Erik van Lieshout   
Du bist Deutschland, 2005, felt pen on paper, 29,5 x 42 cm

Born 1968 in Deurne (The Netherlands) Lives and works in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Cologne (Germany) Erik van Lieshout talks with people. To create his videos, which are mostly embedded in large-format installations and their accompanying drawings, van Lieshout goes to where people are hurting. He goes into so-called problem districts, sniffs around in basements, sets himself up in a shopping centre – and draws again and again an impressively honest and at times ruthless portrait of our society from the edges. His videos are always charming and almost naïve in their own way and this has a lot to do with the kind of person van Lieshout is. He reveals himself frankly, shows no fear of coming into contact with others and never shirks responsibility. This is also the case in his video installation #-Rotterdam-Rostock-# (2006), which was presented in a container in 2006 at the 6th Berlin Biennale, as well as the accompanying drawing #-Deutschland Ziel-# (2005). Van Lieshout rode his bike from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea across Germany, the whole time prattling away into the microphone about his own ideas and prejudices about Germany. He sat down with people on their sofas and took stock of a country that is still characterised by xenophobia and prejudice, a country that was anything but “united” 15 years after reunification.
Born 1979 in Fribourg (Switzerland) Lives and works in Zurich (Switzerland)
Born 1970 in Hamburg (Germany) Lives and works in Düsseldorf (Germany) Man mag sie für Bauarbeiten halten, oder für die Ruinen eines zerlegten Einfamilienhauses von Gordon Matta-Clark. Doch die wuchtigen Rigipsplatten, die sich wie ungeheuerliche Körper durch Raum und Wände schieben, sind Skulpturen von ebenso zerstörerischer wie bildnerischer Gewalt. Die Arbeiten des Düsseldorfer Bildhauers Felix Schramm besitzen eine subtile Eleganz: Trotz ihrer Brachialität suchen sie nicht bloß den Dialog mit der vorgegebenen Architektur, sondern sie behaupten sich mühelos darin.

Die krude zersplitterten Ränder des in Weiß oder gedeckten Farbtönen gehaltenen Baumaterials können nicht über die konzentrierte Komposition hinwegtäuschen, mit der die einzelnen Teile einer Installation zusammengefügt und im Raum platziert sind. Auch in den kleineren Skulpturen, die zuweilen in Verbindung mit technischen Utensilien – wie in „I-A2“ (2006) mit einem schrottreifen, elliptisch kreisenden Plattenspieler – eine wunderliche Eigenständigkeit erhalten, zeigt sich Schramms Sensibilität im Umgang mit Material und dessen Anordnung: Handlich ineinander geschobene Bauelemente werden zu zierlichen architektonischen Relikten, die – begleitet von einer dekonstruktivistischen Gestik – die Sprache von Fertighäusern sprechen.
Born 1964 in Pforzheim (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) In Sabine Hornigs Skulpturen und Fotografien geht es um Zwischenräume. Innen und Außen, privater und öffentlicher Raum, Architektur und Skulptur – ihr Blick richtet sich auf funktionalistische Bauten und Gebäudedetails, die ein „Dazwischen“ markieren: Fenster, Türen, Eingangshallen. Ihre großformatigen, geometrisch-kühlen Fotografien zeigen Schaufenster von unbewohnten, renovierungsbedürftigen Räumen, oftmals in Ostberlin. Einfache und doppelstöckige Fensterfronten lassen in leere Lobbys, Treppenhäuser oder Flure blicken – und umgekehrt: Der Blick geht von einem unbestimmten Innenraum durchs Fenster hinaus. Oft ist nicht klar, an welchem Punkt sich Innen und Außen konkret festmachen lassen – Spiegelungen von Bäumen oder Fensterrahmen in den Scheiben irritieren das Auge ebenso wie Fingerabdrücke oder Schmutz auf den Scheiben. Der dokumentarische Charakter der Fotografien wird durch solche Störungen bewusst konterkariert. Hornigs Skulpturen wirken wie Bauteile, die sie ihren Fotografien entnommen hat: Fensterfronten oder Zwischendecken – banale, rein funktionale Architekturelemente – befinden sich plötzlich ihrer Nützlichkeit beraubt und werden eigenartig isoliert mitten im Raum, oder besser: im Innenraum platziert, der Teil des Kunstwerks wird. Fensterrahmen scheinen hier die Funktion von Bilderrahmen zu übernehmen, das Fenster selbst wird zum Bild, zum Spiegel, zur Wand. Durch die Verschiebung der Sichtebenen, das Spiel mit den Reflexionen und die Würdigung einfachster Architekturteile der Moderne schärft Hornig den Blick für die simpelste Umgebung unseres Alltags, der vom modernistischen Diktum „form follows function“ geprägt und dadurch unsichtbar geworden ist.
Born 1962 in Newcastle (UK) Lives and works in Tokyo (Japan)
Born 1966 in Madrid (Spain) Lives and works in Madrid (Spain) Santiago Sierra’s performances and projects are continually the object of heated debates, elicit outrage and dismay, and sometimes result in the cancellation and premature termination of individual works. But wherein lies the unsettling power of these works? In 2002, for instance, the artists paid six unemployed Cubans to tattoo a continuous line across their backs. On another occasion he paid people a small sum to sit in a cardboard box for several hours. Another project involved public masturbation. Many observers consider Sierra’s artistic approach cynical, repulsive and immoral. It is certainly deliberate and calculated provocation, but not for its own sake. Sierra understands his work as the revelation and critique of the present state of society. Upon closer examination, he transfers the mechanisms of capitalist social systems into the artistic space, and he does so in a shockingly straightforward manner. And indeed, the exploitation of human labour, the unmasking of structural violence and the representation of powerlessness and dependence are central themes of his art. He prefers to work with homeless people, job-hunters, asylum-seekers and refugees, with the marginalised groups in our society, whose services he procures for a small sum. In the process, the seeming autonomy of the art system itself comes in for examination. #-3000 Huecos-# of 2002 is one of the biggest projects that Santiago Sierra has produced to date. In the exhibition, three large-format black and white photographs are seen. They show a ridge in southern Spain not far from Cadiz, where Santiago Sierra had 3,000 holes dug in a 25,000 m² space, with each hole measuring 180 × 50 × 50 cm. The serial arrangement in a strictly defined grid recalls early American land art projects. However, it also makes one think of a massive graveyard. A group of African workers, immigrants from the Maghreb and the southern Sahara, dug the holes. From here, one can see the Mediterranean and make out the African coast, from which refugees drown on the way to Europe almost daily. Sierra offers no solutions with his art. But he does create striking images. They challenge us to think about existing societal conflicts, precisely because they show us the bitter reality which so many are forced to suffer. Text: Ingo Clauß
Born in 1976, Helsinki (Finland) Lives and works in Cervera de los Montes, Toledo (Spain)
Born 1979 in Tampere (Finland) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
born 1976 in Johannesburg (South Africa) Lives and works in Cape Town (South Africa) On the outskirts of Accra, the capital of Ghana, there is a huge garbage dump: the landfill of Agbogbloshie. The area was formerly a natural lagoon landscape with diverse flora and fauna and is now one of the most polluted places in the world. Around 6,000 people live and work on the site. The electronic waste, mainly imported from Europe, is sorted by hand, in particular by children and adolescents. They burn cables and technical equipment in improvised fireplaces to extract metals such as copper and aluminum, which produces highly toxic clouds of smoke. It is an apocalyptic landscape. The inhabitants themselves call it “Sodom and Gomorrah”. South African-born photographer and artist Pieter Hugo has visited the area twice and created photographic portraits of some of the people there. He presents these people in their working environment. He has also photographed their often-makeshift accommodation, the mountainous scrap heaps, as well as the cattle and dogs that live there sporadically. The series, entitled #-Permanent Error-#, gives a frightening glimpse into life in a world of electronic rubbish that exemplifies the impact of globalized markets. It seems remote to us in every respect and yet it is intimately linked with our own actions. Pieter Hugo, who previously worked as a photojournalist for international newspapers and today concentrates exclusively on freelance artistic projects, creates fascinating, highly confusing images. Precisely because the images are not accusations and demand no pity or sympathy, they hold a special power. In the two exhibited photographic works, we meet two proud young men. They look at us confidently. Hugo does not show misery in these photographs. He shows the men’s confidence in their own strength and abilities. Nevertheless, one cannot fail to notice the hopeless situation, the shameful poverty. Hugo does not explain, he does not classify. It is entirely up to us to decide how we will take in this foreign place, these people whose lives are unknown to us. With #-Permanent Error-#, Hugo creates surprising pictures of our present time, which seems to be increasingly incomprehensible in its complexity. Text: Ingo Clauß
Born 1978 in Tehran (Iran) Lives and works in Paris (France) und Tehran (Iran) “Respect for the truth, the preservation of human dignity and providing information to the public in a truthful manner are the highest imperatives of the press.” – the fundamental principles of journalism in Germany are stated in Article 1 of the German Press Code. This is why pictures of killings, torture and executions are rarely distributed by state media channels in Germany. The need to fully inform the public about important events is sometimes in conflict with other values, such as the preservation of human dignity. But what information and pictures may and must be shown? To what extent is publication mandatory in order to allow individuals to independently form opinions? Arash Hanaei was born in Iran. His work #-Death of a Photographer-# is a work that addresses these issues. It consists of a five-page transcript printed on slightly glossy metallic photo paper. The reduction in the work’s form stands in stark contrast to its shocking content. Soldiers in active deployment are clearly firing their weapons at human targets. They talk at the same time, using aliases to address each other. They assume the people they are attacking are a group of armed insurgents without apparently having any indication that this might actually be the case. The cynical comments of the soldiers bring to mind a perverted computer game. Yet the attack is real. In a Baghdad air raid on 12 July, 2007, several people were targeted and killed by two American helicopter crews, among them two Reuters Iraqi war correspondents. The soldiers did not recognize them as journalists from a distance. In military jargon, the euphemistic term “collateral damage” is used. The dramatic video footage was first made public by WikiLeaks. It unleashed worldwide outrage. The American soldier Bradley Manning was arrested as a suspected informant and subsequently found guilty of disclosing state secrets. In a time of “alternative facts” in which journalistic work is increasingly being discredited and fake news reports spread rapidly via social media, it is important to be vigilant. Arash Hanaei has created in this sense a highly disturbing work. He does not show the “leaked” video footage of the shooting but rather makes the linguistic record fully accessible. #-Death of a Photographer-# is both a contemporary document and an aesthetic approach. The shock-inducing effect is consciously used to rouse the viewer and, in the best case, to enlighten them. Text: Ingo Clauß
Born 1971 in Mumbai (India) Lives and works in New York (USA) Appropriation seems to be the goal of many artists in this Zeitgeist; as the world archive increases so it seems to dwindle in other aspects. Hidden truths, maligned narratives and phobias abound. In allowing access to and mining within this excess of the visual, artists can contribute to a better understanding of our contemporary condition. Battered, withered and enslaved as we remain in our prejudice, Abichandani challenges our perception of lives and realities that seemingly remain across the threshold, as if bounded by their fate to geographical and political hinterlands. The Soldier Bomber works are a testament to our colluding in such atrocious times, pregnant as they are with postponed agendas and monstrosities allied to land and resources. Appropriating their portraits from the internet, photos of actual female American and Canadian soldiers and Palestinian female suicide bombers, which she gleans from unfamiliar terrains, to create composite portraits that remain outside of acceptable ‘patriarchal narratives’. The insanity is not bounded by gender, the only remaining option is the urge for revolution even if its zeal smacks of herded, blinded patriotism. Women and fatigues, a strange mixture of values and histories collude to frame a galley of individuals, known as soldiers, of which five versions are held in the collection. Often painted in circular panels, these work are a pastiche of guild portraits from a famous academy, with vivid patterns often formalizing the gaze. Abichandani’s oeuvre is processed by the use of hidden variables, which strike a chord by the recognition of the hidden within, which she reconstitute from the average often in its self-destructive reality to canonize a third seemingly liberated but maybe terrorist subject? Here everyone is a martyr, a design that constitutes and has become the blueprint of postmodern developing culture. Traditionally, oppositions straddle across ravines, in fighting to create a better world but Abichandani refuses these opposites in Soldier Bomber, all soldiers, remain institutionalized by ideologies, they become a register by death, a form of commandeering activism, especially in parts of the world that we want to forget. In memorizing and reinscribing such motives, symbols and individuals the artists allows us to reframe and reconsider their currency and the very circuits within which they shape our daily culture. The arrangement of materials and the site of knowledge seems to be of utmost importance to Abichandani, for the allowance of political agency. In The Rise and Fall, she combines whips, Swarovski crystals, Kufic calligraphy from the Iraqi flag spelling out God is Great and a hand drawn map of the Peter’s Projection (the real scale of the mass of continents), to make a complex new picture. The whole work is constructed on a mural scale to make many histories present in one place, to co-exist as if time itself is released of its linearity. The artist has made an immense effort to mesh time, place and ideologies, she suggests “the distortion of the swastika as well of the continents symbolizes the impact of religious and national fundamentalisms on the planet, the subtle differences between the two shades of red and green jewels are metaphors for the invisible but impactful differences between catholic and protestant, shia and sunni etc... the piece alludes as much to the formation of Israel as to the current violence in the Middle East as the on going result of the partitions of India and Pakistan, Israel and Palestine, both of which happened in 1947.” Her cultural remapping of unfixing symbols, unhinging movements and a call for a hybrid Internationality, liberates meaning beyond particular questions. In occluding and undoing and a purposefully haptic affect in the materials and scale, the work is fabricated into folds of space, time and fundamentalisms. Overall the treatment remains even; it is empathetic to the kitsch, labour orientated and the decorative to define difference and, most importantly, that which is ethically marked. Text Shaheen Merali
Born 1976 in Bergen/Rügen (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) The series #-Anomalien des frühen 21. Jahrhunderts; Einige Fallbeispiele -# comprises sixty-six portrait photographs of well-known and lesser-known individuals of the 21st century. The Peters-Messer Collection contains a representative selection from the series. Biographical texts accompany the portraits. They include anecdotal, bizarre, dramatic, sometimes truly tragic stories from the lives of the photographed. Both images and texts are presented in the same sized frame and hung one above the other in a close arrangement, which automatically prompts us to match each photo with an adjacent text. The series features well-known personages such as Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the pop singer Helene Fischer (not displayed here). But Edward Snowden, Verena Becker, who is a former member of the terrorist group RAF, Chelsea/Bradley Manning (whose Wikileaks revelation made the text work of #!Arash Hanaei!#!www.sammlung-peters-messer.de/artists/Arash-Hanaei?id=85!# possible) and Daniel Baraniuk, the world champion in pole sitting. The number of more or less well-known people, including some real “winners”, is clearly outweighed by the number of completely unknown women and men. Among these are many so-called “losers”, literal dropouts, homeless, eccentric types and people whose incredible individual fates come across as horror stories. Sometimes one cannot avoid questioning the truthfulness of some of the stories. It becomes clear that it is not actually easy to match the pictures and textual accounts. In addition, the series of portraits is offset to the left and right, which not only leads to the impression that two texts belong to one image but also to the realization that there are apparently more images than texts. Also, when you read the texts for the first time, it becomes clear that these inconsistencies cannot be the result of the pictures and text being wrongly hung but are deliberately created in the work itself. The more one reads into the individual fates, the clearer it becomes that we are dealing here with case studies in the sense of an anamnesis of our present. The happy few, the few “winners” of the system are contrasted with a large number of renegades, conscientious objectors, unwilling dropouts from the straight-and-narrow, prescribed path to success of our neoliberal present. In the end, the combination of images and texts proves to be a highly topical synopsis, a stocktaking of what matters against the background of global and omnipresent market fundamentalism at the beginning of the 21st century. It could also be understood as a tribute to all those who have “dropped out” of the system. Text: Peter Friese
Born 1962 in Newark, New Jersey (USA) Died 2014 Douglas Kolk made his name as an illustrator. He first worked with small sheets of paper. The works in the Peters-Messer collection from the 1990s are characteristic of that. Later, he also tended towards larger formats and designed comprehensive collages. His early works usually contain individual memos that Kolk fashioned with his favourite instruments, the pencil and the marker. The linear contours, added sparingly, maintain the fragmentary character of the work, as do the colourfully washed shapes and surfaces. Some of his drawings remind the beholder of comic-book art, especially when words and arrows are sprinkled throughout. Influences from pop culture can also be found in the meticulously executed pencil drawing #-We hate ya World -# (1996/97), which presents its globe-shaped statement like an advertising signet. Some exponents have pointed to Kolk’s closeness to Raymond Pettibon, but Kolk usually dispensed with the denser kinds of texts that often accompany Pettibon’s works like excerpts from some fantastical tales. In their deliberately artless nature, many of Kolk’s drawings remind the beholder of naive scribblings. Kolk’s pictures may seem to have been thrown together playfully, but they are always characterised by traces of very intimate and very personal emotion. Some allusions, at first incomprehensible, can be seen as painful confrontations with the drugs in his past and the fears and experiences that went with them. On the whole, his works live from their double nature as both public symbol and private record. They are notes that he must have intended to capture memories, make emotions visible and register present suffering. They open up a wide spectrum of associations. His drawings seem accessible because they are close to familiar concepts from pop art, advertising and even children’s paintings. On the other hand, however, they arouse our curiosity because, in their unfamiliar allusions, fragmentary design and unusual image compositions, they are disconcerting. They allow us to rediscover and reinterpret something that, at first, seems both artless and familiar. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1979 in Moscow (Russia) Lives and works in New York City (USA) Dreamlike film sequences, distorted oil paintings and curious sculptures characterize the multimedia work of Kon Trubkovich. The unpacks a multifaceted visual language in which he draws on the element of repetition on multiple levels at the same time. In his videos, the same actions and images are repeated over and over again to create a scene that describes an endless state from which there appears to be no escape. He picks up the motifs and colours of his film works in his sculptures and pictures as well, stylizing them to create elements that can be interpreted in diverse ways, such as the prison motif and the orange-coloured overalls that are the conventional prisoner’s garb in the USA. Trubkovich’s videos are created by playing VHS tapes, filming them, replaying the filmed material and filming that in turn. They are like memories that return again and again, yet gradually become blurred, and distorted, and superimposed on each other, transforming into scenes far removed from the original. For his oil paintings and watercolours, Trubkovich uses selected stills as a template. Through repetition and creating stills of the film sequences, new details become visible while other aspects fall out of focus and illuminate the hidden stories behind the story. In his videos, paintings and sculptures, the artist – who spent his early childhood in Russia before moving to the USA with his family at the age of 11 – repeatedly returns to prison situations and breakout scenes, thereby confronting his own memories of captivity and emigration. Yet his own biography is by no means in the foreground of his work; rather, Kon Trubkovich invokes images from the collective consciousness and points to societal experiences and patterns. Trubkovich does not categorise his works as explicitly political art. Rather, he illuminates a level on which political events intervene into personal life and force the individual into certain patterns of behaviour. Text: Mirka Gewinner
Born 1957 in Bern (Switzerland) Lives and works in Paris (France) “To be an artist is not a question of form or content, it is a question of responsibility.” Thomas Hirschhorn’s radical claim confusingly supplements the flood of images in his collages and the material battles that take place in his massive, overflowing installations. The use of found materials, reminiscent of Arte Povera, as well as the relentless use of various kinds of images from the Internet and other sources characterise the work and approach of Hirschhorn, a Swiss artist living in Paris. Despite the heterogeneity of the elements Hirschhorn uses, in the end he always creates something organic, a kind of “bricolage”, a concretion of “wild thinking” that can connect one thing with another in a meaningful way. The work #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is indicative of this ambitious approach. #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is a sculptural structure constructed out of three tables arranged on top of one another, which engender thoroughly mixed emotions. Hirschhorn has formed numerous pointed cones out of aluminium foil and thereby has created a kind of dripstone cave in the space between the two upper tables. Indeed, the conical shapes are reminiscent of metallic stalagmites and stalactites. But their tips are dyed red and now look like bloody fangs in the mouth of a Tyrannosaurus cyborg. A kind of red aluminium umbilical cord leads from this ensemble to a wooden plate on the wall, which frames it like a picture. It turns out to be a projection screen for a small finger-like drawing as well as a historical photo showing the end of a mass execution from the 1930/40s in an Alpine location. If we are honest about it: most of the images from the Internet have the character of intestines. They represent something like the “obscene innards of the global media" (David Joselit). Seen in this way, the symbolic stalactite cave with bloody fangs is the mouth of a voracious monster, similar to the leviathan. Some viewers will also be reminded of Kafka’s penal colony, in which the misdemeanours of the condemned were written on their bodies with precise equipment. The text is stabbed deeper and deeper into them – until they die. Indeed, Thomas Hirschhorn transfers his radical demands onto the observers of his works. He expects a lot of them – and that's a good thing. Text: Peter Friese
Born 1982 in Augsburg (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Born 1979 in London (Great Britain), grew up in Berlin Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) A group of an anonymous brigade of five helmets may make one immediately think of a police force or a motorbike gang. Only upon longer contemplation do the differences that give each of the uniformly painted helmets a characteristic expression of its own – a “face” – become clear. Do they stand for protection or menace? Mounted as they are on black metal poles, the group of sculptures have a veritably warlike appearance. The helmets recall heads on spikes, or trophies. Their shiny surface and apparent lightness mean that they could also be part of a puppet theatre, however. The artist’s paintings, which will be presented in an extra artistic space from November, appear at first glance like shards of glass on a white background – scattered, ambiguous splinters of colour, without context, randomly spread, incomplete. Riethmann uses oils to make realistic representations of bodies in male clothing. In doing so, he succeeds in showing movement, gesture and even feelings such as rage and aggression in all their rawness, while at the same time not revealing anything more than he must. On the contrary, he invites the observer to fill the white space with their own associations and to recall their own memories – of violence, rebellion or fear – that may seem long familiar to them, but that do not yet have a name or a face. By anonymising his figures, by leaving the gaps he does, Riethmann creates a distance between us and the people he seems to be showing. Without any context to explain what is happening, without allowing any empathy or sympathy, the artist opens up a new way of looking at human actions. The observer is given the opportunity to let the fragments speak for themselves and to interpret their relationship to one another. Text: Mirka Gewinner
Born 1963 in Hildesheim (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) The sculptures of Manfred Pernice always have something provisional about them, one could almost say shabby. Manfred Pernice arranges space-saving structures made of simple material, mostly plywood, particleboard or cardboard. Sometimes they are reminiscent of cans, sometimes architectural structures, which he places in the way of his audience. An unforgettable example of this is his contribution to the first Berlin Biennial in 1998: a six-meter-high plywood construction called #-Haupt- bzw. Zentraldose -# (“Main/central can”), Pernice’s interpretation of the Tatlin tower, which was never actually built. Another work called #-Ohne Titel (Hässliche Luise)-# (“Untitled (Ugly Luise)”) refers to a real building in this case. Here the cultural memory of bygone times manifests itself in a remarkable way: "Ugly Luise" was a prefabricated building behind the Reichstag, which at the beginning of the nineties was demolished so as not to interfere with the sleek uniform look of the newly erected buildings of the government district. Pernice acquired the remains of a GDR gaming machine and transplanted its bent, rusted rods into the context of art as a post-socialist relic.
Born 1962 in Newark, New Jersey (USA) Died 2014 Douglas Kolk made his name as an illustrator. He first worked with small sheets of paper. The works in the Peters-Messer collection from the 1990s are characteristic of that. Later, he also tended towards larger formats and designed comprehensive collages. His early works usually contain individual memos that Kolk fashioned with his favourite instruments, the pencil and the marker. The linear contours, added sparingly, maintain the fragmentary character of the work, as do the colourfully washed shapes and surfaces. Some of his drawings remind the beholder of comic-book art, especially when words and arrows are sprinkled throughout. Influences from pop culture can also be found in the meticulously executed pencil drawing #-We hate ya World -# (1996/97), which presents its globe-shaped statement like an advertising signet. Some exponents have pointed to Kolk’s closeness to Raymond Pettibon, but Kolk usually dispensed with the denser kinds of texts that often accompany Pettibon’s works like excerpts from some fantastical tales. In their deliberately artless nature, many of Kolk’s drawings remind the beholder of naive scribblings. Kolk’s pictures may seem to have been thrown together playfully, but they are always characterised by traces of very intimate and very personal emotion. Some allusions, at first incomprehensible, can be seen as painful confrontations with the drugs in his past and the fears and experiences that went with them. On the whole, his works live from their double nature as both public symbol and private record. They are notes that he must have intended to capture memories, make emotions visible and register present suffering. They open up a wide spectrum of associations. His drawings seem accessible because they are close to familiar concepts from pop art, advertising and even children’s paintings. On the other hand, however, they arouse our curiosity because, in their unfamiliar allusions, fragmentary design and unusual image compositions, they are disconcerting. They allow us to rediscover and reinterpret something that, at first, seems both artless and familiar. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1966 in Montreal (Canada) Lives and works in London (UK) Susan Turcot works in drawing and sculpting. Her pencil drawings examine places, situations and events, transforming them into richly imagined inventions. Everyday processes turn out to be mysterious happenings; everyday disasters take on the air of absurd contrivances. Her drawings capture with a playful ephemerality that which seems to be escaping from the observer’s gaze. The drawings #-Commodities #2-# and the Series #-Self Service-#, created in 2004, are characteristic for the peculiarity of her artistic process. Their titles promise a sequence of representations capturing the quotidian experiences of modern everyday life. Yet the enigmatic drawings seem to describe neither the activities of modern consumption nor forms of self-realization. This impression is further heightened by the style of drawing employed by the artist. The light pencil strokes transmute the observed into spontaneous notes. What the artist is capturing is merely hinted at. The unsettled gaze that the artist generates is amplified by the forceful, impulsive strokes that attack, as it were, the drawn image from the margins of the sheet. The dual effect of refined pencil strokes and psychic spontaneity lends the drawings their particular power. We can neither unambiguously recognise what the artist describes in her lightly-drawn visual idiom – are people moving about in a quarry or the ruins of a destroyed home? Are we witnessing a traffic accident? Nor is it clear why the drawing motion suddenly tips into wild agitation. Does the artist wish to express the intense emotion that the observed scene triggers? Or does she want to cross out what upsets her? In Turcot’s drawings, the known becomes the unknown. Each drawing seems to be a random snippet from an event whose story remains unknown to us. We attempt to apprehend the event by looking closely at it, yet in the end we are uncomprehendingly captivated by it. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1971 in Lima (Peru) Lives and works in Houston, Miami, NY (USA) Feingliedrig und gleichzeitig rau wirken die Papierarbeiten des 1971 in Peru geborenen und heute in den USA lebenden Künstlers William Cordova. Filigrane Linien von Kugelschreiber, Bleistift oder Pinsel und collagenartig zusammengefügte Elemente formen dabei teils abstrakte Muster, teils figürliche Zeichnungen. Als Ausgangsmaterial dieser Arbeiten verwendet Cordova vorrangig gefundene Dinge, wie Papierreste oder herausgetrennte Buch- und Magazinseiten. Neben den zweidimensionalen Werken gestaltet Cordova Installationen und Objekte, die ebenfalls weitgehend aus armen Materialien und ausrangierten Gebrauchsgegenständen bestehen. Mit der Wiederverwendung solcher Relikte, die als Abfall ausgesondert und dem Vergessen preisgegeben werden sollten, unternimmt Cordova einen Akt der Konservierung: „The use of found materials is not to erase, transform and make a new but to emphasize the content(s) already existing within that used or found material.“ Einen wesentlichen Impuls seines künstlerischen Schaffens stellen kulturelle Differenzen, Verbindungen und Übergänge dar – ein Thema, das stark von Cordovas eigener, transkultureller Biografie geprägt ist, die ihn von Lima/Peru über Miami/Florida zu verschiedenen Wohn- und Aufenthaltsorten in Amerika und Europa führte. Er selbst bezeichnet seine Arbeiten daher als „a result of being in two worlds at the same time, but never being whole in either one.“ In seinen Werken spiegelt sich diese kulturelle Mobilität in der Verknüpfung von Mustern, Symbolen und Motiven, die sowohl Cordovas peruanische Wurzeln berühren und traditionelle oder historische Referenzen darstellen als auch das moderne Leben amerikanischer Großstädte und deren vitale Subkulturen reflektieren. So erinnert das in einigen seiner collagierten Zeichnungen verwendete Blattgold gleichermaßen an das legendäre Gold der Inka und die Kultur der südamerikanischen Ureinwohner wie auch an die Ikonenmalerei des Christentums, das die religiöse Praxis in Peru seit der spanischen Eroberung im 16. Jahrhundert prägt. Eine ebenfalls ambivalente Bedeutung kommt den vielfach dargestellten an Lautsprecherboxen erinnernden Kästen zu (etwa in Before there was anything there was…Elvis?, 2003). Sie sind, ebenso wie die häufig verwendeten Motive von Mikrophonen, Kabeln, Kassettenrekordern oder Schallplatten als Symbol einer musikalischen Praxis lesbar, die seit jeher als Mittel der Kommunikation, aber auch der Selbstdefinition verschiedener kultureller Gruppen dient. Gleichzeitig spielen die Boxen auf das Cajón an, ein afro-peruanisches, perkussives Musikinstrument, das aus einem hochformatigen, hölzernen Quader besteht und damit der Form eines Lautsprechers ähnelt. In derartigen Details artikuliert sich eine im Wesentlichen von Immigranten und ihren Traditionen geprägte Kultur, die am Rand des urbanen Lebens gesellschaftliche Relikte für sich wiederbelebt und gleichzeitig einen Widerstand zur USamerikanischen Mainstreamkultur ausbildet. Ein weiteres, vielfach dargestelltes Motiv in Cordovas Arbeiten sind teilweise zerstörte Autos und Karosserieteile wie etwa in I wan you to Cum in my Ass (2001). Diese Zivilisationsreste können als Verweis auf städtische Randgebiete gelesen werden, die oftmals von verlassenen Orten und ärmlichen Verhältnissen geprägt sind. In ihrer vom Umfeld isolierten Darstellung gewinnen sie jedoch an ästhetischem Wert und Aura. So stellt auch die Arbeit Tin can flattened (2006) – eine blaue, zusammen gedrückte Dose mit silbern gesprenkelter Oberfläche – einerseits schlicht ein Abfallprodukt dar, andererseits lässt das ovale Objekt leicht die erhabene Weite eines nächtlichen Sternenhimmels assoziieren. Indem Cordova verschiedene, historisch geprägte Lebens- und Kulturformen mit Facetten der Konsumgesellschaft verquickt, gelingen ihm subtile Bildergeschichten, die stets mehrere Bedeutungen implizieren und Aspekte kultureller Überschneidungen, aber auch Divergenzen beleuchten. Dorothea Klein
1980 born in Ravensburg (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Born 1983 in Meissen, Germany Lives and works in Berlin, Germany
Born 1979 in Fribourg (Switzerland) Lives and works in Zurich (Switzerland)
Born 1966 in Montreal (Canada) Lives and works in London (UK) Susan Turcot works in drawing and sculpting. Her pencil drawings examine places, situations and events, transforming them into richly imagined inventions. Everyday processes turn out to be mysterious happenings; everyday disasters take on the air of absurd contrivances. Her drawings capture with a playful ephemerality that which seems to be escaping from the observer’s gaze. The drawings #-Commodities #2-# and the Series #-Self Service-#, created in 2004, are characteristic for the peculiarity of her artistic process. Their titles promise a sequence of representations capturing the quotidian experiences of modern everyday life. Yet the enigmatic drawings seem to describe neither the activities of modern consumption nor forms of self-realization. This impression is further heightened by the style of drawing employed by the artist. The light pencil strokes transmute the observed into spontaneous notes. What the artist is capturing is merely hinted at. The unsettled gaze that the artist generates is amplified by the forceful, impulsive strokes that attack, as it were, the drawn image from the margins of the sheet. The dual effect of refined pencil strokes and psychic spontaneity lends the drawings their particular power. We can neither unambiguously recognise what the artist describes in her lightly-drawn visual idiom – are people moving about in a quarry or the ruins of a destroyed home? Are we witnessing a traffic accident? Nor is it clear why the drawing motion suddenly tips into wild agitation. Does the artist wish to express the intense emotion that the observed scene triggers? Or does she want to cross out what upsets her? In Turcot’s drawings, the known becomes the unknown. Each drawing seems to be a random snippet from an event whose story remains unknown to us. We attempt to apprehend the event by looking closely at it, yet in the end we are uncomprehendingly captivated by it. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1979 in Fribourg (Switzerland) Lives and works in Zurich (Switzerland)
Born 1970 in Nagoya (Japan) Lives and works in Nagoya Wenn man sich Hiroshi Sugitos verspielte, rätselhaft verträumte Bilder ansieht, kann man sich kaum vorstellen, dass der Japaner fünf Jahre lang als Holzfäller in einer Berghütte gelebt hat. Doch in dieser Zeit Mitte der neunziger Jahre hat Sugito zu sich selbst gefunden. Als Dreijähriger war er mit seiner Familie in die USA emigriert, zehn Jahre später musste er wieder nach Japan zurück – und kam in ein Land, das ihm fremd war. Diese Fremdheit spricht auch aus seiner Malerei. Hiroshi Sugitos zarte, semi-abstrakte Bilder haben eine tastende, suchende Handschrift. Sie erinnern an die Zeichnungen von Paul Klee, in denen ein vermeintlich naiver, kindlicher Unterton mitschwingt und gleichzeitig tief greifende philosophische Fragen anklingen. Ähnlich wie Klees Kompositionen schweben auch durch Sugitos Bilder zarte Linien, die den Bildraum wie Spinnweben definieren: mal beherrschen sie die Leinwand, mal geben sie ihr nur unterschwellig Halt. Dazwischen befinden sich oft minuziös gesetzte Figuren, die in ihrer Winzigkeit auf den ersten Blick wie Punkte oder Ornamente wirken. Dieses Spiel mit Abstraktion und Figuration ist Teil des surrealistischen Charakters von Sugitos Gemälden. Der Bildraum, eigentlich ein statischer Bereich, scheint durch solche illusorischen Effekte mobilisiert: winzige Kreuze entpuppen sich als Schmetterlinge, eine plane Grünfläche als Wiese, ein geometrisches Raster als eine Reihung aus Kuppeldächern. Doch entscheidend für das Flirren des Bildraums ist die aufgelöste Perspektive: Auf den Wiesen oder Gitterstrukturen finden sich wie in Kinderzeichnungen alle Motive nebeneinander oder nur leicht versetzt – Sugitos Landschaften haben dadurch stets etwas Schemenhaftes. Dieses Spiel mit der Wahrnehmung ist zugleich ein Spiel mit einer archaischen Symbolik, wie sie sich in Türmen, Bäumen oder Himmeln verbirgt. Sugito kombiniert diese simplen Motive mit Fragmenten aus der modernen Gesellschaft: Immer wieder tauchen Flugzeuge, Raketen und Kriegsschiffe auf. In den sanften, fast meditativ aufgetragenen Pastelltönen, die auf die klassische japanische Maltechnik zurückgehen, wirkt die implizite Gefahr solcher Motive gebannt. Sugitos Welt, in der sich Tradition und Philosophie seiner Heimat mit Verweisen auf die abendländische Kunstgeschichte und Symbolen des globalen Zeitalters vermischen, wirkt wie ein Fenster zu einem traumartigen Innenleben. Dort ziehen Fragen, Andeutungen, Erinnerungen vorbei – aber keine klare Botschaft.
Born 1962 in Newark, New Jersey (USA) Died 2014 Douglas Kolk made his name as an illustrator. He first worked with small sheets of paper. The works in the Peters-Messer collection from the 1990s are characteristic of that. Later, he also tended towards larger formats and designed comprehensive collages. His early works usually contain individual memos that Kolk fashioned with his favourite instruments, the pencil and the marker. The linear contours, added sparingly, maintain the fragmentary character of the work, as do the colourfully washed shapes and surfaces. Some of his drawings remind the beholder of comic-book art, especially when words and arrows are sprinkled throughout. Influences from pop culture can also be found in the meticulously executed pencil drawing #-We hate ya World -# (1996/97), which presents its globe-shaped statement like an advertising signet. Some exponents have pointed to Kolk’s closeness to Raymond Pettibon, but Kolk usually dispensed with the denser kinds of texts that often accompany Pettibon’s works like excerpts from some fantastical tales. In their deliberately artless nature, many of Kolk’s drawings remind the beholder of naive scribblings. Kolk’s pictures may seem to have been thrown together playfully, but they are always characterised by traces of very intimate and very personal emotion. Some allusions, at first incomprehensible, can be seen as painful confrontations with the drugs in his past and the fears and experiences that went with them. On the whole, his works live from their double nature as both public symbol and private record. They are notes that he must have intended to capture memories, make emotions visible and register present suffering. They open up a wide spectrum of associations. His drawings seem accessible because they are close to familiar concepts from pop art, advertising and even children’s paintings. On the other hand, however, they arouse our curiosity because, in their unfamiliar allusions, fragmentary design and unusual image compositions, they are disconcerting. They allow us to rediscover and reinterpret something that, at first, seems both artless and familiar. Text: Guido Boulboullé
1971 born in Wuppertal (Germany), grew up in Namibia Lives and works in Düsseldorf (Germany)
Born 1971 in Mumbai (India) Lives and works in New York (USA) Appropriation seems to be the goal of many artists in this Zeitgeist; as the world archive increases so it seems to dwindle in other aspects. Hidden truths, maligned narratives and phobias abound. In allowing access to and mining within this excess of the visual, artists can contribute to a better understanding of our contemporary condition. Battered, withered and enslaved as we remain in our prejudice, Abichandani challenges our perception of lives and realities that seemingly remain across the threshold, as if bounded by their fate to geographical and political hinterlands. The Soldier Bomber works are a testament to our colluding in such atrocious times, pregnant as they are with postponed agendas and monstrosities allied to land and resources. Appropriating their portraits from the internet, photos of actual female American and Canadian soldiers and Palestinian female suicide bombers, which she gleans from unfamiliar terrains, to create composite portraits that remain outside of acceptable ‘patriarchal narratives’. The insanity is not bounded by gender, the only remaining option is the urge for revolution even if its zeal smacks of herded, blinded patriotism. Women and fatigues, a strange mixture of values and histories collude to frame a galley of individuals, known as soldiers, of which five versions are held in the collection. Often painted in circular panels, these work are a pastiche of guild portraits from a famous academy, with vivid patterns often formalizing the gaze. Abichandani’s oeuvre is processed by the use of hidden variables, which strike a chord by the recognition of the hidden within, which she reconstitute from the average often in its self-destructive reality to canonize a third seemingly liberated but maybe terrorist subject? Here everyone is a martyr, a design that constitutes and has become the blueprint of postmodern developing culture. Traditionally, oppositions straddle across ravines, in fighting to create a better world but Abichandani refuses these opposites in Soldier Bomber, all soldiers, remain institutionalized by ideologies, they become a register by death, a form of commandeering activism, especially in parts of the world that we want to forget. In memorizing and reinscribing such motives, symbols and individuals the artists allows us to reframe and reconsider their currency and the very circuits within which they shape our daily culture. The arrangement of materials and the site of knowledge seems to be of utmost importance to Abichandani, for the allowance of political agency. In The Rise and Fall, she combines whips, Swarovski crystals, Kufic calligraphy from the Iraqi flag spelling out God is Great and a hand drawn map of the Peter’s Projection (the real scale of the mass of continents), to make a complex new picture. The whole work is constructed on a mural scale to make many histories present in one place, to co-exist as if time itself is released of its linearity. The artist has made an immense effort to mesh time, place and ideologies, she suggests “the distortion of the swastika as well of the continents symbolizes the impact of religious and national fundamentalisms on the planet, the subtle differences between the two shades of red and green jewels are metaphors for the invisible but impactful differences between catholic and protestant, shia and sunni etc... the piece alludes as much to the formation of Israel as to the current violence in the Middle East as the on going result of the partitions of India and Pakistan, Israel and Palestine, both of which happened in 1947.” Her cultural remapping of unfixing symbols, unhinging movements and a call for a hybrid Internationality, liberates meaning beyond particular questions. In occluding and undoing and a purposefully haptic affect in the materials and scale, the work is fabricated into folds of space, time and fundamentalisms. Overall the treatment remains even; it is empathetic to the kitsch, labour orientated and the decorative to define difference and, most importantly, that which is ethically marked. Text Shaheen Merali
Born 1962 in Newark, New Jersey (USA) Died 2014 Douglas Kolk made his name as an illustrator. He first worked with small sheets of paper. The works in the Peters-Messer collection from the 1990s are characteristic of that. Later, he also tended towards larger formats and designed comprehensive collages. His early works usually contain individual memos that Kolk fashioned with his favourite instruments, the pencil and the marker. The linear contours, added sparingly, maintain the fragmentary character of the work, as do the colourfully washed shapes and surfaces. Some of his drawings remind the beholder of comic-book art, especially when words and arrows are sprinkled throughout. Influences from pop culture can also be found in the meticulously executed pencil drawing #-We hate ya World -# (1996/97), which presents its globe-shaped statement like an advertising signet. Some exponents have pointed to Kolk’s closeness to Raymond Pettibon, but Kolk usually dispensed with the denser kinds of texts that often accompany Pettibon’s works like excerpts from some fantastical tales. In their deliberately artless nature, many of Kolk’s drawings remind the beholder of naive scribblings. Kolk’s pictures may seem to have been thrown together playfully, but they are always characterised by traces of very intimate and very personal emotion. Some allusions, at first incomprehensible, can be seen as painful confrontations with the drugs in his past and the fears and experiences that went with them. On the whole, his works live from their double nature as both public symbol and private record. They are notes that he must have intended to capture memories, make emotions visible and register present suffering. They open up a wide spectrum of associations. His drawings seem accessible because they are close to familiar concepts from pop art, advertising and even children’s paintings. On the other hand, however, they arouse our curiosity because, in their unfamiliar allusions, fragmentary design and unusual image compositions, they are disconcerting. They allow us to rediscover and reinterpret something that, at first, seems both artless and familiar. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1983 in Meissen, Germany Lives and works in Berlin, Germany
Born 1978 in Tehran (Iran) Lives and works in Paris (France) und Tehran (Iran) “Respect for the truth, the preservation of human dignity and providing information to the public in a truthful manner are the highest imperatives of the press.” – the fundamental principles of journalism in Germany are stated in Article 1 of the German Press Code. This is why pictures of killings, torture and executions are rarely distributed by state media channels in Germany. The need to fully inform the public about important events is sometimes in conflict with other values, such as the preservation of human dignity. But what information and pictures may and must be shown? To what extent is publication mandatory in order to allow individuals to independently form opinions? Arash Hanaei was born in Iran. His work #-Death of a Photographer-# is a work that addresses these issues. It consists of a five-page transcript printed on slightly glossy metallic photo paper. The reduction in the work’s form stands in stark contrast to its shocking content. Soldiers in active deployment are clearly firing their weapons at human targets. They talk at the same time, using aliases to address each other. They assume the people they are attacking are a group of armed insurgents without apparently having any indication that this might actually be the case. The cynical comments of the soldiers bring to mind a perverted computer game. Yet the attack is real. In a Baghdad air raid on 12 July, 2007, several people were targeted and killed by two American helicopter crews, among them two Reuters Iraqi war correspondents. The soldiers did not recognize them as journalists from a distance. In military jargon, the euphemistic term “collateral damage” is used. The dramatic video footage was first made public by WikiLeaks. It unleashed worldwide outrage. The American soldier Bradley Manning was arrested as a suspected informant and subsequently found guilty of disclosing state secrets. In a time of “alternative facts” in which journalistic work is increasingly being discredited and fake news reports spread rapidly via social media, it is important to be vigilant. Arash Hanaei has created in this sense a highly disturbing work. He does not show the “leaked” video footage of the shooting but rather makes the linguistic record fully accessible. #-Death of a Photographer-# is both a contemporary document and an aesthetic approach. The shock-inducing effect is consciously used to rouse the viewer and, in the best case, to enlighten them. Text: Ingo Clauß
Born 1971 in Berlin (Germany) Lives and works in Leipzig and Berlin (Germany) For many years the world’s cities and metropolises have experienced an enormous influx of people, for many unexpected in its dimensions. Existential reasons are often the reason people move to cities: war and displacement, economic hardships or a lack of prospects in the countryside. Cities symbolize the hope for better working and living conditions. They stand for variety and cultural density, for different lifestyles and not least for better working opportunities. Already in the 1950s and 60s, major European cities had to respond to large numbers of immigrants. In the spirit of modernity and the Neues Bauen (New Building) movement, housing estates with high-rises and green areas emerged, their preferred location on the outskirts of cities. What were intended as points of departure into a new age have become in many places flashpoints with high crime rates. The artist Peggy Buth is interested in these connections. Her video work makes impressively visible the failed utopias of bygone days. Yet the challenges of those times are still highly topical and controversial today. #-Demolition Flats-# depicts the demolition of residential blocks in a Parisian suburb, where in the 1960s, in particular North African migrants found a new home. In the large housing estate “La Cité des Quatre Mille” (“the City of Four Thousand") in the community La Courneuve, social unrest was common and even major riots took place. The reputation of the neighbourhood suffered and the people living there had to give up their homes to make way for new development plans after the turn of the millennium. With her video footage of the detonations, accompanied by a noisy, distorted, almost pain-inducing soundtrack, Peggy Buth portrays an impressive symbol of failure. Failed city planning, inadequate integration and social repression are not the only themes here. In the video sequences, people who are likely former residents can be seen among the onlookers. They observe the buildings being demolished, the city losing a part of its history. Their personal memories, life dreams and hopes are also disappearing amongst the rubble. Peggy Buth shines light upon the fundamental changes that cities and societies undergo without adding any further comment or judgement. But who shapes these developments and what do they mean for the future and for the nature of social interaction? Text: Ingo Clauß
Born 1968 in Deurne (The Netherlands) Lives and works in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Cologne (Germany) Erik van Lieshout talks with people. To create his videos, which are mostly embedded in large-format installations and their accompanying drawings, van Lieshout goes to where people are hurting. He goes into so-called problem districts, sniffs around in basements, sets himself up in a shopping centre – and draws again and again an impressively honest and at times ruthless portrait of our society from the edges. His videos are always charming and almost naïve in their own way and this has a lot to do with the kind of person van Lieshout is. He reveals himself frankly, shows no fear of coming into contact with others and never shirks responsibility. This is also the case in his video installation #-Rotterdam-Rostock-# (2006), which was presented in a container in 2006 at the 6th Berlin Biennale, as well as the accompanying drawing #-Deutschland Ziel-# (2005). Van Lieshout rode his bike from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea across Germany, the whole time prattling away into the microphone about his own ideas and prejudices about Germany. He sat down with people on their sofas and took stock of a country that is still characterised by xenophobia and prejudice, a country that was anything but “united” 15 years after reunification.
Born 1962 in Newark, New Jersey (USA) Died 2014 Douglas Kolk made his name as an illustrator. He first worked with small sheets of paper. The works in the Peters-Messer collection from the 1990s are characteristic of that. Later, he also tended towards larger formats and designed comprehensive collages. His early works usually contain individual memos that Kolk fashioned with his favourite instruments, the pencil and the marker. The linear contours, added sparingly, maintain the fragmentary character of the work, as do the colourfully washed shapes and surfaces. Some of his drawings remind the beholder of comic-book art, especially when words and arrows are sprinkled throughout. Influences from pop culture can also be found in the meticulously executed pencil drawing #-We hate ya World -# (1996/97), which presents its globe-shaped statement like an advertising signet. Some exponents have pointed to Kolk’s closeness to Raymond Pettibon, but Kolk usually dispensed with the denser kinds of texts that often accompany Pettibon’s works like excerpts from some fantastical tales. In their deliberately artless nature, many of Kolk’s drawings remind the beholder of naive scribblings. Kolk’s pictures may seem to have been thrown together playfully, but they are always characterised by traces of very intimate and very personal emotion. Some allusions, at first incomprehensible, can be seen as painful confrontations with the drugs in his past and the fears and experiences that went with them. On the whole, his works live from their double nature as both public symbol and private record. They are notes that he must have intended to capture memories, make emotions visible and register present suffering. They open up a wide spectrum of associations. His drawings seem accessible because they are close to familiar concepts from pop art, advertising and even children’s paintings. On the other hand, however, they arouse our curiosity because, in their unfamiliar allusions, fragmentary design and unusual image compositions, they are disconcerting. They allow us to rediscover and reinterpret something that, at first, seems both artless and familiar. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1979 in Fribourg (Switzerland) Lives and works in Zurich (Switzerland)
Born 1979 in Neunkirchen/Saar (Germany) Lives and works in Cologne (Germany)
Born 1971 in Lima (Peru) Lives and works in Houston, Miami, NY (USA) Feingliedrig und gleichzeitig rau wirken die Papierarbeiten des 1971 in Peru geborenen und heute in den USA lebenden Künstlers William Cordova. Filigrane Linien von Kugelschreiber, Bleistift oder Pinsel und collagenartig zusammengefügte Elemente formen dabei teils abstrakte Muster, teils figürliche Zeichnungen. Als Ausgangsmaterial dieser Arbeiten verwendet Cordova vorrangig gefundene Dinge, wie Papierreste oder herausgetrennte Buch- und Magazinseiten. Neben den zweidimensionalen Werken gestaltet Cordova Installationen und Objekte, die ebenfalls weitgehend aus armen Materialien und ausrangierten Gebrauchsgegenständen bestehen. Mit der Wiederverwendung solcher Relikte, die als Abfall ausgesondert und dem Vergessen preisgegeben werden sollten, unternimmt Cordova einen Akt der Konservierung: „The use of found materials is not to erase, transform and make a new but to emphasize the content(s) already existing within that used or found material.“ Einen wesentlichen Impuls seines künstlerischen Schaffens stellen kulturelle Differenzen, Verbindungen und Übergänge dar – ein Thema, das stark von Cordovas eigener, transkultureller Biografie geprägt ist, die ihn von Lima/Peru über Miami/Florida zu verschiedenen Wohn- und Aufenthaltsorten in Amerika und Europa führte. Er selbst bezeichnet seine Arbeiten daher als „a result of being in two worlds at the same time, but never being whole in either one.“ In seinen Werken spiegelt sich diese kulturelle Mobilität in der Verknüpfung von Mustern, Symbolen und Motiven, die sowohl Cordovas peruanische Wurzeln berühren und traditionelle oder historische Referenzen darstellen als auch das moderne Leben amerikanischer Großstädte und deren vitale Subkulturen reflektieren. So erinnert das in einigen seiner collagierten Zeichnungen verwendete Blattgold gleichermaßen an das legendäre Gold der Inka und die Kultur der südamerikanischen Ureinwohner wie auch an die Ikonenmalerei des Christentums, das die religiöse Praxis in Peru seit der spanischen Eroberung im 16. Jahrhundert prägt. Eine ebenfalls ambivalente Bedeutung kommt den vielfach dargestellten an Lautsprecherboxen erinnernden Kästen zu (etwa in Before there was anything there was…Elvis?, 2003). Sie sind, ebenso wie die häufig verwendeten Motive von Mikrophonen, Kabeln, Kassettenrekordern oder Schallplatten als Symbol einer musikalischen Praxis lesbar, die seit jeher als Mittel der Kommunikation, aber auch der Selbstdefinition verschiedener kultureller Gruppen dient. Gleichzeitig spielen die Boxen auf das Cajón an, ein afro-peruanisches, perkussives Musikinstrument, das aus einem hochformatigen, hölzernen Quader besteht und damit der Form eines Lautsprechers ähnelt. In derartigen Details artikuliert sich eine im Wesentlichen von Immigranten und ihren Traditionen geprägte Kultur, die am Rand des urbanen Lebens gesellschaftliche Relikte für sich wiederbelebt und gleichzeitig einen Widerstand zur USamerikanischen Mainstreamkultur ausbildet. Ein weiteres, vielfach dargestelltes Motiv in Cordovas Arbeiten sind teilweise zerstörte Autos und Karosserieteile wie etwa in I wan you to Cum in my Ass (2001). Diese Zivilisationsreste können als Verweis auf städtische Randgebiete gelesen werden, die oftmals von verlassenen Orten und ärmlichen Verhältnissen geprägt sind. In ihrer vom Umfeld isolierten Darstellung gewinnen sie jedoch an ästhetischem Wert und Aura. So stellt auch die Arbeit Tin can flattened (2006) – eine blaue, zusammen gedrückte Dose mit silbern gesprenkelter Oberfläche – einerseits schlicht ein Abfallprodukt dar, andererseits lässt das ovale Objekt leicht die erhabene Weite eines nächtlichen Sternenhimmels assoziieren. Indem Cordova verschiedene, historisch geprägte Lebens- und Kulturformen mit Facetten der Konsumgesellschaft verquickt, gelingen ihm subtile Bildergeschichten, die stets mehrere Bedeutungen implizieren und Aspekte kultureller Überschneidungen, aber auch Divergenzen beleuchten. Dorothea Klein
Born in 1954 in Saint Mandé (France) Lives and works in Paris (France) and Berlin (Germany)
Born 1957 in Bern (Switzerland) Lives and works in Paris (France) “To be an artist is not a question of form or content, it is a question of responsibility.” Thomas Hirschhorn’s radical claim confusingly supplements the flood of images in his collages and the material battles that take place in his massive, overflowing installations. The use of found materials, reminiscent of Arte Povera, as well as the relentless use of various kinds of images from the Internet and other sources characterise the work and approach of Hirschhorn, a Swiss artist living in Paris. Despite the heterogeneity of the elements Hirschhorn uses, in the end he always creates something organic, a kind of “bricolage”, a concretion of “wild thinking” that can connect one thing with another in a meaningful way. The work #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is indicative of this ambitious approach. #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is a sculptural structure constructed out of three tables arranged on top of one another, which engender thoroughly mixed emotions. Hirschhorn has formed numerous pointed cones out of aluminium foil and thereby has created a kind of dripstone cave in the space between the two upper tables. Indeed, the conical shapes are reminiscent of metallic stalagmites and stalactites. But their tips are dyed red and now look like bloody fangs in the mouth of a Tyrannosaurus cyborg. A kind of red aluminium umbilical cord leads from this ensemble to a wooden plate on the wall, which frames it like a picture. It turns out to be a projection screen for a small finger-like drawing as well as a historical photo showing the end of a mass execution from the 1930/40s in an Alpine location. If we are honest about it: most of the images from the Internet have the character of intestines. They represent something like the “obscene innards of the global media" (David Joselit). Seen in this way, the symbolic stalactite cave with bloody fangs is the mouth of a voracious monster, similar to the leviathan. Some viewers will also be reminded of Kafka’s penal colony, in which the misdemeanours of the condemned were written on their bodies with precise equipment. The text is stabbed deeper and deeper into them – until they die. Indeed, Thomas Hirschhorn transfers his radical demands onto the observers of his works. He expects a lot of them – and that's a good thing. Text: Peter Friese
Born 1965 in Gribbohm (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) Seit Mitte der neunziger Jahre ist John Bock so etwas wie der Narr des Kunstbetriebs. Mit seiner Anlehnung an den Dadaismus und den Wiener Aktionismus zählt er zu den wichtigsten Aktionskünstlern in Deutschland. Bock begann seine künstlerische Arbeit mit „Vorträgen“, die sich in einer Nonsens-Rhetorik an den Forscherjargon akademischer Vorlesungen anlehnten und die Verbindungen zwischen Kunst und Wirtschaftstheorien thematisierten. International bekannt wurde er mit seinen slapstickhaften, grotesken Performances, in denen Theater, Video, Vorträge, Bühnen-Installationen und Skulpturen ineinander übergehen und per Video dokumentiert werden. Bocks Welt ist ebenso absurd wie subtil, durchdrungen von zahllosen Verweisen auf biografische und wissenschaftliche Ansätze aus der Kunstgeschichte, Literatur, Philosophie, Wirtschaftswissenschaften und Psychologie. Gleichzeitig zitiert Bock aus „niederen“ Genres wie Straßenkunst, Rockmusik, Second Hand-Mode, Comedy und Horrorfilmen. Eine rationale Interpretation seines Werks scheint unmöglich. Aus seinen Aktionen entstehen zuweilen eigenartig betitelte Skulpturen, in denen verschiedene Materialien wie Holz, Stoff, Draht, Aluminium, Samt oder Beton zu beinahe surrealistischen Objekten arrangiert werden. Bei „Fieberausgüsse im Hirn-Flimmern“ (2005) sind verschiedene Dinge, darunter Eierschalen und Sushi-Algenblätter, auf einem bunten Teppich platziert. An dessen Rand befindet sich ein offener Koffer mit einem Styroporklotz auf dem Deckel, darin liegen zahnähnliche Aluminiumteile. Ein Teil des Teppichs ist herausgeschnitten und lagert auf einer mit Beton gefüllten Plastikflasche. Auf der anderen Seite, unterhalb des Teppichs, befindet sich ein Marmeladenglas, das nur durch ein kleines Loch im Teppich sichtbar ist. Der Teppich ist als Symbol für wissenschaftliche Modelle zu verstehen. Das schwarze Quadrat der Sushi-Algenblätter deutet auf ein kosmisches System hin. Das Ei symbolisiert die perfekte Form. „Flimmern“ bezieht sich auf ein irrisierendes, verwirrtes Gefühl, was die Punkte auf dem Teppich widerspiegeln sollen. Bocks Skulptur hat keinen konkreten Anhalts- oder Bezugspunkt – allein durch die Kombination aus Materialien, die inhaltlich unterschiedlich aufgeladen sind, entsteht eine Atmosphäre des Unerklärbaren, ähnlich wie in wissenschaftlichen Laboren oder Kinderzimmern. „Die Tiefe“ symbolisiert den Bauch eines U-Boots, das aus zwei turbinenähnlichen dicken Rohren, einem wurmartigen Samtende und einem Periskop besteht, dessen Linse eine alte Brille und eine Toilettenpapierrolle bildet, durch die man hindurchschauen kann. Während seines Vortrags in Antwerpen nahm Bock die Zuschauer mit auf eine Reise unter den Meeresspiegel. Mit verschmiertem Gesicht und dreckigem Regenmantel spielte der Künstler die Rolle des U-Boot-Kapitäns, der versucht, das Schiff zu retten. Sein erster Matrose ist ein Kleiderhaken im blauen Hemd und einem in Klebeband versteckten „Kopf“. Als Bauchredner stellt Bock auch seine Stimme anders dar. Mithilfe eines Wattestäbchens, das an einem kleinen Mechanismus in der Mitte der Skulptur befestigt ist, demonstriert Bock, wie ein Torpedo zwei feindliche Schiffe attackiert. Dann wird sein eigenes Boot getroffen und beginnt zu sinken. Der Matrose überlebt den Angriff, doch der Kapitän stirbt – seine letzten Worte lauten „Moby Dick, Moby Dick“. In dieser Performance geht es weit mehr als um ein Kriegsspiel. Mit einer charakteristischen Terminologie, einem kreativen Sprachgebrauch und einem wirbelnden Auftritt spielt der Künstler auf die deutsche Kriegsvergangenheit an, die sich in ihren Grundzügen auch auf den desolaten Zustand unserer heutigen Gesellschaft übertragen lässt. Ergänzt wird die Installation von fünf Papierarbeiten, die als irrwitzige Konstruktionspläne für Bocks dreidimensionale Werke zu verstehen sind.
Born 1979 in Moscow (Russia) Lives and works in New York City (USA) Dreamlike film sequences, distorted oil paintings and curious sculptures characterize the multimedia work of Kon Trubkovich. The unpacks a multifaceted visual language in which he draws on the element of repetition on multiple levels at the same time. In his videos, the same actions and images are repeated over and over again to create a scene that describes an endless state from which there appears to be no escape. He picks up the motifs and colours of his film works in his sculptures and pictures as well, stylizing them to create elements that can be interpreted in diverse ways, such as the prison motif and the orange-coloured overalls that are the conventional prisoner’s garb in the USA. Trubkovich’s videos are created by playing VHS tapes, filming them, replaying the filmed material and filming that in turn. They are like memories that return again and again, yet gradually become blurred, and distorted, and superimposed on each other, transforming into scenes far removed from the original. For his oil paintings and watercolours, Trubkovich uses selected stills as a template. Through repetition and creating stills of the film sequences, new details become visible while other aspects fall out of focus and illuminate the hidden stories behind the story. In his videos, paintings and sculptures, the artist – who spent his early childhood in Russia before moving to the USA with his family at the age of 11 – repeatedly returns to prison situations and breakout scenes, thereby confronting his own memories of captivity and emigration. Yet his own biography is by no means in the foreground of his work; rather, Kon Trubkovich invokes images from the collective consciousness and points to societal experiences and patterns. Trubkovich does not categorise his works as explicitly political art. Rather, he illuminates a level on which political events intervene into personal life and force the individual into certain patterns of behaviour. Text: Mirka Gewinner
Born 1968 in Munich (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) Florian Baudrexels Skulpturen, Installationen und Wandreliefs sind geballte Energie. Als dichte Ansammlungen geometrischer Elemente aus Gips, Pappe und anderen Alltagsmaterialien schieben sie sich dem Betrachter entgegen. Sie fordern den physischen Dialog und verkörpern zugleich eine geistige Dimension: Ihre Vorbilder sind die Ikonen der klassischen Moderne. Baudrexel bedient sich der Bildsprache des frühen 20. Jahrhunderts, indem er die Zusammensetzung einzelner abstrakter Formen sorgfältig abwägt und sie zu einem stimmigen Ganzen kombiniert. Temperament und Ratio verbindet er zu symbiotischen Einheiten, die sich in einem energiegeladenen Schwebezustand zwischen Malerei und Skulptur befinden. Baudrexels Umgang mit dem Material geht auf das kompositorische Feingefühl des Konstruktivismus zurück, wie es etwa von Wladimir Tatlin und Alexander Rodtschenko erprobt wurde. Gleichzeitig erinnert die Dynamik der Arrangements an die laute Bildsprache der Futuristen, an Giacomo Ballas oder Umberto Boccionis kraftstrotzende Figuren und ekstatische Situationen. Auch die Verwendung von Pappe evoziert einen Heroen der Avantgarde: Als billiges Alltagsmaterial tauchte sie schon zu Dada-Zeiten bei Kurt Schwitters auf, und auch heute wird sie immer wieder künstlerisch verwendet, etwa bei Manfred Pernice und Thomas Hirschhorn. Deutlich ist auch der Einfluss Frank Stellas, dessen Werk sich von den frühen, streng strukturierten „Shaped Canvases“ zu geometrisch-barocken Wandinszenierungen entwickelte. Baudrexel kopiert jedoch die Errungenschaften seiner Vorläufer nicht, sondern er modifiziert und überträgt sie in eine gestalterische Sprache des 21. Jahrhunderts. Von besonderer Bedeutung sind die Titel der Arbeiten. „Forces of the Power“ (2004) wirkt wie ein Symbol übermenschlicher Kräfte, ähnlich moderner Motive wie Auto oder Maschine, die bei den Futuristen eine zentrale Rolle spielten. Baudrexel schließt damit die figürliche Assoziation in seinem Werk nicht aus, sondern setzt sie sogar bewusst ein, um seinen Gebilden eine rhetorische Sprache zu verleihen: Die bloße Form birgt das Potential, zur Figur zu werden und umgekehrt. Damit sind sie Vexierbilder im doppelten Sinne: Sie begreifen sich nicht nur als Objekte, die zwischen Zwei- und Dreidimensionalität hin- und herkippen, sondern bewegen sich an der Grenze zwischen Abstraktion und Assoziation.
Born 1979 in London (Great Britain), grew up in Berlin Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) A group of an anonymous brigade of five helmets may make one immediately think of a police force or a motorbike gang. Only upon longer contemplation do the differences that give each of the uniformly painted helmets a characteristic expression of its own – a “face” – become clear. Do they stand for protection or menace? Mounted as they are on black metal poles, the group of sculptures have a veritably warlike appearance. The helmets recall heads on spikes, or trophies. Their shiny surface and apparent lightness mean that they could also be part of a puppet theatre, however. The artist’s paintings, which will be presented in an extra artistic space from November, appear at first glance like shards of glass on a white background – scattered, ambiguous splinters of colour, without context, randomly spread, incomplete. Riethmann uses oils to make realistic representations of bodies in male clothing. In doing so, he succeeds in showing movement, gesture and even feelings such as rage and aggression in all their rawness, while at the same time not revealing anything more than he must. On the contrary, he invites the observer to fill the white space with their own associations and to recall their own memories – of violence, rebellion or fear – that may seem long familiar to them, but that do not yet have a name or a face. By anonymising his figures, by leaving the gaps he does, Riethmann creates a distance between us and the people he seems to be showing. Without any context to explain what is happening, without allowing any empathy or sympathy, the artist opens up a new way of looking at human actions. The observer is given the opportunity to let the fragments speak for themselves and to interpret their relationship to one another. Text: Mirka Gewinner
Born 1962 in Newark, New Jersey (USA) Died 2014 Douglas Kolk made his name as an illustrator. He first worked with small sheets of paper. The works in the Peters-Messer collection from the 1990s are characteristic of that. Later, he also tended towards larger formats and designed comprehensive collages. His early works usually contain individual memos that Kolk fashioned with his favourite instruments, the pencil and the marker. The linear contours, added sparingly, maintain the fragmentary character of the work, as do the colourfully washed shapes and surfaces. Some of his drawings remind the beholder of comic-book art, especially when words and arrows are sprinkled throughout. Influences from pop culture can also be found in the meticulously executed pencil drawing #-We hate ya World -# (1996/97), which presents its globe-shaped statement like an advertising signet. Some exponents have pointed to Kolk’s closeness to Raymond Pettibon, but Kolk usually dispensed with the denser kinds of texts that often accompany Pettibon’s works like excerpts from some fantastical tales. In their deliberately artless nature, many of Kolk’s drawings remind the beholder of naive scribblings. Kolk’s pictures may seem to have been thrown together playfully, but they are always characterised by traces of very intimate and very personal emotion. Some allusions, at first incomprehensible, can be seen as painful confrontations with the drugs in his past and the fears and experiences that went with them. On the whole, his works live from their double nature as both public symbol and private record. They are notes that he must have intended to capture memories, make emotions visible and register present suffering. They open up a wide spectrum of associations. His drawings seem accessible because they are close to familiar concepts from pop art, advertising and even children’s paintings. On the other hand, however, they arouse our curiosity because, in their unfamiliar allusions, fragmentary design and unusual image compositions, they are disconcerting. They allow us to rediscover and reinterpret something that, at first, seems both artless and familiar. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1972 in Rosenheim (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) The private was a central theme in Florian Slotawa’s art from the very beginning. Already during his studies in the mid-nineties in Hamburg and Munich, Slotawa made his personal belongings – plates, cutlery, jeans, tables, chairs, car – the material of his work. In Hamburg, for example, he occupied a studio belonging to the university, which he filled with his belongings during the semester break. He carefully catalogued all his household items and took photographs of them in groups (#-Hamburger Bestandsaufnahme-#, (Hamburger Stocktaking), 1996). Later, at the 4th Berlin Biennale 2006, he also applied the principle of “ownership” to a collector couple in the work #-Ersatzturm-#. The sculpture #-GS.002-# (2007), on the other hand, seems downright standoffish and impersonal: a dishwasher and two glass windows perform a balancing act and radiate the elegance of a group of motorcycle acrobats from a police unit. This fits the title abbreviation GS, which presumably stands for “Große Skulptur” (large sculpture).
Born 1957 in Yonkers/New York (USA) Lives and works in New York City (USA) Mechanical clatter, buzzing and whirring fill the rooms where Jon Kessler’s installations are exhibited. The sounds are made by his moving sculptures – kinetic objects that are much more than sophisticated technical gimmicks. They are complex, multimedia installations that often incorporate surveillance cameras, projectors and monitors that constantly record and reproduce images of their surroundings. Not infrequently the viewer becomes himself the object of surveillance – and thus a part of the work. His work #-The Hostage-# initially impresses the viewer with its size and its acoustic presence. Its visible mechanisms invite you to get closer and to take a closer look at the details. The exposed machinery makes it possible to trace every movement in all its technical detail and to gradually see through the functions with which the three built-in cameras capture the interior of the installation and transmit it to the screen in real time. There, they deliver a confusing program to the viewer: a blindfolded stuffed owl seems to fly up and down in a mirrored barrel as if trying to escape its prison. A rotating landscape comes closer and closer to the camera. It turns out on closer inspection to be an image of the Bronx, a district of New York. Finally, a camera moves on a rail into a cardboard box, the lid of which is opened by a mechanism at regular intervals. As this happens, the lighting inside the box dramatically changes. The output on the monitor is reminiscent of walking through a ruined house under flickering lights. The title of this work appears on the back of the box: #-The Hostage-#. Despite its technical sophistication, the construction seems archaic, in apparent opposition to the complex confrontation that is taking place on the screen. Text: Ines Koenen
Born 1968 in Deurne (The Netherlands) Lives and works in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Cologne (Germany) Erik van Lieshout talks with people. To create his videos, which are mostly embedded in large-format installations and their accompanying drawings, van Lieshout goes to where people are hurting. He goes into so-called problem districts, sniffs around in basements, sets himself up in a shopping centre – and draws again and again an impressively honest and at times ruthless portrait of our society from the edges. His videos are always charming and almost naïve in their own way and this has a lot to do with the kind of person van Lieshout is. He reveals himself frankly, shows no fear of coming into contact with others and never shirks responsibility. This is also the case in his video installation #-Rotterdam-Rostock-# (2006), which was presented in a container in 2006 at the 6th Berlin Biennale, as well as the accompanying drawing #-Deutschland Ziel-# (2005). Van Lieshout rode his bike from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea across Germany, the whole time prattling away into the microphone about his own ideas and prejudices about Germany. He sat down with people on their sofas and took stock of a country that is still characterised by xenophobia and prejudice, a country that was anything but “united” 15 years after reunification.
Born 1979 in Fribourg (Switzerland) Lives and works in Zurich (Switzerland)
Born 1962 in Newark, New Jersey (USA) Died 2014 Douglas Kolk made his name as an illustrator. He first worked with small sheets of paper. The works in the Peters-Messer collection from the 1990s are characteristic of that. Later, he also tended towards larger formats and designed comprehensive collages. His early works usually contain individual memos that Kolk fashioned with his favourite instruments, the pencil and the marker. The linear contours, added sparingly, maintain the fragmentary character of the work, as do the colourfully washed shapes and surfaces. Some of his drawings remind the beholder of comic-book art, especially when words and arrows are sprinkled throughout. Influences from pop culture can also be found in the meticulously executed pencil drawing #-We hate ya World -# (1996/97), which presents its globe-shaped statement like an advertising signet. Some exponents have pointed to Kolk’s closeness to Raymond Pettibon, but Kolk usually dispensed with the denser kinds of texts that often accompany Pettibon’s works like excerpts from some fantastical tales. In their deliberately artless nature, many of Kolk’s drawings remind the beholder of naive scribblings. Kolk’s pictures may seem to have been thrown together playfully, but they are always characterised by traces of very intimate and very personal emotion. Some allusions, at first incomprehensible, can be seen as painful confrontations with the drugs in his past and the fears and experiences that went with them. On the whole, his works live from their double nature as both public symbol and private record. They are notes that he must have intended to capture memories, make emotions visible and register present suffering. They open up a wide spectrum of associations. His drawings seem accessible because they are close to familiar concepts from pop art, advertising and even children’s paintings. On the other hand, however, they arouse our curiosity because, in their unfamiliar allusions, fragmentary design and unusual image compositions, they are disconcerting. They allow us to rediscover and reinterpret something that, at first, seems both artless and familiar. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born in 1977 in Rousse (Bulgaria) Lives and works in Vienna (Austria) and Rousse
Born 1971 in Lima (Peru) Lives and works in Houston, Miami, NY (USA) Feingliedrig und gleichzeitig rau wirken die Papierarbeiten des 1971 in Peru geborenen und heute in den USA lebenden Künstlers William Cordova. Filigrane Linien von Kugelschreiber, Bleistift oder Pinsel und collagenartig zusammengefügte Elemente formen dabei teils abstrakte Muster, teils figürliche Zeichnungen. Als Ausgangsmaterial dieser Arbeiten verwendet Cordova vorrangig gefundene Dinge, wie Papierreste oder herausgetrennte Buch- und Magazinseiten. Neben den zweidimensionalen Werken gestaltet Cordova Installationen und Objekte, die ebenfalls weitgehend aus armen Materialien und ausrangierten Gebrauchsgegenständen bestehen. Mit der Wiederverwendung solcher Relikte, die als Abfall ausgesondert und dem Vergessen preisgegeben werden sollten, unternimmt Cordova einen Akt der Konservierung: „The use of found materials is not to erase, transform and make a new but to emphasize the content(s) already existing within that used or found material.“ Einen wesentlichen Impuls seines künstlerischen Schaffens stellen kulturelle Differenzen, Verbindungen und Übergänge dar – ein Thema, das stark von Cordovas eigener, transkultureller Biografie geprägt ist, die ihn von Lima/Peru über Miami/Florida zu verschiedenen Wohn- und Aufenthaltsorten in Amerika und Europa führte. Er selbst bezeichnet seine Arbeiten daher als „a result of being in two worlds at the same time, but never being whole in either one.“ In seinen Werken spiegelt sich diese kulturelle Mobilität in der Verknüpfung von Mustern, Symbolen und Motiven, die sowohl Cordovas peruanische Wurzeln berühren und traditionelle oder historische Referenzen darstellen als auch das moderne Leben amerikanischer Großstädte und deren vitale Subkulturen reflektieren. So erinnert das in einigen seiner collagierten Zeichnungen verwendete Blattgold gleichermaßen an das legendäre Gold der Inka und die Kultur der südamerikanischen Ureinwohner wie auch an die Ikonenmalerei des Christentums, das die religiöse Praxis in Peru seit der spanischen Eroberung im 16. Jahrhundert prägt. Eine ebenfalls ambivalente Bedeutung kommt den vielfach dargestellten an Lautsprecherboxen erinnernden Kästen zu (etwa in Before there was anything there was…Elvis?, 2003). Sie sind, ebenso wie die häufig verwendeten Motive von Mikrophonen, Kabeln, Kassettenrekordern oder Schallplatten als Symbol einer musikalischen Praxis lesbar, die seit jeher als Mittel der Kommunikation, aber auch der Selbstdefinition verschiedener kultureller Gruppen dient. Gleichzeitig spielen die Boxen auf das Cajón an, ein afro-peruanisches, perkussives Musikinstrument, das aus einem hochformatigen, hölzernen Quader besteht und damit der Form eines Lautsprechers ähnelt. In derartigen Details artikuliert sich eine im Wesentlichen von Immigranten und ihren Traditionen geprägte Kultur, die am Rand des urbanen Lebens gesellschaftliche Relikte für sich wiederbelebt und gleichzeitig einen Widerstand zur USamerikanischen Mainstreamkultur ausbildet. Ein weiteres, vielfach dargestelltes Motiv in Cordovas Arbeiten sind teilweise zerstörte Autos und Karosserieteile wie etwa in I wan you to Cum in my Ass (2001). Diese Zivilisationsreste können als Verweis auf städtische Randgebiete gelesen werden, die oftmals von verlassenen Orten und ärmlichen Verhältnissen geprägt sind. In ihrer vom Umfeld isolierten Darstellung gewinnen sie jedoch an ästhetischem Wert und Aura. So stellt auch die Arbeit Tin can flattened (2006) – eine blaue, zusammen gedrückte Dose mit silbern gesprenkelter Oberfläche – einerseits schlicht ein Abfallprodukt dar, andererseits lässt das ovale Objekt leicht die erhabene Weite eines nächtlichen Sternenhimmels assoziieren. Indem Cordova verschiedene, historisch geprägte Lebens- und Kulturformen mit Facetten der Konsumgesellschaft verquickt, gelingen ihm subtile Bildergeschichten, die stets mehrere Bedeutungen implizieren und Aspekte kultureller Überschneidungen, aber auch Divergenzen beleuchten. Dorothea Klein
Born 1981 in Erfurt (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) In the spring of 2011, Julian Röder visited the largest arms trade fair in the Middle East, which is held every two years in Abu Dhabi. The event draws arms dealers, military brass and weapons manufacturers – some 50,000 people in all – interested in perusing the latest developments in weaponry and expanding their arsenals. Specialised weapons systems for every conceivable military deployment scenario down to street combat are on offer. Röder had himself accredited as a journalist, reasoning that “an artistically oriented photographer without a media organisation behind him would have had a much harder time gaining access”. With the accreditation, he was able to document the event with a series of photographs. His pictures show the everyday existence of an arms show, from bombastic weapons demonstrations to bizarre arrangements of gleaming gold shells, solicitous salesmen, attractive hostesses and fascinated visitors. The usual organisation of a sales trade fair combines with the elaborate presentation of air shows with combat helicopters and military jets, which Röder captures as a panoramic landscape. The multifaceted selection that he presents provides insights into the economic structure of a capitalistic world in which everything becomes a good and everything can be bought and sold. It reveals the seductive appeal that the weapons cast upon the visitors, as well as the fanciful gaze of the buyers attracted by them. But the selection also shows the wearying sequence of sales stands and the desolation of repetitive sales pitches. The alarming combines with the quotidian. Röder offers no explanatory interpretation, no revelatory accusations. He creates a documentary sequence of images that seems to emerge from a random selection. He places the observer in the role of a spectator whose gaze floats from one attraction to the next, moving in a trade-fair showcase in which war and violence are reduced to a banal business transaction. Our growing unease emerges from the recognition of how our perception simultaneously reveals our inability adequately to grasp, and respond to, what we are seeing. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1971 in Lima (Peru) Lives and works in Houston, Miami, NY (USA) Feingliedrig und gleichzeitig rau wirken die Papierarbeiten des 1971 in Peru geborenen und heute in den USA lebenden Künstlers William Cordova. Filigrane Linien von Kugelschreiber, Bleistift oder Pinsel und collagenartig zusammengefügte Elemente formen dabei teils abstrakte Muster, teils figürliche Zeichnungen. Als Ausgangsmaterial dieser Arbeiten verwendet Cordova vorrangig gefundene Dinge, wie Papierreste oder herausgetrennte Buch- und Magazinseiten. Neben den zweidimensionalen Werken gestaltet Cordova Installationen und Objekte, die ebenfalls weitgehend aus armen Materialien und ausrangierten Gebrauchsgegenständen bestehen. Mit der Wiederverwendung solcher Relikte, die als Abfall ausgesondert und dem Vergessen preisgegeben werden sollten, unternimmt Cordova einen Akt der Konservierung: „The use of found materials is not to erase, transform and make a new but to emphasize the content(s) already existing within that used or found material.“ Einen wesentlichen Impuls seines künstlerischen Schaffens stellen kulturelle Differenzen, Verbindungen und Übergänge dar – ein Thema, das stark von Cordovas eigener, transkultureller Biografie geprägt ist, die ihn von Lima/Peru über Miami/Florida zu verschiedenen Wohn- und Aufenthaltsorten in Amerika und Europa führte. Er selbst bezeichnet seine Arbeiten daher als „a result of being in two worlds at the same time, but never being whole in either one.“ In seinen Werken spiegelt sich diese kulturelle Mobilität in der Verknüpfung von Mustern, Symbolen und Motiven, die sowohl Cordovas peruanische Wurzeln berühren und traditionelle oder historische Referenzen darstellen als auch das moderne Leben amerikanischer Großstädte und deren vitale Subkulturen reflektieren. So erinnert das in einigen seiner collagierten Zeichnungen verwendete Blattgold gleichermaßen an das legendäre Gold der Inka und die Kultur der südamerikanischen Ureinwohner wie auch an die Ikonenmalerei des Christentums, das die religiöse Praxis in Peru seit der spanischen Eroberung im 16. Jahrhundert prägt. Eine ebenfalls ambivalente Bedeutung kommt den vielfach dargestellten an Lautsprecherboxen erinnernden Kästen zu (etwa in Before there was anything there was…Elvis?, 2003). Sie sind, ebenso wie die häufig verwendeten Motive von Mikrophonen, Kabeln, Kassettenrekordern oder Schallplatten als Symbol einer musikalischen Praxis lesbar, die seit jeher als Mittel der Kommunikation, aber auch der Selbstdefinition verschiedener kultureller Gruppen dient. Gleichzeitig spielen die Boxen auf das Cajón an, ein afro-peruanisches, perkussives Musikinstrument, das aus einem hochformatigen, hölzernen Quader besteht und damit der Form eines Lautsprechers ähnelt. In derartigen Details artikuliert sich eine im Wesentlichen von Immigranten und ihren Traditionen geprägte Kultur, die am Rand des urbanen Lebens gesellschaftliche Relikte für sich wiederbelebt und gleichzeitig einen Widerstand zur USamerikanischen Mainstreamkultur ausbildet. Ein weiteres, vielfach dargestelltes Motiv in Cordovas Arbeiten sind teilweise zerstörte Autos und Karosserieteile wie etwa in I wan you to Cum in my Ass (2001). Diese Zivilisationsreste können als Verweis auf städtische Randgebiete gelesen werden, die oftmals von verlassenen Orten und ärmlichen Verhältnissen geprägt sind. In ihrer vom Umfeld isolierten Darstellung gewinnen sie jedoch an ästhetischem Wert und Aura. So stellt auch die Arbeit Tin can flattened (2006) – eine blaue, zusammen gedrückte Dose mit silbern gesprenkelter Oberfläche – einerseits schlicht ein Abfallprodukt dar, andererseits lässt das ovale Objekt leicht die erhabene Weite eines nächtlichen Sternenhimmels assoziieren. Indem Cordova verschiedene, historisch geprägte Lebens- und Kulturformen mit Facetten der Konsumgesellschaft verquickt, gelingen ihm subtile Bildergeschichten, die stets mehrere Bedeutungen implizieren und Aspekte kultureller Überschneidungen, aber auch Divergenzen beleuchten. Dorothea Klein
Born 1968 in Mainz (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) One imagines a superhero as being powerfully built, with upright posture and wearing an imposing costume. The creatures that Iris Kettner titles superheroes, however, seem more like the guys that need saving. They resemble urbanites who have fallen off the grid, pitiful figures who don’t stand out in the anonymity of the concrete jungle. This is precisely what interests Kettner: making the invisible visible – the people no one looks at because they are neither young, beautiful or proud – the faceless. Kettner’s superheroes don’t have faces either – her life-size dolls made from wood and fabric wear masks that are reminiscent of the marvel films, but because of the masks’ contrast to their bodies, they end up looking even more pitiful. Kettner’s “dummies” evoke suitably strong reactions, especially in public spaces – in 2005, the artist installed the superheroes around the underground station Alexanderplatz as if they were part of the crowd, and recorded the reactions of the passers-by on video.
Born 1967 in Sydney (Australia) Lives and works in New York, NY (USA) Bjarne Melgaard lives and works in New York and is considered – not only in his homeland – the most important contemporary Norwegian artist. He is a master of provocation and of breaching taboos who, in his exhibitions – unchecked installations of painting, sculpture, ready-mades and textual expression – explores the mental depths of humanity with an explicitly masculine, even brutal, vigour. The impudent painting #-I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society-# is no different. Its drastic aesthetic harks backs to forms of anti-art, to works by Dubuffet, to Basquiat or to the graffitied messages you see on urban walls and fences. There can be no doubt that Melgaard is picking up where this rebellious art form left off, an art form that aims to grab the attention. The obvious spelling mistake could thus be blamed on haste, but that interpretation would miss the multidimensional ways the work can be read. It not only cites the artwork that is graffiti, turning it into a pastose arrangement of colour, but also the impulsive forms of expression that we know from action painting. The aggressively applied paint marks, the frantic placing of the letters underscore the rebellious subjectivity of an artistic act of painting. The vulgar goes hand-in-hand with spontaneity of design, the random with considered placement. In stark letters, the picture demands your attention and expressly insists on being acknowledged. Is it the artist himself demanding validation and integration for his individuality and his self-image – because he is part of the society that surrounds and shapes him, and not an outsider? Or is Melgaard giving art itself a voice it can use to demand recognition, despite content that attacks aesthetic sensibilities? – The sentence “I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society” typifies a torn society that blanks out and marginalises whatever doesn’t match the norm, whatever it doesn't understand or finds ugly, even though those things merely reflect the values and behaviours found in society itself. The work is thus an angry plea to reject the affirmative character of elaborated art. Text: Sarah Lemmermann
Born 1971 in Lima (Peru) Lives and works in Houston, Miami, NY (USA) Feingliedrig und gleichzeitig rau wirken die Papierarbeiten des 1971 in Peru geborenen und heute in den USA lebenden Künstlers William Cordova. Filigrane Linien von Kugelschreiber, Bleistift oder Pinsel und collagenartig zusammengefügte Elemente formen dabei teils abstrakte Muster, teils figürliche Zeichnungen. Als Ausgangsmaterial dieser Arbeiten verwendet Cordova vorrangig gefundene Dinge, wie Papierreste oder herausgetrennte Buch- und Magazinseiten. Neben den zweidimensionalen Werken gestaltet Cordova Installationen und Objekte, die ebenfalls weitgehend aus armen Materialien und ausrangierten Gebrauchsgegenständen bestehen. Mit der Wiederverwendung solcher Relikte, die als Abfall ausgesondert und dem Vergessen preisgegeben werden sollten, unternimmt Cordova einen Akt der Konservierung: „The use of found materials is not to erase, transform and make a new but to emphasize the content(s) already existing within that used or found material.“ Einen wesentlichen Impuls seines künstlerischen Schaffens stellen kulturelle Differenzen, Verbindungen und Übergänge dar – ein Thema, das stark von Cordovas eigener, transkultureller Biografie geprägt ist, die ihn von Lima/Peru über Miami/Florida zu verschiedenen Wohn- und Aufenthaltsorten in Amerika und Europa führte. Er selbst bezeichnet seine Arbeiten daher als „a result of being in two worlds at the same time, but never being whole in either one.“ In seinen Werken spiegelt sich diese kulturelle Mobilität in der Verknüpfung von Mustern, Symbolen und Motiven, die sowohl Cordovas peruanische Wurzeln berühren und traditionelle oder historische Referenzen darstellen als auch das moderne Leben amerikanischer Großstädte und deren vitale Subkulturen reflektieren. So erinnert das in einigen seiner collagierten Zeichnungen verwendete Blattgold gleichermaßen an das legendäre Gold der Inka und die Kultur der südamerikanischen Ureinwohner wie auch an die Ikonenmalerei des Christentums, das die religiöse Praxis in Peru seit der spanischen Eroberung im 16. Jahrhundert prägt. Eine ebenfalls ambivalente Bedeutung kommt den vielfach dargestellten an Lautsprecherboxen erinnernden Kästen zu (etwa in Before there was anything there was…Elvis?, 2003). Sie sind, ebenso wie die häufig verwendeten Motive von Mikrophonen, Kabeln, Kassettenrekordern oder Schallplatten als Symbol einer musikalischen Praxis lesbar, die seit jeher als Mittel der Kommunikation, aber auch der Selbstdefinition verschiedener kultureller Gruppen dient. Gleichzeitig spielen die Boxen auf das Cajón an, ein afro-peruanisches, perkussives Musikinstrument, das aus einem hochformatigen, hölzernen Quader besteht und damit der Form eines Lautsprechers ähnelt. In derartigen Details artikuliert sich eine im Wesentlichen von Immigranten und ihren Traditionen geprägte Kultur, die am Rand des urbanen Lebens gesellschaftliche Relikte für sich wiederbelebt und gleichzeitig einen Widerstand zur USamerikanischen Mainstreamkultur ausbildet. Ein weiteres, vielfach dargestelltes Motiv in Cordovas Arbeiten sind teilweise zerstörte Autos und Karosserieteile wie etwa in I wan you to Cum in my Ass (2001). Diese Zivilisationsreste können als Verweis auf städtische Randgebiete gelesen werden, die oftmals von verlassenen Orten und ärmlichen Verhältnissen geprägt sind. In ihrer vom Umfeld isolierten Darstellung gewinnen sie jedoch an ästhetischem Wert und Aura. So stellt auch die Arbeit Tin can flattened (2006) – eine blaue, zusammen gedrückte Dose mit silbern gesprenkelter Oberfläche – einerseits schlicht ein Abfallprodukt dar, andererseits lässt das ovale Objekt leicht die erhabene Weite eines nächtlichen Sternenhimmels assoziieren. Indem Cordova verschiedene, historisch geprägte Lebens- und Kulturformen mit Facetten der Konsumgesellschaft verquickt, gelingen ihm subtile Bildergeschichten, die stets mehrere Bedeutungen implizieren und Aspekte kultureller Überschneidungen, aber auch Divergenzen beleuchten. Dorothea Klein
Born 1970 in Hamburg (Germany) Lives and works in Düsseldorf (Germany) Man mag sie für Bauarbeiten halten, oder für die Ruinen eines zerlegten Einfamilienhauses von Gordon Matta-Clark. Doch die wuchtigen Rigipsplatten, die sich wie ungeheuerliche Körper durch Raum und Wände schieben, sind Skulpturen von ebenso zerstörerischer wie bildnerischer Gewalt. Die Arbeiten des Düsseldorfer Bildhauers Felix Schramm besitzen eine subtile Eleganz: Trotz ihrer Brachialität suchen sie nicht bloß den Dialog mit der vorgegebenen Architektur, sondern sie behaupten sich mühelos darin.

Die krude zersplitterten Ränder des in Weiß oder gedeckten Farbtönen gehaltenen Baumaterials können nicht über die konzentrierte Komposition hinwegtäuschen, mit der die einzelnen Teile einer Installation zusammengefügt und im Raum platziert sind. Auch in den kleineren Skulpturen, die zuweilen in Verbindung mit technischen Utensilien – wie in „I-A2“ (2006) mit einem schrottreifen, elliptisch kreisenden Plattenspieler – eine wunderliche Eigenständigkeit erhalten, zeigt sich Schramms Sensibilität im Umgang mit Material und dessen Anordnung: Handlich ineinander geschobene Bauelemente werden zu zierlichen architektonischen Relikten, die – begleitet von einer dekonstruktivistischen Gestik – die Sprache von Fertighäusern sprechen.
born 1976 in Johannesburg (South Africa) Lives and works in Cape Town (South Africa) On the outskirts of Accra, the capital of Ghana, there is a huge garbage dump: the landfill of Agbogbloshie. The area was formerly a natural lagoon landscape with diverse flora and fauna and is now one of the most polluted places in the world. Around 6,000 people live and work on the site. The electronic waste, mainly imported from Europe, is sorted by hand, in particular by children and adolescents. They burn cables and technical equipment in improvised fireplaces to extract metals such as copper and aluminum, which produces highly toxic clouds of smoke. It is an apocalyptic landscape. The inhabitants themselves call it “Sodom and Gomorrah”. South African-born photographer and artist Pieter Hugo has visited the area twice and created photographic portraits of some of the people there. He presents these people in their working environment. He has also photographed their often-makeshift accommodation, the mountainous scrap heaps, as well as the cattle and dogs that live there sporadically. The series, entitled #-Permanent Error-#, gives a frightening glimpse into life in a world of electronic rubbish that exemplifies the impact of globalized markets. It seems remote to us in every respect and yet it is intimately linked with our own actions. Pieter Hugo, who previously worked as a photojournalist for international newspapers and today concentrates exclusively on freelance artistic projects, creates fascinating, highly confusing images. Precisely because the images are not accusations and demand no pity or sympathy, they hold a special power. In the two exhibited photographic works, we meet two proud young men. They look at us confidently. Hugo does not show misery in these photographs. He shows the men’s confidence in their own strength and abilities. Nevertheless, one cannot fail to notice the hopeless situation, the shameful poverty. Hugo does not explain, he does not classify. It is entirely up to us to decide how we will take in this foreign place, these people whose lives are unknown to us. With #-Permanent Error-#, Hugo creates surprising pictures of our present time, which seems to be increasingly incomprehensible in its complexity. Text: Ingo Clauß
Born 1971 in Mumbai (India) Lives and works in New York (USA) Appropriation seems to be the goal of many artists in this Zeitgeist; as the world archive increases so it seems to dwindle in other aspects. Hidden truths, maligned narratives and phobias abound. In allowing access to and mining within this excess of the visual, artists can contribute to a better understanding of our contemporary condition. Battered, withered and enslaved as we remain in our prejudice, Abichandani challenges our perception of lives and realities that seemingly remain across the threshold, as if bounded by their fate to geographical and political hinterlands. The Soldier Bomber works are a testament to our colluding in such atrocious times, pregnant as they are with postponed agendas and monstrosities allied to land and resources. Appropriating their portraits from the internet, photos of actual female American and Canadian soldiers and Palestinian female suicide bombers, which she gleans from unfamiliar terrains, to create composite portraits that remain outside of acceptable ‘patriarchal narratives’. The insanity is not bounded by gender, the only remaining option is the urge for revolution even if its zeal smacks of herded, blinded patriotism. Women and fatigues, a strange mixture of values and histories collude to frame a galley of individuals, known as soldiers, of which five versions are held in the collection. Often painted in circular panels, these work are a pastiche of guild portraits from a famous academy, with vivid patterns often formalizing the gaze. Abichandani’s oeuvre is processed by the use of hidden variables, which strike a chord by the recognition of the hidden within, which she reconstitute from the average often in its self-destructive reality to canonize a third seemingly liberated but maybe terrorist subject? Here everyone is a martyr, a design that constitutes and has become the blueprint of postmodern developing culture. Traditionally, oppositions straddle across ravines, in fighting to create a better world but Abichandani refuses these opposites in Soldier Bomber, all soldiers, remain institutionalized by ideologies, they become a register by death, a form of commandeering activism, especially in parts of the world that we want to forget. In memorizing and reinscribing such motives, symbols and individuals the artists allows us to reframe and reconsider their currency and the very circuits within which they shape our daily culture. The arrangement of materials and the site of knowledge seems to be of utmost importance to Abichandani, for the allowance of political agency. In The Rise and Fall, she combines whips, Swarovski crystals, Kufic calligraphy from the Iraqi flag spelling out God is Great and a hand drawn map of the Peter’s Projection (the real scale of the mass of continents), to make a complex new picture. The whole work is constructed on a mural scale to make many histories present in one place, to co-exist as if time itself is released of its linearity. The artist has made an immense effort to mesh time, place and ideologies, she suggests “the distortion of the swastika as well of the continents symbolizes the impact of religious and national fundamentalisms on the planet, the subtle differences between the two shades of red and green jewels are metaphors for the invisible but impactful differences between catholic and protestant, shia and sunni etc... the piece alludes as much to the formation of Israel as to the current violence in the Middle East as the on going result of the partitions of India and Pakistan, Israel and Palestine, both of which happened in 1947.” Her cultural remapping of unfixing symbols, unhinging movements and a call for a hybrid Internationality, liberates meaning beyond particular questions. In occluding and undoing and a purposefully haptic affect in the materials and scale, the work is fabricated into folds of space, time and fundamentalisms. Overall the treatment remains even; it is empathetic to the kitsch, labour orientated and the decorative to define difference and, most importantly, that which is ethically marked. Text Shaheen Merali
Born 1960 in Hamburg (Germany) Lives and works in Düsseldorf (Germany)
Born 1985 Lives and works in Cologne (Germany)
Born 1982 in Karl-Marx-Stadt (East Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Born 1962 in Newark, New Jersey (USA) Died 2014 Douglas Kolk made his name as an illustrator. He first worked with small sheets of paper. The works in the Peters-Messer collection from the 1990s are characteristic of that. Later, he also tended towards larger formats and designed comprehensive collages. His early works usually contain individual memos that Kolk fashioned with his favourite instruments, the pencil and the marker. The linear contours, added sparingly, maintain the fragmentary character of the work, as do the colourfully washed shapes and surfaces. Some of his drawings remind the beholder of comic-book art, especially when words and arrows are sprinkled throughout. Influences from pop culture can also be found in the meticulously executed pencil drawing #-We hate ya World -# (1996/97), which presents its globe-shaped statement like an advertising signet. Some exponents have pointed to Kolk’s closeness to Raymond Pettibon, but Kolk usually dispensed with the denser kinds of texts that often accompany Pettibon’s works like excerpts from some fantastical tales. In their deliberately artless nature, many of Kolk’s drawings remind the beholder of naive scribblings. Kolk’s pictures may seem to have been thrown together playfully, but they are always characterised by traces of very intimate and very personal emotion. Some allusions, at first incomprehensible, can be seen as painful confrontations with the drugs in his past and the fears and experiences that went with them. On the whole, his works live from their double nature as both public symbol and private record. They are notes that he must have intended to capture memories, make emotions visible and register present suffering. They open up a wide spectrum of associations. His drawings seem accessible because they are close to familiar concepts from pop art, advertising and even children’s paintings. On the other hand, however, they arouse our curiosity because, in their unfamiliar allusions, fragmentary design and unusual image compositions, they are disconcerting. They allow us to rediscover and reinterpret something that, at first, seems both artless and familiar. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1966 in Montreal (Canada) Lives and works in London (UK) Susan Turcot works in drawing and sculpting. Her pencil drawings examine places, situations and events, transforming them into richly imagined inventions. Everyday processes turn out to be mysterious happenings; everyday disasters take on the air of absurd contrivances. Her drawings capture with a playful ephemerality that which seems to be escaping from the observer’s gaze. The drawings #-Commodities #2-# and the Series #-Self Service-#, created in 2004, are characteristic for the peculiarity of her artistic process. Their titles promise a sequence of representations capturing the quotidian experiences of modern everyday life. Yet the enigmatic drawings seem to describe neither the activities of modern consumption nor forms of self-realization. This impression is further heightened by the style of drawing employed by the artist. The light pencil strokes transmute the observed into spontaneous notes. What the artist is capturing is merely hinted at. The unsettled gaze that the artist generates is amplified by the forceful, impulsive strokes that attack, as it were, the drawn image from the margins of the sheet. The dual effect of refined pencil strokes and psychic spontaneity lends the drawings their particular power. We can neither unambiguously recognise what the artist describes in her lightly-drawn visual idiom – are people moving about in a quarry or the ruins of a destroyed home? Are we witnessing a traffic accident? Nor is it clear why the drawing motion suddenly tips into wild agitation. Does the artist wish to express the intense emotion that the observed scene triggers? Or does she want to cross out what upsets her? In Turcot’s drawings, the known becomes the unknown. Each drawing seems to be a random snippet from an event whose story remains unknown to us. We attempt to apprehend the event by looking closely at it, yet in the end we are uncomprehendingly captivated by it. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1968 in Munich (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) Florian Baudrexels Skulpturen, Installationen und Wandreliefs sind geballte Energie. Als dichte Ansammlungen geometrischer Elemente aus Gips, Pappe und anderen Alltagsmaterialien schieben sie sich dem Betrachter entgegen. Sie fordern den physischen Dialog und verkörpern zugleich eine geistige Dimension: Ihre Vorbilder sind die Ikonen der klassischen Moderne. Baudrexel bedient sich der Bildsprache des frühen 20. Jahrhunderts, indem er die Zusammensetzung einzelner abstrakter Formen sorgfältig abwägt und sie zu einem stimmigen Ganzen kombiniert. Temperament und Ratio verbindet er zu symbiotischen Einheiten, die sich in einem energiegeladenen Schwebezustand zwischen Malerei und Skulptur befinden. Baudrexels Umgang mit dem Material geht auf das kompositorische Feingefühl des Konstruktivismus zurück, wie es etwa von Wladimir Tatlin und Alexander Rodtschenko erprobt wurde. Gleichzeitig erinnert die Dynamik der Arrangements an die laute Bildsprache der Futuristen, an Giacomo Ballas oder Umberto Boccionis kraftstrotzende Figuren und ekstatische Situationen. Auch die Verwendung von Pappe evoziert einen Heroen der Avantgarde: Als billiges Alltagsmaterial tauchte sie schon zu Dada-Zeiten bei Kurt Schwitters auf, und auch heute wird sie immer wieder künstlerisch verwendet, etwa bei Manfred Pernice und Thomas Hirschhorn. Deutlich ist auch der Einfluss Frank Stellas, dessen Werk sich von den frühen, streng strukturierten „Shaped Canvases“ zu geometrisch-barocken Wandinszenierungen entwickelte. Baudrexel kopiert jedoch die Errungenschaften seiner Vorläufer nicht, sondern er modifiziert und überträgt sie in eine gestalterische Sprache des 21. Jahrhunderts. Von besonderer Bedeutung sind die Titel der Arbeiten. „Forces of the Power“ (2004) wirkt wie ein Symbol übermenschlicher Kräfte, ähnlich moderner Motive wie Auto oder Maschine, die bei den Futuristen eine zentrale Rolle spielten. Baudrexel schließt damit die figürliche Assoziation in seinem Werk nicht aus, sondern setzt sie sogar bewusst ein, um seinen Gebilden eine rhetorische Sprache zu verleihen: Die bloße Form birgt das Potential, zur Figur zu werden und umgekehrt. Damit sind sie Vexierbilder im doppelten Sinne: Sie begreifen sich nicht nur als Objekte, die zwischen Zwei- und Dreidimensionalität hin- und herkippen, sondern bewegen sich an der Grenze zwischen Abstraktion und Assoziation.
Born 1962 in Newark, New Jersey (USA) Died 2014 Douglas Kolk made his name as an illustrator. He first worked with small sheets of paper. The works in the Peters-Messer collection from the 1990s are characteristic of that. Later, he also tended towards larger formats and designed comprehensive collages. His early works usually contain individual memos that Kolk fashioned with his favourite instruments, the pencil and the marker. The linear contours, added sparingly, maintain the fragmentary character of the work, as do the colourfully washed shapes and surfaces. Some of his drawings remind the beholder of comic-book art, especially when words and arrows are sprinkled throughout. Influences from pop culture can also be found in the meticulously executed pencil drawing #-We hate ya World -# (1996/97), which presents its globe-shaped statement like an advertising signet. Some exponents have pointed to Kolk’s closeness to Raymond Pettibon, but Kolk usually dispensed with the denser kinds of texts that often accompany Pettibon’s works like excerpts from some fantastical tales. In their deliberately artless nature, many of Kolk’s drawings remind the beholder of naive scribblings. Kolk’s pictures may seem to have been thrown together playfully, but they are always characterised by traces of very intimate and very personal emotion. Some allusions, at first incomprehensible, can be seen as painful confrontations with the drugs in his past and the fears and experiences that went with them. On the whole, his works live from their double nature as both public symbol and private record. They are notes that he must have intended to capture memories, make emotions visible and register present suffering. They open up a wide spectrum of associations. His drawings seem accessible because they are close to familiar concepts from pop art, advertising and even children’s paintings. On the other hand, however, they arouse our curiosity because, in their unfamiliar allusions, fragmentary design and unusual image compositions, they are disconcerting. They allow us to rediscover and reinterpret something that, at first, seems both artless and familiar. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1971 in Lima (Peru) Lives and works in Houston, Miami, NY (USA) Feingliedrig und gleichzeitig rau wirken die Papierarbeiten des 1971 in Peru geborenen und heute in den USA lebenden Künstlers William Cordova. Filigrane Linien von Kugelschreiber, Bleistift oder Pinsel und collagenartig zusammengefügte Elemente formen dabei teils abstrakte Muster, teils figürliche Zeichnungen. Als Ausgangsmaterial dieser Arbeiten verwendet Cordova vorrangig gefundene Dinge, wie Papierreste oder herausgetrennte Buch- und Magazinseiten. Neben den zweidimensionalen Werken gestaltet Cordova Installationen und Objekte, die ebenfalls weitgehend aus armen Materialien und ausrangierten Gebrauchsgegenständen bestehen. Mit der Wiederverwendung solcher Relikte, die als Abfall ausgesondert und dem Vergessen preisgegeben werden sollten, unternimmt Cordova einen Akt der Konservierung: „The use of found materials is not to erase, transform and make a new but to emphasize the content(s) already existing within that used or found material.“ Einen wesentlichen Impuls seines künstlerischen Schaffens stellen kulturelle Differenzen, Verbindungen und Übergänge dar – ein Thema, das stark von Cordovas eigener, transkultureller Biografie geprägt ist, die ihn von Lima/Peru über Miami/Florida zu verschiedenen Wohn- und Aufenthaltsorten in Amerika und Europa führte. Er selbst bezeichnet seine Arbeiten daher als „a result of being in two worlds at the same time, but never being whole in either one.“ In seinen Werken spiegelt sich diese kulturelle Mobilität in der Verknüpfung von Mustern, Symbolen und Motiven, die sowohl Cordovas peruanische Wurzeln berühren und traditionelle oder historische Referenzen darstellen als auch das moderne Leben amerikanischer Großstädte und deren vitale Subkulturen reflektieren. So erinnert das in einigen seiner collagierten Zeichnungen verwendete Blattgold gleichermaßen an das legendäre Gold der Inka und die Kultur der südamerikanischen Ureinwohner wie auch an die Ikonenmalerei des Christentums, das die religiöse Praxis in Peru seit der spanischen Eroberung im 16. Jahrhundert prägt. Eine ebenfalls ambivalente Bedeutung kommt den vielfach dargestellten an Lautsprecherboxen erinnernden Kästen zu (etwa in Before there was anything there was…Elvis?, 2003). Sie sind, ebenso wie die häufig verwendeten Motive von Mikrophonen, Kabeln, Kassettenrekordern oder Schallplatten als Symbol einer musikalischen Praxis lesbar, die seit jeher als Mittel der Kommunikation, aber auch der Selbstdefinition verschiedener kultureller Gruppen dient. Gleichzeitig spielen die Boxen auf das Cajón an, ein afro-peruanisches, perkussives Musikinstrument, das aus einem hochformatigen, hölzernen Quader besteht und damit der Form eines Lautsprechers ähnelt. In derartigen Details artikuliert sich eine im Wesentlichen von Immigranten und ihren Traditionen geprägte Kultur, die am Rand des urbanen Lebens gesellschaftliche Relikte für sich wiederbelebt und gleichzeitig einen Widerstand zur USamerikanischen Mainstreamkultur ausbildet. Ein weiteres, vielfach dargestelltes Motiv in Cordovas Arbeiten sind teilweise zerstörte Autos und Karosserieteile wie etwa in I wan you to Cum in my Ass (2001). Diese Zivilisationsreste können als Verweis auf städtische Randgebiete gelesen werden, die oftmals von verlassenen Orten und ärmlichen Verhältnissen geprägt sind. In ihrer vom Umfeld isolierten Darstellung gewinnen sie jedoch an ästhetischem Wert und Aura. So stellt auch die Arbeit Tin can flattened (2006) – eine blaue, zusammen gedrückte Dose mit silbern gesprenkelter Oberfläche – einerseits schlicht ein Abfallprodukt dar, andererseits lässt das ovale Objekt leicht die erhabene Weite eines nächtlichen Sternenhimmels assoziieren. Indem Cordova verschiedene, historisch geprägte Lebens- und Kulturformen mit Facetten der Konsumgesellschaft verquickt, gelingen ihm subtile Bildergeschichten, die stets mehrere Bedeutungen implizieren und Aspekte kultureller Überschneidungen, aber auch Divergenzen beleuchten. Dorothea Klein
Born 1975 in Vancouver (Canada) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) It’s often unclear what exactly is meant when people talk about “Kotti”. In general, it is a slang term for the area around Berlin underground station Kottbusser Tor, where the lines U8 and U1 meet. Sometimes the station itself is being referred to, and sometimes it refers to the brutal tower blocks that loom over Adalbertstrasse. The “Kreuzberg Zentrum”, as it is known, was designed by the architects Wolfgang Jokisch and Johannes Uhl and built between 1969 and 1974. Larissa Fassler’s large-format collage of digitalised drawings showcase this legendary Berlin location in a fascinating way. The artist is famous for her customised cartography of urban areas which thousands of people traverse every day. However, the base is not made up of plans, layouts or archive research but rather by the weary process of measuring a public space using one’s own body, steps, arms and finger lengths or hand widths, allowing the location to be portrayed in all it’s confusing urban complexity and contradictions.
Born 1979 in Fribourg (Switzerland) Lives and works in Zurich (Switzerland)
Born 1953 in Paris (France) Lives and works in Malakoff near Paris and in New York (USA)
Born 1979 in Fribourg (Switzerland) Lives and works in Zurich (Switzerland)
Born 1954 in Geldern (Germany) Lives and works in Düsseldorf (Germany) Leverkusen is a “small big city” near Cologne, known for the headquarters of the chemical group Bayer and its football club named after the chemical giant. You could imagine more exciting places. But that is exactly what evidently appealed Thomas Struth: its absolute ordinariness. The photographer, who first studied painting with Gerhard Richter and later photography with Bernd Becher at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf, does not look for the extraordinary in this series of “unconscious places”, from which the exhibited work originates, but rather for its opposite. His interest was in what usually passes you by, without you even perceiving it since it is too much a part of your own reality, too profane, too familiar. With his large-format camera, Struth has photographed European, American and Asian streets, residential buildings and urban structures, all in black and white and always deserted. With poetic precision and the keen eye of the analyst, in this way he deciphers the strange world in which we feel at home.
Born 1981 in Erfurt (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) In the spring of 2011, Julian Röder visited the largest arms trade fair in the Middle East, which is held every two years in Abu Dhabi. The event draws arms dealers, military brass and weapons manufacturers – some 50,000 people in all – interested in perusing the latest developments in weaponry and expanding their arsenals. Specialised weapons systems for every conceivable military deployment scenario down to street combat are on offer. Röder had himself accredited as a journalist, reasoning that “an artistically oriented photographer without a media organisation behind him would have had a much harder time gaining access”. With the accreditation, he was able to document the event with a series of photographs. His pictures show the everyday existence of an arms show, from bombastic weapons demonstrations to bizarre arrangements of gleaming gold shells, solicitous salesmen, attractive hostesses and fascinated visitors. The usual organisation of a sales trade fair combines with the elaborate presentation of air shows with combat helicopters and military jets, which Röder captures as a panoramic landscape. The multifaceted selection that he presents provides insights into the economic structure of a capitalistic world in which everything becomes a good and everything can be bought and sold. It reveals the seductive appeal that the weapons cast upon the visitors, as well as the fanciful gaze of the buyers attracted by them. But the selection also shows the wearying sequence of sales stands and the desolation of repetitive sales pitches. The alarming combines with the quotidian. Röder offers no explanatory interpretation, no revelatory accusations. He creates a documentary sequence of images that seems to emerge from a random selection. He places the observer in the role of a spectator whose gaze floats from one attraction to the next, moving in a trade-fair showcase in which war and violence are reduced to a banal business transaction. Our growing unease emerges from the recognition of how our perception simultaneously reveals our inability adequately to grasp, and respond to, what we are seeing. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1979 in Neunkirchen/Saar (Germany) Lives and works in Cologne (Germany)
Born 1970 in Hamburg (Germany) Lives and works in Düsseldorf (Germany) Man mag sie für Bauarbeiten halten, oder für die Ruinen eines zerlegten Einfamilienhauses von Gordon Matta-Clark. Doch die wuchtigen Rigipsplatten, die sich wie ungeheuerliche Körper durch Raum und Wände schieben, sind Skulpturen von ebenso zerstörerischer wie bildnerischer Gewalt. Die Arbeiten des Düsseldorfer Bildhauers Felix Schramm besitzen eine subtile Eleganz: Trotz ihrer Brachialität suchen sie nicht bloß den Dialog mit der vorgegebenen Architektur, sondern sie behaupten sich mühelos darin.

Die krude zersplitterten Ränder des in Weiß oder gedeckten Farbtönen gehaltenen Baumaterials können nicht über die konzentrierte Komposition hinwegtäuschen, mit der die einzelnen Teile einer Installation zusammengefügt und im Raum platziert sind. Auch in den kleineren Skulpturen, die zuweilen in Verbindung mit technischen Utensilien – wie in „I-A2“ (2006) mit einem schrottreifen, elliptisch kreisenden Plattenspieler – eine wunderliche Eigenständigkeit erhalten, zeigt sich Schramms Sensibilität im Umgang mit Material und dessen Anordnung: Handlich ineinander geschobene Bauelemente werden zu zierlichen architektonischen Relikten, die – begleitet von einer dekonstruktivistischen Gestik – die Sprache von Fertighäusern sprechen.
Born 1968 in Helmond (The Netherlands) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) Sie wirken wie deformierte Modelle von Nachkriegsmonumenten, wie man sie in Fußgängerzonen und auf Verkehrsinseln der alten Bundesrepublik findet. Doch im Gegensatz zur groben Wuchtigkeit etwa von Wolf Vostells eingemauertem Cadillac am Berliner Kurfürstendamm ist der Beton in den Skulpturen von Jeroen Jacobs das Resultat eines leidenschaftlichen Spielers. Die Gussformen, die der Jacobs aus Plastikfolien zusammensetzt, dienen offenbar allein dazu, die zähe Masse zum Eigenleben aufzufordern. Was daraus erwächst, sind verblüffend elegante Gebilde, die sich aus einem groben Rumpf herauswinden und mit fast gekünstelten Gesten in den Raum hinein deuten. Die verführerisch glatte Außenhaut platzt an einigen Stellen auf und lässt das poröse Material darunter wie rohes Fleisch hervorquellen. Doch der Bewegungsdrang findet bricht abrupt ab, sobald die Masse fest wird. Und damit haftet den Skulpturen etwas Melancholisches an, wie es stillstehende Momente nun einmal mit sich bringen. Auf Sockeln oder direkt auf dem Fußboden präsentiert, mal im Handtaschenformat, mal gestreckt bis knapp unter die Deckenlampe, wirken sie wie ein monumentales, beinahe unheimliches Ensemble aus in Baumasse festsitzenden Arbeitsutensilien, zerbrochenen Architekturmodellen und Überresten eines Vulkanausbruchs. Und obwohl der Mensch nicht auftaucht, sitzt sein geisterhafter Firnis auf den Oberflächen: Jacobs zeigt, dass Beton nicht nur verspielt, sondern auch durchaus sinnlich daherkommen kann.
Born 1972 in Moscow (Russia), raised in Minden/Westfphalia (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) In 2004 Viktoria Binschtok undertook several photographic forays through New York. For the series #-LVNY-#, she photographed the handbags of passers-by. Her gaze has fallen solely on bags from the company Louis Vuitton, hence the title of the eleven-photo series. In an idiosyncratic way, the artist combines the intentions of staged fashion photography with the randomness of documentary-style photography, the strictly conceptual procedure with the happenstance of a lucky shot. The resulting photographs neither appear to be located solely in advertising photography nor are they content to offer a situational reproduction of a sudden moment of perception. In the precision of their colours and clarity, the individual photographs take on the form of aesthetic arrangements. The near-vision of the photographs serve to abstractify them somewhat: they resemble compositional structures of colour. We see people and objects in magnified detail. Yet at the same time, with the constantly changing flow of passers-by, the images can be seen as capturing a fleeting street scene that eludes the lingering gaze. Binschtok’s photographs derive their haunting effect from these contrasts. Her photographic approach is based on familiar patterns. On the one hand, we have the eye-catching, unusual colour shots that are used in advertising photography. On the other hand, also present are the familiar anonymous street scenes of a bustling metropolis. The peculiar nature of the images loses the flair of the unexpected. The fashion item becomes an ever-recurring accessory and therefore an accessory as faceless as the people who wear it. The city becomes an anonymous place without individual character. The photographer carefully stages photographs that play with our expectations. They arouse our desires and disappoint them at the same time, forcing us to think about our preconceived patterns of perception. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1967 in Sydney (Australia) Lives and works in New York, NY (USA) Bjarne Melgaard lives and works in New York and is considered – not only in his homeland – the most important contemporary Norwegian artist. He is a master of provocation and of breaching taboos who, in his exhibitions – unchecked installations of painting, sculpture, ready-mades and textual expression – explores the mental depths of humanity with an explicitly masculine, even brutal, vigour. The impudent painting #-I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society-# is no different. Its drastic aesthetic harks backs to forms of anti-art, to works by Dubuffet, to Basquiat or to the graffitied messages you see on urban walls and fences. There can be no doubt that Melgaard is picking up where this rebellious art form left off, an art form that aims to grab the attention. The obvious spelling mistake could thus be blamed on haste, but that interpretation would miss the multidimensional ways the work can be read. It not only cites the artwork that is graffiti, turning it into a pastose arrangement of colour, but also the impulsive forms of expression that we know from action painting. The aggressively applied paint marks, the frantic placing of the letters underscore the rebellious subjectivity of an artistic act of painting. The vulgar goes hand-in-hand with spontaneity of design, the random with considered placement. In stark letters, the picture demands your attention and expressly insists on being acknowledged. Is it the artist himself demanding validation and integration for his individuality and his self-image – because he is part of the society that surrounds and shapes him, and not an outsider? Or is Melgaard giving art itself a voice it can use to demand recognition, despite content that attacks aesthetic sensibilities? – The sentence “I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society” typifies a torn society that blanks out and marginalises whatever doesn’t match the norm, whatever it doesn't understand or finds ugly, even though those things merely reflect the values and behaviours found in society itself. The work is thus an angry plea to reject the affirmative character of elaborated art. Text: Sarah Lemmermann
Born 1982 in Pontevedra (Spain) Lives and works in Madrid (Spain) EDUCACIÓN 2009 Seminario “Tumulto y medida en la pintura (un taller de práctica pictórica desde el punto de vista de la sospecha)” impartido por Luis Candaudap en BilbaoArte 2008 Licenciado en Bellas Artes, Universidad del País Vasco Bilbao 2005 Lupa e Imán, Taller sobre la práctica artística desde la experiencia pictórica Coordinado por Iñaki Imaz, Arteleku, Donostia-San Sebastián 2001-04 Facultad de Bellas Artesde Pontevedra Universidad de Vigo 2001 Curso de dibujo al natural en St. Martins College, Londres Curso de imprimación en Chelsea College, Londres EXPOSICIONES INDIVIDUALES 2016 Kiko Pérez, CarrerasMugica, Bilbao 2015 Makulatur, Galería Heinrich Ehrhardt, Madrid 2012 Lo nuestro: from me to you, La Casa Encendida, Madrid Kiko Pérez, Bourouina Gallery, Berlín, Alemania 2011 hola-por favor-gracias-hasta luego, Galería Heinrich Ehrhardt, Madrid Chispas, New Positions project, Art Cologne, Cologne, Alemania Cohetes (with Elena Aitzkoa), Torre de Ariz, Basauri, España 2010 Kiko Pérez (with Iñaki Imaz), Galería Carreras Múgica, Bilbao EXPOSICIONES COLECTIVAS 2015 (1/1).10, Galerie Tatjana Pieters 2013 El boceto del mundo, MARCO, Vigo Visible, móvil, vidente, centro Párraga, Murcia 2012 Esta puerta pide clavo, comisariada por RIVET, Galerie Tatjana Pieters, Gante, Bélgica 2011 Cohetes (con Elena Aitzkoa), Torre de Ariz, Basauri, España 2010 Antes que todo/Before Everything, CA2M, Madrid Bienal de Pontevedra, España. Intervención en Villagarcía de Arousa Pintura? Cuatro respuestas: Secundino Hernández, Nano 4814, Kiko Pérez y Michael Swaney, Galería Adhoc, Vigo
Born 1979 in Tampere (Finland) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Born 1970 in Sancti Spíritus (Cuba) Lives and works in Dusseldorf (Germany)
Born 1979 in London (Great Britain), grew up in Berlin Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) A group of an anonymous brigade of five helmets may make one immediately think of a police force or a motorbike gang. Only upon longer contemplation do the differences that give each of the uniformly painted helmets a characteristic expression of its own – a “face” – become clear. Do they stand for protection or menace? Mounted as they are on black metal poles, the group of sculptures have a veritably warlike appearance. The helmets recall heads on spikes, or trophies. Their shiny surface and apparent lightness mean that they could also be part of a puppet theatre, however. The artist’s paintings, which will be presented in an extra artistic space from November, appear at first glance like shards of glass on a white background – scattered, ambiguous splinters of colour, without context, randomly spread, incomplete. Riethmann uses oils to make realistic representations of bodies in male clothing. In doing so, he succeeds in showing movement, gesture and even feelings such as rage and aggression in all their rawness, while at the same time not revealing anything more than he must. On the contrary, he invites the observer to fill the white space with their own associations and to recall their own memories – of violence, rebellion or fear – that may seem long familiar to them, but that do not yet have a name or a face. By anonymising his figures, by leaving the gaps he does, Riethmann creates a distance between us and the people he seems to be showing. Without any context to explain what is happening, without allowing any empathy or sympathy, the artist opens up a new way of looking at human actions. The observer is given the opportunity to let the fragments speak for themselves and to interpret their relationship to one another. Text: Mirka Gewinner
Born 1981 Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Born 1978 in Tehran (Iran) Lives and works in Paris (France) und Tehran (Iran) “Respect for the truth, the preservation of human dignity and providing information to the public in a truthful manner are the highest imperatives of the press.” – the fundamental principles of journalism in Germany are stated in Article 1 of the German Press Code. This is why pictures of killings, torture and executions are rarely distributed by state media channels in Germany. The need to fully inform the public about important events is sometimes in conflict with other values, such as the preservation of human dignity. But what information and pictures may and must be shown? To what extent is publication mandatory in order to allow individuals to independently form opinions? Arash Hanaei was born in Iran. His work #-Death of a Photographer-# is a work that addresses these issues. It consists of a five-page transcript printed on slightly glossy metallic photo paper. The reduction in the work’s form stands in stark contrast to its shocking content. Soldiers in active deployment are clearly firing their weapons at human targets. They talk at the same time, using aliases to address each other. They assume the people they are attacking are a group of armed insurgents without apparently having any indication that this might actually be the case. The cynical comments of the soldiers bring to mind a perverted computer game. Yet the attack is real. In a Baghdad air raid on 12 July, 2007, several people were targeted and killed by two American helicopter crews, among them two Reuters Iraqi war correspondents. The soldiers did not recognize them as journalists from a distance. In military jargon, the euphemistic term “collateral damage” is used. The dramatic video footage was first made public by WikiLeaks. It unleashed worldwide outrage. The American soldier Bradley Manning was arrested as a suspected informant and subsequently found guilty of disclosing state secrets. In a time of “alternative facts” in which journalistic work is increasingly being discredited and fake news reports spread rapidly via social media, it is important to be vigilant. Arash Hanaei has created in this sense a highly disturbing work. He does not show the “leaked” video footage of the shooting but rather makes the linguistic record fully accessible. #-Death of a Photographer-# is both a contemporary document and an aesthetic approach. The shock-inducing effect is consciously used to rouse the viewer and, in the best case, to enlighten them. Text: Ingo Clauß
Born 1944 in Paris (France) Lives and works in Malakoff near Paris
Born 1966 in Montreal (Canada) Lives and works in London (UK) Susan Turcot works in drawing and sculpting. Her pencil drawings examine places, situations and events, transforming them into richly imagined inventions. Everyday processes turn out to be mysterious happenings; everyday disasters take on the air of absurd contrivances. Her drawings capture with a playful ephemerality that which seems to be escaping from the observer’s gaze. The drawings #-Commodities #2-# and the Series #-Self Service-#, created in 2004, are characteristic for the peculiarity of her artistic process. Their titles promise a sequence of representations capturing the quotidian experiences of modern everyday life. Yet the enigmatic drawings seem to describe neither the activities of modern consumption nor forms of self-realization. This impression is further heightened by the style of drawing employed by the artist. The light pencil strokes transmute the observed into spontaneous notes. What the artist is capturing is merely hinted at. The unsettled gaze that the artist generates is amplified by the forceful, impulsive strokes that attack, as it were, the drawn image from the margins of the sheet. The dual effect of refined pencil strokes and psychic spontaneity lends the drawings their particular power. We can neither unambiguously recognise what the artist describes in her lightly-drawn visual idiom – are people moving about in a quarry or the ruins of a destroyed home? Are we witnessing a traffic accident? Nor is it clear why the drawing motion suddenly tips into wild agitation. Does the artist wish to express the intense emotion that the observed scene triggers? Or does she want to cross out what upsets her? In Turcot’s drawings, the known becomes the unknown. Each drawing seems to be a random snippet from an event whose story remains unknown to us. We attempt to apprehend the event by looking closely at it, yet in the end we are uncomprehendingly captivated by it. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1957 in Bern (Switzerland) Lives and works in Paris (France) “To be an artist is not a question of form or content, it is a question of responsibility.” Thomas Hirschhorn’s radical claim confusingly supplements the flood of images in his collages and the material battles that take place in his massive, overflowing installations. The use of found materials, reminiscent of Arte Povera, as well as the relentless use of various kinds of images from the Internet and other sources characterise the work and approach of Hirschhorn, a Swiss artist living in Paris. Despite the heterogeneity of the elements Hirschhorn uses, in the end he always creates something organic, a kind of “bricolage”, a concretion of “wild thinking” that can connect one thing with another in a meaningful way. The work #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is indicative of this ambitious approach. #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is a sculptural structure constructed out of three tables arranged on top of one another, which engender thoroughly mixed emotions. Hirschhorn has formed numerous pointed cones out of aluminium foil and thereby has created a kind of dripstone cave in the space between the two upper tables. Indeed, the conical shapes are reminiscent of metallic stalagmites and stalactites. But their tips are dyed red and now look like bloody fangs in the mouth of a Tyrannosaurus cyborg. A kind of red aluminium umbilical cord leads from this ensemble to a wooden plate on the wall, which frames it like a picture. It turns out to be a projection screen for a small finger-like drawing as well as a historical photo showing the end of a mass execution from the 1930/40s in an Alpine location. If we are honest about it: most of the images from the Internet have the character of intestines. They represent something like the “obscene innards of the global media" (David Joselit). Seen in this way, the symbolic stalactite cave with bloody fangs is the mouth of a voracious monster, similar to the leviathan. Some viewers will also be reminded of Kafka’s penal colony, in which the misdemeanours of the condemned were written on their bodies with precise equipment. The text is stabbed deeper and deeper into them – until they die. Indeed, Thomas Hirschhorn transfers his radical demands onto the observers of his works. He expects a lot of them – and that's a good thing. Text: Peter Friese
Born 1979 in Tampere (Finland) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Born 1968 in Deurne (The Netherlands) Lives and works in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Cologne (Germany) Erik van Lieshout talks with people. To create his videos, which are mostly embedded in large-format installations and their accompanying drawings, van Lieshout goes to where people are hurting. He goes into so-called problem districts, sniffs around in basements, sets himself up in a shopping centre – and draws again and again an impressively honest and at times ruthless portrait of our society from the edges. His videos are always charming and almost naïve in their own way and this has a lot to do with the kind of person van Lieshout is. He reveals himself frankly, shows no fear of coming into contact with others and never shirks responsibility. This is also the case in his video installation #-Rotterdam-Rostock-# (2006), which was presented in a container in 2006 at the 6th Berlin Biennale, as well as the accompanying drawing #-Deutschland Ziel-# (2005). Van Lieshout rode his bike from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea across Germany, the whole time prattling away into the microphone about his own ideas and prejudices about Germany. He sat down with people on their sofas and took stock of a country that is still characterised by xenophobia and prejudice, a country that was anything but “united” 15 years after reunification.
Born 1971 in Lima (Peru) Lives and works in Houston, Miami, NY (USA) Feingliedrig und gleichzeitig rau wirken die Papierarbeiten des 1971 in Peru geborenen und heute in den USA lebenden Künstlers William Cordova. Filigrane Linien von Kugelschreiber, Bleistift oder Pinsel und collagenartig zusammengefügte Elemente formen dabei teils abstrakte Muster, teils figürliche Zeichnungen. Als Ausgangsmaterial dieser Arbeiten verwendet Cordova vorrangig gefundene Dinge, wie Papierreste oder herausgetrennte Buch- und Magazinseiten. Neben den zweidimensionalen Werken gestaltet Cordova Installationen und Objekte, die ebenfalls weitgehend aus armen Materialien und ausrangierten Gebrauchsgegenständen bestehen. Mit der Wiederverwendung solcher Relikte, die als Abfall ausgesondert und dem Vergessen preisgegeben werden sollten, unternimmt Cordova einen Akt der Konservierung: „The use of found materials is not to erase, transform and make a new but to emphasize the content(s) already existing within that used or found material.“ Einen wesentlichen Impuls seines künstlerischen Schaffens stellen kulturelle Differenzen, Verbindungen und Übergänge dar – ein Thema, das stark von Cordovas eigener, transkultureller Biografie geprägt ist, die ihn von Lima/Peru über Miami/Florida zu verschiedenen Wohn- und Aufenthaltsorten in Amerika und Europa führte. Er selbst bezeichnet seine Arbeiten daher als „a result of being in two worlds at the same time, but never being whole in either one.“ In seinen Werken spiegelt sich diese kulturelle Mobilität in der Verknüpfung von Mustern, Symbolen und Motiven, die sowohl Cordovas peruanische Wurzeln berühren und traditionelle oder historische Referenzen darstellen als auch das moderne Leben amerikanischer Großstädte und deren vitale Subkulturen reflektieren. So erinnert das in einigen seiner collagierten Zeichnungen verwendete Blattgold gleichermaßen an das legendäre Gold der Inka und die Kultur der südamerikanischen Ureinwohner wie auch an die Ikonenmalerei des Christentums, das die religiöse Praxis in Peru seit der spanischen Eroberung im 16. Jahrhundert prägt. Eine ebenfalls ambivalente Bedeutung kommt den vielfach dargestellten an Lautsprecherboxen erinnernden Kästen zu (etwa in Before there was anything there was…Elvis?, 2003). Sie sind, ebenso wie die häufig verwendeten Motive von Mikrophonen, Kabeln, Kassettenrekordern oder Schallplatten als Symbol einer musikalischen Praxis lesbar, die seit jeher als Mittel der Kommunikation, aber auch der Selbstdefinition verschiedener kultureller Gruppen dient. Gleichzeitig spielen die Boxen auf das Cajón an, ein afro-peruanisches, perkussives Musikinstrument, das aus einem hochformatigen, hölzernen Quader besteht und damit der Form eines Lautsprechers ähnelt. In derartigen Details artikuliert sich eine im Wesentlichen von Immigranten und ihren Traditionen geprägte Kultur, die am Rand des urbanen Lebens gesellschaftliche Relikte für sich wiederbelebt und gleichzeitig einen Widerstand zur USamerikanischen Mainstreamkultur ausbildet. Ein weiteres, vielfach dargestelltes Motiv in Cordovas Arbeiten sind teilweise zerstörte Autos und Karosserieteile wie etwa in I wan you to Cum in my Ass (2001). Diese Zivilisationsreste können als Verweis auf städtische Randgebiete gelesen werden, die oftmals von verlassenen Orten und ärmlichen Verhältnissen geprägt sind. In ihrer vom Umfeld isolierten Darstellung gewinnen sie jedoch an ästhetischem Wert und Aura. So stellt auch die Arbeit Tin can flattened (2006) – eine blaue, zusammen gedrückte Dose mit silbern gesprenkelter Oberfläche – einerseits schlicht ein Abfallprodukt dar, andererseits lässt das ovale Objekt leicht die erhabene Weite eines nächtlichen Sternenhimmels assoziieren. Indem Cordova verschiedene, historisch geprägte Lebens- und Kulturformen mit Facetten der Konsumgesellschaft verquickt, gelingen ihm subtile Bildergeschichten, die stets mehrere Bedeutungen implizieren und Aspekte kultureller Überschneidungen, aber auch Divergenzen beleuchten. Dorothea Klein
Born 1962 in Newark, New Jersey (USA) Died 2014 Douglas Kolk made his name as an illustrator. He first worked with small sheets of paper. The works in the Peters-Messer collection from the 1990s are characteristic of that. Later, he also tended towards larger formats and designed comprehensive collages. His early works usually contain individual memos that Kolk fashioned with his favourite instruments, the pencil and the marker. The linear contours, added sparingly, maintain the fragmentary character of the work, as do the colourfully washed shapes and surfaces. Some of his drawings remind the beholder of comic-book art, especially when words and arrows are sprinkled throughout. Influences from pop culture can also be found in the meticulously executed pencil drawing #-We hate ya World -# (1996/97), which presents its globe-shaped statement like an advertising signet. Some exponents have pointed to Kolk’s closeness to Raymond Pettibon, but Kolk usually dispensed with the denser kinds of texts that often accompany Pettibon’s works like excerpts from some fantastical tales. In their deliberately artless nature, many of Kolk’s drawings remind the beholder of naive scribblings. Kolk’s pictures may seem to have been thrown together playfully, but they are always characterised by traces of very intimate and very personal emotion. Some allusions, at first incomprehensible, can be seen as painful confrontations with the drugs in his past and the fears and experiences that went with them. On the whole, his works live from their double nature as both public symbol and private record. They are notes that he must have intended to capture memories, make emotions visible and register present suffering. They open up a wide spectrum of associations. His drawings seem accessible because they are close to familiar concepts from pop art, advertising and even children’s paintings. On the other hand, however, they arouse our curiosity because, in their unfamiliar allusions, fragmentary design and unusual image compositions, they are disconcerting. They allow us to rediscover and reinterpret something that, at first, seems both artless and familiar. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1957 in Bern (Switzerland) Lives and works in Paris (France) “To be an artist is not a question of form or content, it is a question of responsibility.” Thomas Hirschhorn’s radical claim confusingly supplements the flood of images in his collages and the material battles that take place in his massive, overflowing installations. The use of found materials, reminiscent of Arte Povera, as well as the relentless use of various kinds of images from the Internet and other sources characterise the work and approach of Hirschhorn, a Swiss artist living in Paris. Despite the heterogeneity of the elements Hirschhorn uses, in the end he always creates something organic, a kind of “bricolage”, a concretion of “wild thinking” that can connect one thing with another in a meaningful way. The work #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is indicative of this ambitious approach. #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is a sculptural structure constructed out of three tables arranged on top of one another, which engender thoroughly mixed emotions. Hirschhorn has formed numerous pointed cones out of aluminium foil and thereby has created a kind of dripstone cave in the space between the two upper tables. Indeed, the conical shapes are reminiscent of metallic stalagmites and stalactites. But their tips are dyed red and now look like bloody fangs in the mouth of a Tyrannosaurus cyborg. A kind of red aluminium umbilical cord leads from this ensemble to a wooden plate on the wall, which frames it like a picture. It turns out to be a projection screen for a small finger-like drawing as well as a historical photo showing the end of a mass execution from the 1930/40s in an Alpine location. If we are honest about it: most of the images from the Internet have the character of intestines. They represent something like the “obscene innards of the global media" (David Joselit). Seen in this way, the symbolic stalactite cave with bloody fangs is the mouth of a voracious monster, similar to the leviathan. Some viewers will also be reminded of Kafka’s penal colony, in which the misdemeanours of the condemned were written on their bodies with precise equipment. The text is stabbed deeper and deeper into them – until they die. Indeed, Thomas Hirschhorn transfers his radical demands onto the observers of his works. He expects a lot of them – and that's a good thing. Text: Peter Friese
Born 1970 in Hamburg (Germany) Lives and works in Düsseldorf (Germany) Man mag sie für Bauarbeiten halten, oder für die Ruinen eines zerlegten Einfamilienhauses von Gordon Matta-Clark. Doch die wuchtigen Rigipsplatten, die sich wie ungeheuerliche Körper durch Raum und Wände schieben, sind Skulpturen von ebenso zerstörerischer wie bildnerischer Gewalt. Die Arbeiten des Düsseldorfer Bildhauers Felix Schramm besitzen eine subtile Eleganz: Trotz ihrer Brachialität suchen sie nicht bloß den Dialog mit der vorgegebenen Architektur, sondern sie behaupten sich mühelos darin.

Die krude zersplitterten Ränder des in Weiß oder gedeckten Farbtönen gehaltenen Baumaterials können nicht über die konzentrierte Komposition hinwegtäuschen, mit der die einzelnen Teile einer Installation zusammengefügt und im Raum platziert sind. Auch in den kleineren Skulpturen, die zuweilen in Verbindung mit technischen Utensilien – wie in „I-A2“ (2006) mit einem schrottreifen, elliptisch kreisenden Plattenspieler – eine wunderliche Eigenständigkeit erhalten, zeigt sich Schramms Sensibilität im Umgang mit Material und dessen Anordnung: Handlich ineinander geschobene Bauelemente werden zu zierlichen architektonischen Relikten, die – begleitet von einer dekonstruktivistischen Gestik – die Sprache von Fertighäusern sprechen.
Born 1957 in Bern (Switzerland) Lives and works in Paris (France) “To be an artist is not a question of form or content, it is a question of responsibility.” Thomas Hirschhorn’s radical claim confusingly supplements the flood of images in his collages and the material battles that take place in his massive, overflowing installations. The use of found materials, reminiscent of Arte Povera, as well as the relentless use of various kinds of images from the Internet and other sources characterise the work and approach of Hirschhorn, a Swiss artist living in Paris. Despite the heterogeneity of the elements Hirschhorn uses, in the end he always creates something organic, a kind of “bricolage”, a concretion of “wild thinking” that can connect one thing with another in a meaningful way. The work #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is indicative of this ambitious approach. #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is a sculptural structure constructed out of three tables arranged on top of one another, which engender thoroughly mixed emotions. Hirschhorn has formed numerous pointed cones out of aluminium foil and thereby has created a kind of dripstone cave in the space between the two upper tables. Indeed, the conical shapes are reminiscent of metallic stalagmites and stalactites. But their tips are dyed red and now look like bloody fangs in the mouth of a Tyrannosaurus cyborg. A kind of red aluminium umbilical cord leads from this ensemble to a wooden plate on the wall, which frames it like a picture. It turns out to be a projection screen for a small finger-like drawing as well as a historical photo showing the end of a mass execution from the 1930/40s in an Alpine location. If we are honest about it: most of the images from the Internet have the character of intestines. They represent something like the “obscene innards of the global media" (David Joselit). Seen in this way, the symbolic stalactite cave with bloody fangs is the mouth of a voracious monster, similar to the leviathan. Some viewers will also be reminded of Kafka’s penal colony, in which the misdemeanours of the condemned were written on their bodies with precise equipment. The text is stabbed deeper and deeper into them – until they die. Indeed, Thomas Hirschhorn transfers his radical demands onto the observers of his works. He expects a lot of them – and that's a good thing. Text: Peter Friese
Born 1979 in London (Great Britain), grew up in Berlin Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) A group of an anonymous brigade of five helmets may make one immediately think of a police force or a motorbike gang. Only upon longer contemplation do the differences that give each of the uniformly painted helmets a characteristic expression of its own – a “face” – become clear. Do they stand for protection or menace? Mounted as they are on black metal poles, the group of sculptures have a veritably warlike appearance. The helmets recall heads on spikes, or trophies. Their shiny surface and apparent lightness mean that they could also be part of a puppet theatre, however. The artist’s paintings, which will be presented in an extra artistic space from November, appear at first glance like shards of glass on a white background – scattered, ambiguous splinters of colour, without context, randomly spread, incomplete. Riethmann uses oils to make realistic representations of bodies in male clothing. In doing so, he succeeds in showing movement, gesture and even feelings such as rage and aggression in all their rawness, while at the same time not revealing anything more than he must. On the contrary, he invites the observer to fill the white space with their own associations and to recall their own memories – of violence, rebellion or fear – that may seem long familiar to them, but that do not yet have a name or a face. By anonymising his figures, by leaving the gaps he does, Riethmann creates a distance between us and the people he seems to be showing. Without any context to explain what is happening, without allowing any empathy or sympathy, the artist opens up a new way of looking at human actions. The observer is given the opportunity to let the fragments speak for themselves and to interpret their relationship to one another. Text: Mirka Gewinner
Born 1957 in Bern (Switzerland) Lives and works in Paris (France) “To be an artist is not a question of form or content, it is a question of responsibility.” Thomas Hirschhorn’s radical claim confusingly supplements the flood of images in his collages and the material battles that take place in his massive, overflowing installations. The use of found materials, reminiscent of Arte Povera, as well as the relentless use of various kinds of images from the Internet and other sources characterise the work and approach of Hirschhorn, a Swiss artist living in Paris. Despite the heterogeneity of the elements Hirschhorn uses, in the end he always creates something organic, a kind of “bricolage”, a concretion of “wild thinking” that can connect one thing with another in a meaningful way. The work #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is indicative of this ambitious approach. #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is a sculptural structure constructed out of three tables arranged on top of one another, which engender thoroughly mixed emotions. Hirschhorn has formed numerous pointed cones out of aluminium foil and thereby has created a kind of dripstone cave in the space between the two upper tables. Indeed, the conical shapes are reminiscent of metallic stalagmites and stalactites. But their tips are dyed red and now look like bloody fangs in the mouth of a Tyrannosaurus cyborg. A kind of red aluminium umbilical cord leads from this ensemble to a wooden plate on the wall, which frames it like a picture. It turns out to be a projection screen for a small finger-like drawing as well as a historical photo showing the end of a mass execution from the 1930/40s in an Alpine location. If we are honest about it: most of the images from the Internet have the character of intestines. They represent something like the “obscene innards of the global media" (David Joselit). Seen in this way, the symbolic stalactite cave with bloody fangs is the mouth of a voracious monster, similar to the leviathan. Some viewers will also be reminded of Kafka’s penal colony, in which the misdemeanours of the condemned were written on their bodies with precise equipment. The text is stabbed deeper and deeper into them – until they die. Indeed, Thomas Hirschhorn transfers his radical demands onto the observers of his works. He expects a lot of them – and that's a good thing. Text: Peter Friese
Born 1964 in Pforzheim (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) In Sabine Hornigs Skulpturen und Fotografien geht es um Zwischenräume. Innen und Außen, privater und öffentlicher Raum, Architektur und Skulptur – ihr Blick richtet sich auf funktionalistische Bauten und Gebäudedetails, die ein „Dazwischen“ markieren: Fenster, Türen, Eingangshallen. Ihre großformatigen, geometrisch-kühlen Fotografien zeigen Schaufenster von unbewohnten, renovierungsbedürftigen Räumen, oftmals in Ostberlin. Einfache und doppelstöckige Fensterfronten lassen in leere Lobbys, Treppenhäuser oder Flure blicken – und umgekehrt: Der Blick geht von einem unbestimmten Innenraum durchs Fenster hinaus. Oft ist nicht klar, an welchem Punkt sich Innen und Außen konkret festmachen lassen – Spiegelungen von Bäumen oder Fensterrahmen in den Scheiben irritieren das Auge ebenso wie Fingerabdrücke oder Schmutz auf den Scheiben. Der dokumentarische Charakter der Fotografien wird durch solche Störungen bewusst konterkariert. Hornigs Skulpturen wirken wie Bauteile, die sie ihren Fotografien entnommen hat: Fensterfronten oder Zwischendecken – banale, rein funktionale Architekturelemente – befinden sich plötzlich ihrer Nützlichkeit beraubt und werden eigenartig isoliert mitten im Raum, oder besser: im Innenraum platziert, der Teil des Kunstwerks wird. Fensterrahmen scheinen hier die Funktion von Bilderrahmen zu übernehmen, das Fenster selbst wird zum Bild, zum Spiegel, zur Wand. Durch die Verschiebung der Sichtebenen, das Spiel mit den Reflexionen und die Würdigung einfachster Architekturteile der Moderne schärft Hornig den Blick für die simpelste Umgebung unseres Alltags, der vom modernistischen Diktum „form follows function“ geprägt und dadurch unsichtbar geworden ist.
Born 1979 in London (Great Britain), grew up in Berlin Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) A group of an anonymous brigade of five helmets may make one immediately think of a police force or a motorbike gang. Only upon longer contemplation do the differences that give each of the uniformly painted helmets a characteristic expression of its own – a “face” – become clear. Do they stand for protection or menace? Mounted as they are on black metal poles, the group of sculptures have a veritably warlike appearance. The helmets recall heads on spikes, or trophies. Their shiny surface and apparent lightness mean that they could also be part of a puppet theatre, however. The artist’s paintings, which will be presented in an extra artistic space from November, appear at first glance like shards of glass on a white background – scattered, ambiguous splinters of colour, without context, randomly spread, incomplete. Riethmann uses oils to make realistic representations of bodies in male clothing. In doing so, he succeeds in showing movement, gesture and even feelings such as rage and aggression in all their rawness, while at the same time not revealing anything more than he must. On the contrary, he invites the observer to fill the white space with their own associations and to recall their own memories – of violence, rebellion or fear – that may seem long familiar to them, but that do not yet have a name or a face. By anonymising his figures, by leaving the gaps he does, Riethmann creates a distance between us and the people he seems to be showing. Without any context to explain what is happening, without allowing any empathy or sympathy, the artist opens up a new way of looking at human actions. The observer is given the opportunity to let the fragments speak for themselves and to interpret their relationship to one another. Text: Mirka Gewinner
Born 1957 in Bern (Switzerland) Lives and works in Paris (France) “To be an artist is not a question of form or content, it is a question of responsibility.” Thomas Hirschhorn’s radical claim confusingly supplements the flood of images in his collages and the material battles that take place in his massive, overflowing installations. The use of found materials, reminiscent of Arte Povera, as well as the relentless use of various kinds of images from the Internet and other sources characterise the work and approach of Hirschhorn, a Swiss artist living in Paris. Despite the heterogeneity of the elements Hirschhorn uses, in the end he always creates something organic, a kind of “bricolage”, a concretion of “wild thinking” that can connect one thing with another in a meaningful way. The work #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is indicative of this ambitious approach. #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is a sculptural structure constructed out of three tables arranged on top of one another, which engender thoroughly mixed emotions. Hirschhorn has formed numerous pointed cones out of aluminium foil and thereby has created a kind of dripstone cave in the space between the two upper tables. Indeed, the conical shapes are reminiscent of metallic stalagmites and stalactites. But their tips are dyed red and now look like bloody fangs in the mouth of a Tyrannosaurus cyborg. A kind of red aluminium umbilical cord leads from this ensemble to a wooden plate on the wall, which frames it like a picture. It turns out to be a projection screen for a small finger-like drawing as well as a historical photo showing the end of a mass execution from the 1930/40s in an Alpine location. If we are honest about it: most of the images from the Internet have the character of intestines. They represent something like the “obscene innards of the global media" (David Joselit). Seen in this way, the symbolic stalactite cave with bloody fangs is the mouth of a voracious monster, similar to the leviathan. Some viewers will also be reminded of Kafka’s penal colony, in which the misdemeanours of the condemned were written on their bodies with precise equipment. The text is stabbed deeper and deeper into them – until they die. Indeed, Thomas Hirschhorn transfers his radical demands onto the observers of his works. He expects a lot of them – and that's a good thing. Text: Peter Friese
Born 1968 in Deurne (The Netherlands) Lives and works in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Cologne (Germany) Erik van Lieshout talks with people. To create his videos, which are mostly embedded in large-format installations and their accompanying drawings, van Lieshout goes to where people are hurting. He goes into so-called problem districts, sniffs around in basements, sets himself up in a shopping centre – and draws again and again an impressively honest and at times ruthless portrait of our society from the edges. His videos are always charming and almost naïve in their own way and this has a lot to do with the kind of person van Lieshout is. He reveals himself frankly, shows no fear of coming into contact with others and never shirks responsibility. This is also the case in his video installation #-Rotterdam-Rostock-# (2006), which was presented in a container in 2006 at the 6th Berlin Biennale, as well as the accompanying drawing #-Deutschland Ziel-# (2005). Van Lieshout rode his bike from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea across Germany, the whole time prattling away into the microphone about his own ideas and prejudices about Germany. He sat down with people on their sofas and took stock of a country that is still characterised by xenophobia and prejudice, a country that was anything but “united” 15 years after reunification.
Born 1975 in Madrid (Spain) Lives and works in Madrid (Spain) and Berlin (Germany)
Born 1971 in Mumbai (India) Lives and works in New York (USA) Appropriation seems to be the goal of many artists in this Zeitgeist; as the world archive increases so it seems to dwindle in other aspects. Hidden truths, maligned narratives and phobias abound. In allowing access to and mining within this excess of the visual, artists can contribute to a better understanding of our contemporary condition. Battered, withered and enslaved as we remain in our prejudice, Abichandani challenges our perception of lives and realities that seemingly remain across the threshold, as if bounded by their fate to geographical and political hinterlands. The Soldier Bomber works are a testament to our colluding in such atrocious times, pregnant as they are with postponed agendas and monstrosities allied to land and resources. Appropriating their portraits from the internet, photos of actual female American and Canadian soldiers and Palestinian female suicide bombers, which she gleans from unfamiliar terrains, to create composite portraits that remain outside of acceptable ‘patriarchal narratives’. The insanity is not bounded by gender, the only remaining option is the urge for revolution even if its zeal smacks of herded, blinded patriotism. Women and fatigues, a strange mixture of values and histories collude to frame a galley of individuals, known as soldiers, of which five versions are held in the collection. Often painted in circular panels, these work are a pastiche of guild portraits from a famous academy, with vivid patterns often formalizing the gaze. Abichandani’s oeuvre is processed by the use of hidden variables, which strike a chord by the recognition of the hidden within, which she reconstitute from the average often in its self-destructive reality to canonize a third seemingly liberated but maybe terrorist subject? Here everyone is a martyr, a design that constitutes and has become the blueprint of postmodern developing culture. Traditionally, oppositions straddle across ravines, in fighting to create a better world but Abichandani refuses these opposites in Soldier Bomber, all soldiers, remain institutionalized by ideologies, they become a register by death, a form of commandeering activism, especially in parts of the world that we want to forget. In memorizing and reinscribing such motives, symbols and individuals the artists allows us to reframe and reconsider their currency and the very circuits within which they shape our daily culture. The arrangement of materials and the site of knowledge seems to be of utmost importance to Abichandani, for the allowance of political agency. In The Rise and Fall, she combines whips, Swarovski crystals, Kufic calligraphy from the Iraqi flag spelling out God is Great and a hand drawn map of the Peter’s Projection (the real scale of the mass of continents), to make a complex new picture. The whole work is constructed on a mural scale to make many histories present in one place, to co-exist as if time itself is released of its linearity. The artist has made an immense effort to mesh time, place and ideologies, she suggests “the distortion of the swastika as well of the continents symbolizes the impact of religious and national fundamentalisms on the planet, the subtle differences between the two shades of red and green jewels are metaphors for the invisible but impactful differences between catholic and protestant, shia and sunni etc... the piece alludes as much to the formation of Israel as to the current violence in the Middle East as the on going result of the partitions of India and Pakistan, Israel and Palestine, both of which happened in 1947.” Her cultural remapping of unfixing symbols, unhinging movements and a call for a hybrid Internationality, liberates meaning beyond particular questions. In occluding and undoing and a purposefully haptic affect in the materials and scale, the work is fabricated into folds of space, time and fundamentalisms. Overall the treatment remains even; it is empathetic to the kitsch, labour orientated and the decorative to define difference and, most importantly, that which is ethically marked. Text Shaheen Merali
Born 1973 in Dingolfing (Germany) Lives and works in Munich (Germany) The Peters-Messer collection contains seven medium-format acrylic paintings on paper by Emanuel Seitz. All were painted in 2016 and are titled #-o.T.-# or #-Untitled-#. Due to the restriction to two or three colours, as well as the focus on simple cones, ellipses or rectangles, the painting appears accessible and closed at the same time. “I do not use painting as an end in itself, but in order to realize an idea”, the painter once said about his artistic approach. “Formerly, my concept was to perceive landscape. Now I rather perform an abstract exploration of colour fields. This also forms a kind of landscape. Or depth. Or spatiality. The painting #-Ohne Titel -#(Untitled, 2016) shows how spatiality can be conceived differently: the geometric form of three interconnected brown rectangular surfaces against a turbulent violet background could be read as a stylized view of the shape of a table, bar or bench. Or one thinks of a compressed form. If you begin to speculate, you are already immersed in the intermediate realm between clarity and ambiguity.
Born 1966 in Montreal (Canada) Lives and works in London (UK) Susan Turcot works in drawing and sculpting. Her pencil drawings examine places, situations and events, transforming them into richly imagined inventions. Everyday processes turn out to be mysterious happenings; everyday disasters take on the air of absurd contrivances. Her drawings capture with a playful ephemerality that which seems to be escaping from the observer’s gaze. The drawings #-Commodities #2-# and the Series #-Self Service-#, created in 2004, are characteristic for the peculiarity of her artistic process. Their titles promise a sequence of representations capturing the quotidian experiences of modern everyday life. Yet the enigmatic drawings seem to describe neither the activities of modern consumption nor forms of self-realization. This impression is further heightened by the style of drawing employed by the artist. The light pencil strokes transmute the observed into spontaneous notes. What the artist is capturing is merely hinted at. The unsettled gaze that the artist generates is amplified by the forceful, impulsive strokes that attack, as it were, the drawn image from the margins of the sheet. The dual effect of refined pencil strokes and psychic spontaneity lends the drawings their particular power. We can neither unambiguously recognise what the artist describes in her lightly-drawn visual idiom – are people moving about in a quarry or the ruins of a destroyed home? Are we witnessing a traffic accident? Nor is it clear why the drawing motion suddenly tips into wild agitation. Does the artist wish to express the intense emotion that the observed scene triggers? Or does she want to cross out what upsets her? In Turcot’s drawings, the known becomes the unknown. Each drawing seems to be a random snippet from an event whose story remains unknown to us. We attempt to apprehend the event by looking closely at it, yet in the end we are uncomprehendingly captivated by it. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1964 in Reken (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin and Braunschweig (Germany) Five gutted fridges form a remarkable sculptural ensemble. The white shells of the discarded appliances were arranged to seem as though they are penetrating one another. At first glance, this dynamic placement could remind the viewer of a post-modern architectural ensemble by the likes of Frank Gehry, or perhaps a crystalline formation that has grown out of the ground. But something else, something very remarkable, draws the eye. Where the white cuboids meet, indeed seem to merge, plenty of Penaten-brand baby cream was applied. Thomas Rentmeister really did fill every crevice, gap and space with the white cream you normally find used in skincare. This is something that your olfactory senses will pick up on straight away in the direct vicinity. This vaguely lemony characteristic fragrance is something that most Germans know from their childhood and is bound to trigger a wide range of memories and associations among museum visitors. Let's look again more closely. The white mass was applied by the artist using various spatulas, much like plastering a wall, and is astonishingly good at keeping its shape in the new role it has been pressed into. The skincare cream, which was expressly named after the Roman household gods, goes very well with the surface and colour of the fridges, but at the same time provides a tactile contrast that could even be called picturesque. Rentmeister manages to balance this combination of household appliance and skincare cream – hard and soft, angular shape and amorphous mass – stably, at the aesthetic level, and to keep it there. Liberated from their original function, the fridges and the Penaten cream can now be perceived in a new (museum) context and at a different (symbolic) level. We can even argue about their aesthetic value while they still remain recognisable for what they are. Their tangible contrariness makes them into a self-propelling energy source – as the Comte de Lautréamont put it – that favours a virtually subversive stream of associations and trains of thought. Concepts such as heat and cold, interior and exterior, nature and technology – but also protection, care, comfort and healing – can be associated with ease and, if thoughts are allowed to run their course, can be developed into metaphors about the state of the world, even if the materials used were never intended to have that purpose. Hannes Böhringer even concludes that the work can be seen as “an image of the entropic final state of art”, yet one that does not really allow for a foreseeable end, instead pointing to a “once again” as it were. Text: Peter Friese
Born 1963 in Hildesheim (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) The sculptures of Manfred Pernice always have something provisional about them, one could almost say shabby. Manfred Pernice arranges space-saving structures made of simple material, mostly plywood, particleboard or cardboard. Sometimes they are reminiscent of cans, sometimes architectural structures, which he places in the way of his audience. An unforgettable example of this is his contribution to the first Berlin Biennial in 1998: a six-meter-high plywood construction called #-Haupt- bzw. Zentraldose -# (“Main/central can”), Pernice’s interpretation of the Tatlin tower, which was never actually built. Another work called #-Ohne Titel (Hässliche Luise)-# (“Untitled (Ugly Luise)”) refers to a real building in this case. Here the cultural memory of bygone times manifests itself in a remarkable way: "Ugly Luise" was a prefabricated building behind the Reichstag, which at the beginning of the nineties was demolished so as not to interfere with the sleek uniform look of the newly erected buildings of the government district. Pernice acquired the remains of a GDR gaming machine and transplanted its bent, rusted rods into the context of art as a post-socialist relic.
Born 1975 in Madrid (Spain) Lives and works in Madrid (Spain) and Berlin (Germany)
Born 1983 in Bonn (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Born 1973 in Oberhausen (Germany) Lives and works in Düsseldorf (Germany)
b. 1973, Vancouver Island (Canada) Lives and Works in Los Angeles (USA) #+Selected Solo Exhibitions+# 2016 29 Flags, Eighteen, Copenhagen, Denmark 2015 Busted On The Hot Spots, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark This Magic Moment, Farewell Books, Austin, Usa Sex Comedy, Galerie Derouillon, Paris, France Night Light, Art Central, Hong Kong 2014 It's Hard To Be A Stand Up Guy In A World Of Sit Down People, Big Love, Tokyo, Japan 24 Hour Fantasy Reality w/ Audrey Wollen, Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA Graveyard, Muddguts, Brooklyn, New York 2013 Los Angeles Times, Big Love, Tokyo, Japan War News w/ Jenna Thornhill, Good Press, Glasgow, UK 2012 This Natural World, Family, Los Angeles, CA Selected Group Exhibitions 2016 The Neon Wilderness: Voices from Los Angeles, The Conversation, Berlin, Germany Raw Power, Castor Gallery, New York, US Lay Down And Let It Blow Through You, Kodama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan Take Me Down, BBQLA, Los Angeles 2015 Under Heavy Manners, V1 Gallery, Copenhagen, Denmark Selected Publications 2015 New Rose In Town, Published by Hesse Press, Los Angeles, US The Magic Moment, Published by Farewell Books, Austin, Texas, US Immortal Riddim, with Alexis Ross, Published by Heavytime Books, Australia Hot Fire, with Misha Hollenbach, Published by Heavytime Books, Australia 2014 Graveyard, Published by And Press, New York, US 2013 White Girl, Published by MTHM Books, Copenhagen, Denmark Selected Art Fairs 2016 Art Herning, group presentation, V1 Gallery, Herning, Denmark LA Art Book Fair, Los Angeles, California, US New York Art Book Fair, Long Island City, New York, US 2015 LA Art Book Fair, Los Angeles, California, US New York Art Book Fair, Long Island City, New York, US Art Cologne, collaboration between V1 Gallery (DK) and The Hole (NYC), Cologne, Germany VOLTA11, group presentation, V1 Gallery (DK), Basel, Switzerland 2014 LA Art Book Fair, Los Angeles, California, US New York Art Book Fair, Long Island City, New York, US New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA), solo presentation, Bill Brady Gallery (US), Miami Beach, Florida, US 2013 LA Art Book Fair, Los Angeles, California, US New York Art Book Fair, Long Island City, New York, US #+Selected Publications+# 2015 New Rose In Town, Published by Hesse Press, Los Angeles, US The Magic Moment, Published by Farewell Books, Austin, Texas, US Immortal Riddim, with Alexis Ross, Published by Heavytime Books, Australia Hot Fire, with Misha Hollenbach, Published by Heavytime Books, Australia 2014 Graveyard, Published by And Press, New York, US 2013 White Girl, Published by MTHM Books, Copenhagen, Denmark #+Selected Art Fairs+# 2016 Art Herning, group presentation, V1 Gallery, Herning, Denmark LA Art Book Fair, Los Angeles, California, US New York Art Book Fair, Long Island City, New York, US 2015 LA Art Book Fair, Los Angeles, California, US New York Art Book Fair, Long Island City, New York, US Art Cologne, collaboration between V1 Gallery (DK) and The Hole (NYC), Cologne, Germany VOLTA11, group presentation, V1 Gallery (DK), Basel, Switzerland 2014 LA Art Book Fair, Los Angeles, California, US New York Art Book Fair, Long Island City, New York, US New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA), solo presentation, Bill Brady Gallery (US), Miami Beach, Florida, US 2013 LA Art Book Fair, Los Angeles, California, US New York Art Book Fair, Long Island City, New York, US
Born 1970 in Dugny (France) Lives and works in Berlin, Paris (France) and Algiers (Algeria) In #-Parabolic Self Poetry-# we see satellite dishes attached to a rooftop balustrade. The rusted concave dishes are pointed at an object in orbit; it looks like information is being beamed down directly to the building’s residents. The photograph shows an apparently normal state of affairs. Through the weathered poles of the balustrade we see a cityscape. We might presume that the photograph was taken from the roof of a building similar to the many white high-rises visible in the photograph. But the inquisitive eye also notices domed roofs, and far off in the distance, date palms. In fact, the picture was taken from a building designed by the French architect Fernand Pouillon in “Climat de France”, an area of Algiers that was built in 1957. Pouillon’s goal was similar to Le Corbusier’s on the outskirts of Paris: he wanted to create affordable housing for as many people as possible. We now know that such 1:1 transfers of modernist ideals to architecture as took place in Europe and in the European colonies resulted in social upheaval and conflict. Given their location in Algeria, which in 1957 was still ruled by the French colonial power, these buildings also signify hegemonic intervention into a foreign culture and its traditions. In other words, the forms and ideas of modernity represent a continuation of colonialism. This important, powerful image is a testament to Attia’s engagement with questions of cultural identity, the problems of post-colonialism, the associated migration and the coexistence of people of diverse backgrounds in the metropolitan areas on the outskirts of our cities. He sees architecture as an area that combines economic, political, hegemonic and cultural aspects. Born and raised in 1970 in Dugny, in the French department Seine-Saint Denis, the son of Algerian parents who emigrated to France in the 1960s, Attia is keenly aware of his origins as an artist. With his ambitious socio-critical approach, he explores the complex connections that result from the history of the colonial powers and the lands they once colonised. In this context, satellite dishes in his photographic work play a symbolic role that on the one hand serves to create identity and on the other harbours the potential for conflict. Indeed, contemporary media not only play the enlightening and connective role that they are often associated with in modernity, but also a role in creating myths, a role that polarises and separates people. Part and parcel of modern times. Text: Peter Friese
Born 1979 in Fribourg (Switzerland) Lives and works in Zurich (Switzerland)
Born in 1955, Detroit (USA) Lives and works in New York City (USA)
1980 born in Ravensburg (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Born 1981 in Erfurt (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) In the spring of 2011, Julian Röder visited the largest arms trade fair in the Middle East, which is held every two years in Abu Dhabi. The event draws arms dealers, military brass and weapons manufacturers – some 50,000 people in all – interested in perusing the latest developments in weaponry and expanding their arsenals. Specialised weapons systems for every conceivable military deployment scenario down to street combat are on offer. Röder had himself accredited as a journalist, reasoning that “an artistically oriented photographer without a media organisation behind him would have had a much harder time gaining access”. With the accreditation, he was able to document the event with a series of photographs. His pictures show the everyday existence of an arms show, from bombastic weapons demonstrations to bizarre arrangements of gleaming gold shells, solicitous salesmen, attractive hostesses and fascinated visitors. The usual organisation of a sales trade fair combines with the elaborate presentation of air shows with combat helicopters and military jets, which Röder captures as a panoramic landscape. The multifaceted selection that he presents provides insights into the economic structure of a capitalistic world in which everything becomes a good and everything can be bought and sold. It reveals the seductive appeal that the weapons cast upon the visitors, as well as the fanciful gaze of the buyers attracted by them. But the selection also shows the wearying sequence of sales stands and the desolation of repetitive sales pitches. The alarming combines with the quotidian. Röder offers no explanatory interpretation, no revelatory accusations. He creates a documentary sequence of images that seems to emerge from a random selection. He places the observer in the role of a spectator whose gaze floats from one attraction to the next, moving in a trade-fair showcase in which war and violence are reduced to a banal business transaction. Our growing unease emerges from the recognition of how our perception simultaneously reveals our inability adequately to grasp, and respond to, what we are seeing. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1968 in Mainz (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) One imagines a superhero as being powerfully built, with upright posture and wearing an imposing costume. The creatures that Iris Kettner titles superheroes, however, seem more like the guys that need saving. They resemble urbanites who have fallen off the grid, pitiful figures who don’t stand out in the anonymity of the concrete jungle. This is precisely what interests Kettner: making the invisible visible – the people no one looks at because they are neither young, beautiful or proud – the faceless. Kettner’s superheroes don’t have faces either – her life-size dolls made from wood and fabric wear masks that are reminiscent of the marvel films, but because of the masks’ contrast to their bodies, they end up looking even more pitiful. Kettner’s “dummies” evoke suitably strong reactions, especially in public spaces – in 2005, the artist installed the superheroes around the underground station Alexanderplatz as if they were part of the crowd, and recorded the reactions of the passers-by on video.
Born 1981 Lives and works in Cologne (Germany)
Born 1968 in Helmond (The Netherlands) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) Sie wirken wie deformierte Modelle von Nachkriegsmonumenten, wie man sie in Fußgängerzonen und auf Verkehrsinseln der alten Bundesrepublik findet. Doch im Gegensatz zur groben Wuchtigkeit etwa von Wolf Vostells eingemauertem Cadillac am Berliner Kurfürstendamm ist der Beton in den Skulpturen von Jeroen Jacobs das Resultat eines leidenschaftlichen Spielers. Die Gussformen, die der Jacobs aus Plastikfolien zusammensetzt, dienen offenbar allein dazu, die zähe Masse zum Eigenleben aufzufordern. Was daraus erwächst, sind verblüffend elegante Gebilde, die sich aus einem groben Rumpf herauswinden und mit fast gekünstelten Gesten in den Raum hinein deuten. Die verführerisch glatte Außenhaut platzt an einigen Stellen auf und lässt das poröse Material darunter wie rohes Fleisch hervorquellen. Doch der Bewegungsdrang findet bricht abrupt ab, sobald die Masse fest wird. Und damit haftet den Skulpturen etwas Melancholisches an, wie es stillstehende Momente nun einmal mit sich bringen. Auf Sockeln oder direkt auf dem Fußboden präsentiert, mal im Handtaschenformat, mal gestreckt bis knapp unter die Deckenlampe, wirken sie wie ein monumentales, beinahe unheimliches Ensemble aus in Baumasse festsitzenden Arbeitsutensilien, zerbrochenen Architekturmodellen und Überresten eines Vulkanausbruchs. Und obwohl der Mensch nicht auftaucht, sitzt sein geisterhafter Firnis auf den Oberflächen: Jacobs zeigt, dass Beton nicht nur verspielt, sondern auch durchaus sinnlich daherkommen kann.
Born 1968 in Deurne (The Netherlands) Lives and works in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Cologne (Germany) Erik van Lieshout talks with people. To create his videos, which are mostly embedded in large-format installations and their accompanying drawings, van Lieshout goes to where people are hurting. He goes into so-called problem districts, sniffs around in basements, sets himself up in a shopping centre – and draws again and again an impressively honest and at times ruthless portrait of our society from the edges. His videos are always charming and almost naïve in their own way and this has a lot to do with the kind of person van Lieshout is. He reveals himself frankly, shows no fear of coming into contact with others and never shirks responsibility. This is also the case in his video installation #-Rotterdam-Rostock-# (2006), which was presented in a container in 2006 at the 6th Berlin Biennale, as well as the accompanying drawing #-Deutschland Ziel-# (2005). Van Lieshout rode his bike from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea across Germany, the whole time prattling away into the microphone about his own ideas and prejudices about Germany. He sat down with people on their sofas and took stock of a country that is still characterised by xenophobia and prejudice, a country that was anything but “united” 15 years after reunification.
Born 1976 in Evian (France) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Born 1985 Lives and works in Cologne (Germany)
Born 1962 in Newcastle (UK) Lives and works in Tokyo (Japan)
Born 1981 Lives and works in Cologne (Germany)
Born 1979 in Tampere (Finland) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Born 1966 in Montreal (Canada) Lives and works in London (UK) Susan Turcot works in drawing and sculpting. Her pencil drawings examine places, situations and events, transforming them into richly imagined inventions. Everyday processes turn out to be mysterious happenings; everyday disasters take on the air of absurd contrivances. Her drawings capture with a playful ephemerality that which seems to be escaping from the observer’s gaze. The drawings #-Commodities #2-# and the Series #-Self Service-#, created in 2004, are characteristic for the peculiarity of her artistic process. Their titles promise a sequence of representations capturing the quotidian experiences of modern everyday life. Yet the enigmatic drawings seem to describe neither the activities of modern consumption nor forms of self-realization. This impression is further heightened by the style of drawing employed by the artist. The light pencil strokes transmute the observed into spontaneous notes. What the artist is capturing is merely hinted at. The unsettled gaze that the artist generates is amplified by the forceful, impulsive strokes that attack, as it were, the drawn image from the margins of the sheet. The dual effect of refined pencil strokes and psychic spontaneity lends the drawings their particular power. We can neither unambiguously recognise what the artist describes in her lightly-drawn visual idiom – are people moving about in a quarry or the ruins of a destroyed home? Are we witnessing a traffic accident? Nor is it clear why the drawing motion suddenly tips into wild agitation. Does the artist wish to express the intense emotion that the observed scene triggers? Or does she want to cross out what upsets her? In Turcot’s drawings, the known becomes the unknown. Each drawing seems to be a random snippet from an event whose story remains unknown to us. We attempt to apprehend the event by looking closely at it, yet in the end we are uncomprehendingly captivated by it. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1978 in Hyvinkää (Finland)
Born 1962 in Newark, New Jersey (USA) Died 2014 Douglas Kolk made his name as an illustrator. He first worked with small sheets of paper. The works in the Peters-Messer collection from the 1990s are characteristic of that. Later, he also tended towards larger formats and designed comprehensive collages. His early works usually contain individual memos that Kolk fashioned with his favourite instruments, the pencil and the marker. The linear contours, added sparingly, maintain the fragmentary character of the work, as do the colourfully washed shapes and surfaces. Some of his drawings remind the beholder of comic-book art, especially when words and arrows are sprinkled throughout. Influences from pop culture can also be found in the meticulously executed pencil drawing #-We hate ya World -# (1996/97), which presents its globe-shaped statement like an advertising signet. Some exponents have pointed to Kolk’s closeness to Raymond Pettibon, but Kolk usually dispensed with the denser kinds of texts that often accompany Pettibon’s works like excerpts from some fantastical tales. In their deliberately artless nature, many of Kolk’s drawings remind the beholder of naive scribblings. Kolk’s pictures may seem to have been thrown together playfully, but they are always characterised by traces of very intimate and very personal emotion. Some allusions, at first incomprehensible, can be seen as painful confrontations with the drugs in his past and the fears and experiences that went with them. On the whole, his works live from their double nature as both public symbol and private record. They are notes that he must have intended to capture memories, make emotions visible and register present suffering. They open up a wide spectrum of associations. His drawings seem accessible because they are close to familiar concepts from pop art, advertising and even children’s paintings. On the other hand, however, they arouse our curiosity because, in their unfamiliar allusions, fragmentary design and unusual image compositions, they are disconcerting. They allow us to rediscover and reinterpret something that, at first, seems both artless and familiar. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1985 Lives and works in Cologne (Germany)
Born 1962 in Newark, New Jersey (USA) Died 2014 Douglas Kolk made his name as an illustrator. He first worked with small sheets of paper. The works in the Peters-Messer collection from the 1990s are characteristic of that. Later, he also tended towards larger formats and designed comprehensive collages. His early works usually contain individual memos that Kolk fashioned with his favourite instruments, the pencil and the marker. The linear contours, added sparingly, maintain the fragmentary character of the work, as do the colourfully washed shapes and surfaces. Some of his drawings remind the beholder of comic-book art, especially when words and arrows are sprinkled throughout. Influences from pop culture can also be found in the meticulously executed pencil drawing #-We hate ya World -# (1996/97), which presents its globe-shaped statement like an advertising signet. Some exponents have pointed to Kolk’s closeness to Raymond Pettibon, but Kolk usually dispensed with the denser kinds of texts that often accompany Pettibon’s works like excerpts from some fantastical tales. In their deliberately artless nature, many of Kolk’s drawings remind the beholder of naive scribblings. Kolk’s pictures may seem to have been thrown together playfully, but they are always characterised by traces of very intimate and very personal emotion. Some allusions, at first incomprehensible, can be seen as painful confrontations with the drugs in his past and the fears and experiences that went with them. On the whole, his works live from their double nature as both public symbol and private record. They are notes that he must have intended to capture memories, make emotions visible and register present suffering. They open up a wide spectrum of associations. His drawings seem accessible because they are close to familiar concepts from pop art, advertising and even children’s paintings. On the other hand, however, they arouse our curiosity because, in their unfamiliar allusions, fragmentary design and unusual image compositions, they are disconcerting. They allow us to rediscover and reinterpret something that, at first, seems both artless and familiar. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1982 in Pontevedra (Spain) Lives and works in Madrid (Spain) EDUCACIÓN 2009 Seminario “Tumulto y medida en la pintura (un taller de práctica pictórica desde el punto de vista de la sospecha)” impartido por Luis Candaudap en BilbaoArte 2008 Licenciado en Bellas Artes, Universidad del País Vasco Bilbao 2005 Lupa e Imán, Taller sobre la práctica artística desde la experiencia pictórica Coordinado por Iñaki Imaz, Arteleku, Donostia-San Sebastián 2001-04 Facultad de Bellas Artesde Pontevedra Universidad de Vigo 2001 Curso de dibujo al natural en St. Martins College, Londres Curso de imprimación en Chelsea College, Londres EXPOSICIONES INDIVIDUALES 2016 Kiko Pérez, CarrerasMugica, Bilbao 2015 Makulatur, Galería Heinrich Ehrhardt, Madrid 2012 Lo nuestro: from me to you, La Casa Encendida, Madrid Kiko Pérez, Bourouina Gallery, Berlín, Alemania 2011 hola-por favor-gracias-hasta luego, Galería Heinrich Ehrhardt, Madrid Chispas, New Positions project, Art Cologne, Cologne, Alemania Cohetes (with Elena Aitzkoa), Torre de Ariz, Basauri, España 2010 Kiko Pérez (with Iñaki Imaz), Galería Carreras Múgica, Bilbao EXPOSICIONES COLECTIVAS 2015 (1/1).10, Galerie Tatjana Pieters 2013 El boceto del mundo, MARCO, Vigo Visible, móvil, vidente, centro Párraga, Murcia 2012 Esta puerta pide clavo, comisariada por RIVET, Galerie Tatjana Pieters, Gante, Bélgica 2011 Cohetes (con Elena Aitzkoa), Torre de Ariz, Basauri, España 2010 Antes que todo/Before Everything, CA2M, Madrid Bienal de Pontevedra, España. Intervención en Villagarcía de Arousa Pintura? Cuatro respuestas: Secundino Hernández, Nano 4814, Kiko Pérez y Michael Swaney, Galería Adhoc, Vigo
Born 1979 in Karl-Marx-Stadt (East Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Born 1971 in Mumbai (India) Lives and works in New York (USA) Appropriation seems to be the goal of many artists in this Zeitgeist; as the world archive increases so it seems to dwindle in other aspects. Hidden truths, maligned narratives and phobias abound. In allowing access to and mining within this excess of the visual, artists can contribute to a better understanding of our contemporary condition. Battered, withered and enslaved as we remain in our prejudice, Abichandani challenges our perception of lives and realities that seemingly remain across the threshold, as if bounded by their fate to geographical and political hinterlands. The Soldier Bomber works are a testament to our colluding in such atrocious times, pregnant as they are with postponed agendas and monstrosities allied to land and resources. Appropriating their portraits from the internet, photos of actual female American and Canadian soldiers and Palestinian female suicide bombers, which she gleans from unfamiliar terrains, to create composite portraits that remain outside of acceptable ‘patriarchal narratives’. The insanity is not bounded by gender, the only remaining option is the urge for revolution even if its zeal smacks of herded, blinded patriotism. Women and fatigues, a strange mixture of values and histories collude to frame a galley of individuals, known as soldiers, of which five versions are held in the collection. Often painted in circular panels, these work are a pastiche of guild portraits from a famous academy, with vivid patterns often formalizing the gaze. Abichandani’s oeuvre is processed by the use of hidden variables, which strike a chord by the recognition of the hidden within, which she reconstitute from the average often in its self-destructive reality to canonize a third seemingly liberated but maybe terrorist subject? Here everyone is a martyr, a design that constitutes and has become the blueprint of postmodern developing culture. Traditionally, oppositions straddle across ravines, in fighting to create a better world but Abichandani refuses these opposites in Soldier Bomber, all soldiers, remain institutionalized by ideologies, they become a register by death, a form of commandeering activism, especially in parts of the world that we want to forget. In memorizing and reinscribing such motives, symbols and individuals the artists allows us to reframe and reconsider their currency and the very circuits within which they shape our daily culture. The arrangement of materials and the site of knowledge seems to be of utmost importance to Abichandani, for the allowance of political agency. In The Rise and Fall, she combines whips, Swarovski crystals, Kufic calligraphy from the Iraqi flag spelling out God is Great and a hand drawn map of the Peter’s Projection (the real scale of the mass of continents), to make a complex new picture. The whole work is constructed on a mural scale to make many histories present in one place, to co-exist as if time itself is released of its linearity. The artist has made an immense effort to mesh time, place and ideologies, she suggests “the distortion of the swastika as well of the continents symbolizes the impact of religious and national fundamentalisms on the planet, the subtle differences between the two shades of red and green jewels are metaphors for the invisible but impactful differences between catholic and protestant, shia and sunni etc... the piece alludes as much to the formation of Israel as to the current violence in the Middle East as the on going result of the partitions of India and Pakistan, Israel and Palestine, both of which happened in 1947.” Her cultural remapping of unfixing symbols, unhinging movements and a call for a hybrid Internationality, liberates meaning beyond particular questions. In occluding and undoing and a purposefully haptic affect in the materials and scale, the work is fabricated into folds of space, time and fundamentalisms. Overall the treatment remains even; it is empathetic to the kitsch, labour orientated and the decorative to define difference and, most importantly, that which is ethically marked. Text Shaheen Merali
Born 1962 in Newark, New Jersey (USA) Died 2014 Douglas Kolk made his name as an illustrator. He first worked with small sheets of paper. The works in the Peters-Messer collection from the 1990s are characteristic of that. Later, he also tended towards larger formats and designed comprehensive collages. His early works usually contain individual memos that Kolk fashioned with his favourite instruments, the pencil and the marker. The linear contours, added sparingly, maintain the fragmentary character of the work, as do the colourfully washed shapes and surfaces. Some of his drawings remind the beholder of comic-book art, especially when words and arrows are sprinkled throughout. Influences from pop culture can also be found in the meticulously executed pencil drawing #-We hate ya World -# (1996/97), which presents its globe-shaped statement like an advertising signet. Some exponents have pointed to Kolk’s closeness to Raymond Pettibon, but Kolk usually dispensed with the denser kinds of texts that often accompany Pettibon’s works like excerpts from some fantastical tales. In their deliberately artless nature, many of Kolk’s drawings remind the beholder of naive scribblings. Kolk’s pictures may seem to have been thrown together playfully, but they are always characterised by traces of very intimate and very personal emotion. Some allusions, at first incomprehensible, can be seen as painful confrontations with the drugs in his past and the fears and experiences that went with them. On the whole, his works live from their double nature as both public symbol and private record. They are notes that he must have intended to capture memories, make emotions visible and register present suffering. They open up a wide spectrum of associations. His drawings seem accessible because they are close to familiar concepts from pop art, advertising and even children’s paintings. On the other hand, however, they arouse our curiosity because, in their unfamiliar allusions, fragmentary design and unusual image compositions, they are disconcerting. They allow us to rediscover and reinterpret something that, at first, seems both artless and familiar. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1962 in Würzburg (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) Stadtplaners Workshop Die 1963 zur großzügigen Fußgängerzone ausgebaute Prager Straße in Dresden gilt als Inbegriff des spätmodernen Städtebaus. Solitäre Bauten standen als Großskulpturen in einem Stadtraum, der noch als Freiraum verstanden wurde, die Fassaden zeigten die ganze Bandbreite dessen, was man aus dem Werkstoff Beton so alles machen kann. Das Restaurant hieß „International“, die Freiraumplanung mit wellenartigen Mosaiken und den berühmten Wasserspielen hatte die Copacabana von Rio de Janeiro zum Vorbild. Die DDR bot hier noch einmal alles auf, um mit großzügiger Geste die Potenz der Plattenbauweise im internationalen Vergleich zu zeigen. Inzwischen sind viele Bauten des Ensembles verschwunden oder – dem ausgeprägten horror vacui unserer Gegenwart geschuldet – zugebaut, eingerahmt und hinter vorgehängten Fassaden versteckt. Der „Stadtplaners Workshop“ von Karsten Konrad gibt der Prager Straße noch einmal ihre Großzügigkeit zurück, wenn auch ohne das verbindende Element der Freiraumgestaltung, sodass die einzelnen Bauten auf ihren skulpturalen Charakter reduziert werden. Das Rundkino, das wie der Sockel einer überhohen Säule wirkt, das Centrum-Warenhaus mit dem tiefen Relief der Fassade und die drei Scheiben der ehemaligen Interhotels „Bastei“, „Lilienstein“ und „Königstein“ werden in der Arbeit von Konrad vor allem durch die besondere Größe wieder erlebbar. Konrad wählte für die Modelle nicht den üblichen Arbeitsmaßstab des Architekten (1:500 oder 1:200), sondern einen so großen, dass man zwischen den Objekten hindurchgehen kann. So changieren sie zwischen Modellen, die auf einen anderen Ort jenseits des Ausstellungsraums verweisen, und Skulpturen, mit denen sich der Besucher den Raum teilt. Die Nutzung von Modellen als Mittel der Planung und der Vergegenwärtigung der 3-Dimensionalität ist in der Architektur seit der Renaissance bekannt. Durch die damals sich abzeichnende bahnbrechend neue Raumvorstellung konnte die Wirkung eines Bauwerkes durch das Modell vorab geprüft werden. Modelle besaßen im Vergleich mit der meist genaueren, aber doch nur zweidimensionalen Zeichnung größere Überzeugungskraft. Die meisten Modelle zeichnet bis heute ein vereinfachender Abstraktionsgrad aus. So wird eine ästhetische Distanz geschaffen, die die essentielle Wirkung, den Charakter eines Bauwerkes gut sichtbar werden lässt. Auch Konrads frühere Modelle (zum Beispiel die Serie der „Architypes“, 2001) sind mit dieser minimalistisch anmutenden Reduktion ausgestattet. Bei „Stadtplaners Workshop“ wählt er jedoch eine eher an Spielzeuglandschaften erinnernde Detailgenauigkeit, die den abstrahierenden Modellcharakter zurücknimmt und die konkrete Materialität in den Vordergrund rückt. Statt der Sterilität normaler Architekturmodelle betont Konrad den Fertigungsprozess: Auf der Straße gefundene Pressspanplatten, die einmal als Küchen, Schränke oder sonstige Möbel gedient haben, werden zersägt und so wie Bausteine eines Setzbaukasten wieder nutzbar gemacht. Das Material lässt die Skulpturen benutzt und gealtert wirken, so erzählt Konrad auch von der oftmals geringen Halbwertszeit moderner Architektur. „Stadtplaners Workshop“ kritisiert subtil die Entwurfsprozesse der Architekten und Städteplaner, die fern jeden Ortsbezugs Volumen anordnen, um zu einer abstrakt-formalen Lösung zu kommen. Man sieht die Stadtplaner der Prager Straße förmlich vor sich, wie sie seit Jahrzehnten die Modellbaukörper hin und herschieben, von der Zeitgeschichte längst überrollt. Anne Schmedding
Born 1991 in Lutherstadt Wittenberg (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin and Leipzig (Germany)
Born 1976 in Evian (France) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Born 1964 in Pforzheim (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) In Sabine Hornigs Skulpturen und Fotografien geht es um Zwischenräume. Innen und Außen, privater und öffentlicher Raum, Architektur und Skulptur – ihr Blick richtet sich auf funktionalistische Bauten und Gebäudedetails, die ein „Dazwischen“ markieren: Fenster, Türen, Eingangshallen. Ihre großformatigen, geometrisch-kühlen Fotografien zeigen Schaufenster von unbewohnten, renovierungsbedürftigen Räumen, oftmals in Ostberlin. Einfache und doppelstöckige Fensterfronten lassen in leere Lobbys, Treppenhäuser oder Flure blicken – und umgekehrt: Der Blick geht von einem unbestimmten Innenraum durchs Fenster hinaus. Oft ist nicht klar, an welchem Punkt sich Innen und Außen konkret festmachen lassen – Spiegelungen von Bäumen oder Fensterrahmen in den Scheiben irritieren das Auge ebenso wie Fingerabdrücke oder Schmutz auf den Scheiben. Der dokumentarische Charakter der Fotografien wird durch solche Störungen bewusst konterkariert. Hornigs Skulpturen wirken wie Bauteile, die sie ihren Fotografien entnommen hat: Fensterfronten oder Zwischendecken – banale, rein funktionale Architekturelemente – befinden sich plötzlich ihrer Nützlichkeit beraubt und werden eigenartig isoliert mitten im Raum, oder besser: im Innenraum platziert, der Teil des Kunstwerks wird. Fensterrahmen scheinen hier die Funktion von Bilderrahmen zu übernehmen, das Fenster selbst wird zum Bild, zum Spiegel, zur Wand. Durch die Verschiebung der Sichtebenen, das Spiel mit den Reflexionen und die Würdigung einfachster Architekturteile der Moderne schärft Hornig den Blick für die simpelste Umgebung unseres Alltags, der vom modernistischen Diktum „form follows function“ geprägt und dadurch unsichtbar geworden ist.
Born 1981 Lives and works in Cologne (Germany)
Born 1969 in Ulverston (UK) Lives and works in London (UK) Das Werk des britischen Künstlers Keith Tyson in all seinen Facetten zu durchdringen, ist eigentlich unmöglich – so komplex und kompliziert erscheinen die Arbeiten des Turnerpreisträgers. Grob zusammengefasst kann man jedoch sagen, dass Tysons Bilder, Zeichnungen und Installationen von Wissenschaft, Philosophie und Science-Fiction geprägt sind – Bereiche, in denen es um die Untersuchung von Mysterien menschlicher Erfahrungen geht. Tyson bezieht sich immer wieder auf sich selbst generierende Systeme, auf denen die Zusammenhänge unserer Existenz gründen. Dazu gehören vor allem philosophische Fragen nach Kausalität und Wahrscheinlichkeit sowie Grenzen und Möglichkeiten menschlichen Wissens. In den neunziger Jahren beschäftigte sich Tyson mit seiner „Artmachine“, der „Kunstmaschine“ – eine Methode, mit der er sein Interesse an Zufall, Kausalität und der Entstehung der Dinge untersuchte. Dabei benutzte Tyson Computerprogramme, Ablaufdiagramme und Bücher, um Zufallskombinationen von Worten und Ideen hervorzubringen, die dann in installativen Arbeiten umgesetzt wurden. Die Ergebnisse der „Artmachine“ gelten als Basis von Tysons Werk und verschafften ihm bereits 1999 internationales Renommee. Bis zum Turnerpreis im Jahr 2002 verlagerte sich Tysons Interesse von der „Artmachine“ hin zu einer Reihe an Arbeiten, die dasselbe thematische Feld umkreisten, jedoch diesmal seiner eigenen Hand entstammten. Die ersten Arbeiten dieses Konvoluts nannte er „Drawing and Thinking“, von denen einige 2001 auf der Venedig Biennale gezeigt und zum Motor seines Turnerpreis-Gewinns wurden. Zu den bekanntesten Arbeiten darunter gehört „The Thinker (After Rodin)“ – eine großer, von innen heraus summender Monolith, der an den Anfang von Stanley Kubricks Film „2001: Odyssee im Weltraum“ aus dem Jahr 1968 erinnert. 2002 stellte Tyson erstmals seinen „Supercollider“ aus, in Anspielung auf den gigantischen Teilchenbeschleuniger „CERN“ in Genf. Diese Arbeit zeigt, wie wichtig dem Künstler naturwissenschaftliche Untersuchungen von Sichtweisen auf die Welt sind. Tysons Werkserie nach dem Turnerpreis besteht aus Diptychen, die auf die Biologie zurückgehen. Jedes Werkpaar verweist auf einen Genotyp (also ein generatives System, eine Formel oder Situation) und auf einen Phänotyp (also die äußere Erscheinung bzw. Konsequenz des Genotyps). Tyson verweist darin auf die Unvorhersehbarkeit von Repräsentation und spielt auf die Entstehung von Kunstwerken an. Die „Studio Wall Drawings“, von denen zwei aus dem Jahr 2001 und eines aus dem Jahr 2004 in der Sammlung Peters-Messer zu finden sind, fungieren als tagebuchähnliche Skizzen für spätere Arbeiten Tysons. Jedes „Studio Wall Drawing“ besteht aus einem Papier in der Größe 157 x 126 cm – entsprechend der Dimensionen einer kleinen Wand in Tystons Atelier, an der er früher seine Entwürfe anbrachte. Im Laufe der Zeit gaben diese Blätter seine Ideen, seine emotionale Lage und seine Launen wieder, aber auch Besuche von Gästen im Atelier, weltpolitische Ereignisse und sogar wirtschaftliche Schwankungen. Die Arbeiten werden oft in nicht-chronologischer Hängung präsentiert.
Born 1968 in Mainz (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) One imagines a superhero as being powerfully built, with upright posture and wearing an imposing costume. The creatures that Iris Kettner titles superheroes, however, seem more like the guys that need saving. They resemble urbanites who have fallen off the grid, pitiful figures who don’t stand out in the anonymity of the concrete jungle. This is precisely what interests Kettner: making the invisible visible – the people no one looks at because they are neither young, beautiful or proud – the faceless. Kettner’s superheroes don’t have faces either – her life-size dolls made from wood and fabric wear masks that are reminiscent of the marvel films, but because of the masks’ contrast to their bodies, they end up looking even more pitiful. Kettner’s “dummies” evoke suitably strong reactions, especially in public spaces – in 2005, the artist installed the superheroes around the underground station Alexanderplatz as if they were part of the crowd, and recorded the reactions of the passers-by on video.
Born in Verdun (France) Lives and works in New York (USA)
Born 1979 in Karl-Marx-Stadt (East Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Born in East Berlin Lives and works in Leipzig and Berlin (Germany) In her work, the artist Yvon Chabrowski explores in a diverse fashion the function and impact of media images. Her video works and installations are often created in collaboration with performers. In 2013, for example, she staged and filmed in a neutral space re-enactments of photographs of Arab Spring protests that were widely distributed on the Internet. The performers formed a kind of modern “tableau vivant”. Our gaze focuses on the structure of the images, which have been freed from their political context, reduced to gestures and postures. The two-part floor projection #-Territory-# can be seen in this context, but it also assumes a completely independent form. It is not based on any medial pre-image, yet it is able to trigger diverse and extremely present associations. Numerous people dressed in grey can be seen lying on the ground, intertwined. Silently and densely pressed together, they move alongside and on top of one another. The initially peaceful coexistence becomes increasingly disturbed, each participant appears to want to lay claim to their place. More and more people are pushing into the visual field, claiming more space and thus figuratively their own territory. #-Territory-# creates an image that leaves a lasting impression on the visitor. The question arises as to how and under what conditions a successful coexistence can be organized not only as individuals but also as communities. For only in the to-and-fro, the with- and against-each-other, in the exploration of closeness and distance can one really find oneself. This work is therefore not a naive symbol of peaceful coexistence. It evokes both exclusion and empathy as two mutually dependent, existential experiences. It is a floor projection and as such you are in a sense in the middle of the picture, emotionally involved and not just an outside observer. Reflection on media, as conceived by Yvon Chabrowski, thereby becomes a special form of aesthetic experience that not only gives rise to theoretical or media-sociological considerations, but also opens up emotional approaches. Text: Ingo Clauß
Born 1957 in Yonkers/New York (USA) Lives and works in New York City (USA) Mechanical clatter, buzzing and whirring fill the rooms where Jon Kessler’s installations are exhibited. The sounds are made by his moving sculptures – kinetic objects that are much more than sophisticated technical gimmicks. They are complex, multimedia installations that often incorporate surveillance cameras, projectors and monitors that constantly record and reproduce images of their surroundings. Not infrequently the viewer becomes himself the object of surveillance – and thus a part of the work. His work #-The Hostage-# initially impresses the viewer with its size and its acoustic presence. Its visible mechanisms invite you to get closer and to take a closer look at the details. The exposed machinery makes it possible to trace every movement in all its technical detail and to gradually see through the functions with which the three built-in cameras capture the interior of the installation and transmit it to the screen in real time. There, they deliver a confusing program to the viewer: a blindfolded stuffed owl seems to fly up and down in a mirrored barrel as if trying to escape its prison. A rotating landscape comes closer and closer to the camera. It turns out on closer inspection to be an image of the Bronx, a district of New York. Finally, a camera moves on a rail into a cardboard box, the lid of which is opened by a mechanism at regular intervals. As this happens, the lighting inside the box dramatically changes. The output on the monitor is reminiscent of walking through a ruined house under flickering lights. The title of this work appears on the back of the box: #-The Hostage-#. Despite its technical sophistication, the construction seems archaic, in apparent opposition to the complex confrontation that is taking place on the screen. Text: Ines Koenen
Born 1985 Lives and works in Cologne (Germany)
Born 1970 in Nagoya (Japan) Lives and works in Nagoya Wenn man sich Hiroshi Sugitos verspielte, rätselhaft verträumte Bilder ansieht, kann man sich kaum vorstellen, dass der Japaner fünf Jahre lang als Holzfäller in einer Berghütte gelebt hat. Doch in dieser Zeit Mitte der neunziger Jahre hat Sugito zu sich selbst gefunden. Als Dreijähriger war er mit seiner Familie in die USA emigriert, zehn Jahre später musste er wieder nach Japan zurück – und kam in ein Land, das ihm fremd war. Diese Fremdheit spricht auch aus seiner Malerei. Hiroshi Sugitos zarte, semi-abstrakte Bilder haben eine tastende, suchende Handschrift. Sie erinnern an die Zeichnungen von Paul Klee, in denen ein vermeintlich naiver, kindlicher Unterton mitschwingt und gleichzeitig tief greifende philosophische Fragen anklingen. Ähnlich wie Klees Kompositionen schweben auch durch Sugitos Bilder zarte Linien, die den Bildraum wie Spinnweben definieren: mal beherrschen sie die Leinwand, mal geben sie ihr nur unterschwellig Halt. Dazwischen befinden sich oft minuziös gesetzte Figuren, die in ihrer Winzigkeit auf den ersten Blick wie Punkte oder Ornamente wirken. Dieses Spiel mit Abstraktion und Figuration ist Teil des surrealistischen Charakters von Sugitos Gemälden. Der Bildraum, eigentlich ein statischer Bereich, scheint durch solche illusorischen Effekte mobilisiert: winzige Kreuze entpuppen sich als Schmetterlinge, eine plane Grünfläche als Wiese, ein geometrisches Raster als eine Reihung aus Kuppeldächern. Doch entscheidend für das Flirren des Bildraums ist die aufgelöste Perspektive: Auf den Wiesen oder Gitterstrukturen finden sich wie in Kinderzeichnungen alle Motive nebeneinander oder nur leicht versetzt – Sugitos Landschaften haben dadurch stets etwas Schemenhaftes. Dieses Spiel mit der Wahrnehmung ist zugleich ein Spiel mit einer archaischen Symbolik, wie sie sich in Türmen, Bäumen oder Himmeln verbirgt. Sugito kombiniert diese simplen Motive mit Fragmenten aus der modernen Gesellschaft: Immer wieder tauchen Flugzeuge, Raketen und Kriegsschiffe auf. In den sanften, fast meditativ aufgetragenen Pastelltönen, die auf die klassische japanische Maltechnik zurückgehen, wirkt die implizite Gefahr solcher Motive gebannt. Sugitos Welt, in der sich Tradition und Philosophie seiner Heimat mit Verweisen auf die abendländische Kunstgeschichte und Symbolen des globalen Zeitalters vermischen, wirkt wie ein Fenster zu einem traumartigen Innenleben. Dort ziehen Fragen, Andeutungen, Erinnerungen vorbei – aber keine klare Botschaft.
Born 1957 in Bern (Switzerland) Lives and works in Paris (France) “To be an artist is not a question of form or content, it is a question of responsibility.” Thomas Hirschhorn’s radical claim confusingly supplements the flood of images in his collages and the material battles that take place in his massive, overflowing installations. The use of found materials, reminiscent of Arte Povera, as well as the relentless use of various kinds of images from the Internet and other sources characterise the work and approach of Hirschhorn, a Swiss artist living in Paris. Despite the heterogeneity of the elements Hirschhorn uses, in the end he always creates something organic, a kind of “bricolage”, a concretion of “wild thinking” that can connect one thing with another in a meaningful way. The work #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is indicative of this ambitious approach. #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is a sculptural structure constructed out of three tables arranged on top of one another, which engender thoroughly mixed emotions. Hirschhorn has formed numerous pointed cones out of aluminium foil and thereby has created a kind of dripstone cave in the space between the two upper tables. Indeed, the conical shapes are reminiscent of metallic stalagmites and stalactites. But their tips are dyed red and now look like bloody fangs in the mouth of a Tyrannosaurus cyborg. A kind of red aluminium umbilical cord leads from this ensemble to a wooden plate on the wall, which frames it like a picture. It turns out to be a projection screen for a small finger-like drawing as well as a historical photo showing the end of a mass execution from the 1930/40s in an Alpine location. If we are honest about it: most of the images from the Internet have the character of intestines. They represent something like the “obscene innards of the global media" (David Joselit). Seen in this way, the symbolic stalactite cave with bloody fangs is the mouth of a voracious monster, similar to the leviathan. Some viewers will also be reminded of Kafka’s penal colony, in which the misdemeanours of the condemned were written on their bodies with precise equipment. The text is stabbed deeper and deeper into them – until they die. Indeed, Thomas Hirschhorn transfers his radical demands onto the observers of his works. He expects a lot of them – and that's a good thing. Text: Peter Friese
Born 1971 in Mumbai (India) Lives and works in New York (USA) Appropriation seems to be the goal of many artists in this Zeitgeist; as the world archive increases so it seems to dwindle in other aspects. Hidden truths, maligned narratives and phobias abound. In allowing access to and mining within this excess of the visual, artists can contribute to a better understanding of our contemporary condition. Battered, withered and enslaved as we remain in our prejudice, Abichandani challenges our perception of lives and realities that seemingly remain across the threshold, as if bounded by their fate to geographical and political hinterlands. The Soldier Bomber works are a testament to our colluding in such atrocious times, pregnant as they are with postponed agendas and monstrosities allied to land and resources. Appropriating their portraits from the internet, photos of actual female American and Canadian soldiers and Palestinian female suicide bombers, which she gleans from unfamiliar terrains, to create composite portraits that remain outside of acceptable ‘patriarchal narratives’. The insanity is not bounded by gender, the only remaining option is the urge for revolution even if its zeal smacks of herded, blinded patriotism. Women and fatigues, a strange mixture of values and histories collude to frame a galley of individuals, known as soldiers, of which five versions are held in the collection. Often painted in circular panels, these work are a pastiche of guild portraits from a famous academy, with vivid patterns often formalizing the gaze. Abichandani’s oeuvre is processed by the use of hidden variables, which strike a chord by the recognition of the hidden within, which she reconstitute from the average often in its self-destructive reality to canonize a third seemingly liberated but maybe terrorist subject? Here everyone is a martyr, a design that constitutes and has become the blueprint of postmodern developing culture. Traditionally, oppositions straddle across ravines, in fighting to create a better world but Abichandani refuses these opposites in Soldier Bomber, all soldiers, remain institutionalized by ideologies, they become a register by death, a form of commandeering activism, especially in parts of the world that we want to forget. In memorizing and reinscribing such motives, symbols and individuals the artists allows us to reframe and reconsider their currency and the very circuits within which they shape our daily culture. The arrangement of materials and the site of knowledge seems to be of utmost importance to Abichandani, for the allowance of political agency. In The Rise and Fall, she combines whips, Swarovski crystals, Kufic calligraphy from the Iraqi flag spelling out God is Great and a hand drawn map of the Peter’s Projection (the real scale of the mass of continents), to make a complex new picture. The whole work is constructed on a mural scale to make many histories present in one place, to co-exist as if time itself is released of its linearity. The artist has made an immense effort to mesh time, place and ideologies, she suggests “the distortion of the swastika as well of the continents symbolizes the impact of religious and national fundamentalisms on the planet, the subtle differences between the two shades of red and green jewels are metaphors for the invisible but impactful differences between catholic and protestant, shia and sunni etc... the piece alludes as much to the formation of Israel as to the current violence in the Middle East as the on going result of the partitions of India and Pakistan, Israel and Palestine, both of which happened in 1947.” Her cultural remapping of unfixing symbols, unhinging movements and a call for a hybrid Internationality, liberates meaning beyond particular questions. In occluding and undoing and a purposefully haptic affect in the materials and scale, the work is fabricated into folds of space, time and fundamentalisms. Overall the treatment remains even; it is empathetic to the kitsch, labour orientated and the decorative to define difference and, most importantly, that which is ethically marked. Text Shaheen Merali
Born 1970 in Nagoya (Japan) Lives and works in Nagoya Wenn man sich Hiroshi Sugitos verspielte, rätselhaft verträumte Bilder ansieht, kann man sich kaum vorstellen, dass der Japaner fünf Jahre lang als Holzfäller in einer Berghütte gelebt hat. Doch in dieser Zeit Mitte der neunziger Jahre hat Sugito zu sich selbst gefunden. Als Dreijähriger war er mit seiner Familie in die USA emigriert, zehn Jahre später musste er wieder nach Japan zurück – und kam in ein Land, das ihm fremd war. Diese Fremdheit spricht auch aus seiner Malerei. Hiroshi Sugitos zarte, semi-abstrakte Bilder haben eine tastende, suchende Handschrift. Sie erinnern an die Zeichnungen von Paul Klee, in denen ein vermeintlich naiver, kindlicher Unterton mitschwingt und gleichzeitig tief greifende philosophische Fragen anklingen. Ähnlich wie Klees Kompositionen schweben auch durch Sugitos Bilder zarte Linien, die den Bildraum wie Spinnweben definieren: mal beherrschen sie die Leinwand, mal geben sie ihr nur unterschwellig Halt. Dazwischen befinden sich oft minuziös gesetzte Figuren, die in ihrer Winzigkeit auf den ersten Blick wie Punkte oder Ornamente wirken. Dieses Spiel mit Abstraktion und Figuration ist Teil des surrealistischen Charakters von Sugitos Gemälden. Der Bildraum, eigentlich ein statischer Bereich, scheint durch solche illusorischen Effekte mobilisiert: winzige Kreuze entpuppen sich als Schmetterlinge, eine plane Grünfläche als Wiese, ein geometrisches Raster als eine Reihung aus Kuppeldächern. Doch entscheidend für das Flirren des Bildraums ist die aufgelöste Perspektive: Auf den Wiesen oder Gitterstrukturen finden sich wie in Kinderzeichnungen alle Motive nebeneinander oder nur leicht versetzt – Sugitos Landschaften haben dadurch stets etwas Schemenhaftes. Dieses Spiel mit der Wahrnehmung ist zugleich ein Spiel mit einer archaischen Symbolik, wie sie sich in Türmen, Bäumen oder Himmeln verbirgt. Sugito kombiniert diese simplen Motive mit Fragmenten aus der modernen Gesellschaft: Immer wieder tauchen Flugzeuge, Raketen und Kriegsschiffe auf. In den sanften, fast meditativ aufgetragenen Pastelltönen, die auf die klassische japanische Maltechnik zurückgehen, wirkt die implizite Gefahr solcher Motive gebannt. Sugitos Welt, in der sich Tradition und Philosophie seiner Heimat mit Verweisen auf die abendländische Kunstgeschichte und Symbolen des globalen Zeitalters vermischen, wirkt wie ein Fenster zu einem traumartigen Innenleben. Dort ziehen Fragen, Andeutungen, Erinnerungen vorbei – aber keine klare Botschaft.
Born 1968 in Helmond (The Netherlands) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) Sie wirken wie deformierte Modelle von Nachkriegsmonumenten, wie man sie in Fußgängerzonen und auf Verkehrsinseln der alten Bundesrepublik findet. Doch im Gegensatz zur groben Wuchtigkeit etwa von Wolf Vostells eingemauertem Cadillac am Berliner Kurfürstendamm ist der Beton in den Skulpturen von Jeroen Jacobs das Resultat eines leidenschaftlichen Spielers. Die Gussformen, die der Jacobs aus Plastikfolien zusammensetzt, dienen offenbar allein dazu, die zähe Masse zum Eigenleben aufzufordern. Was daraus erwächst, sind verblüffend elegante Gebilde, die sich aus einem groben Rumpf herauswinden und mit fast gekünstelten Gesten in den Raum hinein deuten. Die verführerisch glatte Außenhaut platzt an einigen Stellen auf und lässt das poröse Material darunter wie rohes Fleisch hervorquellen. Doch der Bewegungsdrang findet bricht abrupt ab, sobald die Masse fest wird. Und damit haftet den Skulpturen etwas Melancholisches an, wie es stillstehende Momente nun einmal mit sich bringen. Auf Sockeln oder direkt auf dem Fußboden präsentiert, mal im Handtaschenformat, mal gestreckt bis knapp unter die Deckenlampe, wirken sie wie ein monumentales, beinahe unheimliches Ensemble aus in Baumasse festsitzenden Arbeitsutensilien, zerbrochenen Architekturmodellen und Überresten eines Vulkanausbruchs. Und obwohl der Mensch nicht auftaucht, sitzt sein geisterhafter Firnis auf den Oberflächen: Jacobs zeigt, dass Beton nicht nur verspielt, sondern auch durchaus sinnlich daherkommen kann.
Born 1949 in Liverpool (UK) Lives and works in Wuppertal (Germany)
Born 1971 in Lima (Peru) Lives and works in Houston, Miami, NY (USA) Feingliedrig und gleichzeitig rau wirken die Papierarbeiten des 1971 in Peru geborenen und heute in den USA lebenden Künstlers William Cordova. Filigrane Linien von Kugelschreiber, Bleistift oder Pinsel und collagenartig zusammengefügte Elemente formen dabei teils abstrakte Muster, teils figürliche Zeichnungen. Als Ausgangsmaterial dieser Arbeiten verwendet Cordova vorrangig gefundene Dinge, wie Papierreste oder herausgetrennte Buch- und Magazinseiten. Neben den zweidimensionalen Werken gestaltet Cordova Installationen und Objekte, die ebenfalls weitgehend aus armen Materialien und ausrangierten Gebrauchsgegenständen bestehen. Mit der Wiederverwendung solcher Relikte, die als Abfall ausgesondert und dem Vergessen preisgegeben werden sollten, unternimmt Cordova einen Akt der Konservierung: „The use of found materials is not to erase, transform and make a new but to emphasize the content(s) already existing within that used or found material.“ Einen wesentlichen Impuls seines künstlerischen Schaffens stellen kulturelle Differenzen, Verbindungen und Übergänge dar – ein Thema, das stark von Cordovas eigener, transkultureller Biografie geprägt ist, die ihn von Lima/Peru über Miami/Florida zu verschiedenen Wohn- und Aufenthaltsorten in Amerika und Europa führte. Er selbst bezeichnet seine Arbeiten daher als „a result of being in two worlds at the same time, but never being whole in either one.“ In seinen Werken spiegelt sich diese kulturelle Mobilität in der Verknüpfung von Mustern, Symbolen und Motiven, die sowohl Cordovas peruanische Wurzeln berühren und traditionelle oder historische Referenzen darstellen als auch das moderne Leben amerikanischer Großstädte und deren vitale Subkulturen reflektieren. So erinnert das in einigen seiner collagierten Zeichnungen verwendete Blattgold gleichermaßen an das legendäre Gold der Inka und die Kultur der südamerikanischen Ureinwohner wie auch an die Ikonenmalerei des Christentums, das die religiöse Praxis in Peru seit der spanischen Eroberung im 16. Jahrhundert prägt. Eine ebenfalls ambivalente Bedeutung kommt den vielfach dargestellten an Lautsprecherboxen erinnernden Kästen zu (etwa in Before there was anything there was…Elvis?, 2003). Sie sind, ebenso wie die häufig verwendeten Motive von Mikrophonen, Kabeln, Kassettenrekordern oder Schallplatten als Symbol einer musikalischen Praxis lesbar, die seit jeher als Mittel der Kommunikation, aber auch der Selbstdefinition verschiedener kultureller Gruppen dient. Gleichzeitig spielen die Boxen auf das Cajón an, ein afro-peruanisches, perkussives Musikinstrument, das aus einem hochformatigen, hölzernen Quader besteht und damit der Form eines Lautsprechers ähnelt. In derartigen Details artikuliert sich eine im Wesentlichen von Immigranten und ihren Traditionen geprägte Kultur, die am Rand des urbanen Lebens gesellschaftliche Relikte für sich wiederbelebt und gleichzeitig einen Widerstand zur USamerikanischen Mainstreamkultur ausbildet. Ein weiteres, vielfach dargestelltes Motiv in Cordovas Arbeiten sind teilweise zerstörte Autos und Karosserieteile wie etwa in I wan you to Cum in my Ass (2001). Diese Zivilisationsreste können als Verweis auf städtische Randgebiete gelesen werden, die oftmals von verlassenen Orten und ärmlichen Verhältnissen geprägt sind. In ihrer vom Umfeld isolierten Darstellung gewinnen sie jedoch an ästhetischem Wert und Aura. So stellt auch die Arbeit Tin can flattened (2006) – eine blaue, zusammen gedrückte Dose mit silbern gesprenkelter Oberfläche – einerseits schlicht ein Abfallprodukt dar, andererseits lässt das ovale Objekt leicht die erhabene Weite eines nächtlichen Sternenhimmels assoziieren. Indem Cordova verschiedene, historisch geprägte Lebens- und Kulturformen mit Facetten der Konsumgesellschaft verquickt, gelingen ihm subtile Bildergeschichten, die stets mehrere Bedeutungen implizieren und Aspekte kultureller Überschneidungen, aber auch Divergenzen beleuchten. Dorothea Klein
1980 born in Wiesbaden (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Born 1979 in Moscow (Russia) Lives and works in New York City (USA) Dreamlike film sequences, distorted oil paintings and curious sculptures characterize the multimedia work of Kon Trubkovich. The unpacks a multifaceted visual language in which he draws on the element of repetition on multiple levels at the same time. In his videos, the same actions and images are repeated over and over again to create a scene that describes an endless state from which there appears to be no escape. He picks up the motifs and colours of his film works in his sculptures and pictures as well, stylizing them to create elements that can be interpreted in diverse ways, such as the prison motif and the orange-coloured overalls that are the conventional prisoner’s garb in the USA. Trubkovich’s videos are created by playing VHS tapes, filming them, replaying the filmed material and filming that in turn. They are like memories that return again and again, yet gradually become blurred, and distorted, and superimposed on each other, transforming into scenes far removed from the original. For his oil paintings and watercolours, Trubkovich uses selected stills as a template. Through repetition and creating stills of the film sequences, new details become visible while other aspects fall out of focus and illuminate the hidden stories behind the story. In his videos, paintings and sculptures, the artist – who spent his early childhood in Russia before moving to the USA with his family at the age of 11 – repeatedly returns to prison situations and breakout scenes, thereby confronting his own memories of captivity and emigration. Yet his own biography is by no means in the foreground of his work; rather, Kon Trubkovich invokes images from the collective consciousness and points to societal experiences and patterns. Trubkovich does not categorise his works as explicitly political art. Rather, he illuminates a level on which political events intervene into personal life and force the individual into certain patterns of behaviour. Text: Mirka Gewinner
1943–2018 in Berlin (Germany) In the spring of 1994, the Steidl Verlag published the reportage book #-Unterwegs im Beitrittsgebiet -# (Out and about in the accession area) by the Berlin author and photographer Michael Rutschky. In this book, Rutschky describes three trips to eastern Germany during the political upheavals of the late eighties and early nineties. He visited the German Democratic Republic in November 1989 shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. This was a time when everything suddenly seemed to be set in motion after decades of rigidity. In November 1991, shortly after reunification, he drove for a second time to the East. In the summer of 1993, a third journey finally took him across the “five new federal states”. Inserted into the text of the book, the author has around fifty uncommented black and white photographs, arranged in pairs on double pages. They form their own narrative thread. The places where the photographs were taken are listed in a picture index at the end of the book: unfinished “Gorbi” graffitti in Prenzlauer Berg, a street in the abandoned industrial district of Leipzig-Plagwitz, an abandoned apartment in Quedlinburg on the northern edge of the Harz or a mock castle made of scaffolding and motif tarpaulins under construction on the boulevard Unter den Linden in East Berlin. Sometimes the photographs themselves provide clues as to when they were taken, but sometimes the subjects seem to firmly oppose the idea of ​​temporality.
Born 1957 in Bern (Switzerland) Lives and works in Paris (France) “To be an artist is not a question of form or content, it is a question of responsibility.” Thomas Hirschhorn’s radical claim confusingly supplements the flood of images in his collages and the material battles that take place in his massive, overflowing installations. The use of found materials, reminiscent of Arte Povera, as well as the relentless use of various kinds of images from the Internet and other sources characterise the work and approach of Hirschhorn, a Swiss artist living in Paris. Despite the heterogeneity of the elements Hirschhorn uses, in the end he always creates something organic, a kind of “bricolage”, a concretion of “wild thinking” that can connect one thing with another in a meaningful way. The work #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is indicative of this ambitious approach. #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is a sculptural structure constructed out of three tables arranged on top of one another, which engender thoroughly mixed emotions. Hirschhorn has formed numerous pointed cones out of aluminium foil and thereby has created a kind of dripstone cave in the space between the two upper tables. Indeed, the conical shapes are reminiscent of metallic stalagmites and stalactites. But their tips are dyed red and now look like bloody fangs in the mouth of a Tyrannosaurus cyborg. A kind of red aluminium umbilical cord leads from this ensemble to a wooden plate on the wall, which frames it like a picture. It turns out to be a projection screen for a small finger-like drawing as well as a historical photo showing the end of a mass execution from the 1930/40s in an Alpine location. If we are honest about it: most of the images from the Internet have the character of intestines. They represent something like the “obscene innards of the global media" (David Joselit). Seen in this way, the symbolic stalactite cave with bloody fangs is the mouth of a voracious monster, similar to the leviathan. Some viewers will also be reminded of Kafka’s penal colony, in which the misdemeanours of the condemned were written on their bodies with precise equipment. The text is stabbed deeper and deeper into them – until they die. Indeed, Thomas Hirschhorn transfers his radical demands onto the observers of his works. He expects a lot of them – and that's a good thing. Text: Peter Friese
Born 1965 in Gribbohm (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) Seit Mitte der neunziger Jahre ist John Bock so etwas wie der Narr des Kunstbetriebs. Mit seiner Anlehnung an den Dadaismus und den Wiener Aktionismus zählt er zu den wichtigsten Aktionskünstlern in Deutschland. Bock begann seine künstlerische Arbeit mit „Vorträgen“, die sich in einer Nonsens-Rhetorik an den Forscherjargon akademischer Vorlesungen anlehnten und die Verbindungen zwischen Kunst und Wirtschaftstheorien thematisierten. International bekannt wurde er mit seinen slapstickhaften, grotesken Performances, in denen Theater, Video, Vorträge, Bühnen-Installationen und Skulpturen ineinander übergehen und per Video dokumentiert werden. Bocks Welt ist ebenso absurd wie subtil, durchdrungen von zahllosen Verweisen auf biografische und wissenschaftliche Ansätze aus der Kunstgeschichte, Literatur, Philosophie, Wirtschaftswissenschaften und Psychologie. Gleichzeitig zitiert Bock aus „niederen“ Genres wie Straßenkunst, Rockmusik, Second Hand-Mode, Comedy und Horrorfilmen. Eine rationale Interpretation seines Werks scheint unmöglich. Aus seinen Aktionen entstehen zuweilen eigenartig betitelte Skulpturen, in denen verschiedene Materialien wie Holz, Stoff, Draht, Aluminium, Samt oder Beton zu beinahe surrealistischen Objekten arrangiert werden. Bei „Fieberausgüsse im Hirn-Flimmern“ (2005) sind verschiedene Dinge, darunter Eierschalen und Sushi-Algenblätter, auf einem bunten Teppich platziert. An dessen Rand befindet sich ein offener Koffer mit einem Styroporklotz auf dem Deckel, darin liegen zahnähnliche Aluminiumteile. Ein Teil des Teppichs ist herausgeschnitten und lagert auf einer mit Beton gefüllten Plastikflasche. Auf der anderen Seite, unterhalb des Teppichs, befindet sich ein Marmeladenglas, das nur durch ein kleines Loch im Teppich sichtbar ist. Der Teppich ist als Symbol für wissenschaftliche Modelle zu verstehen. Das schwarze Quadrat der Sushi-Algenblätter deutet auf ein kosmisches System hin. Das Ei symbolisiert die perfekte Form. „Flimmern“ bezieht sich auf ein irrisierendes, verwirrtes Gefühl, was die Punkte auf dem Teppich widerspiegeln sollen. Bocks Skulptur hat keinen konkreten Anhalts- oder Bezugspunkt – allein durch die Kombination aus Materialien, die inhaltlich unterschiedlich aufgeladen sind, entsteht eine Atmosphäre des Unerklärbaren, ähnlich wie in wissenschaftlichen Laboren oder Kinderzimmern. „Die Tiefe“ symbolisiert den Bauch eines U-Boots, das aus zwei turbinenähnlichen dicken Rohren, einem wurmartigen Samtende und einem Periskop besteht, dessen Linse eine alte Brille und eine Toilettenpapierrolle bildet, durch die man hindurchschauen kann. Während seines Vortrags in Antwerpen nahm Bock die Zuschauer mit auf eine Reise unter den Meeresspiegel. Mit verschmiertem Gesicht und dreckigem Regenmantel spielte der Künstler die Rolle des U-Boot-Kapitäns, der versucht, das Schiff zu retten. Sein erster Matrose ist ein Kleiderhaken im blauen Hemd und einem in Klebeband versteckten „Kopf“. Als Bauchredner stellt Bock auch seine Stimme anders dar. Mithilfe eines Wattestäbchens, das an einem kleinen Mechanismus in der Mitte der Skulptur befestigt ist, demonstriert Bock, wie ein Torpedo zwei feindliche Schiffe attackiert. Dann wird sein eigenes Boot getroffen und beginnt zu sinken. Der Matrose überlebt den Angriff, doch der Kapitän stirbt – seine letzten Worte lauten „Moby Dick, Moby Dick“. In dieser Performance geht es weit mehr als um ein Kriegsspiel. Mit einer charakteristischen Terminologie, einem kreativen Sprachgebrauch und einem wirbelnden Auftritt spielt der Künstler auf die deutsche Kriegsvergangenheit an, die sich in ihren Grundzügen auch auf den desolaten Zustand unserer heutigen Gesellschaft übertragen lässt. Ergänzt wird die Installation von fünf Papierarbeiten, die als irrwitzige Konstruktionspläne für Bocks dreidimensionale Werke zu verstehen sind.
Born 1962 in Newark, New Jersey (USA) Died 2014 Douglas Kolk made his name as an illustrator. He first worked with small sheets of paper. The works in the Peters-Messer collection from the 1990s are characteristic of that. Later, he also tended towards larger formats and designed comprehensive collages. His early works usually contain individual memos that Kolk fashioned with his favourite instruments, the pencil and the marker. The linear contours, added sparingly, maintain the fragmentary character of the work, as do the colourfully washed shapes and surfaces. Some of his drawings remind the beholder of comic-book art, especially when words and arrows are sprinkled throughout. Influences from pop culture can also be found in the meticulously executed pencil drawing #-We hate ya World -# (1996/97), which presents its globe-shaped statement like an advertising signet. Some exponents have pointed to Kolk’s closeness to Raymond Pettibon, but Kolk usually dispensed with the denser kinds of texts that often accompany Pettibon’s works like excerpts from some fantastical tales. In their deliberately artless nature, many of Kolk’s drawings remind the beholder of naive scribblings. Kolk’s pictures may seem to have been thrown together playfully, but they are always characterised by traces of very intimate and very personal emotion. Some allusions, at first incomprehensible, can be seen as painful confrontations with the drugs in his past and the fears and experiences that went with them. On the whole, his works live from their double nature as both public symbol and private record. They are notes that he must have intended to capture memories, make emotions visible and register present suffering. They open up a wide spectrum of associations. His drawings seem accessible because they are close to familiar concepts from pop art, advertising and even children’s paintings. On the other hand, however, they arouse our curiosity because, in their unfamiliar allusions, fragmentary design and unusual image compositions, they are disconcerting. They allow us to rediscover and reinterpret something that, at first, seems both artless and familiar. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1967 in Sydney (Australia) Lives and works in New York, NY (USA) Bjarne Melgaard lives and works in New York and is considered – not only in his homeland – the most important contemporary Norwegian artist. He is a master of provocation and of breaching taboos who, in his exhibitions – unchecked installations of painting, sculpture, ready-mades and textual expression – explores the mental depths of humanity with an explicitly masculine, even brutal, vigour. The impudent painting #-I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society-# is no different. Its drastic aesthetic harks backs to forms of anti-art, to works by Dubuffet, to Basquiat or to the graffitied messages you see on urban walls and fences. There can be no doubt that Melgaard is picking up where this rebellious art form left off, an art form that aims to grab the attention. The obvious spelling mistake could thus be blamed on haste, but that interpretation would miss the multidimensional ways the work can be read. It not only cites the artwork that is graffiti, turning it into a pastose arrangement of colour, but also the impulsive forms of expression that we know from action painting. The aggressively applied paint marks, the frantic placing of the letters underscore the rebellious subjectivity of an artistic act of painting. The vulgar goes hand-in-hand with spontaneity of design, the random with considered placement. In stark letters, the picture demands your attention and expressly insists on being acknowledged. Is it the artist himself demanding validation and integration for his individuality and his self-image – because he is part of the society that surrounds and shapes him, and not an outsider? Or is Melgaard giving art itself a voice it can use to demand recognition, despite content that attacks aesthetic sensibilities? – The sentence “I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society” typifies a torn society that blanks out and marginalises whatever doesn’t match the norm, whatever it doesn't understand or finds ugly, even though those things merely reflect the values and behaviours found in society itself. The work is thus an angry plea to reject the affirmative character of elaborated art. Text: Sarah Lemmermann
Lives and works in New York City (USA)
Born 1967 in Sydney (Australia) Lives and works in New York, NY (USA) Bjarne Melgaard lives and works in New York and is considered – not only in his homeland – the most important contemporary Norwegian artist. He is a master of provocation and of breaching taboos who, in his exhibitions – unchecked installations of painting, sculpture, ready-mades and textual expression – explores the mental depths of humanity with an explicitly masculine, even brutal, vigour. The impudent painting #-I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society-# is no different. Its drastic aesthetic harks backs to forms of anti-art, to works by Dubuffet, to Basquiat or to the graffitied messages you see on urban walls and fences. There can be no doubt that Melgaard is picking up where this rebellious art form left off, an art form that aims to grab the attention. The obvious spelling mistake could thus be blamed on haste, but that interpretation would miss the multidimensional ways the work can be read. It not only cites the artwork that is graffiti, turning it into a pastose arrangement of colour, but also the impulsive forms of expression that we know from action painting. The aggressively applied paint marks, the frantic placing of the letters underscore the rebellious subjectivity of an artistic act of painting. The vulgar goes hand-in-hand with spontaneity of design, the random with considered placement. In stark letters, the picture demands your attention and expressly insists on being acknowledged. Is it the artist himself demanding validation and integration for his individuality and his self-image – because he is part of the society that surrounds and shapes him, and not an outsider? Or is Melgaard giving art itself a voice it can use to demand recognition, despite content that attacks aesthetic sensibilities? – The sentence “I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society” typifies a torn society that blanks out and marginalises whatever doesn’t match the norm, whatever it doesn't understand or finds ugly, even though those things merely reflect the values and behaviours found in society itself. The work is thus an angry plea to reject the affirmative character of elaborated art. Text: Sarah Lemmermann
Born 1070 in Tübingen (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Born in 1955, Detroit (USA) Lives and works in New York City (USA)
Born 1967 in Sydney (Australia) Lives and works in New York, NY (USA) Bjarne Melgaard lives and works in New York and is considered – not only in his homeland – the most important contemporary Norwegian artist. He is a master of provocation and of breaching taboos who, in his exhibitions – unchecked installations of painting, sculpture, ready-mades and textual expression – explores the mental depths of humanity with an explicitly masculine, even brutal, vigour. The impudent painting #-I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society-# is no different. Its drastic aesthetic harks backs to forms of anti-art, to works by Dubuffet, to Basquiat or to the graffitied messages you see on urban walls and fences. There can be no doubt that Melgaard is picking up where this rebellious art form left off, an art form that aims to grab the attention. The obvious spelling mistake could thus be blamed on haste, but that interpretation would miss the multidimensional ways the work can be read. It not only cites the artwork that is graffiti, turning it into a pastose arrangement of colour, but also the impulsive forms of expression that we know from action painting. The aggressively applied paint marks, the frantic placing of the letters underscore the rebellious subjectivity of an artistic act of painting. The vulgar goes hand-in-hand with spontaneity of design, the random with considered placement. In stark letters, the picture demands your attention and expressly insists on being acknowledged. Is it the artist himself demanding validation and integration for his individuality and his self-image – because he is part of the society that surrounds and shapes him, and not an outsider? Or is Melgaard giving art itself a voice it can use to demand recognition, despite content that attacks aesthetic sensibilities? – The sentence “I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society” typifies a torn society that blanks out and marginalises whatever doesn’t match the norm, whatever it doesn't understand or finds ugly, even though those things merely reflect the values and behaviours found in society itself. The work is thus an angry plea to reject the affirmative character of elaborated art. Text: Sarah Lemmermann
Born in 1955, Detroit (USA) Lives and works in New York City (USA)
Born 1966 New York (USA) Lives and works in New York City (USA) In his work #-Untitled (arms and Armor from New York Gladiators) -# Tom Sachs “hobbles together” a suit of armour resembling samurai armour, using construction site cast-offs. Sachs combines scrap metal, asphalt and the construction-site noise of a large city with echoes of the long since disappeared martial culture of the Far East and its venerable code of honour. As a metaphor for the “melting pot”, the New Yorker creates a picture of a lonely urban warrior who is internally riven and complex, opening up worlds of philosophical deliberation that collide with the reality of life in the city. The armour is at once striking and simplistic. The suit was tested in battle when artist Dirk Westphal had “urban gladiators” from the art scene face off against each other in 1999. The combatants fought with abandon and even had spectators firing them on and betting on the outcome. In this piece, Tom Sachs manages to combine entertainment with spheres of the blue-collar milieu and an unusual spin on contemporary art. At the same time, he elevates the essence of the construction site and the rawness, the combativeness, to the cultural level while playfully questioning concepts of art and society, morality and honour, earnestness and play. Various layers of interpretation suggest themselves without becoming fully tangible. Tom Sachs is regarded as an artist who imagines his objects and sculptures like an engineer and teases them into existence like an inventor. His fantastical creations are often re-enactments and re-imaginings of everyday objects, McDonalds branches, Hello Kitty figurines and NASA rockets shaped by his characteristic DIY style and robust material mix. His “remixes” are also renowned in the fashion industry and the artist works with various fashion labels. Text: Mirka Gewinner
Born 1967 in Sydney (Australia) Lives and works in New York, NY (USA) Bjarne Melgaard lives and works in New York and is considered – not only in his homeland – the most important contemporary Norwegian artist. He is a master of provocation and of breaching taboos who, in his exhibitions – unchecked installations of painting, sculpture, ready-mades and textual expression – explores the mental depths of humanity with an explicitly masculine, even brutal, vigour. The impudent painting #-I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society-# is no different. Its drastic aesthetic harks backs to forms of anti-art, to works by Dubuffet, to Basquiat or to the graffitied messages you see on urban walls and fences. There can be no doubt that Melgaard is picking up where this rebellious art form left off, an art form that aims to grab the attention. The obvious spelling mistake could thus be blamed on haste, but that interpretation would miss the multidimensional ways the work can be read. It not only cites the artwork that is graffiti, turning it into a pastose arrangement of colour, but also the impulsive forms of expression that we know from action painting. The aggressively applied paint marks, the frantic placing of the letters underscore the rebellious subjectivity of an artistic act of painting. The vulgar goes hand-in-hand with spontaneity of design, the random with considered placement. In stark letters, the picture demands your attention and expressly insists on being acknowledged. Is it the artist himself demanding validation and integration for his individuality and his self-image – because he is part of the society that surrounds and shapes him, and not an outsider? Or is Melgaard giving art itself a voice it can use to demand recognition, despite content that attacks aesthetic sensibilities? – The sentence “I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society” typifies a torn society that blanks out and marginalises whatever doesn’t match the norm, whatever it doesn't understand or finds ugly, even though those things merely reflect the values and behaviours found in society itself. The work is thus an angry plea to reject the affirmative character of elaborated art. Text: Sarah Lemmermann
Born 1962 in Newcastle (UK) Lives and works in Tokyo (Japan)
Born 1967 in Sydney (Australia) Lives and works in New York, NY (USA) Bjarne Melgaard lives and works in New York and is considered – not only in his homeland – the most important contemporary Norwegian artist. He is a master of provocation and of breaching taboos who, in his exhibitions – unchecked installations of painting, sculpture, ready-mades and textual expression – explores the mental depths of humanity with an explicitly masculine, even brutal, vigour. The impudent painting #-I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society-# is no different. Its drastic aesthetic harks backs to forms of anti-art, to works by Dubuffet, to Basquiat or to the graffitied messages you see on urban walls and fences. There can be no doubt that Melgaard is picking up where this rebellious art form left off, an art form that aims to grab the attention. The obvious spelling mistake could thus be blamed on haste, but that interpretation would miss the multidimensional ways the work can be read. It not only cites the artwork that is graffiti, turning it into a pastose arrangement of colour, but also the impulsive forms of expression that we know from action painting. The aggressively applied paint marks, the frantic placing of the letters underscore the rebellious subjectivity of an artistic act of painting. The vulgar goes hand-in-hand with spontaneity of design, the random with considered placement. In stark letters, the picture demands your attention and expressly insists on being acknowledged. Is it the artist himself demanding validation and integration for his individuality and his self-image – because he is part of the society that surrounds and shapes him, and not an outsider? Or is Melgaard giving art itself a voice it can use to demand recognition, despite content that attacks aesthetic sensibilities? – The sentence “I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society” typifies a torn society that blanks out and marginalises whatever doesn’t match the norm, whatever it doesn't understand or finds ugly, even though those things merely reflect the values and behaviours found in society itself. The work is thus an angry plea to reject the affirmative character of elaborated art. Text: Sarah Lemmermann
Born 1962 in Newcastle (UK) Lives and works in Tokyo (Japan)
Born 1973 in Stuttgart (Germany) Lives and works in Rangsdorf near Berlin (Germany)
Born 1967 in Sydney (Australia) Lives and works in New York, NY (USA) Bjarne Melgaard lives and works in New York and is considered – not only in his homeland – the most important contemporary Norwegian artist. He is a master of provocation and of breaching taboos who, in his exhibitions – unchecked installations of painting, sculpture, ready-mades and textual expression – explores the mental depths of humanity with an explicitly masculine, even brutal, vigour. The impudent painting #-I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society-# is no different. Its drastic aesthetic harks backs to forms of anti-art, to works by Dubuffet, to Basquiat or to the graffitied messages you see on urban walls and fences. There can be no doubt that Melgaard is picking up where this rebellious art form left off, an art form that aims to grab the attention. The obvious spelling mistake could thus be blamed on haste, but that interpretation would miss the multidimensional ways the work can be read. It not only cites the artwork that is graffiti, turning it into a pastose arrangement of colour, but also the impulsive forms of expression that we know from action painting. The aggressively applied paint marks, the frantic placing of the letters underscore the rebellious subjectivity of an artistic act of painting. The vulgar goes hand-in-hand with spontaneity of design, the random with considered placement. In stark letters, the picture demands your attention and expressly insists on being acknowledged. Is it the artist himself demanding validation and integration for his individuality and his self-image – because he is part of the society that surrounds and shapes him, and not an outsider? Or is Melgaard giving art itself a voice it can use to demand recognition, despite content that attacks aesthetic sensibilities? – The sentence “I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society” typifies a torn society that blanks out and marginalises whatever doesn’t match the norm, whatever it doesn't understand or finds ugly, even though those things merely reflect the values and behaviours found in society itself. The work is thus an angry plea to reject the affirmative character of elaborated art. Text: Sarah Lemmermann
Born 1962 in Newcastle (UK) Lives and works in Tokyo (Japan)
Born 1967 in Sydney (Australia) Lives and works in New York, NY (USA) Bjarne Melgaard lives and works in New York and is considered – not only in his homeland – the most important contemporary Norwegian artist. He is a master of provocation and of breaching taboos who, in his exhibitions – unchecked installations of painting, sculpture, ready-mades and textual expression – explores the mental depths of humanity with an explicitly masculine, even brutal, vigour. The impudent painting #-I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society-# is no different. Its drastic aesthetic harks backs to forms of anti-art, to works by Dubuffet, to Basquiat or to the graffitied messages you see on urban walls and fences. There can be no doubt that Melgaard is picking up where this rebellious art form left off, an art form that aims to grab the attention. The obvious spelling mistake could thus be blamed on haste, but that interpretation would miss the multidimensional ways the work can be read. It not only cites the artwork that is graffiti, turning it into a pastose arrangement of colour, but also the impulsive forms of expression that we know from action painting. The aggressively applied paint marks, the frantic placing of the letters underscore the rebellious subjectivity of an artistic act of painting. The vulgar goes hand-in-hand with spontaneity of design, the random with considered placement. In stark letters, the picture demands your attention and expressly insists on being acknowledged. Is it the artist himself demanding validation and integration for his individuality and his self-image – because he is part of the society that surrounds and shapes him, and not an outsider? Or is Melgaard giving art itself a voice it can use to demand recognition, despite content that attacks aesthetic sensibilities? – The sentence “I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society” typifies a torn society that blanks out and marginalises whatever doesn’t match the norm, whatever it doesn't understand or finds ugly, even though those things merely reflect the values and behaviours found in society itself. The work is thus an angry plea to reject the affirmative character of elaborated art. Text: Sarah Lemmermann
Born 1957 in Bern (Switzerland) Lives and works in Paris (France) “To be an artist is not a question of form or content, it is a question of responsibility.” Thomas Hirschhorn’s radical claim confusingly supplements the flood of images in his collages and the material battles that take place in his massive, overflowing installations. The use of found materials, reminiscent of Arte Povera, as well as the relentless use of various kinds of images from the Internet and other sources characterise the work and approach of Hirschhorn, a Swiss artist living in Paris. Despite the heterogeneity of the elements Hirschhorn uses, in the end he always creates something organic, a kind of “bricolage”, a concretion of “wild thinking” that can connect one thing with another in a meaningful way. The work #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is indicative of this ambitious approach. #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is a sculptural structure constructed out of three tables arranged on top of one another, which engender thoroughly mixed emotions. Hirschhorn has formed numerous pointed cones out of aluminium foil and thereby has created a kind of dripstone cave in the space between the two upper tables. Indeed, the conical shapes are reminiscent of metallic stalagmites and stalactites. But their tips are dyed red and now look like bloody fangs in the mouth of a Tyrannosaurus cyborg. A kind of red aluminium umbilical cord leads from this ensemble to a wooden plate on the wall, which frames it like a picture. It turns out to be a projection screen for a small finger-like drawing as well as a historical photo showing the end of a mass execution from the 1930/40s in an Alpine location. If we are honest about it: most of the images from the Internet have the character of intestines. They represent something like the “obscene innards of the global media" (David Joselit). Seen in this way, the symbolic stalactite cave with bloody fangs is the mouth of a voracious monster, similar to the leviathan. Some viewers will also be reminded of Kafka’s penal colony, in which the misdemeanours of the condemned were written on their bodies with precise equipment. The text is stabbed deeper and deeper into them – until they die. Indeed, Thomas Hirschhorn transfers his radical demands onto the observers of his works. He expects a lot of them – and that's a good thing. Text: Peter Friese
Born 1967 in Sydney (Australia) Lives and works in New York, NY (USA) Bjarne Melgaard lives and works in New York and is considered – not only in his homeland – the most important contemporary Norwegian artist. He is a master of provocation and of breaching taboos who, in his exhibitions – unchecked installations of painting, sculpture, ready-mades and textual expression – explores the mental depths of humanity with an explicitly masculine, even brutal, vigour. The impudent painting #-I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society-# is no different. Its drastic aesthetic harks backs to forms of anti-art, to works by Dubuffet, to Basquiat or to the graffitied messages you see on urban walls and fences. There can be no doubt that Melgaard is picking up where this rebellious art form left off, an art form that aims to grab the attention. The obvious spelling mistake could thus be blamed on haste, but that interpretation would miss the multidimensional ways the work can be read. It not only cites the artwork that is graffiti, turning it into a pastose arrangement of colour, but also the impulsive forms of expression that we know from action painting. The aggressively applied paint marks, the frantic placing of the letters underscore the rebellious subjectivity of an artistic act of painting. The vulgar goes hand-in-hand with spontaneity of design, the random with considered placement. In stark letters, the picture demands your attention and expressly insists on being acknowledged. Is it the artist himself demanding validation and integration for his individuality and his self-image – because he is part of the society that surrounds and shapes him, and not an outsider? Or is Melgaard giving art itself a voice it can use to demand recognition, despite content that attacks aesthetic sensibilities? – The sentence “I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society” typifies a torn society that blanks out and marginalises whatever doesn’t match the norm, whatever it doesn't understand or finds ugly, even though those things merely reflect the values and behaviours found in society itself. The work is thus an angry plea to reject the affirmative character of elaborated art. Text: Sarah Lemmermann
Born 1962 in Newcastle (UK) Lives and works in Tokyo (Japan)
Born 1967 in Sydney (Australia) Lives and works in New York, NY (USA) Bjarne Melgaard lives and works in New York and is considered – not only in his homeland – the most important contemporary Norwegian artist. He is a master of provocation and of breaching taboos who, in his exhibitions – unchecked installations of painting, sculpture, ready-mades and textual expression – explores the mental depths of humanity with an explicitly masculine, even brutal, vigour. The impudent painting #-I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society-# is no different. Its drastic aesthetic harks backs to forms of anti-art, to works by Dubuffet, to Basquiat or to the graffitied messages you see on urban walls and fences. There can be no doubt that Melgaard is picking up where this rebellious art form left off, an art form that aims to grab the attention. The obvious spelling mistake could thus be blamed on haste, but that interpretation would miss the multidimensional ways the work can be read. It not only cites the artwork that is graffiti, turning it into a pastose arrangement of colour, but also the impulsive forms of expression that we know from action painting. The aggressively applied paint marks, the frantic placing of the letters underscore the rebellious subjectivity of an artistic act of painting. The vulgar goes hand-in-hand with spontaneity of design, the random with considered placement. In stark letters, the picture demands your attention and expressly insists on being acknowledged. Is it the artist himself demanding validation and integration for his individuality and his self-image – because he is part of the society that surrounds and shapes him, and not an outsider? Or is Melgaard giving art itself a voice it can use to demand recognition, despite content that attacks aesthetic sensibilities? – The sentence “I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society” typifies a torn society that blanks out and marginalises whatever doesn’t match the norm, whatever it doesn't understand or finds ugly, even though those things merely reflect the values and behaviours found in society itself. The work is thus an angry plea to reject the affirmative character of elaborated art. Text: Sarah Lemmermann
Born 1957 in Bern (Switzerland) Lives and works in Paris (France) “To be an artist is not a question of form or content, it is a question of responsibility.” Thomas Hirschhorn’s radical claim confusingly supplements the flood of images in his collages and the material battles that take place in his massive, overflowing installations. The use of found materials, reminiscent of Arte Povera, as well as the relentless use of various kinds of images from the Internet and other sources characterise the work and approach of Hirschhorn, a Swiss artist living in Paris. Despite the heterogeneity of the elements Hirschhorn uses, in the end he always creates something organic, a kind of “bricolage”, a concretion of “wild thinking” that can connect one thing with another in a meaningful way. The work #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is indicative of this ambitious approach. #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is a sculptural structure constructed out of three tables arranged on top of one another, which engender thoroughly mixed emotions. Hirschhorn has formed numerous pointed cones out of aluminium foil and thereby has created a kind of dripstone cave in the space between the two upper tables. Indeed, the conical shapes are reminiscent of metallic stalagmites and stalactites. But their tips are dyed red and now look like bloody fangs in the mouth of a Tyrannosaurus cyborg. A kind of red aluminium umbilical cord leads from this ensemble to a wooden plate on the wall, which frames it like a picture. It turns out to be a projection screen for a small finger-like drawing as well as a historical photo showing the end of a mass execution from the 1930/40s in an Alpine location. If we are honest about it: most of the images from the Internet have the character of intestines. They represent something like the “obscene innards of the global media" (David Joselit). Seen in this way, the symbolic stalactite cave with bloody fangs is the mouth of a voracious monster, similar to the leviathan. Some viewers will also be reminded of Kafka’s penal colony, in which the misdemeanours of the condemned were written on their bodies with precise equipment. The text is stabbed deeper and deeper into them – until they die. Indeed, Thomas Hirschhorn transfers his radical demands onto the observers of his works. He expects a lot of them – and that's a good thing. Text: Peter Friese
Born 1979 in Moscow (Russia) Lives and works in New York City (USA) Dreamlike film sequences, distorted oil paintings and curious sculptures characterize the multimedia work of Kon Trubkovich. The unpacks a multifaceted visual language in which he draws on the element of repetition on multiple levels at the same time. In his videos, the same actions and images are repeated over and over again to create a scene that describes an endless state from which there appears to be no escape. He picks up the motifs and colours of his film works in his sculptures and pictures as well, stylizing them to create elements that can be interpreted in diverse ways, such as the prison motif and the orange-coloured overalls that are the conventional prisoner’s garb in the USA. Trubkovich’s videos are created by playing VHS tapes, filming them, replaying the filmed material and filming that in turn. They are like memories that return again and again, yet gradually become blurred, and distorted, and superimposed on each other, transforming into scenes far removed from the original. For his oil paintings and watercolours, Trubkovich uses selected stills as a template. Through repetition and creating stills of the film sequences, new details become visible while other aspects fall out of focus and illuminate the hidden stories behind the story. In his videos, paintings and sculptures, the artist – who spent his early childhood in Russia before moving to the USA with his family at the age of 11 – repeatedly returns to prison situations and breakout scenes, thereby confronting his own memories of captivity and emigration. Yet his own biography is by no means in the foreground of his work; rather, Kon Trubkovich invokes images from the collective consciousness and points to societal experiences and patterns. Trubkovich does not categorise his works as explicitly political art. Rather, he illuminates a level on which political events intervene into personal life and force the individual into certain patterns of behaviour. Text: Mirka Gewinner
Born 1976 in Evian (France) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany)
Born 1967 in Sydney (Australia) Lives and works in New York, NY (USA) Bjarne Melgaard lives and works in New York and is considered – not only in his homeland – the most important contemporary Norwegian artist. He is a master of provocation and of breaching taboos who, in his exhibitions – unchecked installations of painting, sculpture, ready-mades and textual expression – explores the mental depths of humanity with an explicitly masculine, even brutal, vigour. The impudent painting #-I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society-# is no different. Its drastic aesthetic harks backs to forms of anti-art, to works by Dubuffet, to Basquiat or to the graffitied messages you see on urban walls and fences. There can be no doubt that Melgaard is picking up where this rebellious art form left off, an art form that aims to grab the attention. The obvious spelling mistake could thus be blamed on haste, but that interpretation would miss the multidimensional ways the work can be read. It not only cites the artwork that is graffiti, turning it into a pastose arrangement of colour, but also the impulsive forms of expression that we know from action painting. The aggressively applied paint marks, the frantic placing of the letters underscore the rebellious subjectivity of an artistic act of painting. The vulgar goes hand-in-hand with spontaneity of design, the random with considered placement. In stark letters, the picture demands your attention and expressly insists on being acknowledged. Is it the artist himself demanding validation and integration for his individuality and his self-image – because he is part of the society that surrounds and shapes him, and not an outsider? Or is Melgaard giving art itself a voice it can use to demand recognition, despite content that attacks aesthetic sensibilities? – The sentence “I am not a piece of shit I am a piece of society” typifies a torn society that blanks out and marginalises whatever doesn’t match the norm, whatever it doesn't understand or finds ugly, even though those things merely reflect the values and behaviours found in society itself. The work is thus an angry plea to reject the affirmative character of elaborated art. Text: Sarah Lemmermann
Born 1968 in Deurne (The Netherlands) Lives and works in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Cologne (Germany) Erik van Lieshout talks with people. To create his videos, which are mostly embedded in large-format installations and their accompanying drawings, van Lieshout goes to where people are hurting. He goes into so-called problem districts, sniffs around in basements, sets himself up in a shopping centre – and draws again and again an impressively honest and at times ruthless portrait of our society from the edges. His videos are always charming and almost naïve in their own way and this has a lot to do with the kind of person van Lieshout is. He reveals himself frankly, shows no fear of coming into contact with others and never shirks responsibility. This is also the case in his video installation #-Rotterdam-Rostock-# (2006), which was presented in a container in 2006 at the 6th Berlin Biennale, as well as the accompanying drawing #-Deutschland Ziel-# (2005). Van Lieshout rode his bike from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea across Germany, the whole time prattling away into the microphone about his own ideas and prejudices about Germany. He sat down with people on their sofas and took stock of a country that is still characterised by xenophobia and prejudice, a country that was anything but “united” 15 years after reunification.
Born 1962 in Newark, New Jersey (USA) Died 2014 Douglas Kolk made his name as an illustrator. He first worked with small sheets of paper. The works in the Peters-Messer collection from the 1990s are characteristic of that. Later, he also tended towards larger formats and designed comprehensive collages. His early works usually contain individual memos that Kolk fashioned with his favourite instruments, the pencil and the marker. The linear contours, added sparingly, maintain the fragmentary character of the work, as do the colourfully washed shapes and surfaces. Some of his drawings remind the beholder of comic-book art, especially when words and arrows are sprinkled throughout. Influences from pop culture can also be found in the meticulously executed pencil drawing #-We hate ya World -# (1996/97), which presents its globe-shaped statement like an advertising signet. Some exponents have pointed to Kolk’s closeness to Raymond Pettibon, but Kolk usually dispensed with the denser kinds of texts that often accompany Pettibon’s works like excerpts from some fantastical tales. In their deliberately artless nature, many of Kolk’s drawings remind the beholder of naive scribblings. Kolk’s pictures may seem to have been thrown together playfully, but they are always characterised by traces of very intimate and very personal emotion. Some allusions, at first incomprehensible, can be seen as painful confrontations with the drugs in his past and the fears and experiences that went with them. On the whole, his works live from their double nature as both public symbol and private record. They are notes that he must have intended to capture memories, make emotions visible and register present suffering. They open up a wide spectrum of associations. His drawings seem accessible because they are close to familiar concepts from pop art, advertising and even children’s paintings. On the other hand, however, they arouse our curiosity because, in their unfamiliar allusions, fragmentary design and unusual image compositions, they are disconcerting. They allow us to rediscover and reinterpret something that, at first, seems both artless and familiar. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1981 in Erfurt (Germany) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) In the spring of 2011, Julian Röder visited the largest arms trade fair in the Middle East, which is held every two years in Abu Dhabi. The event draws arms dealers, military brass and weapons manufacturers – some 50,000 people in all – interested in perusing the latest developments in weaponry and expanding their arsenals. Specialised weapons systems for every conceivable military deployment scenario down to street combat are on offer. Röder had himself accredited as a journalist, reasoning that “an artistically oriented photographer without a media organisation behind him would have had a much harder time gaining access”. With the accreditation, he was able to document the event with a series of photographs. His pictures show the everyday existence of an arms show, from bombastic weapons demonstrations to bizarre arrangements of gleaming gold shells, solicitous salesmen, attractive hostesses and fascinated visitors. The usual organisation of a sales trade fair combines with the elaborate presentation of air shows with combat helicopters and military jets, which Röder captures as a panoramic landscape. The multifaceted selection that he presents provides insights into the economic structure of a capitalistic world in which everything becomes a good and everything can be bought and sold. It reveals the seductive appeal that the weapons cast upon the visitors, as well as the fanciful gaze of the buyers attracted by them. But the selection also shows the wearying sequence of sales stands and the desolation of repetitive sales pitches. The alarming combines with the quotidian. Röder offers no explanatory interpretation, no revelatory accusations. He creates a documentary sequence of images that seems to emerge from a random selection. He places the observer in the role of a spectator whose gaze floats from one attraction to the next, moving in a trade-fair showcase in which war and violence are reduced to a banal business transaction. Our growing unease emerges from the recognition of how our perception simultaneously reveals our inability adequately to grasp, and respond to, what we are seeing. Text: Guido Boulboullé
Born 1971 in Lima (Peru) Lives and works in Houston, Miami, NY (USA) Feingliedrig und gleichzeitig rau wirken die Papierarbeiten des 1971 in Peru geborenen und heute in den USA lebenden Künstlers William Cordova. Filigrane Linien von Kugelschreiber, Bleistift oder Pinsel und collagenartig zusammengefügte Elemente formen dabei teils abstrakte Muster, teils figürliche Zeichnungen. Als Ausgangsmaterial dieser Arbeiten verwendet Cordova vorrangig gefundene Dinge, wie Papierreste oder herausgetrennte Buch- und Magazinseiten. Neben den zweidimensionalen Werken gestaltet Cordova Installationen und Objekte, die ebenfalls weitgehend aus armen Materialien und ausrangierten Gebrauchsgegenständen bestehen. Mit der Wiederverwendung solcher Relikte, die als Abfall ausgesondert und dem Vergessen preisgegeben werden sollten, unternimmt Cordova einen Akt der Konservierung: „The use of found materials is not to erase, transform and make a new but to emphasize the content(s) already existing within that used or found material.“ Einen wesentlichen Impuls seines künstlerischen Schaffens stellen kulturelle Differenzen, Verbindungen und Übergänge dar – ein Thema, das stark von Cordovas eigener, transkultureller Biografie geprägt ist, die ihn von Lima/Peru über Miami/Florida zu verschiedenen Wohn- und Aufenthaltsorten in Amerika und Europa führte. Er selbst bezeichnet seine Arbeiten daher als „a result of being in two worlds at the same time, but never being whole in either one.“ In seinen Werken spiegelt sich diese kulturelle Mobilität in der Verknüpfung von Mustern, Symbolen und Motiven, die sowohl Cordovas peruanische Wurzeln berühren und traditionelle oder historische Referenzen darstellen als auch das moderne Leben amerikanischer Großstädte und deren vitale Subkulturen reflektieren. So erinnert das in einigen seiner collagierten Zeichnungen verwendete Blattgold gleichermaßen an das legendäre Gold der Inka und die Kultur der südamerikanischen Ureinwohner wie auch an die Ikonenmalerei des Christentums, das die religiöse Praxis in Peru seit der spanischen Eroberung im 16. Jahrhundert prägt. Eine ebenfalls ambivalente Bedeutung kommt den vielfach dargestellten an Lautsprecherboxen erinnernden Kästen zu (etwa in Before there was anything there was…Elvis?, 2003). Sie sind, ebenso wie die häufig verwendeten Motive von Mikrophonen, Kabeln, Kassettenrekordern oder Schallplatten als Symbol einer musikalischen Praxis lesbar, die seit jeher als Mittel der Kommunikation, aber auch der Selbstdefinition verschiedener kultureller Gruppen dient. Gleichzeitig spielen die Boxen auf das Cajón an, ein afro-peruanisches, perkussives Musikinstrument, das aus einem hochformatigen, hölzernen Quader besteht und damit der Form eines Lautsprechers ähnelt. In derartigen Details artikuliert sich eine im Wesentlichen von Immigranten und ihren Traditionen geprägte Kultur, die am Rand des urbanen Lebens gesellschaftliche Relikte für sich wiederbelebt und gleichzeitig einen Widerstand zur USamerikanischen Mainstreamkultur ausbildet. Ein weiteres, vielfach dargestelltes Motiv in Cordovas Arbeiten sind teilweise zerstörte Autos und Karosserieteile wie etwa in I wan you to Cum in my Ass (2001). Diese Zivilisationsreste können als Verweis auf städtische Randgebiete gelesen werden, die oftmals von verlassenen Orten und ärmlichen Verhältnissen geprägt sind. In ihrer vom Umfeld isolierten Darstellung gewinnen sie jedoch an ästhetischem Wert und Aura. So stellt auch die Arbeit Tin can flattened (2006) – eine blaue, zusammen gedrückte Dose mit silbern gesprenkelter Oberfläche – einerseits schlicht ein Abfallprodukt dar, andererseits lässt das ovale Objekt leicht die erhabene Weite eines nächtlichen Sternenhimmels assoziieren. Indem Cordova verschiedene, historisch geprägte Lebens- und Kulturformen mit Facetten der Konsumgesellschaft verquickt, gelingen ihm subtile Bildergeschichten, die stets mehrere Bedeutungen implizieren und Aspekte kultureller Überschneidungen, aber auch Divergenzen beleuchten. Dorothea Klein
Born 1968 in Deurne (The Netherlands) Lives and works in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and Cologne (Germany) Erik van Lieshout talks with people. To create his videos, which are mostly embedded in large-format installations and their accompanying drawings, van Lieshout goes to where people are hurting. He goes into so-called problem districts, sniffs around in basements, sets himself up in a shopping centre – and draws again and again an impressively honest and at times ruthless portrait of our society from the edges. His videos are always charming and almost naïve in their own way and this has a lot to do with the kind of person van Lieshout is. He reveals himself frankly, shows no fear of coming into contact with others and never shirks responsibility. This is also the case in his video installation #-Rotterdam-Rostock-# (2006), which was presented in a container in 2006 at the 6th Berlin Biennale, as well as the accompanying drawing #-Deutschland Ziel-# (2005). Van Lieshout rode his bike from the North Sea to the Baltic Sea across Germany, the whole time prattling away into the microphone about his own ideas and prejudices about Germany. He sat down with people on their sofas and took stock of a country that is still characterised by xenophobia and prejudice, a country that was anything but “united” 15 years after reunification.
Born 1979 in London (Great Britain), grew up in Berlin Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) A group of an anonymous brigade of five helmets may make one immediately think of a police force or a motorbike gang. Only upon longer contemplation do the differences that give each of the uniformly painted helmets a characteristic expression of its own – a “face” – become clear. Do they stand for protection or menace? Mounted as they are on black metal poles, the group of sculptures have a veritably warlike appearance. The helmets recall heads on spikes, or trophies. Their shiny surface and apparent lightness mean that they could also be part of a puppet theatre, however. The artist’s paintings, which will be presented in an extra artistic space from November, appear at first glance like shards of glass on a white background – scattered, ambiguous splinters of colour, without context, randomly spread, incomplete. Riethmann uses oils to make realistic representations of bodies in male clothing. In doing so, he succeeds in showing movement, gesture and even feelings such as rage and aggression in all their rawness, while at the same time not revealing anything more than he must. On the contrary, he invites the observer to fill the white space with their own associations and to recall their own memories – of violence, rebellion or fear – that may seem long familiar to them, but that do not yet have a name or a face. By anonymising his figures, by leaving the gaps he does, Riethmann creates a distance between us and the people he seems to be showing. Without any context to explain what is happening, without allowing any empathy or sympathy, the artist opens up a new way of looking at human actions. The observer is given the opportunity to let the fragments speak for themselves and to interpret their relationship to one another. Text: Mirka Gewinner
Born 1975 in Vancouver (Canada) Lives and works in Berlin (Germany) It’s often unclear what exactly is meant when people talk about “Kotti”. In general, it is a slang term for the area around Berlin underground station Kottbusser Tor, where the lines U8 and U1 meet. Sometimes the station itself is being referred to, and sometimes it refers to the brutal tower blocks that loom over Adalbertstrasse. The “Kreuzberg Zentrum”, as it is known, was designed by the architects Wolfgang Jokisch and Johannes Uhl and built between 1969 and 1974. Larissa Fassler’s large-format collage of digitalised drawings showcase this legendary Berlin location in a fascinating way. The artist is famous for her customised cartography of urban areas which thousands of people traverse every day. However, the base is not made up of plans, layouts or archive research but rather by the weary process of measuring a public space using one’s own body, steps, arms and finger lengths or hand widths, allowing the location to be portrayed in all it’s confusing urban complexity and contradictions.
Born 1970 in Nagoya (Japan) Lives and works in Nagoya Wenn man sich Hiroshi Sugitos verspielte, rätselhaft verträumte Bilder ansieht, kann man sich kaum vorstellen, dass der Japaner fünf Jahre lang als Holzfäller in einer Berghütte gelebt hat. Doch in dieser Zeit Mitte der neunziger Jahre hat Sugito zu sich selbst gefunden. Als Dreijähriger war er mit seiner Familie in die USA emigriert, zehn Jahre später musste er wieder nach Japan zurück – und kam in ein Land, das ihm fremd war. Diese Fremdheit spricht auch aus seiner Malerei. Hiroshi Sugitos zarte, semi-abstrakte Bilder haben eine tastende, suchende Handschrift. Sie erinnern an die Zeichnungen von Paul Klee, in denen ein vermeintlich naiver, kindlicher Unterton mitschwingt und gleichzeitig tief greifende philosophische Fragen anklingen. Ähnlich wie Klees Kompositionen schweben auch durch Sugitos Bilder zarte Linien, die den Bildraum wie Spinnweben definieren: mal beherrschen sie die Leinwand, mal geben sie ihr nur unterschwellig Halt. Dazwischen befinden sich oft minuziös gesetzte Figuren, die in ihrer Winzigkeit auf den ersten Blick wie Punkte oder Ornamente wirken. Dieses Spiel mit Abstraktion und Figuration ist Teil des surrealistischen Charakters von Sugitos Gemälden. Der Bildraum, eigentlich ein statischer Bereich, scheint durch solche illusorischen Effekte mobilisiert: winzige Kreuze entpuppen sich als Schmetterlinge, eine plane Grünfläche als Wiese, ein geometrisches Raster als eine Reihung aus Kuppeldächern. Doch entscheidend für das Flirren des Bildraums ist die aufgelöste Perspektive: Auf den Wiesen oder Gitterstrukturen finden sich wie in Kinderzeichnungen alle Motive nebeneinander oder nur leicht versetzt – Sugitos Landschaften haben dadurch stets etwas Schemenhaftes. Dieses Spiel mit der Wahrnehmung ist zugleich ein Spiel mit einer archaischen Symbolik, wie sie sich in Türmen, Bäumen oder Himmeln verbirgt. Sugito kombiniert diese simplen Motive mit Fragmenten aus der modernen Gesellschaft: Immer wieder tauchen Flugzeuge, Raketen und Kriegsschiffe auf. In den sanften, fast meditativ aufgetragenen Pastelltönen, die auf die klassische japanische Maltechnik zurückgehen, wirkt die implizite Gefahr solcher Motive gebannt. Sugitos Welt, in der sich Tradition und Philosophie seiner Heimat mit Verweisen auf die abendländische Kunstgeschichte und Symbolen des globalen Zeitalters vermischen, wirkt wie ein Fenster zu einem traumartigen Innenleben. Dort ziehen Fragen, Andeutungen, Erinnerungen vorbei – aber keine klare Botschaft.
Born 1962 in Newark, New Jersey (USA) Died 2014 Douglas Kolk made his name as an illustrator. He first worked with small sheets of paper. The works in the Peters-Messer collection from the 1990s are characteristic of that. Later, he also tended towards larger formats and designed comprehensive collages. His early works usually contain individual memos that Kolk fashioned with his favourite instruments, the pencil and the marker. The linear contours, added sparingly, maintain the fragmentary character of the work, as do the colourfully washed shapes and surfaces. Some of his drawings remind the beholder of comic-book art, especially when words and arrows are sprinkled throughout. Influences from pop culture can also be found in the meticulously executed pencil drawing #-We hate ya World -# (1996/97), which presents its globe-shaped statement like an advertising signet. Some exponents have pointed to Kolk’s closeness to Raymond Pettibon, but Kolk usually dispensed with the denser kinds of texts that often accompany Pettibon’s works like excerpts from some fantastical tales. In their deliberately artless nature, many of Kolk’s drawings remind the beholder of naive scribblings. Kolk’s pictures may seem to have been thrown together playfully, but they are always characterised by traces of very intimate and very personal emotion. Some allusions, at first incomprehensible, can be seen as painful confrontations with the drugs in his past and the fears and experiences that went with them. On the whole, his works live from their double nature as both public symbol and private record. They are notes that he must have intended to capture memories, make emotions visible and register present suffering. They open up a wide spectrum of associations. His drawings seem accessible because they are close to familiar concepts from pop art, advertising and even children’s paintings. On the other hand, however, they arouse our curiosity because, in their unfamiliar allusions, fragmentary design and unusual image compositions, they are disconcerting. They allow us to rediscover and reinterpret something that, at first, seems both artless and familiar. Text: Guido Boulboullé
1986 born in Bottrop (Germany) lives and works in Düsseldorf (Germany)
Born 1979 in Moscow (Russia) Lives and works in New York City (USA) Dreamlike film sequences, distorted oil paintings and curious sculptures characterize the multimedia work of Kon Trubkovich. The unpacks a multifaceted visual language in which he draws on the element of repetition on multiple levels at the same time. In his videos, the same actions and images are repeated over and over again to create a scene that describes an endless state from which there appears to be no escape. He picks up the motifs and colours of his film works in his sculptures and pictures as well, stylizing them to create elements that can be interpreted in diverse ways, such as the prison motif and the orange-coloured overalls that are the conventional prisoner’s garb in the USA. Trubkovich’s videos are created by playing VHS tapes, filming them, replaying the filmed material and filming that in turn. They are like memories that return again and again, yet gradually become blurred, and distorted, and superimposed on each other, transforming into scenes far removed from the original. For his oil paintings and watercolours, Trubkovich uses selected stills as a template. Through repetition and creating stills of the film sequences, new details become visible while other aspects fall out of focus and illuminate the hidden stories behind the story. In his videos, paintings and sculptures, the artist – who spent his early childhood in Russia before moving to the USA with his family at the age of 11 – repeatedly returns to prison situations and breakout scenes, thereby confronting his own memories of captivity and emigration. Yet his own biography is by no means in the foreground of his work; rather, Kon Trubkovich invokes images from the collective consciousness and points to societal experiences and patterns. Trubkovich does not categorise his works as explicitly political art. Rather, he illuminates a level on which political events intervene into personal life and force the individual into certain patterns of behaviour. Text: Mirka Gewinner
Born 1971 in Lima (Peru) Lives and works in Houston, Miami, NY (USA) Feingliedrig und gleichzeitig rau wirken die Papierarbeiten des 1971 in Peru geborenen und heute in den USA lebenden Künstlers William Cordova. Filigrane Linien von Kugelschreiber, Bleistift oder Pinsel und collagenartig zusammengefügte Elemente formen dabei teils abstrakte Muster, teils figürliche Zeichnungen. Als Ausgangsmaterial dieser Arbeiten verwendet Cordova vorrangig gefundene Dinge, wie Papierreste oder herausgetrennte Buch- und Magazinseiten. Neben den zweidimensionalen Werken gestaltet Cordova Installationen und Objekte, die ebenfalls weitgehend aus armen Materialien und ausrangierten Gebrauchsgegenständen bestehen. Mit der Wiederverwendung solcher Relikte, die als Abfall ausgesondert und dem Vergessen preisgegeben werden sollten, unternimmt Cordova einen Akt der Konservierung: „The use of found materials is not to erase, transform and make a new but to emphasize the content(s) already existing within that used or found material.“ Einen wesentlichen Impuls seines künstlerischen Schaffens stellen kulturelle Differenzen, Verbindungen und Übergänge dar – ein Thema, das stark von Cordovas eigener, transkultureller Biografie geprägt ist, die ihn von Lima/Peru über Miami/Florida zu verschiedenen Wohn- und Aufenthaltsorten in Amerika und Europa führte. Er selbst bezeichnet seine Arbeiten daher als „a result of being in two worlds at the same time, but never being whole in either one.“ In seinen Werken spiegelt sich diese kulturelle Mobilität in der Verknüpfung von Mustern, Symbolen und Motiven, die sowohl Cordovas peruanische Wurzeln berühren und traditionelle oder historische Referenzen darstellen als auch das moderne Leben amerikanischer Großstädte und deren vitale Subkulturen reflektieren. So erinnert das in einigen seiner collagierten Zeichnungen verwendete Blattgold gleichermaßen an das legendäre Gold der Inka und die Kultur der südamerikanischen Ureinwohner wie auch an die Ikonenmalerei des Christentums, das die religiöse Praxis in Peru seit der spanischen Eroberung im 16. Jahrhundert prägt. Eine ebenfalls ambivalente Bedeutung kommt den vielfach dargestellten an Lautsprecherboxen erinnernden Kästen zu (etwa in Before there was anything there was…Elvis?, 2003). Sie sind, ebenso wie die häufig verwendeten Motive von Mikrophonen, Kabeln, Kassettenrekordern oder Schallplatten als Symbol einer musikalischen Praxis lesbar, die seit jeher als Mittel der Kommunikation, aber auch der Selbstdefinition verschiedener kultureller Gruppen dient. Gleichzeitig spielen die Boxen auf das Cajón an, ein afro-peruanisches, perkussives Musikinstrument, das aus einem hochformatigen, hölzernen Quader besteht und damit der Form eines Lautsprechers ähnelt. In derartigen Details artikuliert sich eine im Wesentlichen von Immigranten und ihren Traditionen geprägte Kultur, die am Rand des urbanen Lebens gesellschaftliche Relikte für sich wiederbelebt und gleichzeitig einen Widerstand zur USamerikanischen Mainstreamkultur ausbildet. Ein weiteres, vielfach dargestelltes Motiv in Cordovas Arbeiten sind teilweise zerstörte Autos und Karosserieteile wie etwa in I wan you to Cum in my Ass (2001). Diese Zivilisationsreste können als Verweis auf städtische Randgebiete gelesen werden, die oftmals von verlassenen Orten und ärmlichen Verhältnissen geprägt sind. In ihrer vom Umfeld isolierten Darstellung gewinnen sie jedoch an ästhetischem Wert und Aura. So stellt auch die Arbeit Tin can flattened (2006) – eine blaue, zusammen gedrückte Dose mit silbern gesprenkelter Oberfläche – einerseits schlicht ein Abfallprodukt dar, andererseits lässt das ovale Objekt leicht die erhabene Weite eines nächtlichen Sternenhimmels assoziieren. Indem Cordova verschiedene, historisch geprägte Lebens- und Kulturformen mit Facetten der Konsumgesellschaft verquickt, gelingen ihm subtile Bildergeschichten, die stets mehrere Bedeutungen implizieren und Aspekte kultureller Überschneidungen, aber auch Divergenzen beleuchten. Dorothea Klein
Born 1937 in Stuttgart (Germany) Died 2000 in Taarstedt (Germany)
Born 1957 in Bern (Switzerland) Lives and works in Paris (France) “To be an artist is not a question of form or content, it is a question of responsibility.” Thomas Hirschhorn’s radical claim confusingly supplements the flood of images in his collages and the material battles that take place in his massive, overflowing installations. The use of found materials, reminiscent of Arte Povera, as well as the relentless use of various kinds of images from the Internet and other sources characterise the work and approach of Hirschhorn, a Swiss artist living in Paris. Despite the heterogeneity of the elements Hirschhorn uses, in the end he always creates something organic, a kind of “bricolage”, a concretion of “wild thinking” that can connect one thing with another in a meaningful way. The work #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is indicative of this ambitious approach. #-Untitled (Stalactites-red-table)-# is a sculptural structure constructed out of three tables arranged on top of one another, which engender thoroughly mixed emotions. Hirschhorn has formed numerous pointed cones out of aluminium foil and thereby has created a kind of dripstone cave in the space between the two upper tables. Indeed, the conical shapes are reminiscent of metallic stalagmites and stalactites. But their tips are dyed red and now look like bloody fangs in the mouth of a Tyrannosaurus cyborg. A kind of red aluminium umbilical cord leads from this ensemble to a wooden plate on the wall, which frames it like a picture. It turns out to be a projection screen for a small finger-like drawing as well as a historical photo showing the end of a mass execution from the 1930/40s in an Alpine location. If we are honest about it: most of the images from the Internet have the character of intestines. They represent something like the “obscene innards of the global media" (David Joselit). Seen in this way, the symbolic stalactite cave with bloody fangs is the mouth of a voracious monster, similar to the leviathan. Some viewers will also be reminded of Kafka’s penal colony, in which the misdemeanours of the condemned were written on their bodies with precise equipment. The text is stabbed deeper and deeper into them – until they die. Indeed, Thomas Hirschhorn transfers his radical demands onto the observers of his works. He expects a lot of them – and that's a good thing. Text: Peter Friese
Born 1981 Lives and works in Cologne (Germany)
Born 1972 in Mexico City (Mexico) Lives and works in Mexico City (Mexico) The Mexican artist Jonathan Hernández works with various photographic material, including press photos and archive images, which he finds, collects and organizes according to formal and content-based criteria. #-You are under arrest-# includes more than 200 newspaper photographs, which he presents arranged within five picture frames. They all depict situations in which people are being arrested or taken away. They include police photos, photos of arrests taking place and photos of courthouses. Some also depict armed security forces in active deployment, involved in violent clashes. Many of the men and women who have been detained appear broken and resigned to their fate, others seem proud, ostentatiously displaying their handcuffs to draw attention to an alleged injustice. By avoiding any context such as captions or accompanying text, and by not offering any classification or evaluation, Hernández enables the viewer to look at the images in a comparative fashion and to concentrate on them alone. Recurring patterns and similarities become clear and we receive an insight into the way our current visually-dominated media landscape works. The work was created between 2000 and 2002; it therefore covers the time of the terrorist attacks in the US, which unleashed worldwide uncertainty. Political discourse was dominated by discussions about national security. Tighter controls and other security measures were introduced in many countries, often amid heavy protest. On close inspection of the images, is not easy to identify individual people. The Hollywood actor Nick Nolte can be recognized in one photo, in another the former President of Serbia Slobodan Miloševic, who had to answer to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. The situation is not always clear. People who constitute a public threat and terrorists can be seen alongside journalists, press photographers and political activists. The lack of an interpretive framework means that preconceived judgements, which we in society at present are making more and more frequently, are difficult to form here. As a result, the individual person with their worries and fears comes more into focus. Questions about genuinely dangerous scenarios, about responsibility and the rule of law come to the fore. For one thing remains fundamentally important to the maintenance of democracy: everyone is equal before the law – at least as an ideal that should be strived after. Jonathan Hernández offers an interesting as well as controversial frame to reflect on these ideas. Text: Ingo Clauß