from the top: image 1-2, cemented shirts 'Selenium' by Rowena Harris; image 3-6 three-piece installation 'Whenever Standing In Between Whiles' by Alice Guareschi, all images by artfridge, courtesy DREI, Cologne and the artists
Last weekend, Cologne bursted with art events: The 10th Art Fair, the long museum night and the joint gallery opening 'Cologne Contemporaries', where 12 younger galleries, such as Jagla, Sebastian Brandel, Teapot, or DREI were open throughout the whole weekend.
On Saturday night I visited DREI, to see their current group show including pieces by Samantha Bohatsch, Alice Guareschi and Rowena Harris. In fact, it is not actually a group show, but rather three separate solo exhibitions within one space. Already in the past, DREI has managed to curate complicated and often site-specific installation works in juxtaposition with two dimensional pieces. A recurring motif of the gallery-shows, it seems, is space, the artistic handling of spatiality and spatial quality. In the current exhibition, this is what I sensed to be the central theme.
On the gallery's ground floor Rowena Harris positioned two cemented and squared shirts, standing - shy and invisible - in a corner next to the stairway. Her colourful and abstracted prints Attachment, which are the second part of her mini-show 'Cold Compress', are similarly camouflage by the space, almost becoming absent, as they are hanging behind the windows as if they were light protectors.
In the first floor's main room, Alice Guareschi's presentation 'Whenever Standing In Between Whiles' suggests an interplay of the two- and the three-dimensional - the vertical and horizontal: a standing paravant-like mirror, a lying round-shaped labyrinth, a hanging and framed photograph. Beautiful and yet, conceptually challenging, this composition asks the visitor to interfere and disturb its invisible bond.
The most traditional and equally narrative space is to be found in the last and smallest room of the gallery, where Samantha Bohatsch presents a textile sculpture and three manipulated museum-postcards in her mini-show 'Virginia'. Referring to Virginia Woolf, baroque and alienated clothes suggest identificatory notions of the (artist's) body. Also Bohatsch plays with the motif of absence, as she integrates a missing white limestone as her central piece, now merely adorning the invitation cards.
Different and similarly challenging conceptual notions behind each small presentation complicate access and understanding of an overall exhibition concept. But even if time or patience do not allow to comprehend the art works' agency, one would still recognize and acknowledge the effort that it takes to create such an aesthetic compositional interplay.
Samantha Bohatsch Virginia
Alice Guareschi Whenever Standing In Between Whiles
Rowena Harris Cold Compress
until January 12, 2013
Opening hours: Wed - Fri 14.00 - 18.00, Sat 12.00 - 16.00
from the top: textile sculpture and framed prints by Samantha Bohatsch, presentation 'Virginia', last image showing co-director Dennis Hochköppeler, all images by artfridge, courtesy DREI, Cologne and the artists