31 August 2023


Élise Lafontaine_interview:12Élise Lafontaine in our studio, 2023 © Lawrence Fafard

Last April, I collaborated with Élise Lafontaine on her exhibition "Dornach Pillars", at Centre Clark in her hometown Montreal, Canada. I was willing to meet up again to take a reflective, perhaps already nostalgic look back at the exhibition. In the course of our discussion, Élise Lafontaine evoked her relationship to painting, from its technique, its history and the representatives that touch her personally, to the very object, in volume, of painting. She spoke about her investigations, proprioception and spatiality, the inner sound of organ pipes, about the architectures that confine her personal memories but also about her almost visceral need to disorientate and to disorientate herself.  We took a stroll around the exhibition, through her paintings and current thoughts, and delve into her work, right to the back side of her canvas, or around. 

22 July 2023


Studio_Sophie Erlund_2023_photo by Anna-Lena Werner : artfridge_2Portrait Sophie Erlund in her studio / photo: Anna-Lena Werner 

There is always something unrecognizable – a small moment of disturbance and hesitation – in the work of Sophie Erlund, a Danish born artist living and working in Berlin. Trained as a sculptor during her BA at London’s Central St. Martins College, as well as in Copenhagen and Rhode Island in the US, she dedicates her practice to creating sculptures, installations and soundscapes and to exploring questions about the more-than-human. Starting her career in Berlin with legendary self-organized group exhibitions in her apartment, titled “HOMEWORK”, she has since exhibited internationally in galleries and museums.

It’s early spring 2023 – Sophie and I are now sitting in her studio in Kreuzberg, located inside a large industrial backyard building where lots of artist friends and Sophie’s partner also have their workspaces. Her dog Ayla joins us, we drink strong coffee. We’re surrounded by singular works of hers that were once part of an exhibition she did or currently in preparation for upcoming projects. I am resting my eyes on a wood structure that is placed on a table just next to us and seems to be in progress of becoming something else. Again, I can’t figure it out, but it looks like one of Sophie’s pieces. Both organic and architectural, no recognizable shape and still familiar. I ask her about its history and she shows me a photo of a similar work, once integrated in an exhibition called “Lived synchronicity” at PSM Gallery in Berlin in 2018. That’s how our interview begins.

8 November 2022


Mykola Ridnyi, Grey Horses, film still, 2016 Mykola Ridnyi, Grey Horses, film still, 2016

“I want to say something about this situation without repeating the violence”, says Mykola Ridnyi – Ukrainian multi-media artist, who dedicated much of his artistic research to the question of how and how not to  respond and represent images of conflicts. Carefully, his films, installations and public art works address states and histories of violence – especially the Russian war against Ukraine – through poetic moving images, fictional narratives or non-linear montages. His works were shown in various international exhibitions, such as at La Biennale di Venezia, Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, daad galerie Berlin, Transmediale in Berlin, ZKM Karlsruhe, Museum for Modern Art in Warsaw and Bonniers Konsthall in Stockholm. In April and May 2022, Mykola and I had two video calls between Berlin and Ukraine, followed by jointly editing the interview according to the situation of his country and his hometown Kharkiv. As opposed to Springtime, when Mykola had to find shelter in Lviv and could not leave the country, he is now able to travel to his exhibitions and currently spends a residency at the Quadriennale di Roma in Italy. In our conversation, we spoke about his theory that relates the science of vision to the perception of war, about how media enforces a voyeuristic addiction to images of violence and about the current situation for Ukrainian artists.

26 September 2022


Diego Marcon, The Parents’ Room, 2021 Digital video transferred from 35mm film, CGI animation, color, sound, loop of 6’23’’ Film frame © Diego Marcon. Courtesy the artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London

Diego Marcon, "The Parents’ Room", 2021 / Digital video transferred from 35mm film, CGI animation, color, sound, loop of 6’23’’ / Film frame © Diego Marcon. Courtesy the artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London

Diego Marcon (*1985) is an artist and filmmaker based in Milan. His work ranges from short camera-less animations such as Untitled (Head falling 01, 02, 03, 04, 05) (2015) and immersive sound pieces such as ToonsTunes (Four Pathetic Movements) (2016), to larger productions involving entire production teams such as Monelle (2017) set in Casa del Fascio by Terragni in Como. His film The Parents’ Room (2021) is currently shown in “The Milk of Dreams”, the main exhibition of the 59th Venice Biennale curated by Cecilia Alemani. Taking the form of a musical, Marcon’s film tells the story of a man who killed his wife and two children before committing suicide. Watching it in the context of an exhibition, which has a clear focus on female and gender non-binary artists, I could not help thinking of it as marking an end point for nuclear family structures. Diego Marcon prefers to keep a distance to interpretation. Instead, we talked about the refusal to persuade, power systems, the beauty of the collective and possibilities of transformation for those still living.

10 September 2022


Studio Cornelia Baltes, Photo credit: Cornelia Baltes

A bold and strong palette marks the surfaces of Cornelia Baltes’ large paintings: The German artist and London Slade School alumni perfectionated the play between abstract and figurative motifs on intense colour fields. Gradients, spray colours and fine brushstrokes are applied in thin layers. A shape that we may recognise on the canvases could be a peach or a bottom, or perhaps a set of eyes – these forever undefined “characters”, as Baltes refers to her paintings, convey joyfulness and humour. While preparing her solo exhibition “Waggle Dance” at Galerie Rodolphe Janssen in Brussels, we met in her Berlin studio to talk about how she defines titles for her works, about paintings as theatrical objects and about archives of ideas.

5 November 2021


India Nielsen "guardie e ladri (cops and robbers)" - 2021 - photo © Damian Griffiths

In her paintings, London-based artist India Nielsen interweaves subjective experience with elements of the 1990s and 2000s pop culture. As a teenager, she identified with MTV (Music Television) stars, such as Britney Spears, Madonna and Eminem. At the same time, the visual, ritualistic world of her Catholic upbringing were formative: the saints with their supernatural abilities, seemed to her to reflect aspects of the human psyche split in pieces, the iconography of the Sacred Heart and the Weeping Virgin Mary and the spiritual dimension of Catholicism. India Nielsen sees her paintings as vessels in which her inner life, her memories, feelings and projections can be inscribed and unfold. She studied at the Slade School of Fine Art from 2012 to 2016 and graduated with an MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art in 2018. On the occasion of her London solo presentation “M is for Madonna, M is for Mariah, M is for Mother” at Darren Flook (which also marks the inauguration of his new gallery space, a former psychotherapist’s office on 106 Great Portland St.), we discuss the effects the COVID-19 pandemic had on Nielsen’s practice, her enduring love for pre-eminent pop divas, her fascination with the saints of the Roman Catholic Church and the distinct dichotomies that pervade the artist’s painting practice.

1 August 2021


Ulrik Møller in his Berlin studio, 2021, photo by Anna-Lena Werner

In a typical industrial Berlin backyard, close to the little river Panke in the busy district of Wedding, the Danish artist Ulrik Møller found a bright space to create landscape paintings of his Danish home in Fyn and many other rural places. This opposition, between what he paints and where he produces the work, is inherently embedded in each single work as a longing for what is not around. Referencing and employing traditional techniques of painting, his art is always a manifestation of the endless travel between home and distance, between the comfortable and the exploration of the unknown. While visiting him in his studio, we talked about honest art, romanticism and Ulrik's current exhibition "Happy Together" at Faaborg Museum in Denmark.

15 July 2021


Mariana Hahn, photo © Philippe Chancel

Through photography, video, installation and imprinting Mariana Hahn investigates the modes of image making, the processes of archiving and transmission. Mariana digs the memory of her body, of her own genealogy and she depicts the transfer of knowledge from one body to another, from a woman to another. But she also tracks the recurrences and survivals (Nachleben) of collective memories and traumas. "Eros and Thanatos Made a Child" is a multifaceted installation by Mariana Hahn presented by Display, Berlin, at the photography festival Les Rencontres d’Arles, from July 4 to August 29, 2021. In that framework, it was shortlisted for the Prix Découverte Louis Roederer curated this year by Sonia Voss.

15 March 2021


Alper Turan, Photo: Maurine Tric, Protocinema, Istanbul

Alper Turan is a curator from Istanbul currently based in Berlin. Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, he curated the group exhibition, "A Finger for an Eye", commissioned & presented by Protocinema within Protocinema's Emerging Curator mentorship series, at Poşe in Istanbul (until the 23rd of March), focusing on queer positioning as a response to the ongoing attacks on queer representations, symbols from the Turkish government. We talked about how Alper's curatorial practice has developed throughout the years and what it was like to curate a physical exhibition that needs and calls physical interactions during a pandemic. 

10 December 2020


Basim Magdy "Renegade Dreams Hanging from the Clouds" at König Galerie, Berlin. Photos © Roman Maerz, Courtesy the artist and König Galerie, Berlin

"What if the sky is giant mirror reflecting our fantasies?" the movie "New Acid" by Egyptian artist Basim Magdy asks. Hosting his exhibition "Renegade Dreams Hanging From The Clouds" at König Galerie Berlin currently presents the artist's film work together with eight of his paintings. In our e-mail interview, I chatted with the Switzerland-based artist about what it was like to organise an exhibition during a global pandemic and lockdown restrictions, as well as the various sources of his inspiration for the works in the show and his practice in general. 

23 October 2020


Neha Kudchadkar "Handjob",  2018, Image © Stashia D'souza for Mumbai Art Room

Neha Kudchadkar works at the intersection between ceramics, installation and photography. While in the making she often uses her own body as a tool, she also implies it as a site of investigation with materiality, spatiality, identity and otherness. Neha Kudchadkar’s ceramic work Handjob will be featured in the exhibition “Love Letters: Stories of Distant Proximities” at Horse and Pony, Berlin, from the 24th of October until the 22nd of November, 2020. The curators of the show, Lea Schleiffenbaum and Marie DuPasquier took the opportunity to discuss with the artist on her work presented in the show, her process, and her thoughts on intimacy, touching and caring in times of social distancing. 

4 October 2020



© Melanie and Stephanie Hausberger

Art is always a joint endeavour for Melanie and Stephanie Hausberger. Since their studies at the New York School of Visual Arts, the Austrian-born identical twin sisters have been creating all their works – especially drawings and paintings – together. Their visual language reveals the influence of art from the era of classical modernism – Pablo Picasso, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, and above all, Egon Schiele shine through. Although their works are figurative and representational, they display a high degree of abstraction. After finishing their studies, Melanie and Stephanie Hausberger travelled a lot, but they have also set up a small studio in the Tyrolean Alps.