»Out Of Place«
Berlin, June 05, 2004 - July 27, 2004
In spite of its apparent heterogeneousness-with artists representing a wide spectrum of different aesthetic strategies, techniques, as well as belonging to varying cultural contexts and generations-the attentive viewer will find a thematic coherence in this year's summer show at Galerie Nordenhake. The works exhibited in "Out Of Place" have all been chosen for their intricate relation to a place in cultural, psychological, existential, or aesthetic regard.
Collected here are various investigations of the place: how to approach it, how to inhabit, leave, and even flee from it. Perhaps this exhibition is best to be described as a quest to draw a map of an ever shifting topology, and where we hope to show that to be out of place does not necessarily implicate to be out of bounds.
Polish artist Miroslaw Balka defines the place as the measurements of his own body, and his sculpture consists of two linoleum clad suitcases in front of an ash field, that almost resembles a grave-the last place we are allowed to inhabit after we all have died and returned to dust.
Swedish artist legend Erik Dietman's collages of fantasy maps and hilarious objects (Geograffiti) makes a surreal point of the futility of geopolitical pretentiousness.
Icelandic sculptor Hreinn Fridfinnsson, on the other hand, approaches the artwork as a confined space in a given room, through his wall object A Palace, consisting of equal parts of aesthetic beauty and mathematical thoroughness.
The position of the body in the room is central in British artist Antony Gormley's works, and his Web consists of a model of his own contracted body outlined by a grid resembling meridians on a globe.
The works of US photographer Nan Goldin shows an absolute sensitivity to the conditions of a given space and the uniqueness of the individuals inhabiting them, wether she depicts a naked lady in a forrest (Siobhan in the Woods) or an christmas arrangment with almost still-lefe qualities (Purgatoria).
German photographer Matthias Hoch's focus rests on the characteristics of the architectural space-here, eerie railway and underground stations in DDR, photographed in 1988, just before the fall of the wall.
Works by Lebanese born Palestinian Mona Hatoum often revolve around exile and migration and Every Door a Wall is by no means an exception, where a curtain blocking an entrance is printed with a fascinating newspaper article about an x-ray device used to detect illegal Mexican immigrants trying to sneak into the US.
Russian Ilya Kabakov, true to his excellence in capturing genius loci, participates with a nostalgic model of a picturesque fairy tale village complete with farms, a river and a little church.
Canadian artist Ken Lum, a master of contemporary cultural symbols, destabilises the view of a cultural space as defined by linguistic coherence with his Language Paintings display phrases of non-existent languages through 70s style commercial fonts.
Another disruption is visible in Esko Männikkö's Organized Freedom Edition 2, where non-autochthonous individuals suddenly populate his well-known traditional Finnish habitats.
British-born Malcolm Morley delineates the temporal territory of childhood in his Safety, where his reproduction of a watercolour pallet is imbued by autobiographical, mythical and emotional references.
Thai artist Navin Rawanchaikul's sculptures address social interaction in a paradoxical world. Taxi represents the very essence of urban life, the flowing energy of the city's streets and the dynamic connection between a city's different people.
Replicating the look of mass-produced items in a unique handcrafted object is typical for American Joe Scanlan, thereby turning Duchamp's notion of the readymade on its head. His Starter Pot is made up of material found in his immediate surrounding-cigar ash, saliva and protein. The result is an object devoid of any value but for pure function.
The place as an absolute hic et nunc is expressed in Weegee's photographic works of the 40s and taken to its almost unbearable extreme in Fire in Harlem, depicting two women distress when learning that their children are trapped in a burning house in New York.
James Welling's photographs are often dominated by material density, still-life thematic, and emphasis on compositional framing, one of his work here at Galerie Nordenhake is however a photogramme, where the light influences the paper without intermission from a camera or a lens, generating a work with almost painterly qualities, without retreating from the index nature of photography.
Bill Woodrow's sculpture Temple hints at the classical view that art was defined by the sacred place where it was located, rather than being a transferable commodity. But Woodrow's strategy for this piece is to make the sacred, seemingly eternal holy place equally mobile in itself, by adding handles and electrical cords to the structure.
The gallery is particularly proud of showing Swedish filmmaker Claes Söderquist's film Briefe aus dem Schweigen about the life of the legendary Berlin author Kurt Tucholski-whose polemics against National Socialism forced him to go in exile in Sweden, where he committed suicide in 1935. As narrator for this film Söderquist made the congenial decision to choose the German actor Bruno Ganz.