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.

6 June 2018


Heiner Franzen | Schaukel | 2-Kanal-Videoloop | 2009 -2016 | Ausstellung Großes Gesichtsfeld | Haus am Lützowplatz | Photography ©Jan Windszus_1jpg
© Heiner Franzen "Schaukel" (2009 -2016), "Großes Gesichtsfeld" at Haus am Lützowplatz; Photography ©Jan Windszus

"Großes Gesichtsfeld" at Haus am Lützowplatz is Heiner Franzen's first institutional exhibition in Berlin. This is not only reason to celebrate. It is long overdue. And it is outstanding. Franzen, a multi-disciplinary artist who is based in Berlin and has been a visiting professor in art academies in Braunschweig and Berlin Weißensee, expresses a quiet, but an explicit voice and vision with his work. Despite his expertise, he curiously explores image culture and the way he perceives these images. With his current exhibition, thus, he attempts no less than to trace how imagination exists in our minds. 

24 April 2018


3.Curves_of_Jaffa Installation view The curves of Jaffa, 2017; Photo: Alona Rodeh, Commissioned by Tel Aviv Municipality Arts Department 

The screaming sound of a siren transforms into a beating sound of deep techno, light is flickering, we are underground, maybe in a club, maybe in a train, some men are staring into our eyes, a fire fighter shows his muscles, his clothes are reflecting in the light, almost blinding our sight. The curtain closes, the scene is over, the sudden absence of techno beats leaves us only with the bright architecture of the space that we know so well by night and so little by day. – Welcome to the aesthetic universe of Israeli and Berlin-based artist Alona Rodeh, who knows better than anyone how to to play the acoustic and visual keyboard of safety.  

19 March 2018


David Ostrowski & Michail Pirgelis, Nothing Happened, Buchhandlung Walther König, 2016

The artists David Ostrowski and Michail Pirgelis met 2003 while studying at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and became close friends. Both based in Cologne, they have exhibited together several times, jointly initiated the MD Bar in Cologne and are each other's most honest critics. On the occasion of their exhibition "To Lose" at Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Düren in 2016, they transcribed an intimate conversation about their friendship, their art, their obsessions and their dreams. We're happy to be publishing this dialogue on artfridge [only available in german].

3 March 2018


1-IsilEgrikavuk Işıl Eğrikavuk "Vilem Flusser and I," portrait, Berlin, 2018

Mine Kaplangı: Işıl, you are an artist, writer, researcher, scholar and – perhaps the core of all other aspects – a community builder.  Most of your works underline the importance of collective production as creating an opportunity for artists from many different fields to work together. Considering this side of your art practice what do you think about today's concepts like “art”, “artist” and “artwork” among the fields of your interests and research? Do you think that future will blur the boundaries between those terms and concepts?

31 January 2018


Salome Asega & Reese Donohue & Tongkwai Lulin, ASM(V)R, 2017, VR still © and courtesy the artists_4 "ASM(V)R", 2017 © Salome Asega & Reese Donohue & Tongkwai Lulin, courtesy the artists

Exploring the relationship between Virtual Reality and contemporary art, the exhibition “Beautiful New Worlds” at the Zeppelin Museum presents 11 artistic positions and their handling of the digital medium, including Forensic Architecture, Harun Farocki and Halil Altindere. Curated by Ina Neddermeyer and curatorial assistant Dominik Busch, it emphasises both the advantages and the critical downsides of VR-technique's potential – exploring the consequences it might cause in our future lives, in our notion of reality and in the production and perception of art. It addresses different formats of narration and the effects VR-techniques might have on the socio-political dimension and its reflection. Set in the green surroundings of Friedrichshafen in the south of Germany, right at the shores of Lake Constance, the exhibition could hardly cause more contradiction to its harmonious geographical setting. In our interview the curators Ina and Dominik explained what led them to initiate this exhibition and why they think this subject is currently so relevant.

17 January 2018


© Indrė Šerpytytė Courtesy Parafin, London© Indrė Šerpytytė "03" from the series 150mph (2015)

Sanna Moore, curator for contemporary art at the Imperial War Museum in London, on the exhibition "Age of Terror: Art after 9/11", on strategies of representing war and terror through art, and on how contemporary art fits into the structures of a war museum.