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fascination for natural processes, Markus Hoffmann enables spectators to experience natural phenomena that are usually withdrawn from our perception through the experience of his art.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.

September 27, 2014

INTERVIEW: ARNAUD LAPIERRE

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Arnaud Lapierre_RING Installation Arnaud Lapierre_RING Installation
"RING" by Arnaud Lapierre, courtesy and copyright the artist

Anna-Lena Werner: Arnaud, how and when did you decide to work as an artist and designer?
Arnaud Lapierre: I don't really know – I have always been attracted to art and to objects. First I studied the History of Art & Archeology, but then I changed to design studies, because I wanted to tell stories through objects and space. However, I don't consider myself an artist.

Anna-Lena: Your work crosses the boundaries between art, design and scenography. Do you consider each direction equally important for your practice? How do they influence each other?
Arnaud: I don't see boundaries in these activities, because all are a support or a medium for being creative and telling or showing something unexpected. I have always considered my profession a way of expressing a delicate answer to a pertinent question. Looking at other graphic and contemporary art, or even contemporary dance and cinema is interesting in order to understand our societies. Although I always tried to banish existing designs from my inspiration, since I don't want to repeat myself or the work of someone else.

September 19, 2014

ART BERLIN CONTEMPORARY 2014

ABC Berlin / Art Berlin Contemporary 2014 / featured on artfridge / courtesy the artists & galleries / photo © artfridge.de Wojciech Bakowski, booth STEREO, Warsaw ABC Berlin / Art Berlin Contemporary 2014 / featured on artfridge / courtesy the artists & galleries / photo © artfridge.de Analia Saban (Detail), booth Sprüth Magers, Berlin, London ABC Berlin / Art Berlin Contemporary 2014 / featured on artfridge / courtesy the artists & galleries / photo © artfridge.de Luc Fuller, booth Rod Barton, London 
all images: courtesy the artist and the gallery / photos © artfridge / Lars Petersen

Art Berlin Contemporary (in short "ABC) opened its 7th edition last Thursday. The fair – that suggests itself as an art exhibition – has been directed by Maike Cruse for the second time and presents 111 galleries, of which most are based in Germany. Known for offering a big selection of large scale works, ABC continues to show extensive installations and sculptures. Even painters spread out through the exhibition space, such as the up-and-coming American artist Luc Fuller (Rod Barton), who we interviewed this year in June (read the interview here).

September 16, 2014

OLAFUR ELIASSON / RIVERBED

OLAFUR ELIASSON "RIVERBED" at Louisiana Museum in Denmark / courtesy Louisiana and the artist / © Olafur Eliasson / photo © artfridge & Anna-Lena Werner OLAFUR ELIASSON "RIVERBED" at Louisiana Museum in Denmark / courtesy Louisiana and the artist / © Olafur Eliasson / photo © artfridge & Anna-Lena Werner all images: Olafur Eliasson "Riverbed" at Louisiana Museum, Denmark (20.8.2014 - 4.1.2015) / Courtesy the artist and Louisiana Museum, © Olafur Eliasson / photos © artfridge.de

It feels like there is hardly a nature phenomenon left that the well-known Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson has not approached or visualised yet. For his current outside-in installation "Riverbed" he turned the south-wing of Louisiana Museum in Humlebæk (Demark) into a wet and rocky landscape that embeds a small stream of water floating through three large rooms. The official purpose: a merging of art, architecture and an imitation of nature. But that agenda seems familiar and – let's be honest – has really been done before. The question is: Does the past devalue the work?