19 April 2016

INTERVIEW: MORITZ FREI

TGood-MFREI-artdoc-26-03-2016-_0047
"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

little_warsaw_fence_2012_56x60_v3
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

Miriam_Hamann_4_NewSkinForTheOldCeremony
“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.

31 March 2016

INTERVIEW: BAHAR YÜRÜKOĞLU

Bahar Yürükoğlu_Bahar_Hedes_2015
all works © Bahar Yürükoğlu

These days it's really hard to stay positive about Istanbul and its vibrant art scene. Thanks to Istanbul-based artists such as Bahar Yürükoğlu, who was born and grew up in Washington DC, we can take a moment, celebrating the idea for other possible lives. Her current solo show "Flow Through" allows forgetting everything about reality for a while. Despite being located at ARTER, an institute for contemporary art centrally located at Istiklal Street, where an attack just happened a few days ago, the bright pink light shining from the gallery's entrance promises a travelling through time, to a space where there is still hope. This is because Bahar Yürükoğlu literally brings bright lights to our dark times. Her videos, site-specific installations and geometrical landscapes transfer us to completely other corners of the world, such as the Arctic. In our interview, we talked about how she started this journey and where she is heading. 

14 March 2016

INTERVIEW: PATRIC SANDRI

Untitled(to)_PatricSandri13 - Titelbild
all works © Patric Sandri

Patric Sandri is sometimes being asked about the Zurich Concrete Art group, which was founded in the 1930s. With their vivid colours and reduced vocabulary of form, the works of the young Swiss artist, who studied in Lucerne and at the Royal College of Art in London, do indeed evoke associations with Max Bill. Sandri sees himself first of all as a painter, who seeks to break with tradition through examination of objecthood. Here especially the materials that he uses for his works play a major role. If Sandri does not invade the space by layering, his works seem to retain flatness in terms of the media specificity. But because his examination of colour takes place at the edges, the illusion of three-dimensionality does not happen on the surface of the painting but outside its particular body. 

16 February 2016

INTERVIEW: JONAS MARIA DROSTE

Jonas Maria Droste_featured on artfridge.de
all works © Jonas Maria Droste

A large flag pole, dozens of hand-made wooden frames, a large scale of monotonous colours on paper. The installation Preussisch Blau by recent UDK-graduate Jonas Maria Droste is not only sleek and beautiful in its approach to a design-inspired formal language, it also comprises a critical notion about the formation of identity through the mere concept of nationality and artificially empowered objects, such as the national flag. Jonas, who grew up in Berlin in the 90s, moved to Vienna to study at the art academy and returned to Berlin a few years back to continue his practice in sculpting and to add another artistic medium: dance. He told me how performance and sculpture do and how they do not merge, what physicality means in regard to his work and why seduction is such an important component to his art.

2 February 2016

INTERVIEW: JON PILKINGTON

Jon Pilkington_Two Loops_V1 Gallery_featured on artfridge11
all works © Jon Pilkington at V1 Gallery Copenhagen, 2016

There is a playfulness attached to the surface of the colourful paintings by 26-year old British artist Jon Pilkington: circles, drops, stains, leafy and ornamental forms cover both small and large works. They deceive the eyes for a moment, preventing the sight to realise that the game is in fact a quite ritualistic, almost manic experiment of repeatedly producing similar motifs into a new surface on a canvas with the basic tools of painting: colour, form, composition. Chance and failure play a large role in this process. Jon, who works in a small studio space in London's busy art district Peckham, currently has his works on display in a group show at Rod Barton gallery, around the corner of his studio, and in the solo show 'Two Loops' at V1 Gallery, which is based in Copenhagen's meat-packing-district. We talked about what he does and what he doesn't consider essential in paintings.