12 December 2018


Petra Gell_artfridge_New line 2 © Petra Gell 

Geometric shapes, objects and bright colour fields dominate the formal vocabulary of Vienna-based artist Petra Gell. The compositions of her drawings and collages always refer to architectural structures that she observes photographically, and then decomposes to abstract lines and surfaces for her own work. This experimental process of rearranging spacial compositions on paper is further abstracted in her installation-based work, which translates the composition back into its spacial surrounding, while removing the initial architectural function. Petra, who co-found the artist collective "Die vier Grazien", told me about why architecture influences her practice.

8 November 2018


JvLiefland_artfridge_VP#38-the revolutionary potential Joep van Liefland © "Video Palace #38 – The Revolutionary Potential of the Outmoded (Storage I)", 2014 

You might still remember going to your local video store, opening the cover of the rental tape once you were at home, listening to the sound of it being dragged inside the slip of the recorder and then pressing play and forward to start the movie. When the Dutch artist Joep van Liefland first began working with the medium of the videotape, it was 2002 and video was still widely in use. Since then, Joep has exercised experiments with its form and its context: Every detail linked to videotapes – movies, screens, recorders, covers, stores, remote controls – somehow played into his conceptual practice one way or the other. He collected thousands of tapes, now causing him storage problems.

Joep, who used to run one of Berlin's most established project spaces – Autocenter – together with Maik Schierloh from 2001 to 2018, has an industrial studio space in the city's east. Although I had wrongly anticipated it to resemble one of the videotape installations that he made more than fifty of throughout the past years, we sat downstairs surrounded by hundreds of empty tape cases stored in the studio's upper gallery level and had a conversation about his commitment to the video tape.

24 October 2018


The Channeling_Image V © Nicky Broekhuysen "The Channeling V" (2018)

It can be difficult for artists to express stories of magic and personal memories through their practice, while most of us tend to believe fictional narratives when they are served on a silver plate. Nicky Broekhuysen, who works and lives in Berlin, translates one of these highly personal and perhaps even non-logical stories into the artistic project "The Channeling" that she will be presenting at Davidson Gallery in New York. The project is based on a story involving Nicky's grandmother Marge Hugo and her relationship to the impressionist painter Claude Monet. Merging painting and binary code, while referencing her grandmother's practice of channeling and spiritual awareness, Nicky's various artistic techniques accompany her through a journey from the past into the future. Her practice is a reminder of how art is still the most powerful tool for magical narratives and ways of remembering inspiring people. 

19 August 2018


Project Space Festival, 09.08.2018, Kreuzberg Pavillon, Deep Nation; Photo © Piotr Pietrus

Giving Berlin's landscape of approximately 140 non-profit project spaces increased visibility, fighting for their rights, their funding and their appreciation, both the Netzwerk Freier Projekträume- und Initiativen e.V. and the Project Space Festival are initiatives which do considerable work to help the independent art scene to survive. I spoke to Chris Benedict, manager of the Netzwerk Freier Projekträume- und Initiativen, and Marie-José Ourtilane, the current manager of Project Space Festival, about their first collaboration this August.

15 August 2018


U5, House of Sentiments (Filmstill), 2018, 4-Kanal-Videoinstallation, © U5_2 U5, House of Sentiments (Filmstill), 2018, 4-Kanal-Videoinstallation, © U5_3
U5, House of Sentiments (Filmstill), 2018, 4-Kanal-Videoinstallation, © U5_1
U5, House of Sentiments (Filmstills), 2018, 4-Kanal-Videoinstallation, © U5 

U5 is a Zurich-based artist collective I first encountered at the screening of their work “The Human Crater” at the cinema of the historic hotel Castell in Zuoz. In this stunning, but somewhat ambivalent, environment of the luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps the collective confronted spectators with subjects such as collaborative working ethics, the history of colonial discovery travel, the human-nature relationship, political and aesthetic strategies. We continued talking at their studio in Zurich, where I could witness the development of their new installation work “House of Sentiments.” Later the musician Vivian Wang, who contributed to the video piece, joined us in our digital conversation about the nuances in our understanding of emotions and colours.

8 August 2018


Ani Schulze, Merchants Freely Enter, Video Still, 4K Video , 12min, 2017, supported by Kunststiftung NRWAni Schulze, Merchants Freely Enter, Video Still, 2017, supported by Kunststiftung NRW
all works © Ani Schulze

I met the German artist Ani Schulze at Sitterwerk in St. Gallen, where artists, writers, craftspeople and scientists meet on several occasions, such as open studios, book launches or presentations of current research. Our conversation about the influence of technological developments on the contemporary visual culture, the representation of landscape and the implementation of new ecosystems continued over an artist talk in Zürich and later, during several digital and analogue encounters. 

27 July 2018


ROSE GOLD_copyright Sara Cwynar3 Sara Cwynar, Rose Gold (filmstill), 2017 
All images © Sara Cwynar

The work of Vancouver-born artist Sara Cwynar emerges from her archives and her personal collections of visual materials. In her photographs, collages, installations and books she explores the circulation of images and their changes in meaning over time and  in different cultures, as well as how this affects a collective worldview. For Sara, exploring the nature of photographic images is as important as the limitations of the medium itself. She received an MFA in Photography from Yale University, New Haven, and studied English Literature and Graphic Design in Canada before. Her solo exhibitions include presentations at the MMK Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt/Main, at Foxy Production, New York, and at Cooper Cole, Toronto. Furthermore, Sara took part in numerous international group shows.

26 June 2018


Artfridge_Pedro_Gomes_Egana4 Pedro Gómez-Egaña © "The Chariot of Greenwich" (2013) Photo by CHROMA

The work of Columbian-born artist Pedro Gómez-Egaña's poses questions to how technologies affect societies, both historically and now. He explores collective experiences of time and how digital culture changes our attention to life. After having studied at Goldsmiths College and the Bergen National Academy of Arts, the artist lives in Denmark and Norway, where he is currently professor and researcher at the Faculty of Arts of Bergen University. His performative installation “Domain of Things” was one of the outstanding pieces presented at the 15th Istanbul Biennial in late 2017, exploring societies' rising comfort in pleasures of technology while, happening simultaneously, rising conditions of crisis causing people too escape. Currently on display in Berlin, Egaña’s  challenging exhibition "The Common Ancestor" at Zilberman Gallery addresses no less than the relation of time and power, and the mechanisation of the world.