press release

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is pleased to present 'Alles. In einer Nacht.' ('All. In One Night.') works on paper and works made of paper by 10 emerging artists from Hamburg, Germany, who studied at the city’s art academy between 1995 and 2005. The exhibition includes drawings, etchings, linoleum prints, photographs, photograms, computerized luminograms, paintings, watercolors, collages, installations and sculptures made of paper. The title derives from a play by the young Hamburg-based dramatist Falk Richter.

The show is organized by the curator and writer Anna-Catharina Gebbers who lives in Hamburg and Berlin.

All participating artists are interested in how conceptual and sometimes historical strategies can be combined with a certain emotional impact. Even though many of the works deal with art historical concerns of production, execution, presentation and form, they often play with sub and mass cultural signs used in pop music, ‘lifestyle’ media and fairy tales. These coolly conceptual approaches are used to engender atmospheres beyond logical predictability, while the ‘pop cultural’ elements suggest art-historical allusions.

In the works of Markus Amm (born 1969) the reference to Modernist movements from the early 20th century (constructivism, Malevich, Lissitzky, the formal doctrine taught by Klee and Kandinsky at the Bauhaus, De Stijl and Delaunay) is obvious, though it might not be possible to pinpoint a specific work as having been the one they were modeled on. One might also think of the early 1960s and the 1980s, or be vaguely reminded of Sol LeWitt, or of graphic design or album covers. Amm’s works reflect an exploration of painting that surges from -and heightens- its very negation. Adhesive tape is employed to divide the surface into geometrical shapes; ball point pens, markers and nail polish are used to achieve a collaged effect. The photographs, photograms or luminograms also included often serve as 'little assistants', offering comments to the paintings.

The mountain landscapes of Abel Auer (born 1974) rise out of the metropolis. They display colors not normally found in mountains, trees or plants: these are the shrill, piercing, artificial colors found in advertising, but also in the active attire of mountain climbers and hikers. Presented here are watercolors from Auer's series 'Gerne wäre ich dort zuhause', or 'I would gladly be at home there.' This desire is timeless and, in the artist's works, this longing is reflected with modern colors in the simplified poster prototype common to cartoons and comics. 19th Century landscape painting, the landscape painting of the artist's grandfather and Yugoslavian ancestors merge with the aesthetics of the urban, to comprise an aggressive idyllic panorama.

In his works, Claus Becker (born 1973) combines formal compositional relationships with playful narrative elements, creating subtle structures filled with hidden desire. Photographic duplications, elementary forms such as circles and squares, parallel lines or diagonals, and opposing elements of darkness and light, and of coarse and fine textures come together to create a complex and cohesive whole. The implied eroticism of Becker's drawings, as well as the references to nature and the use of contemporary subcultural aesthetics all compliment and strengthen this formal structure. Becker also incorporates sound, including a recording of a radio broadcast that he listened to while making the piece in his installation; the cassette sits silently as a sculptural element, waiting for an audience.

The paintings of Ellen Gronemeyer (born 1979) are direct and without preparatory drawings. Quick brush strokes and a thick painterly style create a dense tableau, in which stories seem to agglomerate. The observation of paintings, the formal confrontation with painting doctrines, and suggestive forms fuel Gronemeyer's query: how do people see themselves in landscapes? How do groups of people behave, when the relationships between those involved are undefined? How does a gray scale develop from black to very light tones through single color cells? Surreal images and insinuating symbols are subordinate to the composition, and it is rather by chance that they permit an emergence of common joining points for storytelling.

Dorota Jurczak (born 1978) also plays with symbols. In her prints, she approaches traumatic and humorous scenes in equal measure. Birds, spiders and bizarre human figures dominate her depictions and pose comments of perturbing disarray on daily life. Scatological allusions to peculiar parallel universes offer themselves to the spectator. The images remind one of illustrated storybooks with a psychedelic note. In fact, the graphics used by this Polish-born artist are close to the tradition of eastern European visual representations. In opposition to these, Jurczak also presents clear-cut forms in her linoleum paper-cuttings.

Although the crystals and plants of Kerstin Stoll (born 1969) are made of paper, they ooze an almost overpowering strength that dominates the space. Rhizomatic and unbridled shapes unravel to compose a coherent graphic unity. Stoll prefers black, white or clean, basic colors (all works shown at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery will have a black palette). Her computerized works, in which she manipulates scanned photograms, also comprise a futuristic or technical aesthetic merged with flowery elements. These works develop a peculiar romanticism for molecules under the electron microscope.

Dirk Stewen (born 1972) explores the relationship between images by transposing them to different surfaces and having them compete with one another. Stewen’s photographs, drawings and ensemble works document those ephemeral moments of intense emotion, which words cannot express – and to do so he employs cropped sections, views, intimation and allusions as formal means. The works denote borderline situations, encounters with the subconscious and driving instincts. Stewen experiments with overtly sexual connoted clichés from the realm of violent erotic games, connotations he shatters both formally and conceptually by using extremely tender, fragile elements. The principles underlying his artistic approach are transposing formal means into a metaphorical dimension, whose complex meanings he consciously seeks to attain.

Stefan Thater (born 1968) loves 'poor' materials: wax, boards, stickers, food packaging, markers and India ink. Cartoon-ish characters appear on pages wearing chains with razorblades, huge hairdos or enormous sunglasses. He draws landscapes with wax crayons on white surfaces, later painted over with India ink to enhance these forms. Monotypes in paint or ink reveal floral and figurative motives. The elaborated surfaces have been scratched or painted over. Opened and colored boxes are glued to black-painted bases, through which sometimes a drawing appears. Through a reduced palette, and the loss of functionality, found objects of the utterly banal everyday are in the process ennobled.

The subliminal effect of designer objects, shopping environments, photographs, ads in glossy magazines and architecture is researched and reconstructed in the works of Nicole Wermers (born 1971). Her collages could be described as non-didactic mini-seminars on the construction of superficial impressions and material indicators, and on the optical construction of value. The glamorous artificiality of minerals marks a point of departure for Wermers’ singularizing consumption as well: through the technique of collages it takes place in a very manual, analogue fashion, undermining the expectations of advanced digital image processing procedures and consciously accepting a certain coarseness of execution. As a consuming flâneur, her transfer of surface values and valences has a utopian, emancipatory core, offering instructions for the denouement and usage of whatever catches the eye of the flâneur.

Andrea Winkler (born 1975) installs objects made of paper. Loose arrangements of objects and things are roughly attached to walls, spread out on the floor, fixed to architectural protrusions and hanging from the ceiling. Walking through the space, navigating, views change and new images appear. Winkler likes the contingency and ugliness of a paper that someone else has discarded. The work looks carefree, playful, seeming to exist there only temporarily; things appear light and mobile, like passengers 'leaving in a minute'. One gets the impression, one could remove things and pull them out of the context; it is not that easy: the picture is well composed and consistent. It is also evident that more often than not, a drawing element runs through Winkler’s artistic practice.


only in german

Alles. In Einer Nacht
kuratiert von Anna-Catharina Gebbers

Arbeiten auf Papier von Markus Amm, Abel Auer, Claus Becker, Ellen Gronemeyer, Dorota Jurczak, Dirk Stewen, Kerstin Stoll, Stefan Thater, Nicole Wermers, Andrea Winkler