Almost ten years in the making, the internationally acclaimed series “Real Landscapes” by German photographer Thomas Wrede (*1963), combines landscape panoramas with scenes using miniature models. In doing so, the suggestive power of images from the media as well as our own ways of seeing is questioned. In the overall context of Wrede’s practice, there are ironic, clichéd as well as romantic accents in his photographs.
His newest works focus impressively on recent global catastrophes – ones that we are all more than familiar with through the Internet and television: Tsunami’s, Fukushima, Hurricane Katrina or the recent Sandy. Wrede works through a phenomenology of destruction via exemplary compositions and through subjective recreation.
Whilst Wrede utilises anthropogenic or natural catastrophes like archetypes in this new series, the viewer will simultaneously experience the strength of their romanticism, which despite the times of digital manipulation, still retain their power. Thomas Wrede perfectfully transforms these photographs with intentionally idyllic sunsets, winter or night scenes.
“I see the world as a big model, as a big set-design and simulation” (Thomas Wrede)
Artist Talk in the gallery with Dr Frank Schmidt, Director Kunsthalle Emden: Thursday, May 23rd at 7pm
Abbildungen: Thomas Wrede
According to Greek mythology, the underworld was divided into three and one of these lands was the Asphodel Meadows (Asphodeliengrund), where the so-called mythical Asphodel flowers grew.
Eckart Hahn’s third solo exhibition with the gallery showcases a sophisticated view of the South German artist. Hahn’s paintings have long been favourites of collectors. Most recently they have received acclaim in numerous institutional shows including; Kunstpalais Erlangen, Kunstmuseum Singen and the Mannheimer Kunstverein, who have all presented successful solo shows of his work.
Art critics would define Hahn’s work as Fantastic Realism; nonetheless this categorisation insufficiently describes the artist’s œuvre. Over the years he has noticeably reduced his colour palette to the base colours of red, yellow and blue, as well as black and white – an aesthetic emphasis that corresponds with a further visual emphasis, namely, his use of space. In contrast to his earlier works, which played out in vast, partly dark landscapes, his current, almost elusory works play out in chamber-like scenes.
“Hahn places irritations in the world, that influence and alter how we see – nothing is certain in his paintings, everything is in perpetual change and yet nothing seems to move. His scenarios appear as if they are frozen; artefacts from the well of a bygone world… Hahn’s art contains that certain something that one does not forget, that which still makes painting exciting. Even after years one still finds newness in his paintings, as well as sculptural highlights.” (Martin Stather, Kunstverein Mannheim).
Download: nicolai 04/13, interview with Eckart Hahn by Marc Peschke (1527,36 KB)
exhibition view ASPHODELIENGRUND
25.01. - 09.03.2013
With Mona Ardeleanu’s Berlin debut, Wagner + Partner open their new gallery premises at Strausberger Platz. Under the title of Softskin, the 28-year old Stuttgart painter exhibits her most recent works. Following her studies under Daniel Richer, Franz Ackermann and Karin Kneffel, Ardeleanu has forged her own unique path in the field of painting.
Ardeleanu’s compositions investigate interiors, although other than this fundamental enquiry, everything remains open. The associative references of the collage-like arranged objects are primarily situated within the interior themselves and seldom within the picture’s environment. Nonetheless, Ardeleanu’s paintings are also not entirely abstract. Through her conscious placement of patterns, fabric textures and visual allusions to pieces of clothing, one gains the impression of seeing something familiar. However, the non-referential background or rather the interior of these paintings creates a necessity for revision in the viewer. What remains is uncertainty.
The carefully considered tension between abstraction and realism is also mirrored through forms (shapes, bodies) and material (fabrics, textures). Beyond these formal criteria, it is with questions related to dissociation and transition that the artist concerns herself with. Originating with the epidermis’s function, her paintings question the constraints of what one labels inside or out. What is skin? What is a cover? The series “Schnürungen” (Lacings) 2011 refuses to answer these questions through the use of imaginative, fabric-clad bodies and aims to redefine the body through these means. In this way Mona Ardeleanu’s paintings also encourage a compelling discourse beyond the stereotypes of male and female. In doing so they reveal the aesthetic tensions within the confines of our own patrimonial bodies.
Artist Talk with Roland Nachtigäller, Director MARTa Herford: Thursday, 28.02.2013, 19 h
Videoreport by Vernissage TV:
"I am not interested in Reality" showcases five international photomedia artists exploring the notion of reality, conceptually and innovatively and through approaches other than documentary. The conceptual approach in photography has gained new ground, especially against the current backdrop of how we view images and the fact that any image has the potential for perfect digital manipulation. Documentation and fiction hover dependant upon the concept.
New York artist Raϊssa Venables creates rooms with multiple perspectives that then gain anthropological dimensions. The Finnish artist Jorma Puranen visualises the disappearance of a remote culture, that of the indigenous Sami people. The German photographic artist Thomas Wrede stages romantic landscape clichés and exotic holiday destinations, thus transforming the photographic image into a projection of his own yearnings. The Australian artist Natascha Stellmach explores fears and taboos through worry doll scans and a new poetic installation involving an erotic tale. The portraits of the Dutch artist Erwin Olaf are both erotically loaded and possess a high aesthetic sensibility. His installation Key Hole is a German premiere, in which the visitor can become a voyeur to strange worlds.
WAGNER + PARTNER presents this exhibition as part of the European Month of Photography .
07.09 - 27.10.2012
Artist Talk at 7 pm on Oct. 5th (in German):
Dr. Ralf Burmeister (Berlinische Galerie) asks Prof. Peter Dreher about his exhibition and oeuvre
How does art deal with time and how does time treat art?
The solo exhibition of the Freiburg painter Peter Dreher on the occasion of his 80th birthday explores this question. Dreher's paintings appear here pleasantly behind the times. They resist quick consumption, loudness, superficiality. Dreher's paintings require time. Without being heavy, they demand immersion. This is illustrated in particular by his central series of glasses, Day by Day Good Day, which he began in 1974 and continues to work on today.
Dreher began concurrently in 1976 to paint a similar, albeit less purist motif, which would identify him unmistakably as a realist: a clover flower in a glass filled to the brim with water. Including a longer break until 2011 we can follow on 80 canvasses the withering and drying plant, the gradually evaporating water and the accompanying change of pallette in changing light conditions. Time commands attention as it passes.
Peter Dreher, however, has not intended the clover flowers series as a memento mori, he maintains the continuum, adds one moment to another without being dramatic. Not the object, not even time, painting itself is in focus, and one's awareness of it.
For decades the professor emeritus of visual art has belonged to Germany's most important post-war artists. He studied at the Karlsruhe Akademie der Bildenden Künste and was a student of Erich Heckel among others. As teacher at the academy in Karlsruhe he had a strong influence on a younger generation of today internationally renowned artists. Dreher lives near Freiburg and in St. Märgen in the Black Forest.
drama & romantik
18.05. – 20.07.2012
Many past things lie in mysterious darkness. Entitled drama & romanticism the gallery presents another set of innovative linocuts by Class Gutsche. Gutsche’s themes in his first solo exhibition at Wagner + Partner are places and landscapes of idyllic appeal. The idyllic appearance, however, is in discord with the dark shadings, which the artist works into the linoleum. Gutsche produces a sublime structure of light and shade, which evokes an atmosphere of mystery, but also of menace. In addition, the title of the motif usually indicates the actual place and its history.
Claas Gutsche (*1982), who studied at the Hochschule für Kunst und Design in Halle and at the Royal Collage of Art in London, belongs to a new generation of artists, who consciously re-focus on the rich tradition of linocut technique and aim to tap into its potential for contemporary imagery.
Gutsche recapitulates in his works the functionality of pictures in the media and an accompanying collective cultural memory. Romantic scenes are surprisingly transformed in his often large scale linocuts and lead into sometimes dramatic chapters of German history. An ambivalence appears, questioning our political and historic consciousness.
The artist takes a further step in his linocut installations. For the large spaces of the gallery Claas Gutsche has devised oversized linocut curtains of impenetrable black ink. Whatever is hidden behind them becomes an imaginary projection space. This connects directly to Gutsche’s series of linocut wallpaper installations, whose fence and wall motifs asked an unmitigated question about the secrets beyond the boundary.
As part of a scholarship in 2012 Claas Gutsche will be presented in a solo exhibition in the BAT CampusGalerie in Bayreuth, for which a catalogue is forthcoming.
Artist talk with Christoph Tannert (Director of the Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin):
Thursday, June 28, 7 p.m. (held in German)
16.03. - 12.05.2012
Artist talk with Dr. Matthias Harder, Helmut Newton Foundation Berlin: Thursday, April 26 , 7 p.m. held in the gallery
A short story – meaning short prose – tells of an incident showing a representative excerpt of the protagonists’ life. The sudden start of the story is like jumping onto a moving train. The recounted events are compacted, the narrative clearly structured and the end is left open.
Wagner + Partner presents these narrative qualities in the works of Dutch artist Erwin Olaf. Olaf’s first solo exhibition in Germany shows a selection of well known series of the last few years combined with a new video installation. With numerous international exhibitions and publications Erwin Olaf has been receiving international attention for years, because his works have a polarizing effect.
The provocation lies partly in their immediacy and intrusiveness with which the artist represents his sometimes erotically charged motifs. Beautiful women and magnificent rooms often reflect a glamorous, dreamlike world, in which dramas unfold at second glance.By means of consistent staging of interior and person Olaf narrates in series such as “Hotel”, “Hope” or “Grief” intense stories in cinematic ways.
This narrative style in photography, as can be found also in Jeff Wall or Gregory Crewdson, reminds us not by accident of the atmospheric scenes of Edward Hopper. Erwin Olaf ties in with Hopper’s temporal, spatial and figurative representation in a calculated way. Olaf’s photographs remind us furthermore of paintings bathed in light, such as those of Jan Vermeer, who masterfully portrayed women absorbed in domestic work. Erwin Olaf also dives into the flow of time and sets his stories in styles of different eras. At the same time his photographs bring to mind the momentary, the painful recognition of transience.
Impressions of the Opening:
Documentation about the artist:
Artist Talk with Dr. Heinz Stahlhut (Berlinische Galerie):
Thursday, 09.02., 7 pm
The exhibition Eunomia showcases large-format paintings of Ina Geißler from the newest series “Broken Signs” in a striking dialogue with Axel Anklam’s large-scale sculptures. Eunomia, personification of law and order, represents a concept for artistic process: the permanent reordering of seemingly disparate things.
In “Broken Signs”, Geißler captures the reflections in a room from a moving disco ball. What is common in all these paintings is a concave or convex room that she breaks down through the repeated layering of colours and forms or through vertical and horizontal bars. Above all this series explores formal variations on the circular form. The circle as a striking juxtaposition to the canvas’s rectangle.
Ina Geißler creates dynamic spheres in her paintings that through her multitudinous room compartmentalising encourage the viewer to generate their own imaginings. Her compositions build upon overlaying perspectives, forms, lines and colours as well as light/dark contrast and diverse surface structures. The artist utilises sticky tape to create the differing colour spaces within and on top of each other and via this complex layering a new way of structuring a room is born.
Axel Anklam’s sculptures are clear and powerful, with a stunning interplay between vitality and tranquillity. Opaque fibreglass and transparent mesh lay over complexly forged stainless-steel carcasses and with each shift in light and accordingly each perspective and atmospheric alteration new expressions are produced.
The way both artists work with space creates the complexity that is designed to challenge the visitors’ view: Supposedly known ways of thinking or seeing can or have to be dismissed. The works have a constant dazzling capacity to be seen afresh, taking on new forms where they are seemingly altered, yet have in effect not changed. This permanent restructuring, this constant movement is what Eunomia represents and it is this artistic process that is explored by Geißler and Anklam. At the same time the works here go beyond art and illustrate the way the structure of society is developing at the beginning of the 21st Century.
Galerie Wagner + Partner is proud to introduce the first of their experimental dialogues. ‘Signs’ is a colourful exhibition in the tradition of American pop art that brings together for the first time two very different artists, the photo artist Josef Schulz (*1966) and the artist Georg Karl Pfahler (1926-2002). Starting from the aesthetic appearance of the works, this exhibition discusses anew the well-documented debate on abstraction vs. representation in western art history.
Georg Karl Pfahler is the most well known German representative of Color Field and Hard-Edge painting and was one of the most lauded abstract artists in Germany prior to the re-emergence of the Figurative. The arrangement of space through colour and its geometric composition were central concerns in Pfahlers practice. Simplicity and repetition became his distinguishing mark. His works can also be appreciated as transformed two-dimensional architectural fantasies.
Josef Schulz, one of Thomas Ruffs “Meisterschüler”, is showing photographs that take the documentary tradition further through his digital intervention. Schulz’s photographs touch on areas of contemporary painting and the starting point of his series “Sign out”, like his prior series, “sachliches/formen” (fact/form), is the tangible existent architecture in the images. For this most recent series, large neon billboards along American highways were first documented and then reduced to their core, minus their original typography, to accentuate form and colour.
Extrinsically related, Georg Karl Pfahler remains hermetic in his imagery; in contrast Schulz works referentially as a photographer although through his treatment his photographs disassociate from the ‘real’. What remains are autonomous signs. The exhibition invites the viewer to experience these two heterogeneous concepts of objective-formal presentation.
Artist talk with Dr. Andreas Schalhorn (Kupferstichkabinett Berlin): Thursday 24.11., 7 p.m.
Artistbook Josef Schulz sign out
Download: Josef-Schulz-sign-out (490,63 KB)
There are some things we only own for a while, without even noticing it! Following on from Sidewalk, the much admired installation of 2009 at WAGNER + PARTNER by Maria & Natalia Petschatnikov, is their latest exhibition, briefly yours. The exhibition connects paintings and objects of three of the Petschatnikovs most recent series, all which subtly investigate the notion of possessions and ownership. As so often in their work it is the banal everyday things that are artistically explored and viewed from new angles.
City dogs and their owners, retractable leashes and the obligatory pile on the sidewalk. We all know this! In the installation Dogs we see a room full of stylised dogs and a network of leashes where the common becomes comical. Whose leash is leading whom here? Although each individual dog is abstract, in the pack Dogs presents the viewer with many questions.
With Cash, a small-format painted series of banknotes, this idea develops further. Rolled, creased, piled and in a multitude of variations, these notes mutate into colourful craft paper. Like still lives, these absurd arrangements in oil on parchment tell many stories. In the process the monetary worth becomes secondary.
In U8, a series of paintings of the 24 stations of the Berlin U8 underground line, the investigation expands into urban space: moving across the city, getting out of “ones” station, or commuting to work. Temporarily we own the public space, only to forget it as quickly after use.
Briefly yours reveals a disregarded phenomenon, an ever-present, fleeting process of appropriation that the artists make playfully known in this, their latest exhibition.
Maria & Natalia Petschatnikov (*1973, St. Petersburg) are a collaborative duo working across painting and installation in Berlin. The catalogue Sidewalk is printed on the occasion of this exhibition and is published by Kehrer artbooks.
Artist Talk with Dr. Lars Mextorf, writer and curator
Thursday 29th September, 7 pm
03.06. – 20.08.2011
Artist Talk with Dr. Ralf F. Hartmann: Thu, 30.06., 19 h
The linoprint is experiencing a revival. Emerging artists are increasingly harnessing the linocut to explore contemporary themes, taking what was once simply considered a traditional graphic technique and elevating it as a legitimate form. Large format works, photo-realistic social commentary, installations and three-dimensional presentations are bringing new dimensions to the use of this medium.
The Berlin galleries WAGNER + PARTNER and HUNCHENTOOT are marking this development with a collaborative group exhibition entitled “LINOCUT-RELOADED”. Through the work of four artists from Berlin and Leipzig, the show examines the character of the linocut, the opportunity it offers the artist and how artists are reinvigorating the medium.
On the ocasion of the exhibition a booklett ist published.
Review by Jurriaan Benschop, artforum Nov 2011
Download: 2011-11 Artforum Linocut Reloaded (324,60 KB)
Artist Talk with Dr. Marc Wellmann (Georg Kolbe Museum Berlin): Thu, 19.05.11, 19 h
Galerie Wagner + Partner is delighted to announce the second solo exhibition by Eckart Hahn (born 1971 in Freiburg) in Berlin. The exhibition MYTHOS incorporated subtly questions the state of collective pictorial memory today while pursuing the icons of tomorrow.
Against the backdrop of an ever-increasing flood of imagery, pictures that once held iconographic significance have come to lose their function. In the tradition of passing on such pictures, they have also been known to impart values. Moreover, in parallel to a diffusion of these values, such images, myths, or symbols imbued with values have been borrowed to further marketing aims.
Eckart Hahn has now adapted such images of mythic or symbolic force inscribed within pictorial memory, such as for instance a portrait of the Sun King Ludwig XIV, the Adoration of the Magi by Rubens, or the depiction of the Matterhorn. By consciously bringing attention to these images by means of painterly copying, and by furnishing them with devices of alienation such as bags or pools of paint, the artist is querying their iconographic potential for the present day. In the process of painterly reconstruction, Hahn likewise exposes the timeless validity of these universally negotiated images.
MYTHOS incorporated associatively leads one through a series of paintings whose details, chromaticity, and ambience touch the viewer in a calculated way, and whose realistic manner of representation oscillates between Surrealist and recent neofigurative painting traditions.
Within collector circles, Eckart Hahn’s paintings and installative objects have incited a furore on an international scale. In 2010, he impressively showed his comprehensive solo exhibition Grat at the Kunstverein Reutlingen. In 2011, the Kunstpalais in Erlangen is presenting the exhibition Der schwarze Duft der Schönheit (The Black Fragrance of Beauty) from September 15 to November 13.
Artist Talk with Dr. Ludger Derenthal (Museum für Fotografie, Berlin): Thu, 03.03., 19 h
Landscapes as projection screens for desires are the overarching theme of the German photographic artist Thomas Wrede (*1963, Lethmate). Since the late 1990s the artist has in various photographic series delved into our – still rather romantically characterised - desire to experience nature. He further questions the truth value and the messages of media images, which are surround us everywhere and at the same time form the visual basis for such desires.
Galerie Wagner + Partner is excited to be able to present the next instalment of the series “Real Landscapes” through new works by the artist. The works display Wrede’s joy of creating his own visual worlds, which give the viewer the impression of already knowing them. By means of a foreground illusion, achieved through skilful staging of models in the real landscape, such as on the North Sea beach, Thomas Wrede produces pictures that seem without time and place. “Anywhere” leads through housing projects, snowfields or a South Sea paradise…
By constantly starting with omnipresent media imagery and merging them in his staged pictures with our desires, the artist achieves virtually hallucinogenic landscape images. Wredes works thus become an allegory of our time, in which - as media philosopher Vilém Flusser has put it – reality is forgotten in favor of artificial images. The world of images more real than reality. Absolutely everywhere.
The new catalogue “Anywhere” published by Kehrer Verlag (hard cover, 132 pages) is available in the gallery.
The exhibition title refers to the mental state of immersion, void of directed and intentional thought but being open to the surroundings as an undifferentiated whole. Selbstvergessenheit affirms the possibility of enjoying events unexplained.
Gaál’s photographic thought reconsiders the ways in which photography is presented, read, and received. The exhibition is a collection of singular works from recent years including photographic prints, a hand printed artist book, a slide show and a silkscreen series that make up a playground in which the viewer’s relationship to photography is placed in the foreground.
Key works in the exhibition include:
Viewing an Apple Tree is a silkscreen-printed artist book displaying a singular photograph of a blossoming tree. The source image is divided in sections of the same size and are each shown on a page spread of their own. Each of the nine spreads presents a random sample of the view, rich in detail, with the occasional appearance of the imperfections characteristic of the hand printing process, creating a non-narrative spatial split from the original image.
Again is a series of collages combining silkscreen printing with black-and-white laser photocopies. A grayscale layer is printed in silkscreen on top of prints of a singular photographic image by mixing colours accidentally while printing. The partially transparent monochrome washes cover and unveil the image behind, resulting in a series of prints that are each unique. The series juxtaposes the instinctive, charged element of pigment with the directed photograph. While the aleatory silkscreen layer appears as simple traces of pigment, it responds to the photograph by shaping the formation of the waterscape. The chance relationship between these two printing processes lends a degree of ambiguity to the resulting images.
Hillside is a wintery vista of an urban recreational area. It is a continuation of a body of work of scenic images applying altered photographic focusing and elevated viewpoint, reinterpreting everyday scenery, moments and practices. In depicting a suspended action the vagueness of the scenario itself comes into view. Avoiding any spectacular moment is one of the characteristics of the body of work as a whole, which is interested both in the momentary idleness of the action itself and in the act of looking.
Echo is an image sequence that documents an incident in which an amount of water is trapped inside a bus window between layers of glass. The water is in constant movement as the bus is driving, drawing a line responding to the landscape passing by. The observation of the fleeting event is presented casually as a slide show emphasizing the experience it evokes rather than the physicality of the work.
The sparkle of the enclosures – The internationally renowned artist-photographer Raissa Venables (1977- ) interprets in her new solo exhibition, embedded into the 4th European Month of Photography, different enclosed spaces in as yet unparalleled fashion. The exhibition takes the visitor on a journey through the magnificent Green Vault in Dresden, the Richard-Wagner-House in Bayreuth or the cool Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station in New York City. Each of these “enclosures” opens a hidden world.
Raissa Venables has developed a distinctive style over the past years, which crosses the boundary into painting, and her pictures in this style are collected in important national and international museums. Her expert collage technique, which is colourful and creates depth, transforms existing architecture into an experience of the whole in a photographic impression. Three-dimensional spaces become physically transformed; a fourth, emotional dimension appears.
In the past years the American artist has focussed more and more on European architectural history. Here she presents mostly grand and prestigious buildings. After Italian churches she has recently been working mostly with the cultural treasures of Dresden. In her latest works she rekindles the founding spirit of many pieces of architecture. In this way the group of plants drenched in green in the work “Palmenhaus, Pillnitz” conveys once again the amazement about the first European green houses of the Mid-19th Century. The collector’s passion of August the Strong becomes tangible again in all its eccentricity, when Venables traverses the building photographically.
An extensive catalogue accompanies the exhibition, in cooperation with the BAT Campus gallery, Bayreuth, where further works, mainly created in Bayreuth, are presented at the same time.
ART Das Kunstmagazin online:
The works of Australian artist Natascha Stellmach are emotional investigations into the dark worlds of memory, the unconscious and the unspoken. Her installations, photographs and videos are thought-provoking and compelling.
In Guatemala, children who are scared of going to sleep are given tiny handmade dolls (worry dolls) for underneath their pillow. By passing on their fears to the doll they can then sleep peacefully. In Stellmach’s ongoing series Worry Dolls, she creates unique works that embody the secrets and nightmares of adults and take on monstrous forms. With titles like Nazi Girl, Killer or Fuckhead, these worry dolls reveal personal stories whose biographical core represents collective experiences and thus becomes universal.
In the series Blood, Stellmach uses photographs as mementos in combination with her own text, bringing forth new associations and alternative narratives.
This formal approach of juxtaposing text and image enables Stellmach to link reality with fiction. She brings into play documentary or staged, biographical or found material in order to tell powerful narratives about the transience and darkness of the human condition.
Like French artist Sophie Calle, Natascha Stellmach is a storyteller who harnesses words and images in order to analyse, fictionalise and reassess. She successfully tackles challenging topics through her sense of the poetic paired with intelligence and black humour. With Come Live in my Head Stellmach invites the visitor in a very personal way to explore the self. In the end there is indeed hope for fantastical dreams.
Video-Impressions of the opening and exhibition:
Nature became landscape long ago. Since the Romantic period landscape has furthermore been an aesthetic position. But what is landscape for the modern human being? The thematic exhibition "Open Landscape" at the Galerie Wagner + Partner provides a juxtaposition of multigenerational photographic and pictorial approaches to this question. The reference point for all participating artists is the real landscape.
The works of Thomas Wrede and Joseph Schulz increase their charm through friction between photorealistic representation extended through staging and intervention. Wrede, in his series entitled "Real Landscapes" combines the natural beauty of landscape with constructed miniature models. The landscapes photographed in this way appear seductively plausible and exaggerate the romantic projection.
Schulz similarly aims for an aesthetic exaggeration and idealisation through digital intervention in his nature photographs of the series "Terraform". Through the elimination of human traces he reconstructs the lost primordial state of nature and creates people's "internal" images of the landscape.
Similarly originating from actual landscape, Peter Dreher's "Schwarzwaldlandschaft" (Black Forest Landscape) appears idealistic. It almost appears to be based on the tradition of "Heimatmalerei" (patriotic landscape painting). Viewed in close proximity however, the picture's elements are ordered according to days and time. Each single picture documents what the artist saw and captured at precisely this point in time. Only when viewed as a whole an abstract picture of landscape as space-time-construct appears.
The central theme of Neo Rauch-student Friederike Jokisch is the landscape beyond the established idyll. Her large format pastel paintings make the process of transformation from nature to landscape tangible. In striking pictures "landscape" is demystified and instead ruptures and alienations between culture and nature become central themes.
The exhibition consciously poses more questions, attempts to find fewer answers. At the same time it continues the theme of the previous exhibition "The Nightingale's Secret Garden".
“Blair Witch Project” or the fairy tale forest of the brothers Grimm – the forest remains an anarchic island amidst civilization. Place for the mysterious and foreboding. Simultaneously refuge from noise of urban routine and canvas for one’s mental state.
In the first joint exhibition of the graduates Sebastian Nebe (*1982, HGB Leipzig) and Claas Gutsche (*1982, Royal College London) such a place develops far from established romantic perceptions at Galerie Wagner + Partner.
The large-scale paintings in oil on paper by Sebastian Nebe show scraggy sections of forest and relics of civilization. In their dimensions the works convey a feeling of standing in the forest, though without orientation. Graphically exaggerated, the arrangements are unsettling. As already in his installation “Die Schwarze Hütte” (The Black Hut), exhibited in the gallery of the HGB Leipzig in 2009, Nebe designs a disquieting reality of the forest, a faintly illuminated twilight zone.
Claas Gutsche also turns his eye to the border region between civilization and nature. His series “suburbia” are sombre linoleum and woodcuts that make the unsettling nature of this no man’s land palpable. Under the surface of idyllic places hide bygone and mysterious things. This metaphorical charge continues in his bronze objects. Barren branches here, lost or forgotten objects there, a bracelet, a bird’s nest – all these elements permeate and transform the gallery space.
Embedded in a gesamtkunstwerk the works of both artists Claas Gutsche and Sebastian Nebe tell each their own mysterious stories and together turn the gallery into “The Nightingale’s Secret Garden”.
Weather has become “climate”, climate has turned into “climate crisis” – an unstoppable threat of our natural environment has been a global discussion topic for years. The internationally renowned Finnish artist Ilkka Halso (*1965 ) has been dealing with healing and rescue of endangered nature in his work for the best part of a decade. His photographic interventions are therefore not just the Finnish sequel of the “Landart”, developed in the USA in the 1960s, but also a reaction to our changing planet.
The exhibition at Galerie Wagner + Partner aims to trace Halso’s aesthetic approach of rescuing nature. In the works of the series “Restoration” the artist develops and builds pseudo-scientific arrangements such as scaffolding trees with transparent gauze and illuminating them. Nature is given “treatment” as if in a field hospital, the damaged patient receives medical care. All photographs are made by night, when nature, so to speak is getting a good night’s sleep.
The later series “Museum of Nature” shows a shift in this healing approach. Nature now is no longer being healed, it is being “rescued”. The viewer finds trees and whole landscapes in glass pavilions. Like a work of art, nature is stored and conserved in a museum.
Has the patient become a mummy? This question must remain unanswered. While Ilkka Halso interferes directly with nature in his series restoration (photographic installation), he constructs his nature-protecting buildings by computer (digital construction) in the museum series. No real answer is given to whether this eases or increases the threat. Still, on an aesthetic level this approach of the artist remains appealing.
Wagner + Partner Gallery is pleased to announce their first exhibition of painter, Eckart Hahn in Berlin, born 1971 in Freiberg.
'Intimate Play' (Kammerspiel) leads associatively through a series of images whose extraordinary colour and atmosphere are coolly calculated to touch viewers. Their realistic method of presentation oscillates between surrealistic and recent neo-figurative painting traditions. But what differentiates Hahn's work from the Surrealists or some of the representatives of the Leipzig School?
Eckart Hahn constructs intimate play-like scenes in a dramatic way. He deals with the constraints of civilised life: with religion, family, social structures and the signs of their disintegration. However much one is excited by his image constructions, one remains perplexed. There are 'signs' (symbols, scenes, words) that are mediated through form and colour in an accessible way - but where do they lead?
Codes and quotes, such as 'Nike' or graffiti, place the images in the present. They are about us. But has what Hahn presents in his images ever happened to one of us? Looking at Hahn's pictures conjures up in the viewer not so much a memory or a recognition but a high state of alarm. Instead of plausible stories we meet the suppressed that slumbers deep within, the conscious perception of which we have avoided until now. Eckart Hahn plumbs the space between dream and nightmare, the in-between place where we are when our normal daytime consciousness has yet not unfurled its controlling power.
Hahn shows us the way into this in-between state through a pictorial language of form and content with which we are familiar. But, it is one that is not only unusual in the relationships between its components but has also developed over the years into his own visual language. The artist himself compares his images to a loose tooth; one plays with it, it hurts and still one continues, fascinated.
A catalogue is published on the occasion of the exhibition: Eckart Hahn: "Grand Ouvert" , Kerber Verlag.
The force of tornadoes dissolves existing order, well known and familiar things are unexpectedly whirled around.
The exhibition Twister shows large scale paintings and paper works of the Berlin artist Ina Geißler from her new series Dichtung. Depictions of grids and spheres are intertwined here: The grid as ornament is serial and thus infinitely repeatable. The sphere, as a closed shape, is hermetic and confining. From the connection of these contrary forms appear spaces that rotate and pull the viewer into their vortex. Fragments of urban architecture can be glimpsed in this swirl.
Geißler dismantles existing architecture and reassembles it in construction kit style. In the process of painting, the photographic prototype emancipates itself. It ends up revealing itself only by association, becomes fragmented. The representational origin of the motifs dissolves into an abstract picture, where the order of up and down, inside and outside, near and far no longer exists. A new spatial arrangement appears, built up of many layers. Geißler applies one layer of paint upon another in egg tempera. Here the colours converge, there they separate sharply.
The result is a futuristic architecture, that finds its counterweight in the brushed areas applied with matte and muted pastose colours. The connection of architectural space with sensuous painting is unfamiliar and dynamic. The eye enjoys following the swirls, in the end discovering a new horizon of experience.
Ina Geißler (*1970) completed her studies at the Universität der Künste Berlin as master scholar under Prof. Marwan. After numerous international exhibitions and awards, “Twister” is the first presentation at Galerie Wagner + Partner.
The exhibition occurs in cooperation with Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London.
Galerie Wagner + Partner proudly present this year’s summer exhibition with five international photographers that deal with the issue of truth content in photography.
Raissa Venables (USA) and Joseph Schulz (Germany) question and scrutinize Architecture and space. While Venables queries the psychological and emotional character of spaces in a familiar way, Schulz manages to make architecture reappear in its fundamental features through digital reductions.
Thomas Wrede (Germany) continues his series “Real Landscapes”, by staging models and real landscapes in such a way that the finished photographic “picture” leaves the observer unclear about which layer of reality is shown. Natascha Stellmach (Australia) also crosses layers of meaning in photographic depiction, combining text excerpts from her diaries with staged portraits of a girl; she suggests here a meaningful connection that never existed.
Finally, Eva Lauterlein (Switzerland) questions “reality” of modern portrait photography, that is never “true” but always just “intentional”. Her faces are the skillful product of elaborate photo collage, more frightening than beautiful, but more “genuine” than any seemingly “real” portrait.
Each artist skillfully calls on the observer to undergo a general overhaul of their view of reality, and “see” in a new way. In the combination of these different positions Galerie Wagner + Partner would like to make a contribution to the critical exploration of our own perceptual habits.
The exhibition ‘Sidewalk’ places the immediate surroundings into centre stage, the everyday stroll through the city. While being inevitably grounded, we are still moving through unknown territory. Maria and Natalia Petschatnikov explore the cityscape at kerbstone-level. They turn their eyes downwards, onto the horizontal border between the buildings and the footpath and thus discover uncharted territory. The border becomes permeable in the installation, which was designed for the rooms in the gallery at Karl-Marx-Allee, the street pavement continues inside the gallery and countless pigeons have settled in…
The twins Maria and Natalia Petschatnikov (*1973) always work as artistic duo in the areas of painting and installation. In their works the world appears through the eyes of two very closely connected individuals. Doubled-up and repeated objects turn into traces of a complex relationship that reflect the internal and external world of two people.
Where does the personal world begin, and where does it end? Where are the borders located between private and public, between trivial and profound? Can we still find our place?
The Petschatnikovs connect to the artists Fischli and Weiss through a childlike joy of discovery and the humorous rendering of the surrounding environment. With fantasy, humour and depth they extract surprising new perspectives from the ordinary.
Both succeed again and again in their paintings and installations in giving everyday objects and unspectacular interiors new meaning. Haphazard objects are analysed, painted, painstakingly reconstructed. Ordinary things become extraordinary arrangements hat reveal new layers of meaning. Trash turns to poetry.
Forces of nature and human pioneering spirit collide in Thomas Wrede’s eerily beautiful landscape productions. The photographs are an intelligent tongue-in-cheek play with micro- and macro-perception, with naturalness and artificiality. One looks down from airy highs onto real, seductive landscapes, which the artist, using small models, turns into romantic places of yearning. Thomas Wrede has consistently developed his series „Real Landscapes“ since 2004 and attracted great interest with it internationally.
The photographic picture composition is comparable in its drama with Caspar David Friedrich’s paintings. The precision of details, the careful layout of the line suggesting a vastness of the landscape and not least the atmospheric colouring of the skies produce a brittle beauty. Faced by such forces of nature the viewer quickly loses their feeling of security. Instead of choreographed grandeur appear striking pictures of nearly unbearable borderline experiences. Comparing Friedrich’s „Das Eismeer“ (The Sea of Ice) with Wrede’s work „Bergrutsch“ (Landslide), the parallels are astonishing.
But instead of people Wrede chooses models of houses and vehicles as projection screens. These human traces appear strangely lost and fragile, or even displaced, like the lonely football field under floodlights. What are the builders looking for in this solitude? Or is the real question what on Earth are they doing there?
The photographic works of Thomas Wrede show Utopia as well as loss. The archetypal landscapes also appear to be beyond space and time, they reflect our collective landscape image, as it has been established in traditional landscape painting and reproduced in countless media images. In Wrede’s picture-worlds we recognise these landscapes and feel safe. And more than that, it is as if the artist has found the essence for us: a landscape vision in which longing and fear peacefully coexist.
In present-day Europe internal borders are losing their political and economic dividing function. Since boom gates disappear more quickly than psychological barriers, the old borders remain in people’s consciousness. The long-term consequences of this geographic expansion of Europe into an externally functional unity, albeit culturally and ideologically in conflict, are still unforeseeable.
Joseph Schulz has found convincing images for this complex historic change. In his series übergang [transition], begun in 2005, he focuses on the architecture of abandoned control posts of inner-European borders. Robbed of their function, the checkpoints appear like modern ruins; Schulz consciously shows no cars or people. The anonymous functional architecture presents itself surprisingly varied in this extensive series.
The border posts stand out in sharp contrast in their misty surroundings, and this conjures up their imminent disappearance even more clearly. This fading effect is the result of digital editing which makes the background recede. The border territory becomes indistinct and interchangeable. The veiled context reduces the checkpoints to models - phase-out models. At the same time they appear as memorials for the past division and remind us of what is still unaccomplished. They mark the transition from past to future.
In übergang Joseph Schulz presents a consistently conjugated block of works in the tradition of the Becher school, to which he feels connected as a Ruff-apprentice. Just as in his “Centre Commercial”, “Sachliches” [matter of fact Things] or “Formen” [Shapes] the artist applies digital means in addition to documentary arrangement in order to produce architectural clarity. The documentary core is intensified. The visible manipulations on the photographs do not diminish the exhibits’ reality content. On the contrary: the photographic transition, which Schulz embarks on, serves the discovery of truth.
The exhibition is held in cooperation with the Galerie Heinz-Martin Weigand, Ettlingen.
Since the Renaissance we have become used to seeing spaces in painting in perspective. What slowly appears in Pre-Renaissance Italy with Giotto’s new spatial perception find its zenith with Brunelleschi with the invention of central perspective around 1420. The painted space is constructed mathematically towards a vanishing point. The pictorial alignment of all objects in it conforms to an illusionist rendition of reality. This is no different in the later appearing photography; the mathematical construction is replaced by the laws of the optic lens.
The works of Raissa Venables break the photographic laws of optics as the artist procures a new freedom in the arrangement of the picture through digital processing and intervention. The works of Venables recall medieval thematic perspective. Spaces and objects are represented according to their spiritual significance, not their natural appearance. This is assisted by the artist’s expressive choice of colour.
What appears formally like a regression in the dealing with spaces, is the order for Venables: while her early work were set primarily in private, intimate spaces, in her new exhibition the artist shows large and public places. Mundane and sacred spaces are the theme of “Maybe too lofty?”. Venables explores the unconscious experience we have in such spaces with acute sensibility and gives them an outlet. The artist traces the places and ends up in a new “thematic perspective”, which corresponds much more to a anthropological way of seeing.
Her newest works have a formal and colourful elegance. They guide us through big train station cathedrals, into century-old churches and hidden temples. All places are “lofty”. One must only be able to see. With her new solo exhibition Raissa Venables gives us back a piece of the ability to see.
Helena Blomqvists (Sweden,*1975) photo collages are complex woven fabrics of figures, artifacts, symbols and citations. An exciting mix of philosophical contemplation on the one hand and off-key humour on the other. Yet the photos reveal their special magic at the point where the arranged and digitally edited scenes suddenly appear to be like the surroundings in which the photographs are hung. The border between reality and fiction seems to melt. The viewer can change almost playfully between the layers of reality and imagination. Even Swedish children’s book author Astrid Lindgren did not carry her readers off to new worlds more beautifully.
Once upon a time… Like a scene from a fairy tale. A boy entwined with red flowers sits like a knight on a Lama. In front of him, as his companion, sits a fully dressed monkey, and together they look towards an adventure. Despite a fantastic and slightly odd impression one can subliminally sense an approaching catastrophe. Each photographic arrangement shows a drama in a particular situation. As if in a perpetual snapshot of life we see departure, sadness, companionship – and time and again darkness.
As in her previous series, Helena Blomqvist captures the archetypes of our collective photographic memory. The reference to photographic practice of the 20th century is shown for example in the standardised group picture with soldiers, in the arrangement as well as the colouring. If the protagonists were not apes the pictures might have been taken out of a photo album of the First World War. Or are we actually dealing with a scene from Planet of the Apes? Blomqvist lays down many different visual tracks. In the end however the view again becomes free for the mechanisms of memory through photography. It used to be…
Helena Blomqvist has already exhibited very successfully in Scandinavia; Gallery Wagner + Partner present her first solo exhibition in Germany in the context of the Third European Month of Photography in Berlin.
A catalogue is available from the gallery.