15 May 2015


© Julian Stalbohm_INT-PIC-FJD-2
Julian Stalbohm, FICTION JEST DEBACLE, 10.04-23.05.2015 at Ginerva Gambino, Cologne © Julian Stalbohm, courtesy Ginerva Gambino, Cologne

Two weeks ago, news about the second royal hit all the headlines in England and put an end to the country's buzzing speculations about its name, its hair colour or the length of Kate's stay in the hospital. These so-called "Novelty Bets" – referring to a gambling system that allows betting on practically everything imaginable in the near or far future – are the central tool in the current show of conceptual artist Julian Stalbohm: Placed and documented throughout the last year, he approaches the subject of speculation and chance by juxtaposing magnified prints of betting slips that reveal both a handwritten bet and the respective, often absurd, odds. While all slips are presented on a grid behind the obscured window of Ginerva Gambino gallery, the artist built a small stage inside the space and placed three dough-based figures on the ground. Both the dough objects and the betting slips share one characteristic: their outcome is unpredictable.

Julian's show "Fiction Jest Debacle" negotiates the social process of constructing of truth – it speaks of the wish to participate in the fate of life and of chances. I spoke with the 1980-born artist, who studied in Malmö and now lives both in Sweden and in Berlin, about gambling, numbers of sex hotlines, false promises, and the persistent wish to be in control of things – to be a stockholder of the future.

4 May 2015


10_04_15 VE CampoSStefano_MicheleByRosa simone_settimo
Portrait of Michele Drascek, photo by Rosa Lux; Construction site, installing UTTER at Arsenale- la Biennale di Venezia, photo by JAŠA 

The subject of the upcoming exhibition at the Slovenian Pavillion for Venice Biennale is bombastic: Hope, and its creation through the power of cooperation is what the Slovenian performance artist JAŠA, the Italian curator Michele Drascek and a large group of other collaborators are aiming to achieve with their exhibition. Staged in a two floored architectural wooden construction, their joint project "UTTER. The violent necessity for the embodied presence of hope" is a durational performance that will proceed from the 9th of May until the 22nd of November 2015. Involving music, visual and performance-based elements, the choreography of the project will be repeated 28 times within a strict weekly plan – something that they call 'a structured act of discipline'. And although each participant produces a creative output, the project centres entirely on the communication with the public and the spectators. I spoke to Michele Drascek about the ambitious project, about his personal motivation and his hopes.

24 April 2015


Mia Boysen_Vorhang_III Mia Boysen_Vorhang_VIII All works are photographs © Mia Boysen; courtesy the artist and Mirko Mayer / m-projects, Cologne

Mia Boysen is a German photo-artist whose works elegantly address the physical and psychological allure of consumer culture. Currently based in Cologne the 1985-born artist was brought up in Johannesburg, South Africa where she studied at The Wits School of Arts. Following her Bachelor degree she moved back to Germany and in 2013 studied a Masters at the Academy of Media Arts Köln (KHM). Her new series of photographs ‘Plastic Manisfestations’ was previewed at Mirko Mayer/M-projects last month, and centres on close-up photographs of plastic curtains. Boysen spoke to me about the production mystery, about fetishism and about the reasons why curtains and displays are the major motifs in her work.

19 April 2015


Art Cologne 2015 Art Cologne 2015
Rainald Schumacher and Nathalie Hoyos at booth Art Collection Telekom; © Deutsche Telekom AG; photos by Norbert Ittermann

Two giant and viciously looking pigs float above a cityscape, opening their mouths and chewing on the architectural fundament of civil life. A hand cuts off a pig’s tail; the blood spreads into the sky. Painted inside the booth of Art Collection Telekom, the 1976-born Ukrainian artist Volodymyr Kuznetsov created the work during the installation phase for Art Cologne 2015. It refers to Koliyivshchyna, a bloody Ukrainian rebellion against Poland in 1768; and it asks what could be the next step after such immense brutality.

Assembled by the curators Nathalie Hoyos and Rainald Schumacher, and directed by Antje Hundhausen, the five-year-old Art Collection Telekom emphasises the contemporary art scene in Eastern Europe. Originally initiated on the occasion of the Telekom’s recently established national companies for communication services in countries such as Romania and Poland, their bonds to Eastern Europe now imply a visual dialogue and exchange.

The collection neither focusses on decorative works for corporate headquarters, nor on big names. It  consists of art works that intend to create a cultural understanding, such as the works by 1986-born Kosovan artist Petrit Halilaj, who currently has a solo show at Kölnischer Kunstverein. One of the collection's major concerns is the support of young Eastern European artists, and especially those, whose works are controversially raising the awareness of social change. Nathalie and Rainald, who are both experienced in managing large collections, have been a part of the small team from the beginning on. I spoke with them about their curatorial work for the collection.

16 April 2015


Walter Dahn at booth Sprüth Magers, Berlin, London Walter Dahn at booth Sprüth Magers, Berlin, London Rose Eken ar booth The Hole, NY and V1 Gallery, Copenhagen Rose Eken at booth The Hole, NY and V1 Gallery, Copenhagen Michael Krebber at booth Galerie Nagel Draxler, Köln:Berlin Michael Krebber at booth Galerie Nagel Draxler, Köln, Berlin; all works © and courtesy the artists and galleries; photos © artfridge

In its 49th edition, the 209 predominantly German participating galleries of this year's art fair ART COLOGNE are divided in segments of emerging and established galleries for contemporary art and galleries for modern art. For the first time, these segments were separated on three floors. A new tactic, that helped bringing together the young and the established contemporary positions and their galleries: hosting the “New Contemporaries" section on the second floor, the “New Positions" and  “Collaborations" section is held in cooperation with NADA on the third floor, while modern and postwar art dealers are united on the ground floor.

10 April 2015


Work Elizabeth Willing © and courtesy the artist Work Elizabeth Willing © and courtesy the artist
all images: works by Elizabeth Willing, at Künstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin, © and courtesy Elizabeth Willing

On a distance, the wall object looks like an abstract version of a David Hockney landscape painting. But closer inspection reveals: it is 3000 pieces of chocolate, the type of creamy and cold tasting German Eiskonfekt, wrapped in differently coloured shiny papers. This work, like many other pieces from Australian artist Elizabeth Willing, may be eaten by gallery visitors. Usually based in her hometown Brisbane, where she finished her fine art studies, 1988-born Elizabeth came to Germany and worked with Thomas Rentmeister for a few months until she began her one-year artist residency at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin. Her sculptural work is mostly made of food or it is related to food products, eating and cooking habits. While usually ephemeral, the objects perform their own fleeting process either through their consumption or through their evident, limited sustainability. Strong smells of food, such as cheese, are paired with materials, interfering the perception of other pieces through multi-sensory manipulation and thus sabotaging the common anticipation. Elizabeth stages food as as solid material, but, always with a wink, she also wittily reveals our complicate relationship to the moral politics and the ethics of food.

3 April 2015


Portrait-M-Krzykowski Craft-&-Bling-Bling--Fake Depotgrafie-by-Emyl-Depot-Basel-Moritz-Lehner From the top: Portrait Matylda Krzykowski; Depot Basel - Ort für kontemporäre Gestaltung; Depot Basel inside (Depotgraphy – a display system by Emyl / Moritz Lehner)

The small German word "Tausendsassa" describes a person who has many talents and possibly makes use of all these abilities. Matylda Krzykowski is one of these rare all-rounders: Open-minded and articulate, she works as a designer, curator, publisher and artist, while her  practice involves creative production, as much as exhibition making and developing of educational programs, giving workshops and holding lectures. She is a creator, an organiser, an educator, a collaborator and a net-worker. She interviewed designers, who were asked to draw their answers, and coupled other designers with her lecture format Design Date. While she frequently travels between London and Basel, where she co-directs the design space Depot Basel - Ort für kontemporäre Gestaltung, Matylda just spend one year in Maastricht at the Jan van Eyck residency among many other creative producers. Her research about the display in a context of art and design along institutional strategies of representation now culminated in a hand-printed publication, a new exhibition format in Depot Basel's shop windows and an installation that Matylda exhibited during the open studios at Jan van Eyck.

17 March 2015


Naz Cuguoğlu
portrait of Naz Cuguoğlu; photo credit by by Zeynep Bolat

Residencies are a growing trend for artists and curators to establish an international network. But who are the organisers of these short-term projects? In Istanbul, one of the great networkers is Naz Cuguoğlu – coordinator of the maumau residency program in the district Çukurcuma. Having previously studied psychology and recently graduated in social psychology, Naz specialised in cultural psychology and volunteered in culture labs in Turkey, Nicaraguara and the US. She worked in an Istanbul-based gallery and frequently contributes reviews and interviews to publications like Istanbul art news, Artful Living, Trendsetter or KLOK. For her current project, the maumau residency, Naz organises the artists’ stay and co-curates exhibitions together with her collaborateur and maumau-founder Sine Ergün.