January 15, 2015

INTERVIEW: KATJA KOTTMANN

Katja Kottmann_1_1_Stuhl Katja Kottmann_1_1 all works shown in the exhibition SHIPSHAPE, Städtische Galerie am Park, Viersen; courtesy and © Katja Kottmann

We often speak about site-specificity when referring to art works that relate to the environment they are exhibited in. In the case of conceptual installation artist Katja Kottmann this description finds another dimension: Each of her works recall or manipulate its past or current surroundings. While her objects' aesthetic is often strongly reminiscent of gestures in minimalist paintings, Kottmann conserves architectural features and represents them as ready-mades, honouring the basic form of space in a neutral approach.

Following a one-year residency in Viersen, a small town in west Germany, 1982-born Kottmann finished her stay with the solo exhibition SHIPSHAPE at Städtische Galerie am Park. The show touches many of the artist's recurring subjects, such as aspects of dispersion and of perception. The latter, as suggested by Kottmann, can never be motionless and is never entirely determined. Even the smallest shifts, interventions or translations lead to new perspectives in perception and give a visual appearance to the invisible. In our interview Kottmann told me about her show and her play with shifts.

December 15, 2014

INTERVIEW: KATHERINE BRADFORD

Katherine Bradford_at ADAMS AND OLLMAN in Portland, USA, featured on artfridge Katherine Bradford_at ADAMS AND OLLMAN in Portland, USA, featured on artfridge Katherine Bradford_at ADAMS AND OLLMAN in Portland, USA, featured on artfridge all works by Katherine Bradford at ADAMS AND OLLMAN in Portland; courtesy Adams and Ollman, copyright Katherine Bradford

Katherine Bradford, an American artist and recent Guggenheim Fellow, has been making a personal and intimate body of work that merges abstraction and figuration to emotional ends for nearly three decades. Her work, in turns humorous, epic and vulnerable is in conversation with a younger generation of artists dedicated to finding a way to tell stories and share experience through painting. During Bradford’s two person exhibition with Sarah Gamble at Adams and Ollman in Portland, the artist is interviewed by her son, Arthur Bradford, a writer and Emmy-nominated filmmaker.

December 7, 2014

INTERVIEW: MARCO DI GIOVANNI

Marco di Giovanni _ projects of Ginnungagap Marco di Giovanni _ Stars Like Rust Marco di Giovanni _ Stars like Rust (particular, inner vision))
from the top:  (1)"Projects of Ginnungagap", (2,3) "Stars Like Rust" by Marco di Giovanni, copyright and courtesy the artist

Last year, during the Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair, I met the Italian artist Marco Di Giovanni, who told me about his current, archival food project: He draws everything he consumes on yellow paper for one entire year and will exhibit his personal collection of food in an exhibition at BLOK art space in 2015. Being well-known in Istanbul by now, the thoughts of the 1976-born performance- and installation artist are not only reminiscent of Daniel Spoerri’s food collages, but also of Marco Ferreri’s movie “La Grande Bouffe”. Even though Marco's approach responds to complex and philosophical ideas, he formulates clear statements and regularly communicates ethic issues through an aesthetically clean formal language. Employing various media and elements from different contexts, Marco’s art is a constant experiment of challenging space and time constructions, of perception and of our consciousness.

November 24, 2014

INTERVIEW: ROBIN VON EINSIEDEL

Robin von Einsiedel, Yogi beige, 2014, 207cm x 161cm, Spray Paint and Bitumen on Canvas. Courtesy Oscar Proctor Robin von Einsiedel, Zoo Köln, 2014. Exhibition view (6). Courtesy Oscar Proctor Robin von Einsiedel, Zoo Köln. Exhibition detail, Matron, 2014, Jesmonite. Courtesy Oscar Proctor all images: ZOO KÖLN by Robin von Einsiedel at Bosse&Baum (24.10-14.12), Courtesy Oscar Proctor, © Robin von Einsiedel

For the first and hopefully the last time in my life I have mistaken the torso of Diego Velasquez for the shape of a sausage. But luckily this embarrassing error did not happen at the Prado in Madrid, but instead while looking at a painting by British artist Robin von Einsiedel, trying to make sense of his peculiar compositions and motifs. Odd, cartoonish characters from kids' series and comics appear on abstract, sometimes even minimalist backgrounds, which seem to secretly play the lead role in the works. Robin concerns himself with materials – their manipulation and inherent relation between solid existence and cosmic emergence. Now, after recently graduating from RCA, the 1988-born artist shows his newest works in the exhibition ZOO KÖLN at Bosse & Baum, a young Peckham-based gallery that established its permanent space only this October. I asked Robin a few questions about his practice and about why Yogi-Bear and company keep on occupying the paintings and sculptures that he makes.

November 17, 2014

INTERVIEW: MARKUS HOFFMANN

markus_hoffmann_encounter_artfridge markus_hoffmann_memory_artfridge1 markus_hoffmann_memory_artfridge2All works by Markus Hoffmann / from the top: (1) "ENCOUNTER" (2014), (2+3) "MEMORY" (2014) / Courtesy and © Markus Hoffmann

Driven by a fascination for natural processes, Markus Hoffmann enables spectators to experience natural phenomena that are usually withdrawn from our perception through the experience of his art. The 1982-born installation artist concerns himself with a range of highly ambivalent materials – such as fungi, exhaust fume or radioactive artefacts –, negotiating not only their controversial position in today's society, but also the paradox of their appearance's significance in an aesthetic, as opposed to an ethical context. The materials are attributed with a calm and strange beauty, a peculiar sublimity, forcing the perception to reconsider anticipated and precast sentiments. Markus' works thus pose urgent questions to society's consciousness and to art's fictive and supposedly innocent framework, offering a space of intense experience. Equipped with a distinct aesthetic language and with a high political potential, it doesn't come as a surprise that although Markus just completed his studies in the class of Olafur Eliasson at UDK Berlin, both his own and cooperative works (created with the collective DAS NUMEN) are already represented in international museums and other art institutions. I met Markus in Berlin, where he lives and works, and talked to him about his choice of materials, about art and politics and about spectatorship.

October 27, 2014

INTERVIEW: VERA KOX

vera kox 'words to  mouth'; galerie van horburg, basel 2011 vera kox 'words to  mouth'; galerie van horburg, basel 2011 vera kox 'words to  mouth'; galerie van horburg, basel 2011 All images: Work by Vera Kox / Courtesy and copyright the artist.

Sticky, soft, damp, stony, crumbly, sleek – there is a whole range of opposing adjectives that come into mind when looking at sculptures and installations by Vera Kox. She employs a minimalist language, continuously playing with the antagonism of light and heavy, fluid and static material. Having finished her Master in 2010 at Goldsmiths College in London, the 1984-born sculptor translates her research in tangible preconceptions of materials into transitions of forms. Kox' objects often seem fragile, but they are also seductively encouraging a curiosity in the truth of their own tactility, while remaining untouchable and thus shattering expectations. In a short interview the German artist told us about her interest in this fluctuation and about her current show at GREEN IS GOLD in Copenhagen.

October 12, 2014

RYAN TRECARTIN: SITE VISIT

Ryan Trecartin / ANIMATION COMPANION (2014) / Courtesy Ryan Trecartin; Andrea Rosen Gallery New York; Regen Projects Los Angeles; und / and Sprüth Magers Berlin London. Lizzie Fitch / Ryan Trecartin SITE VISIT, 2014 / Installation view Foto / Photo: Thomas Eugster Courtesy of the artists; Andrea Rosen Gallery New York; Regen Projects Los Angeles; und / and Sprüth Magers Berlin London. Lizzie Fitch / Ryan Trecartin SITE VISIT, 2014 / Installation view Foto / Photo: Thomas Eugster Courtesy of the artists; Andrea Rosen Gallery New York; Regen Projects Los Angeles; und / and Sprüth Magers Berlin London. Lizzie Fitch / Ryan Trecartin SITE VISIT, 2014 / Installation view Foto / Photo: Thomas Eugster Courtesy of the artists; Andrea Rosen Gallery New York; Regen Projects Los Angeles; und / and Sprüth Magers Berlin London.images from the top: (1) Ryan Trecartin, excerpt ANIMATION COMPANION (2014), Photo story originally published in Modern Weekly, Guangzhou; Courtesy Ryan Trecartin // (2-4) Lizzie Fitch / Ryan Trecartin SITE VISIT, 2014, Installation view, Photo: Thomas Eugster; Courtesy of the artists; both images courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery New York; Regen Projects Los Angeles; and Sprüth Magers Berlin London.

"You know? I mean...this is just so..." A man blabbers into a shaky hand-camera. We can't follow what he says. HipHop beats merge with his electronically amplified voice. He wears a pink lace chemise, no trousers and folded down ugg boots. His hands either play with his pink wig or they wave a petrol can about, while doing tantalizing gestures with his rouged mouth and eyes. He is a character playing in Ryan Trecartin's six-channel video work SITE VISIT, which was produced for KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. The film belongs to a series of four previous projects, which are all starred by the artist and the same group of actors. In all of these movies Trecartin's post-apocalyptic universe typically consists of guys and girls like the pink-lace one: its transgender, chaotic, loud, shallow, screeching. Its a hypnotizing outburst of digital dystopia.