatively formulates his own language despite any references.
This exhibition at Kölnischer Kunstverein marks the first time Price’s work will be comprehensively presented and recognized in Germany. The aim is to focus on both older and newer works, complemented by site-specific wall paintings and drawings. In addition, the work is explained in a comprehensive, bilingual catalogue that accompanies and documents the presentation in Cologne.
With the support of:
The photographic work of Talia Chetrit (B. 1982, Washington D.C.) is characterized by a remarkable compositional sophistication and visual power, accompanied by a stringent programmatic objective. Her work includes self-portraits, portraits of family members, lovers, and friends, nudes, still lifes, and cityscapes that continuously reveal various intentional references to art history. Chetrit occasionally draws from photographs taken during her youth and re-contextualizes these images by inserting them into her current practice through a selective editing process.
Regardless of the respective subject matter or approach to the development of each image, her interest resides in researching and disclosing the basic social, conceptual, and technical conditions of the genre of photography. As a result, her work is imbued with the desire to control the physical and historical limitations of the camera, to follow its manipulative potential, and to call the relationship between the photographer and the image into question.
The exhibition Showcaller, which Chetrit conceived especially for the Kölnischer Kunstverein, comprises a group of predominately new and revisited works that give exemplary insight into her practice. The presentation includes an extensive series of pictures titled Streets, which depict lively and inhabited views of New York City. Through the use of tight cropping of grainy negatives, the city and its people become an unknowing and abstracted network of bodies over which Chetrit can command her own manipulated narratives. Taken from afar and through the windows of various buildings, the distance between Chetrit’s pervasive lens and her unwitting subjects’ anonymity is further emphasized.
In the context of the exhibition, this series of works is juxtaposed with photographs that convey an alternative perspective, and instead instill a pronounced sense of intimacy through the conspicuous disclosure of private moments. A large-format diptych, for example, depicts the artist and her partner having sex. Imaged against a blooming landscape, neither of the subjects seem aware of the camera’s austere gaze. The viewer is tethered to the scene by the twisting cord of the camera’s cable release, in such a way that we are reminded, once again, of our own position in the construction of images.
Talia Chetrit was born in Washington D.C. in 1982 and now lives in New York. She has recently participated in solo and group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (2016), Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto (2016), LAXART in Los Angeles (2014), Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2013), Studio Voltaire in London (2013), and the SculptureCenter in New York (2012). In 2018, she will be presented to a wider public in Italy for the first time at the MAXXI Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo in Rome.
With the support of:
The exhibition is kindly supported by Andra Lauffs-Wegner & KAT_A
In the space of almost ten years Adriano Costa has created a body of work that establishes a bridge between South American and European art, updates artistic movements like Neoconcretismo or Arte Povera and provides them with a new dimension. Born in 1975 this Brazilian artist makes assemblages, sculptures, paintings and films on the basis of found materials and everyday objects; in his exhibitions he combines them together into expansive installations in such a way that they result in stage-like scenes comparable with “environments”. At the same time, his works are usually the result of extensive and time-consuming research, which Costa carries out wherever he is staying at the moment. Like a curious and open-minded tourist he thus explores his various “research areas” and, in doing so, he follows not just the well-known main paths, but also and particularly those routes within urban as well as rural contexts which receive less attention or are overlooked. He is interested in ethnological, sociological and historical developments and phenomena, and he makes these the subject matter of his works, but without employing the precise practices of scholars. For Costa the different themes and lines of enquiry serve, to a certain extent, as a vehicle for his poetic and not infrequently humorous articulations, which he forms out of the found pieces, mementoes and objects from the given explorations and investigations. The boundaries between art and “non-art” are occasionally undermined within this context, testifying to his efforts to more closely intertwine art and life.
With the support of:
The exhibition is kindly supported by Andra Lauffs-Wegner & KAT_A
Opening: Friday, 20. October 2017, 6-8 pm
With Bodies, Faces, Heads, the Kölnischer Kunstverein presents Cameron Jamie’s first institutional solo exhibition in Germany. Born in Los Angeles in 1969 and currently based in Paris, Jamie has built a body of work over a good 25 years using an enormous variety of media: It comprises wood sculptures, ceramics, drawings, prints, photographs, films, artist’s books, and musical productions.
One of his central themes is identity as the existential foundation of the individual, which is generated by social and anti-social codes. Jamie’s view of marginalized realities and magically obscure rituals that embody the hidden side of our society is both analytical and immersive at the same time: Jamie himself is partly shaped by the subcultures that he transforms artistically. His creative process is, therefore, anything but scientific or coolly calculated – Jamie follows a spontaneous, psychologically inspired search for form, the result of which is deeply personal while giving off an archaic, primitive atmosphere at the same time. It is about states of being and consciousness instead of concrete connections of meaning.
The Kölnischer Kunstverein is presenting five groups of works revolving around the topic of the body and nature, all produced between 2008 and 2017. The group Smiling Disease (2008) consists of large-format wooden masks in the tradition of the Austrian Alpine region of Bad Gastein. Jamie produced them in collaboration with a professional wood carver who re-interpreted Jamie’s drawings and lent them a grotesque, deformed countenance. Ceramics on metal pedestals are shown in the second room, ghostly figures hand-produced by the artist that intertwine with the organic flow of the plinth forms in the third room. The direct, powerful treatment of the clay, the pulsating variety of form, and the elaborate glazing all allow the figures to lead a life of their own like alien beings in the room.
A series of ceramic masks hangs on the walls, their interiors presenting as peculiar, hollow faces, like monotypes that evoke a variety of floral and figurative associations. Each work on paper is unique and contains several layers of drawings and colors – a characteristic that reflects Jamie’s creative process in general: erasing, overwriting, destroying, and restoring are fundamental features inherent in each of his works.
Cameron Jamie’s previous solo exhibitions have included the Kunsthalle Zürich in Zürich (2013), the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (2010), the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Nantes (2009), and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (2006). He has also been part of group exhibitions like The Absent Museum at Wiels Center of Contemporary Art in Brussels (2017), the Lyon Biennale (2015), the Berlin Biennale (2010 and 2008), and the Venice Biennale (2005). His work was first shown at Kölnischer Kunstverein within the framework of the exhibition Keine Donau: Cameron Jamie, Peter Kogler, Kurt Kren (2006).
Sam Anderson was born in Los Angeles in 1982. In the recent past she has developed a body of work in which she examines the existential conditions of human life on the basis of her own biography and stories from her social milieu. Her artistic practice is focused on sculpture and installation, although she also makes films at regular intervals. The works of the artist, who now lives in New York, additionally range from narrative visual creations to almost indecipherable (and therefore seemingly abstract) formulations. Thus, in Anderson’s art, figures formed out of epoxy clay – such as a kneeling girl, a rider or a fishing teenager – meet with material collages that are based on a variety of sometimes found materials and objects – such as broken glass, feathers, pieces of wood, grape steams, flowers or grasses – and are structured according to definite but now always comprehensible criteria. The found animal skeletons, which are also a part of her repertoire and transfer another dimension of reality into her work, are to be situated between these two extremes: the unambiguously narrative sculptures and the scarcely interpretable arrangements.
Independently of the sculptures’ formal appearance, special importance is to be assigned to the relationship between object and space. The works are designed to play with proportions and, in this context, the surrounding architecture serves to indicate scale. Every form of monumentality is subjected to a negation in the process, as is particularly underscored through the fragility of many of the pieces. For viewers, this situation means a continuous bird’s-eye view of the works, which Anderson joins into complex installations in their presentations. The interplay between the pieces causes the American artist’s presentations to behave like staged landscapes. It is precisely through her combination and intertwining of dissimilar works that she evokes the distinctive interactions and charged relationships which breathe life into the artworks and arrangements and substantially contribute to their fascinating effect. The artist creates pictures that not only appear no less lifelike than remote from life, but also mean an expansion of sculpture’s range of possibilities.
A similar potential is connected with Anderson’s films, which once again reveal her occupation with collage techniques. To create them she combines her own or found footage, accompanied by music and speech, into new narratives. Dream-like scenarios are also composed in these works; however, in contrast to the sculptures and installations, they are substantially more strongly anchored in the here and now.
The unique nature of Anderson’s work has brought her considerable renown in recent years, and she has already been included in several important exhibitions. The artist has had solo exhibitions at Rowhouse Project in Baltimore (2016), Tanya Leighton in Berlin (2015), Mother´s Tankstation in Dublin (2015), Between Arrival and Departure in Düsseldorf (2015), Off Vendome in Düsseldorf (2014) and Chapter NY in New York (2013). She has additionally participated in group exhibitions, including “ICHTS” at the Dortmunder Kunstverein (2016) and “Greater New York” at MoMA PS1 (2015).
For the Kölnischer Kunstverein Anderson has developed a complex survey of her work that encompasses both older and new pieces, in order to enable visitors to gain extensive insight into her practice. In addition to the central exhibition hall and the cinema, the neighbouring cabinet of the Kölnischer Kunstverein will also be used to enable visitors to tour through Sam Anderson’s various narratives and formulations.
The artist’s first catalogue as well as an edition of unique works will appear in connection with the exhibition, which is presented in cooperation with the SculptureCenter in New York.
This project is supported by the Kunststiftung NRW as well as the Leinemann Stiftung.
Avery Singer was born in New York in 1987, in the recent past, she has formed a body of work which can be reckoned among the most powerful contributions to the recent history of art and has provided the medium of painting with new impulses – particularly in the context of the changing technical conditions surrounding it. Thus the artist utilises 3D programs like SketchUp or Blender to produce virtual visual worlds: in terms of their formal appearance these can be read as simple animations and accordingly make direct reference to their origins. Singer uses an airbrush gun to transfer this visual creation to her usually large-format canvasses, thereby negating any sense of a distinctive “hand of the artist”. Her approach results in visual formulations that allude stylistically to French Cubism as well as grisaille painting and thus seem, in a certain sense, to proclaim an anachronistic aesthetic.
At the level of content Singer thematises socio-political questions, in doing so, it is not uncommon for her to specifically focus on a humorous look at the rules and rituals of the art scene. For example, she has occupied herself with the process of a studio visit, the role of the artist or director as entertainer, the life of a muse or the image of the patron. Singer’s painting also repeatedly contains allusions to the great masters of the history of art, which also places particular emphasis on the conceptual aspects of her work.
Thanks to the unique nature of her work as an artist, Avery Singer has already been included in numerous international exhibitions in recent years: she has had solo presentations at the Kunsthalle Zürich, at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Within the context of her exhibition at the Kölnischer Kunstverein, which will open with a barbecue party on the occasion of the ArtCologne 2017, the artist’s manner of working will be presented to a broader audience in Germany. At the same time, the exhibition also presents a new group of works in addition to her figurative compositions, they represent a stylistic break with her previous pieces and Singer uses them to explore the broad realm of abstraction. These works are embedded within an architecture developed specifically for them: the space and the art will be interwoven with one another within the framework of the exhibition.
An artist’s book will appear in connection with the exhibition, which was developed in cooperation with the Vienna Secession.
Kindly supported by:
Danny McDonald, born in 1971 in Los Angeles, became known as a member of the legendary Art Club 2000, an artists’ collective founded in 1992 by the no less historic New York gallery owner Colin de Land and which included seven students from The Cooper Union School of Arts. As part of their work, which included photographs, installations, texts, and performances, the group investigated phenomena such as the gentrification of the urban context, the strategies of the art market, and the psychology of the fashion industry. In the process, their concepts and productions manifested a fundamental interest in institutional critique, not least as a reaction to the living and working conditions of their generation.
The artistic work that McDonald is developing, detached from his activities as a member of the Art Club 2000, is shaped by the experiences he gathered during the 1990s, whereby his current work not only has a different appearance, but also describes a new dimension. McDonald’s practice encompasses in particular sculptures and films that complement and stimulate each other, and which are characterized by a great sovereignty in the contemporary art context. For his haptically tangible works, he mainly uses toy figures, but occasionally also other everyday objects, which he combines according to the principles of the assemblage technique in such a way that new contexts of meaning and unprecedented narratives emerge. The bizarre and scurrile that is often inherent in the arrangements due to the contradictory nature of the objects used can be regarded as one of the specific characteristics of the artist’s sculptures. They reflect the artist’s endeavour to use his keen wit and humour to create a distorting mirror of social and socio-political situations. McDonald’s cinematic works, which generally have a strong visual as well as auditory power, point in a similar direction. For these works, the artist makes use of various alter egos, which appear as protagonists of the films and lead through surreal-looking narratives.
The exhibition The Beads & Other Objects, which is being held at the Kölnischer Kunstverein on the occasion of ArtCologne 2017, is the first solo presentation of Danny McDonald in a European institution.
The exhibition ars viva 2017: Jan Paul Evers, Leon Kahane, Jumana Manna opened on 10 February 2017 at the Kölnischer Kunstverein. Since 1953 the Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft im BDI e.V. (the Association of Arts and Culture of the German Economy at the Federation of German Industries) has been awarding the annual ars viva prize to young artists living in Germany whose works are distinguished by their pioneering potential. The ars viva award brings prize money, two exhibitions, a bilingual catalogue and a residence programme on Fogo Island (Canada).
Works by this year’s recipients, Jan Paul Evers, Leon Kahane and Jumana Manna, will be shown in Cologne. These artists are distinguished by their different ways of working and their use of various media. The exhibition presents a selection of earlier works and new, previously unexhibited pieces. This is the Kölnischer Kunstverein’s second cooperation with the Kulturkreis. Works by the 2009 prize winners were exhibited in the galleries of the Kunstverein at that time.
Jan Paul Evers works with digital and analogue photographic production and editing processes. Using various developing techniques he makes black-and-white prints from photographic material created by himself or others and featuring abstract and representational motifs. His compositions shift the focus on to the relationship between image and replica, motif and reality, and they examine the possibilities of (photographic) reproduction. The artist is showing a number of new works at the Kölnischer Kunstverein.
Leon Kahane engages critically with social themes like the construction of territorial boundaries and the problematic conditions of labour migration. He makes reference to media revolutions and global developments, for example, in his Frontex photo series. Here he seemingly casually visualises the conflicts along Europe’s territorial boundaries, which are caused by cultural and economic conditions. The works that Kahane is presenting in Cologne include a piece that was created during his six-month stay in Hong Kong and sheds light on the working conditions of female immigrants from the Philippines.
In her videos and sculptural works Jumana Manna develops narratives that read like possible histories. Her artistic field research traces identity-building stories operating within the charged space connecting the private sphere and the national plane. In Cologne Manna is showing an adaptation of a work originally commissioned by the 2016 Liverpool Biennial. Among other things, this installation makes reference to the Post Herbarium at the American University of Beirut, which archives the biological diversity of Syria, Palestine and Sinai.
With kind support by:
The artist Leidy Churchman is concerned with the question of how images are perceived and processed in the present age, when visual stimuli display an omnipresence. Within this context, Churchman – who was born in the American community of Villanova, Pennsylvania, in 1979 – produces paintings based on pre-existing images from the “extraordinary junkyard” of visual formulations. Thus he copies the works of other artists and uses logos, book covers or advertisements as sources or makes references to Far Eastern religions or art related to folklore. For this reason the pictorial universe that confronts us in Churchman’s presentations often seems familiar, even if the paintings differ from their sources to a greater or lesser extent.
Churchman’s solo exhibition at the Kölnischer Kunstverein is his first institutional presentation in Europe. For this show he has produced a new group of works which display a disconcerting heterogeneity at first glance. At the exhibition our attention is immediately grabbed by the large-format painting Standoff, which shows two giraffes standing in high grass with their necks crossed. While this painting seems to be more or less clearly comprehensible, a small-format landscape painting entitled “Faultless Aspect” exhibits more surreal features: illuminated by a magnificent full moon, a kind of net spreads out across a deep-green meadow and, in combination with two white pillows and a bedside table, becomes a bed. The painting Peacocking, which is dominated by two red-and-black, organic-looking forms as well as countless, tangibly palpable dots, does not allow us to identify any clear narrative and points to the field of abstraction. By contrast, in the work The Kitchen Sink, we can read The Laundry Room in white letters on a deep blue background, and it seems to be the direct transfer of a sign into the medium of painting. The painting Mahakala, on the other hand, makes reference to the Buddhist deity of the same name, although Churchman has limited himself to the signifier of his mouth in his work. This is embedded within a greenish-bluish composition of colours and forms in a manner that stimulates the impression of looking into this orifice through a peculiar kind of peephole. The link connecting all of these different works is the common world they share: a world that has become almost impossible to grasp and from which Churchman selects images in order to present them to his viewers with an altered tempo, feeling and state of mind. In doing so, the New Yorker’s visual formulations go beyond a mere transfer into the medium of painting. Churchman’s works are linked with an inexplicable and mysterious magic that it is very difficult to escape.
Leidy Churchman lives and works in New York. He has recently participated in much-discussed thematic exhibitions including Painting 2.0: Expression in the Information Age at Munich’s Museum Brandhorst (2015) and at mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (2016). In recent years he has also presented works at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (2016), the Kunsthalle Bern (2015), the National Gallery of Denmark in Copenhagen (2014) and at MoMA/P.S.1 in New York (2010). In 2013 Churchman had a solo exhibition at the Boston University Art Gallery and the first monograph on his work as an artist was created to accompany it.
Kindly supported by:
The Kölnischer Kunstverein is presenting Sonnet to the Nile, Christiana Soulou’s first institutional solo exhibition in Germany. Since the early 1980s the artist has been working on a body of drawings that can be counted among the most remarkable articulations in the field of this art form. The art of this Athenian born in 1961 is centred around human and animal beings that appear on the paper without any context or any connection to a time or place. The drawings are simultaneously so understated that they usually cannot be perceived without a more thorough consideration. Even then they often cannot be grasped in their entirety, because in spite of their forceful presence, they seem to disappear into the ground of the drawing. The majority of Soulou’s creations remain monochrome – in shades of grey, blue or red – and supplementary coloration can only occasionally be identified. On the whole Soulou’s works captivate viewers through a subtlety and precision that are characteristic of Old Master drawings or etchings and represent a rarity within the context of current developments in art. This has earned the Greek artist recognition among her younger colleagues, in particular, and resulted in her enjoying the reputation of an artist’s artist. In this context it should be emphasised that every line Soulou places on the paper by means of pencil, coloured pencil or watercolour cannot be looked at solely as the result of extraordinary technical ability. Far more significant is the fact that the artist experiences the making of even minor marks with a great intensity, thus emotionally projecting herself into the depicted being with a powerful empathic faculty.
Literary works provide the point of departure for many drawings, which are conceived either as individual sheets or in series. Soulou has studied the works of authors like William Shakespeare, Heinrich von Kleist, Georges Bataille, Jean Cocteau or Jorge Luis Borges for years and years, some of them since her youth. The connection with these works is suggested by the titles and subtitles of her works on paper, for example, when the protagonists of a particular text are explicitly named, descriptive approximations of scenes from a novel are carried out or complete book titles are utilised as supplemental titles for groups of works. Thus references to texts including Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Cocteau’s Les Enfants Terribles or Borges’s El libro de los seres imaginarios can be recognised in the context of the exhibition. At the same time, Soulou’s drawings are to be seen not as illustrations of the texts but as a more general exploration of Being: existential experiences, but also the mysteries of life, are what occupy Soulou and it is their traces that she pursues in her drawings – with meticulousness, mental sharpness and emotion.
Christiana Soulou has had solo exhibitions at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Newcastle (2016), among other places. She has also participated in group exhibitions including those at Camden Arts Centre in London (2016) and the New Museum in New York (2010) as well as the Biennale di Venezia (2013) and the Berlin Biennale (2006).
with kind support by:
The Kölnischer Kunstverein presents SHHHHH, Catharine Czudej’s first solo exhibition in Germany. The artist was born in Johannesburg in 1985 and now lives in New York. Her work encompasses sculptures, installations, paintings and films which reflect her occupation with labor, power dynamics and moral structures. Her art is characterized by its humorous approach and absurdist take on the everyday. Responding to canonised ideas or phenomena Czudej sets off a chain of free associations linked to the cultural subconscious in an attempt to implicate the viewer in her conspiracy.
Czudej has gathered together both existing and newly produced works in the central hall of the Kölnischer Kunstverein to form an “environment” that suggests an apartment in many respects, calling to mind the work of Pop artists like Claes Oldenburg or the installations of Paul Thek. In the space we find a sitting room, a sofa, various lamps and a game room as well as items typical of a bathroom. However, the domestic objects cannot fulfil their promise of utilitarian value: the lamps and seating are made out of pretzels and beer bottles, whilst the living room carpet absorbs the couch and the bathroom resembles an improvised artists laboratory. Czudej uses the objects to stage bizarre deformations of reality, which raise questions about both the everyday unconscious and modes of perception.
At the entrance to the exhibition is a queue formed from retractable barriers laid out as a maze; reducing the traditional logic of boundary and wayfinding systems to absurdity. The artist sees this intervention as representative of our willing and often unquestioning engagement with systems of social control. At the entrance to the maze waits the ostensible single inhabitant of the apartment: a life-size balloon figure that signifies to the viewer that this is perhaps a game, and things might not seem as they appear. The installation also functions as satirical commentary on the spectacular and grandios application of these barriers as an exhibition tool to contain and excite the spectator before viewing work.
While the works in the central exhibition space have been merged into a narrative installation, the objects on the lower level at first resemble a more stringent formal presentation. These pieces have been installed on sand and stone pedestals, that mimic museological forms of display and correspond to the apparently classical theme of Czudej’s sculptures. With their fluid interweaving forms, the objects formally play on Eduardo Chillida’s iron sculptures, although the artist undermines the gravity and monumentality of the Spanish sculptor’s works by integrating figurative details. The faces and hands that interact with the forged twisted metal invest the works with a comic-like quality, which not only corresponds to Czudej’s general search for narratives, but also shifts the focus to discussions surrounding authorship and gender roles.
Czudej’s new film, which will be shown in the cinema of the Kölnischer Kunstverein, complements the exhibition and represents a new facet in the artist’s work. It documents the day to day experience in one of American’s oldest foundry’s where Czudej makes her Iron and Bronze sculptures. The film alternates between the banal and the explosive moments of foundry life, suggesting both conceptual aspects and a societal study.
Catharine Czudej’s solo exhibitions already include those at Office Baroque in Brussels (2016), Peep-Hole in Milan (2015) and Ramiken Crucible in New York (2013). She has also participated in numerous international group exhibitions, including those at Off Vendome in New York (2016), Galerie Eva Presenhuber in Zurich (2016), Eden Eden in Berlin (2015), Zero in Milan (2014) and François Ghebaly Gallery in Los Angeles (2014).
On the occasion of the exhibition a limited edition will be released.
Andro Wekua was born in Georgia in 1977. Over a period of more than ten years he has created an outstanding body of work that can be counted among the most impressive, but simultaneously also the most mysterious, contributions to recent contemporary art. Based on his own biography, which was shaped by events surrounding the civil war in his native country, Wekua’s work rotates around the question of how a personal or collective memory is formed, what the genuine substance of an individual or global memory is and what belongs to fiction, imagination and interpretation within this context. At the same time, the visual creations realised by the artist, who now lives in Germany and Switzerland, typically display a disturbing and uncanny quality and point to subconscious processes. Regardless of the given medium, Wekua’s works appeal directly to the emotional world of their viewers, although they often resist unambiguous interpretation – an aspect which actually helps fuel their unsettling effect.
The exhibition at the Kölnischer Kunstverein is not only the artist’s first major show in the Rhineland area but also the first significantly comprehensive presentation in Germany in the last five years. The exhibited works demonstrate the cogency of his body of work in a representative manner. Thus, in the main exhibition hall, the artist presents a complex and expansive installation that transports viewers into a dream-like world. Its central focus is formed by an untitled life-sized figure (2014), which hangs from the ceiling in a prominent location and seems to be half androgynous human and half robot. This being is balanced on its chin atop a swing-like apparatus and is thus depicted in a physically impossible position, which further intensifies its already very striking strangeness and unworldliness.
Where this sculptural work by Andro Wekua evokes aspects of the surreal and fantastic, the untitled painting of a seascape (2016), which is placed at a significant distance opposite the figure in the exhibition hall, points to a different tradition. In this work we can recognise allusions to 19th-century British and French landscape paintings as well as their expressively conceived early 20th-century pendants. At the same time, Wekua has condensed his work into a composition in colour that renders the sea’s various temperaments tangible on a psychological level.
Within the exhibition space the painting and the sculpture join into a single unit, whose frame is formed by the architecture which was designed specifically for them and features various segmentations and an intense tonality. The effect linked to this theatrically staged presentation could scarcely be more penetrating: as a result it directly influences those who experience it and permanently etches itself in their consciousness.
The conglomerate of this installation is supplemented by the presentation of Andro Wekua’s filmic works, which were created between 2003 and 2012 and are presented in the cinema of the Kölnischer Kunstverein. These works are partly based on found material and partly on sequences produced by the artist himself, and they oscillate between the genres of historical documentary, horror and science fiction. The films present images between memory, dream and vision and convey an atmosphere that is no less adept at getting under viewers’ skin.
Andro Wekua’s solo exhibitions include those at the Kunsthalle Wien (2011), Fridericianum in Kassel (2011), Castello di Rivoli in Turin (2011), Camden Arts Centre in London (2008), Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam (2007) and Kunstmuseum Winterthur (2006). In 2011 he was also nominated for the Preis der Nationalgalerie.
The exhibition is kindly supported by:
and Julia Stoschek Collection
The Kölnischer Kunstverein is pleased to present Mice, the first comprehensive solo exhibition of Uri Aran in Germany. In his sculptures, paintings, drawings, films and photographs, the artist, who was born in Jerusalem in 1977 and now lives in New York, investigates the fundamentals of language, communication and perception, the conditions of social interaction as well as the social rules necessary for this. The basis of the works are mostly simple materials, signs, forms, images and gestures, which Aran relates to each other in such a way that new contexts of meaning emerge. The constellations create the impression of being part of a narrative, without, however, being able to trace a clear narrative.
The exhibition at the Kölnischer Kunstverein brings together older works as well as works produced specifically for the institution and thus offers the opportunity for an intensive examination of the various facets of Aran’s work. One of the main works in the presentation is the sculpture Game (2016) installed in the large exhibition hall, which formally refers to ancient board games. The upper side of the work, made of plaster, is structured by round indentations, occasionally referring to fruit and vegetables, in which metal balls, nuts and dog biscuits can be arranged in different ways. In addition to examining the question of what criteria can be used to systematize and organize the various elements, the almost monumental-looking work reflects the idea of integrating the recipient into the work, as well as the aspect of the changeability of a sculpture.
In contrast, Arans’ cinematic works, which flank Game in the central exhibition hall on the one hand and occupy the cinema of the Kölnischer Kunstverein on the other, allow us to understand his preoccupation with the emotional world of the recipient. A central interest here is the question of how an auditory or visual stimulus is formed and sent to evoke a certain emotional reaction. An example of this is the work Black Stallion (2011), which is the credits of the classic film of the same name by director Francis Coppola. The poignant music as well as the images of a child playing with a horse create a feeling of melancholy in the recipient that is hard to escape.
The work Dog (2006), which shows the artist in frontal view stroking a dog while crying, with the animal – like the embrace of two people – placing its head over its shoulder, also has a similar effect. The film, which formally recalls the work I’m too sad to tell you by the Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader, who disappeared in 1975, appeals directly to the recipient’s empathy. Inevitably, a feeling of consternation and sadness is awakened, revealing the manipulative potential of the images as well as the sound.
If the aforementioned cinematic works appear with a certain, but by no means overly clear vehemence, Uri Aran’s paintings and drawings have a rather unobtrusive character. Yet the works, which are shown at certain points in the central exhibition hall and in the stairwell and more comprehensively on the second floor and in a graphic workroom in the basement, display a relatively wide spectrum of forms of expression. Thus the paintings and drawings oscillate between abstraction and representationalism, with clearly legible portraits or sceneries alternating with gestural or colour compositions. In this context, inscribed letters and words can be made out in the works just as easily as collaged photographs or everyday objects. The different components condense within the paintings and drawings to formulate an unfathomable secret, which can also be seen as an essential feature of Uri Aran’s other works.
In the recent past, Uri Aran has had solo exhibitions at Peep-Hole in Milan (2014), the Kunsthalle Zurich (2013) and the South London Gallery (2013), among others. He has also participated in the Whitney Biennial (2014) and the Venice Biennial (2013).