Sunday, May 29, 2011

Stella & Calatrava The Michael Kohlhaas Curtain, Neue Nationalgalerie Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, DE by craniv boyd.

Stella & Calatrava The Michael Kohlhaas Curtain, Neue Nationalgalerie Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, DE by craniv boyd.


Working together, the Spanish architect and sculptor Santiago Calatrava, and the Amercian Painter, Sculptor who grips towards architecture, Frank Stella, have installed and presented in the glass chamber of the Mies van der Rohe, austerely designed New National gallery in the culture forum area, an urbanely planned remedy to allied sector's apparent loss of the "museum island" in the pre unification days of Germany. The cultural implant of H. Sharoun's Philharmonic, Library, a M.v.d. Rohe's museum statement, could possibly be interpreted as architecture as prophetic statement, or catalyst of hope, in that the whole complex, was built near the wastelands of Postdammer Platz, close to where the wall of Berlin bisected the capital city, turned metropolitan fragment.


I happen to be of the opinion that the stoic super large glass pavilion, with green granite floors and large black slab as roofing, that serves as a kind of pre institutional critique, in that the city viewed from within the transparent structure becomes the object for consideration, clear cube versus white cube or black box, looks better empty or rather as close as to empty as possible. This seems to be that tactic employed by Stella & Calatrava, and curators J. Jäger & M. Felix, one work one floor could be the less is more adage implemented. Calatrava, has developed a ring, a novel support system to display 360° of double sided painting, a banner byzantine or baroque in the personal geometric iconography that mature F. Stella has developed since his departure from shaped canvasses that were further meditations on the super flat in the 1970's, this is the work that is further along the lines of that which the New York based Artist has created since, the 1980's, large format polychromatic Stainless steel relieves, mid scale to large scale sculptures from intuitively arc-welded scrap metal, or collage in the form of print making.


When descending to the lower level of the museum where the permanent collection is hung, the public can see prints, a portfolio from the Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, authored by Frank Stella of 1980's vintage, that corresponds to series of El Lissitzky's "Had Gadya", Lissitzy who to many is known primarily for his Utopian architectonic non representational work, is represented here in a cycle of 20, M. Chagall like multi color etched illustrations for a Jewish folk tale with the moral that there is always somebody bigger out there.  Stella's interpretation of Had Gadya larger and defiantly more squarish than Lissitzky's surround the work, in a way they work served to reinforce the understanding of the The Michael Kohlhaas Curtain installed above in that it gives another example F. Stella's abstract iconography in the service of literary illustration.


Stella is an artist who has taken or revisited the writings of the German romantic author Hienrich von Kleist (1777-1811), this banner thirty meters long, is more of an extensive portrayal of the narrative of one of Kliest's longer works, Michael Kohlhaas, Stella in previous works would approach Kleist, in a more fragmentary way by making process driven sculpted work like ach! Reif Toni…, a steel object that draws on a fraction of one of Kliest's notoriously lengthy sentences taken from a short story, a treatment of a slave revolt in the west indies. The Michael Kohlhaas Curtain, pretends towards embodying the flowery and flourishing prose of, arguably one of the acme of the Romantic era, Stella and Calatrava lay their claim with respectively, fluorescent paint applied in several ways cut out and affixed in a deep collision of dense forms, and wispy brown hula hoped playful structure in the round that spans the mural taught. To have one entire fiction synthesized into a visual moment, requires both renowned painter, star architect, and iconic metropolis situated institution. By craniv boyd. 

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