27 June 2016

INTERVIEW: SEBASTIAN NEEB

Sebastian Neeb_artfridge_5 "22 sausages to stare at, praise and worship" (2015) © Sebastian Neeb

A few weeks ago "Praise and Trophy“ opened at Berlin art space Dzialdov. The show dealt with the question of how a certain symbolism can be held accountable for moments of sublimity, majesty and superiority. It asked how much these sentiments are rather a matter of traditions and emotions than of an actual expression of reality. Three different positions, Lars Bjerre, Max Dickhaus and Sebastian Neeb were invited to participate; I sat down with one of them. 

With a diverse body of work, Berlin-based artist Sebastian Neeb (b. 1980) surveys how certain media can be used to guide, influence and control individuals as well as the mass and how closely real and fake values are linked together. In his idea, the awarding of trophies and titles is rather a matter of manipulation, a loose promise of a value that only exists in people’s head without having an actual materialistic counter-value. Following this concept, a new kind of character head is courting for leadership within his series "New Leader", while "Trophies for Outstanding Performance Over Decades" awards rather nonsensical achievements like the finding of an already emptied jug of wisdom.

2 June 2016

INTERVIEW: FLORIAN KUHLMANN

Untitled "This is not a smile" © Florian Kuhlmann

Florian Kuhlmann is not merely a digital artist. The challenges, the ambiguity, the changes and the opportunities posed by digital technology are central to all of his countless projects, uniting his interests under the key of digitalism. Working as an artist, curator, organiser of festivals and conferences, blogger or researcher, but also as a web designer or coder, 1975-born Florian currently runs the project space Digital3mpire and the art blog perisphere.de, both of which emphasise digital art in the area in and around Düsseldorf, where he lives. Having exhibited and curated internationally, his current project "this is not" returns to the material of the canvas and explores how the relation of text and emotion have altered in a time of digital every day conversations. His sharp reseach in these new social phenomena, that we are all a part of, are worth taking a closer look. In our interview he explains why digitalism is such an urgent matter to him and how art is a part of this discussion.


18 May 2016

INTERVIEW: OLIVER GRIFFIN

Groundworks6proposal “Demonstrations of Patterns in Flow” (2016) @ Oliver Griffin

"Yes, you did meet Oliver Griffin and yes he was boring," it says on the business card of the conceptual photo artist. This little, sarcastic wink with the eye is quite representative for both, his art and his character. Originally born in 1983 in Boscome, UK, Oliver now lives between London and Berlin and takes one photo a day. It's one out of many routines that he established since becoming an artist. A dedicated photo camera and bicycle-lover, he often incorporates autobiographical items and collections of things into his exhibition and book projects. On display from the 20th May 2016 at Peckham Refreshment Rooms in London, his photo project "Insecurity of Wealth in layers of paint" (2016), which is inspired by Rihanna's "Umbrella" lyrics "Baby cause in the dark, you cant see shiny cars", depicts a series of black cars in dark nights. Oliver has also been set the task of looking over Artfridge's Instagram account as part of Photo London this week. In our interview he told me about what photography means to him, the importance of its technical aspects and why art needs to be international.

15 May 2016

INTERVIEW: LISA OFFERMANN

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Installation View "The State of Having Left":  Jean-Marie Appriou (front) and Melike Kara (back)

There is something fascinating about the atmosphere of abandoned buildings and areas, because the architecture's decay reveals something about the past, about people and objects who used to have a certain place at a certain time. It's a particular absence, a "State of Having Left", which we become aware of. In a group show with the same title, co-curators Lisa Offermann and Pauline Seguin installed works by Jean-Marie Appriou, Violet Dennison, Stefanie Heinze, Melike Kara, Benjamin Lallier, Michail Pirgelis and Carsten Tabel in an abandoned bowling center in Leipzig to address these remains of society. The show, however, is exclusively accessible online. Offermann, who originally studied veterinary medicine and later changed to art history, is based in Berlin. She previously curated exhibitions in project spaces, such as Archiv Massiv in Leipzig and has worked for several contemporary art galleries. In our interview she speaks about exhibitions as stages, the remains of corporate society and ‘The State of Having Left’.

19 April 2016

INTERVIEW: MORITZ FREI

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"Cosmic Latte" exhibition at Galerie im Turm, © and courtesy Moritz Frei; photo: Trevor Good

What comes first, the chicken or the egg? Moritz Frei must have asked himself that question, when planning his current exhibition COSMIC LATTE at Galerie im Turm in Berlin. The central work, a half-hour long film, shows Frei forcefully cuddling a rooster while another scene displays an ostrich egg slurping milk in a stop-motion-aesthetic. The film primarily documents the process and development of Frei's show, for which he hired seniors to paint minimalist paintings for him. The exhibit is monotonously beige, it is dedicated to the integration of an older and perhaps forgotten generation, and it eventually questions the value of artistic genius. Frei, who was born in Frankfurt, studied at the HGB Leipzig and now lives and works in Berlin, is an artist working on the threshold between performance, photography and conceptual intervention. Each of his projects tell another narrative and seduce his audiences with irony and sharp social criticism. I spoke to him about his current show and past projects.

15 April 2016

INTERVIEW: ANTJE HUNDHAUSEN & NATHALIE HOYOS

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Little Warsaw "Fence", 2012; at ART COLOGNE 2016
– In Collaboration with Deutsche Telekom AG –

At this year’s Art Cologne a well curated booth greets the visitors right before they are entering the main hall: The Art Collection Deutsche Telekom. With a focus on Eastern European Art, this collection takes a rare stand in the collector’s market and is actually one oft he few booths at the whole fair hinting into the direction of how current political events are affecting artists around Europe. Two newly acquired positions are being presented: Nevin Aladağ who was born in 1970 in Turkey, but grew up in Berlin and the artistic duo Little Warsaw, born in 1970 and 71, who are both originally from Budapest although the name might suggest otherwise. Growing up in different surroundings, both positions deal with their backgrounds diversely. However, they find common ground in their mutual artistic focus on matters of heritage and cultural identification.

While Nevil Aladağ, who is mainly known for her multi-channeled video installations and sound elements, concentrates on subjects of external perception and self-awareness shaped through her Turkish-German heritage, Little Warsaw create objects and pieces that process the transformation of the post-socialistic society after the cold war in Hungary. Although both, Aladağ and Little Warsaw, often confront cultural matters with regards to their respective countries’ histories, traditions and heritages, their work has gained a particular up-to-dateness during the latest political events. We sat down for a chat with Antje Hundhausen, Vice president for marketing communication at Telekom and Nathalie Hoyos, curator of the collection alongside Rainald Schumacher.

7 April 2016

INTERVIEW: MIRIAM HAMANN

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“3’2,2m3” (Sound) by Miriam Hamann at DZIALDOV, Berlin

Having grown up in Austria and studied art in Paris and Vienna, the installation and sound artist Miriam Hamann reacts to her respective, direct urban surroundings and employs the inspiration to form minimalist, re-contextualised works. Air ducts, light bulbs, light switches, steel and concrete are repetitive materials that she frequently relocates. While currently spending time at the TITANIK residency for sound-based art practices in Finland, she recently moved to Berlin and continues capturing forms and sounds found in industrial design and every-day life in her sketchbook. In an interview we spoke about the tradition of minimalism, about the beauty in urban landscapes and her participation in the current group show "New Skin for the Old Ceremony" at the project space DZIALDOV in Berlin.

4 April 2016

INTERVIEW: ELMGREEN & DRAGSET

Elmgreen & Dragset_Tel Aviv Museum of Art_2016
All works © Elmgreen & Dragset; Courtesy Tel Aviv Museum of Art; all photos © by Elad Sarig 

Having worked together since 1995, the Danish artist Michael Elmgreen and Norwegian artist Ingar Dragset established a collective practice in which they typically sabotage social desires and rituals in public spaces or corrupt the choreography of art institutions and exhibition through interrupting aesthetic expectations. An imaginary dead art collector floating face-down in a pool at the Venice Biennale in The Collectors (2009), Han (2012) a male answer to Copenhagen's little mermaid placed by the seaside in Helsingør or, famously, Prada Marfa (2005), a fake Prada Boutique set in the middle of the Texas' desert – the interventions of the artist duo reveal a satirical and critical view on problematic conditions of power and capital, on social injustice, gender inequality and queer culture, but also on ordinary symbols of society's everyday lives. Their current exhibition Powerless Structures at Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel gave reason to speak with Elmgreen & Dragset about denying the audience's desires, demystifying art institutions and a need for unspectacular images in an era of selfie culture.