Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rainer Fetting Berlin. 15.04.-12.09.2011, Berlinische Gallerie Landesmuseum Für Moderne Kunst, Fotographie und Architektur. Alte Jakobstraße 124-128.

Rainer Fetting Berlin. 15.04.-12.09.2011, Berlinische Gallerie Landesmuseum Für Moderne Kunst, Fotographie und Architektur. Alte Jakobstraße 124-128. 10969 Berlin. DE, By craniv boyd.


 Behold! For, I am the accomplishments of an artist explorer! Seem to sing the paintings of, living German Expressionist painter, Rainer Fetting.  Large Format Acrylic, dispersion and Tempera expressionist paintings of content that is out-ly, blatantly vibrantly, almost, dare I write, militantly, homo erotic, paintings and prints on view at a National Museum, for Modern Art, cannot really be said to sing. Art objects, when existent as, pigments on canvass are silent, however the contents of Rainer Fetting's oeuvre displayed, are loud, as loud can get, for past modern painting.


View of the Berg's and view of a young man's all bare back:


A work titled I find you sexy, (authors translation), is a vertically oriented tableaux, which places on view a posing male nude, in harsh black contour lines that would be at home, let us say in a, Neo Gothic, Max Beckmann painting.  Naked dude has one arm stretched over his, neatly cut, short head of brown hair; he contemplates a vista of the Swiss Alps, or a Mountain range. The work is painted and is introduced to the public within the frame of this retrospective exhibition of a Berlin based painter, of the caliber of the young wilds. It is not without uncertainty that I view the painting I find you sexy, that shares a wall with the Male bathhouse content answer to Henri Matisse's eternal dance, motif. Observing the painting wonders if it is painted of a man standing in a Berliner Zimmer with a large poster of the Alps, or if it is rather made, created, inspired recovering after a dirty weekend in somebody's Châtlet. With that aside the connexion between the angular chiseled beauty of geological formations, remnants of the last ice age, and the musculature of the standing man, is formed by Fetting's brush with his application of a strong electric blue. In both the nocturnal sky, the back of the man, the stones of the expressionistic painted, mountains.    



CBGB's OMFUG, dilemma:


If you have not bathed in the sonic haze of the now gone baby gone, legendary, birthplaces of the punk rock and new wave youth movements on the Bowery, in Manhattan, than perhaps your understanding and empathy for, Fettings series Guitarist and Drummer, will be severely impaired. I for one hope not, the paintings are a superior quality meditation on syncopation in fast pasted emotional music; one is placed between the ears of a rock and roll drummer on stage, his fragmentary view of the lead guitarist. Fetting was there in the "scene" what ever that was when bands like the Ramones or the New York Dolls were playing there. This series is a painted record, a testament to the nascence of the Punk rock scene in New York City in the late 1970's and the early 1980's. How will a viewer feel when looking at an artwork about a sub culture rock and roll concert, when they have not been to such a kind of space?  Rainer Fetting does a great service to the raw energy that was in CBGB's, via his means of brilliant application of color.


Yo la Reyñia:


The art historical reference and the appreciation of the great master court painters of the baroque era, namely, Velázquez is both subverted, and supported brilliantly, Fetting paints a full-length portrait of himself, in Drag as the Infanta of Spain. The painting is lushly framed in a campy way, evocative of the popular presentation method of a Rembrandt or a Hals.  The strange thick and heavy paint application, as well as Fetting's bizarre color choice begs the question, just how serious about your love for the 17th century Spanish master painter are you Mr. Fetting?  Yet the fun, large scale grappling with the cultural treasures, images, of the European powers that be as it were, is a tough and lively approach on how to make a self portrait as a painter living in Europe, while the Berlin wall is still up.


Color blind:


The exhibition is titled: Fetting Berlin, and in many ways the museum personnel are correct, in their basic, two-word-only, titling of the retrospective survey of a protean German expressionist painter. This exhibition is Berlin as seen by Rainer Fetting, it is as much Fetting as it is the divided city, Berlin, of the times when Fetting was living in that city, when the wall vanished or visa versa. The colors of the paintings are down right sexy, ample, many colors of the rainbow, and when used in fast paced, wet on wet painting, in the hands of Rainer Fetting, for city-scape's of a traumatized, amputated Urban landscape, you can truly feel the atmosphere that inspired David Bowie's song Heroes.  Drawings of the wall, painted by an artist who was standing by the wall, paintings of the Iron Curtain in its most concrete manifestation, in colors that look hallucinogenic, yet at the same time all too believable, wall jumpers and self-portraits, in the Germanic, melancholic tradition dating back to the gloomy painter print maker, from Nüremberg, A. Dürrer, this of self portrait with the wall. The Berlin wall, of 1977, the year of the date when the painting, was made, looks grey and depressing and the young artist depicted in vibrant colors forced into grey scale looks depressed as well.  By craniv boyd.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Lajos Kassák- Botschafter der Avantgarde 1915-1927. Berlinische Galerie Landesmuseum Für Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architectur, Alte Jakobstraße 1

Lajos Kassák- Botschafter der Avantgarde 1915-1927. Berlinische Galerie Landesmuseum Für Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architectur, Alte Jakobstraße 124-128, Berlin 10969. DE, by craniv boyd.


         Seeing works of a modern artist from Hungary, active at the time when, modern-ism and the isms where at their acme in Europe, is a rarity and a privilege. Lajos Kassák, and selected art, design and pamphleteering, work from the time frame of 1915-1927, is the subject of a modest gem of a retrospective exhibition at Berlinische Galerie.


         Cigarette propaganda, that contains the 19th century art neveaux, naturalistic looking, cigarette smoker with the 20th century supremacist, avant gaurdisitic geometric looking, smoker (think Pac-man) is in the same room as works by the French, sometimes surrealist, Francis Picabia and Dutchman Theo van Doesburg, of De Stijl. The fact that the retrospective of a messenger of the European avant-gardes active in Hungary helps to posit and teach that many European artists at the time, early twentieth century were in fact speaking the same formalist language.


Assorted ephemera are gathered behind flat display cases, and one needs only look to the, larger, more bombastic solo exhibition of a Canadian Artist living and working in Berlin now, out side in the Foyer or Entrée salle of Berlinisches Galerie, today to see the lasting power of, modernist type- and graphic design that, Hungarian: Lajos Kassák, and like proponents of a new style, like De Stijl. What is so striking is that the objects small political leaflets and manifestos with thrilling and new letter forms beyond rationalism, have a look both vintage and with the anything goes nature of graphic design today: neutral.


What, happens to the avantgaurdistic and socialist Utopian, content of a san-serif type authored by a Dutch modernist becomes the visual identity, for a prominent museum for American art, such as, the Whitney Museum for American Art in New York City?  Does san serif type still look communistic or rationalized fractur or black letter of 1930's, vintage look fascistic?


It is surprising to see the quiet presence and inspirational quality of lesser known, at least in central and western Europe, avant gaurdist artists form Hungary, and their continued relevance on art made today. By craniv boyd. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Romero Britto Best Buddies Friendship Bear 2011. Dedicated to the city of Berlin by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in honor of People with intellectual disabi

Romero Britto Best Buddies Friendship Bear 2011. Dedicated to the city of Berlin by Eunice Kennedy Shriver in honor of People with intellectual disabilities who inspire their communities worldwide. Corner of Hedwigwachenheim Straße & Mühlen Straße, Berlin. By craniv boyd.


A candy colored specter watches over the remnants of the east wall of the Berlin wall. Large, weatherproof, enamel encased, sealed metal teddy bear on a pedestal, by Brazilian born, but as of late more Miami based artist, Romero Britto. The big bear statue has a colorful Siamese twin heart, one of glittering gold, the other of barbershop stripped pink and red. Fellow American post pop artist, with warehouse sized art fabrication facilities, Jeff Koons, and his ten ton seated Scottish terrier, made of potted plants, can go eat their hearts out. Because this large steel bear, Best Buddies Friendship Bear, may as, a work of sculpture, be employed to carry out site specific healing, a higher calling than: oh wow really big lap dog made out of flowers. As such the bright colored Metal Teddy evokes an emotional response that is altruistic, lavish and unexpected.


            The bear is a patchwork of bright patterns and of those patters, Romero Britto, has selected symbols from the heady fields of math and science, a brown and gold area, sports the symbol p, other shape accompany it but it's Greek to me, no worries, the playful setting of the symbols is approachable and not intimidating. The Bear is so bright and rich in patterns that it looks, akin to the mural covered East Side Gallery, which it faces. Yet the luster of the coat of paint on it speaks of factory finish, and large, prominent politicized art in the public arena, or more simple, urban fabric. It brightens up a rainy Berlin day near the former wall, just as well, as its candy chemical patina sings on a sunny day. 


If you are the type of person to weep at an inspiring R. Zemeckies film like Forrest Gump, (1997), then more likely than not the dedication, and Best Buddies Friendship Bear, as an artwork will touch you, rather than strike the chord of bad taste and terrifying Kitsch, that Romero Britto's work has the feeling of when viewed, in alternate art fair environs providing for an up close and personal in bulk, experience. One big metal bear for Berlin, one small step towards respecting and appreciating people with intellectual disabilities. A work of art in a high tourist traffic area near a shiny new multi-use stadium, is a light hearted awareness raising gesture to people with intellectual disabilities and or different ways of learning, who have to surmount those personal, setbacks and societal cultural ignorance for their tribulations. By craniv boyd. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Labor Gruppenausstellung 22.june- 20 August 2011. Katie Armstrong; Birgit Dieker, Stephanie Kiwitt, Ryan Mosley, Luise Schröder. Galerie EIGEN+ART, Au

Labor Gruppenausstellung 22.june- 20 August 2011. Katie Armstrong; Birgit Dieker, Stephanie Kiwitt, Ryan Mosley, Luise Schröder. Galerie EIGEN+ART, Auguststraße 26. Berlin 101117. DE, by craniv boyd.


This summer a group exhibition, in central Berlin city, of younger artists who, are still in art academies, of one sort, or another. Merits to be found in a "high street" tier, or trendy, Gallery that still bets on the younger caretakers of the muse. The art made by, the five artists, the art dealers at the Berlin out-post of, Galerie EIGEN+ART, have selected is the major redeeming factor of what is disaster-ridden ground of summer group exhibition at an art gallery.


Katie Armstrong, a young American artist, has made an animation, a video sequence, a time based media loop that when displayed on a flat screen, facing an opposite wall with a grid of pencil drawings on index card sized sheets of paper, (A7 or A5) pages small enough to be lifted out of a sketchbook, is a work that looks familiar. The video monitor has one set of headphones for hearing what the sound of the video is, and boy oh, boy does this video need the soundtrack. The delay comes with seeing a pencil drawn, animation that since Pixar and computer generated graphic imaging is delegated to a realm of, and "purposeless" labor intensity. The hand drawn, animations of a lone end of adolescence Caucasian woman, is underscored and enhanced by the sound of slow A-Capella singing of a song eerily familiar. The slow, sensitive, emotive words, sung harmonically, with polyphony, of the same voice, generated in a do it your self recording studio, emerge with time, from a dim familiarity and the over synthesized, Hit me Baby One More Time of Britney Spears, becomes something all together different and more humane in the version of loneliness that is "killing" Katie Armstrong, which accompanies her video, about heart ache. Love, and its many plights are the subject of Britney Spears's bubblegum pop, smash hit song, the indelible mark it left on the hearts and minds of youngsters is palpable in Katie Armstrong's elegy to both Britney, heart ache and the hand made drawing, in service of animation.


Birgit Dieker hacks her way, cutting into new heights of sculpture. A delicately framed figure is seated, legs crossed, on a bar stool in the first room of the gallery, the figure has a large beehive style hairstyle, and is covered in ornate gold sequins. The ends of the limbs where hands feet and digits would be are black stumps the back of the figure is slashed open and the decadence of the gold when set against the black carved cloth calls to mind charred remains. Begs the question did they have disco back in the heyday of Pompeii?  Another artwork, by Birgit Dieker, that hangs mobile over the staircase, in the gallery space, is more transparent in the means behind its creation. An ovoid form is cut open and layers of textile, molded around a ball form are peeled back. For a strange hatching experience. 



Other artistic positions exemplified in the group exhibition titled LABOR, are that of the Meta work, or showing boredom and malaise with current events. Luise Schröder, and her video, of a, German Local Television news crew, on location about to record, is dry fare, as are black and white photographs of: the platforms for consumer culture and the sites for purchasing, quotidian items like climate control apparatuses, dryer still when printed out at roughly three by two yards and on mat ink jet printer paper.  The photographs by Stephanie Kiwitt are understated despite their large format, and in the absence of color and the just so, no set dressing whatsoever of the photo shoot, Stephanie Kiwitt, like her fellow country woman, Luise Schröder, is represented in the exhibition by art that resolutely contends within the cannon of clear-cut artwork fighting not to have the look of art. By craniv boyd.

T+T transferNet: Virtuelle Mauer Re-con Structing the Wall. Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin. DE, By craniv boyd.

T+T transferNet: Virtuelle Mauer Re-con Structing the Wall. Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin. DE, By craniv boyd.


Perchance, at long last, there may be a market for a video game that is, about escaping from the iron curtain, the Long Way Back 2010 a movie produced by the Polish Film institute about a heroic long walk, undertaken by a handful of escapees, out of a Gulag in northern Siberia, could be an indicator for popular demand for such a gaming experience. The Artist Team T+T transferNet, whose key figures are, Tamiko Theil and Thereasa Reuter, have made, a three dimensional world of where the Berlin Wall was, in a cloyingly small, section between, Kreuzberg and Mitte, where the death strip and east wall and west wall was. One hopes for a more complete version, of the project, one day placed in a National Historical Museum, in Germany.


The art work, as a virtual reality art work, has many merits, being that it seeks to provide people of today, who know how to maneuver a joy stick on a video game console, the experience of walking through East Berlin, near Heinrich Heine Platz yet as an artwork on public view, Virtuelle Mauer Re-con Structing the Wall, is unfortunately buggy. 


The key concept, of a Berlin then, or a walking tour around the borders of Warsaw pact nations with out the proper documentation to leave, the bloc, is great, I for one, hope that it could be a video game, one day, with similar memorial and pedagogical portent as Virtuelle Mauer Re-con Structing the Wall takes to task.


The location of the virtual reality world that was sadly an all to recent reality for many living in East Berlin, is situated in the places where today's children walking about in Berlin can pass un-hampered, that it makes apparent what, part of the experience it was to be in a city, occupied by the peoples army of the German Democratic Republic, despite the current state of the project, it nevertheless induces a powerful feeling of empathy for those people who were living in East Berlin who were told at one time or another, when they got close to the wall, I paraphrase, the historically accurate script of the VR east German Border trooper, "No, with those Papers, you cannot cross the border, please leave the protective zone peaceably or else…".


I learned something, and had a laugh of relief, maneuvering about in this virtual Berlin wall reconstruction.   By craniv boyd. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

East side Gallery, Mühlen Straße, Berlin Friedrichshain. DE, by craniv boyd.

East side Gallery, Mühlen Straße, Berlin Friedrichshain. DE, by craniv boyd.


East side Gallery as an exhibition platform, is evocative of the most antithetical sentiment to those expressed by the shimmering steel wording Upper East Side Berlin some where on Friedrichstraße in center city Berlin.  Platform, as a term, is perhaps inadequate to describe the state supported; just as much the, tourist haven, as the corner of Fredrichstraße and Unter den Linden, but for other, and hopefully more profound, reasons, East side Gallery, of Mühlen Straße, in Friedrichshain. Platform as adjective, is not enough, simply because this gallery on the east side is just a wall. But that concrete and asbestos, wall now covered, in vibrant paints, is the wall, of Berlin: part of what remains intact of it, at least.


On that section of the late, iron curtain that the East Berliners could not, and were definitely barred, from approaching, defacing or vaulting. Seeing East side Gallery, on the anniversary year of: fifty years, after the wall went up, and just over twenty years, since it came down is, a cathartic experience, if there ever was one. People who are passing through Berlin stop, take pause, and more often than not, take a picture with them and that Berlin wall, or the wall only, comme-ça.


The task of my small report, is to write about nine, of the individual paintings, by individual international artists, the world over, painted, custom fit at is were, and site specifically, for the East side Gallery, in Friedrichshain back in 1990. Tailor made, if you will, for the cultural climate of Germany reunifying.



A mural that was painted with the intention of healing some deep wounds, two national flags superimposed on over the other, German Federal Republic, and Israel, the blue star of David and the two blue bands are on top, layered over the Black Gold Red of Germany's current national Flag. As painting it is simple, as a healing concept, or a dream for healing, Gunter Schæfer, with this mural lays claim to a title of artist hoping for peace in the world. The strength within the simplicity, in this large image speaks volumes.




Гoспoди! Помоги Мне выжить средиэтой смретнойаюбвц! Reads the title of a realist mural of two older gentlemen kissing. Copied after a photograph the mural, by artist Dimitri Vrubel, is an powerful image of two Russian men overwhelmed with love is fun painting: strange, odd, and healing. The thick eyeglasses frames, that one man wears in this monumental kiss, painted, at the  size of a small drive trough movie theatre, are back in Vogue some how, and the seriousness of the fall of the soviet union and end of cold war era is treated light heartedly by the artist Dimitri Vrubel.





A kind of simple geometric abstraction that looks naïve in his restricted choice of local color, artist, Gábor Simon, and a painting title Space Magik, is a throwback to an era when teenagers had to more often than not leave the go to arcades instead of reach into their own pocket for a smart mobile telephone to play a video game. The hues of red black white grey and yellow are all play fully arraigned into a painting that looks both like optical at, and advertisement of a new version of space invaders. 




Kosmopolitanism, a futuristic turn of phrase embedded amidst decorative faces people depicted who are mythical looking, Schamil Gimajew, and artist from central Asia, has painted one of the most elaborate, cluttered looking, and fun to be around sections of the wall. The trauma of the east west divide the Utopian hope of worlds beyond freezing conflicts is all there to see, and be overwhelmed by in a mural that is predominantly black white with dashes of primary colors, after the wall fell who can be afraid of red, yellow or blue?




Rats in a maze, grayed out humans in a labyrinth, blindfolded cube-heads with, twisted rubbery necks, sausages and meatballs and spaghetti, skewered on the cutlery that protrudes from the crowns of their box-heads, on bodies wearing bespoke evening dress, a floating blob-like creature with large baby blue eyes and red, open soda cans, a gas nozzle, held by a white hand from above, pump, like the one for your automotive vehicle, drips, drops of oil into a soda can in the free floating monstrosity with sensitive irises. All this, are images to be seen in the panel by the Chilean painter, César Ochaga. The work is overripe with a wealth of imagery, and the illustrations of the ideologies possessed by capitalism and communism are just there like too many buoyant facts, César Ochaga, painted a picture that looks like beat poetry.





             A tribute, to a modernist painter who had a rough time of having some of his artwork shown to a German public, Willi Berger, paints on the wall a sketch for a rayonist, stained glass Church window, in red yellow and blue, inspired by musical works of the most well known eastern German, J.S. Bach. The schematic for the stained glass window, in question is by his mæstro, an artist who was censored by the double whammy of Hitler regime followed up by, German Democratic Republic.  The work is presented and as with much art that has been censored by authoritarian governments, people wonder why block this? Willi Berger calls forth, in his mural dedicated to the memory of one of his own influential art teachers, that censorship in the arts should never, ever, be permitted again.




Distopia and its serious discontents, Ana Leonor Rodrigues, an artist from the less, land massive nation on Iberian peninsula, Portugal, paints a nocturne of a grouping of people in protective clothing wearing gas masks walking and seated in a black desert.  This nightmare vision calls to mind the planet that David Bowie left behind when he fell to earth back in the mid 1970's, when he stared in that psychedelic science fiction film. It's the environment, stupid! Could almost be a sub heading or alternate title for this work that portrays a group of survivors in a wasted-land, of a Nuclear Holocaust. An event that did not transpire which was un-doubted feared throughout the interim of the cold war.




A large bald headed naked man, disrobed totally with the exception of a pair of shoes that look suspiciously like doctor martins, grips his head and falls back into a flaming pit of hellish bright worry, this lone male falling figure is contrasted with dull as dirt wearing shapeless ashen grey clothing of cubist looking people corralled like a rat heard, in a maze with out cheese. The maze rat association is underscored furthermore, by artist Ulricke Zoft, author of this mural, present's art that could be interpreted as a dypthic, to illustrate symptoms of ideologies of the supposed belligerents in the cold war. Individual existentialist worry of a naked unabashed capitalist pitted against, an oppressive looking rat race with no rewards like communism. With the people of the maze who are lucky enough to metamorphosed into a free flying cubist rat that could send a shiver down the spine of Pablo Picasso.




The east side of the Berlin wall was, in its later years, during the life of the German Democratic Republic, painted, grey with white evenly spaced rectangles.  Schwartze Deutsche Lesbe, literally Black German lesbian is an artwork painted to look like the wall is still there yet only the eyes have been fooled and a deep to mid, mustard yellow, shroud bearing, a black naked woman with closely cropped hair. She looks like a Virtuvian man, she holds the same pose, but has only one pair of martyr legs spread eagle. The painting like the majority of the other murals on East Side Gallery were painted and repainted by artists who dedicated their paintings to someone some cause some ideal. Schwartze Deutsche Lesbe, as a, mural with idealist import a public work of art, dedicated, like the majority of the art at East side Gallery, to common lofty ideas and people who have at times, borne the brunt of aggressive, authoritarian un-free cultures, is a public art work, protected to an extent by the Bundesrepublik Deutschland, for people, who visit the Hauptstaat, to see and today's inebriated young near Warschawer Street to do what they do, with many of the other public surfaces in Berlin, observe appreciate respect or deface. By craniv boyd. 

Hus Mit Navn. Untitled: Yellow Black wall paint, at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/ Bethanien. Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin. DE, By craniv boyd.

Hus Mit Navn. Untitled: Yellow Black wall paint, at Kunstraum Kreuzberg/ Bethanien. Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin. DE, By craniv boyd.


A child goes to school, for a violin lesson, or a guitar lesson. That youth walks down a hall, which was built with the intention, of being a house to save the lives of children. That wide hallway has a new coat of paint. One more layer of pigments in a long continuum, of the buildings life. A child, walking today, on the ground floor of the large brick building with the address on Mariannenplatz Two, the building that is home to Kunstraum Kreuzberg/ Bethanien, would see a goofy, tour du force, by the Danish artist, a painter who adopts the artist moniker of Hus Mit Navn or, in the English language, what’s my name?


If Matt Groening, the author, of the Simpsons, or Ren & Stimpy, of Nickelodeon fame, were given a chance, to shine on the walls of a wing in a Cathedral, or another large space of learning, or convalescence, then you would have some thing similar to the funny looking, and joyous wall paintings featuring bizarre characters that, Hus Mit Navn, has painted in a wing of a former children’s hospital. The walls are in the bright optimistic process yellow of a post it notes. The use of the black paint, extended to it’s limits, of grey, to create and image characters, archetypical such as: the wounded lion, the acrobatic & clever mouse, the worrying and run-away pencil, the mean looking yet vulnerable, nose bleeder, the diamond shaped strong man, the dancing woman, all fallible contradictory types that in their nonchalance eek out a smile from, the corners of the most down cast pessimist’s mouth. 


The high contrast Spartan usage of color, binary style, just like in computing, on or off, black or yellow, with the vision of Hus Mit Navn, provides, a walk down a hall peopled by big, odd freaks each with their own individuated wall space between portals set at regular intervals. Its fun to look at and the dude wearing a baseball cap, sports shirt, with really long wavy rubber band arms takes up more space, he cant help poking the eye of a crouching lion.


The super upside-down mouse doing yoga is bare bottomed. The creature’s posterior, is where the head of a normal standing figure should be, and mouse or no, mouse; the beast, has long legs that jut outwards, creating an upside-down L form, Г.  Just for finesse and punctuation the smiling acrobatic mouse character has a bad case of wet gas, a dark black mushroom cloud that could appear to some, like a heart shape, hovers over the butt. Smelly.


The comical large scale frieze by this younger Danish talent, who also has a more,  colorful work, (more  from the rainbow, than just black and yellow) painted on the entirety of a five story Berlin Kreuzberg walk up firewall painted with a weirdo walking and speaking with a white speech bubble « Hus Mit Navn” is funny to a point, goofy and awkward and friendly as it may appear in the skill, manor of execution, the wall paintings inside the former children’s ward are, as public works, both awe inspiring and, plainly inspiring. By craniv boyd.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rainer Fetting Neue Bilder/ New Works: deschler. [ ] GALERIE 19 april- 1 Juli 2011 August Str 61. Berlin 10117. DE, by, craniv boyd.

Rainer Fetting Neue Bilder/ New Works: deschler. [    ] GALERIE 19 April- 1 Juli 2011 August Str 61. Berlin 10117. DE, by, craniv boyd.


For dripping wet figurative expressionist painting of men at the beach, amongst other subjects, look to the knock out, painting show, by German painter Rainer Fetting, inspired by vacation time spent, at an small German island on the North sea, Sylt. Rainer Fetting just happens to be one of the seasoned generation of painters who kept, making large, rich, and nasty oil images despite falling in and out of love with the nineteen eighties New York art scene, and the fickle tastes of said city. The fact that, as a painting survivor rather than art world casualty Fetting has this gallery exhibition of, the artists, recent, unapologetic leisure time genre painting coupled with a retrospective at a sizable, State museum, the Berlin State museum of Modern Art, Photography and Architecture. Rainer Fetting could be seen, by many, as one lucky, wild expressionist, enviable painter.


The works at his Berlin gallery, are of the sea, men surfing, bathing, playing ball, a wild half naked man holding dead albatross in his bare hands, a corpulent woman wading in the water, threatening swells and atmospheric captures of Fantastic moments island life offers, that could look like a snapshot, were it not for the means of both expressionist material laden painting method, and the imagination of Fetting, exemplified in the synthetic nature of his choice in subject matter, hardcore gestures, and bevy of materialistic paint application.


Rainer Fetting is a painter, whom it would appear judging by the paintings, shown in this exhibition alone, has the looks of a man who likes to throw paint around. This caviler approach to figurative painting inclusive of quasi-random aggressive paint throwing was part of what contributed to the look of, the late English painter, Sir Francis Bacon. In a painting like Fetting's Ball Players, blue paint splatter marks are much the more; integrated in the expressionist-mimetic, weave of the painting's image. Blue thrown paint, is also the wetness of the North Sea where the young playing men flip and tumble in their watery game.


The larger format works of distanced seascapes and vantage points that show the meeting point of tourist trap small town and unruly ocean, call to mind disaster movies or sea disaster situations, people who see movies do not have to look too deeply toward Hollywood, for films like 2012, or the, opening 15 minute passage of the more sensitive Hereafter, 2010 directed by C. Eastwood, for the ocean, having a severe temper tantrum. The expressionism and the massiveness of the gnarly sea as contrasted with the little people wearing bright yellow rain slickers, is droll, not in a demeaning way, but there is a pleasant irony at hand in the large paintings that Fetting has painted newly of the sea.


The exhibition has a street level and a basement level, in the basement level there are more intimate, smaller format painted studies, that have flowers, and torsos of men in bikini, still lives and neoclassical interests of the male semi nude, via expressionism the loose, yet deft, hand of the painter is to bee seen in the beauty which he seeks to portray for his new series. By craniv boyd.  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Antje Majewski; At Neugeriemschneiderberlin, June 10- august 13, 2011, Linien strasse 155, 10115 Berlin. DE, by craniv boyd.

Antje Majewski:

the guardian of all things that are the case, among others:

a clay teapot in the form of a human hand

a shell

a pot made of fragrant wood,

contains one black ball or two glass eyes

a buddha's hand citron

a hedge apple, also called osage orange


At Neugeriemschneiderberlin, June 10- august 13, 2011, Linien strasse 155, 10115 Berlin. DE, by craniv boyd.


For larger format, vertically oriented, rectangular naturalistic paintings, of handsome men, and beautiful women, that are painted with spare, thin usage of paint, look to Linien Street in center city Berlin, for Antje Majewski's one-person exhibition at Neugeriemschneider.


The list of things that preface this, my exhibition report, is the title of both paintings shown in the gallery and singular instances of the oeuvre of German Born, artist Antje Majewski. For resisting the dominant post war painting norm of the Bundesrepublik, that of, testosterone saturated expressionism in painting. Majewski deserves kudos for her bravery in working with pigment suspended in oil, on Belgian linen, in a method so far against the German grain, for celebrated art.


Nevertheless there is little breath of life to be found in these capable paintings, the sitters for the portraits are rendered with dignified accuracy that is just if not more unemotive than a 16 century Dutch still life. I take that back the undemonstrative neutral facial expressions of the portrayed people in under a dozen paintings shown at Neugeriemschneider, are so bland and stiff lending more joy of life to the objects, and things that accompany them in the diligently painted artworks. There is little to be found in the sensuality of these representations of attractive people that look vaguely young and creative, old master paintings, from the Netherlands, of ripening fruit, or the goods from the fishmonger begin to look far the more sexy when brought against Majewski's paintings.


Barefoot woman clothed in white wearing leggings doing some kind of advanced yoga position or another on a carpet with a large shaped thing, placed on her midsection. A seated thin cleanshaven man, red curly hair cut above the shoulders, with folded arms and crossed legs, looks rheumy eyed, out from a room that appears as if, it is, a spread in Interior decorators weekly or Architectural Digest, or some such trade publication for the interior architect or interior decorator.  A woman with raven black hair cut in a bob, wears ethnic clothing, and one has the impression that much more care, and emphasis has been placed on what the people are wearing, what kind of a space they populate and what things are around them, than how the painting it self is painted.


The paintings could be understood as a kind of seamless collage. One young isolated adult after another is presented in a living or leisure space codified as, luxury creative. All objects in the paintings are both mysteriously symbolic. The superficial and flat egalitarian treatment of the objects in the picture plane, via means of thin paint, that looks far too dry, does not contribute a flare for drama. The images are of course staged for the exhibition public and the art collectors, or public collections, supportive of this kind of artwork, Spartan naturalism a tad south of horror vaucii, however the paints are applied methodically and with out flourish, and despite largeness and ambition of format, the overall sensibility the paintings offer is not one strange to more portable and prevalent fashion magazine æsthetics. by craniv boyd.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Francesco Finizio, Sylvie Ungauer: ver/schiebungen, curated by, Ulrike Kremeier, 22.07. - 20.08.2011 Kunstverein Tiergatren Galerie Nord, Turmstr. 75 10551 Berlin. DE, by craniv boyd.

Francesco Finizio, Sylvie Ungauer: ver/schiebungen, curated by, Ulrike Kremeier, 22.07. - 20.08.2011 Kunstverein Tiergatren Galerie Nord, Turmstr. 75 10551 Berlin. DE, by craniv boyd.


A non- for- profit municipal art exhibition venue holds one, refreshingly light hearted, art exhibition, with two artists who both have some connexion to Bretagne and the city of Brest, in France. "ver/schiebungen" places the works of artists Francesco Finizio, and Sylvie Ungauer, on display and both artists work divergent, on their own, yet rare enough for contemporary art practice, both of their current art creation involves drawing, to some level.


Francesco Finizio, has made a silent auction for a set of: low cost cheap materials. Objects that all-though ad-hoc, in both: appearance and utilitarian function, fill the larger frame of a previous, questionably, site specific, artwork created, and documented in France. That work is a projected video loop, in the same room as the objects for sale, and from still photographs that cycle through the video loop, one can see the playful, many lives, of all those random lots, which lean against the wall in a room in Kunstverein Tiergatren Galerie Nord. Stones, blankets, newspapers, a plywood case, a plywood dis-assembling crucifix, plastic basins, coffee maker, wash powder and other items all reconfigured by the artist, over a seven day period, in a store front space on a street Rue des Etables 1, in Brest, a city in the Celtic part of France, with the purpose of transforming inconspicuous commercial space in a shrinking city, with the economy of means and rigor of method available to a true artist. One day the space is a laundry mat, the wash basins for hand washing clothing, another day the window announces that the space is a church, the same plastic basins are filled with rocks as a decorative element for the altar of gods house for that day, come back on a different day and the space is advertised as a mini-golf course, the plastic tubs, both with and without stones are ramparts and barricades for the mini golfer, a quick hotel, or funeral home, press office or peep show, or parking lot, scaled for skate boards rather than cars. Francesco Finizio, with only the disparate and trashy things, self-selected, and on view in the silent auction has created, archetypes of spaces where life in our current age happens. The humour and absurdity in the artwork is side bar, to the Spartan means, that illustrate and create different spaces with the exact same stuff.


Equally if not more bizarre, the artworks of Sylvie Ungauer, which span the crafts of drawing, wig making, video filming, and basket weaving as sculpture. Exacting drawings from fashion periodicals are set with a strange twist, a familiar word in an all too specific letter form, Psycho, and a pouting woman in stilettos wearing a hat? No, she has on instead, the house that Norman Bates lived in in A. Hitchcock's classic thriller. Le Mepris, as drawing by, Sylvie Ungauer, features a floor seated barefoot woman in a mini dress, she looks headless, but rather the, cult like-iconic via J.L. Godard, film, Italian Razzionalizmo style villa on an island covers the head of the bare foot drawn woman. She looks like she could be looking like B. Bardot in that 60's era film right now.


Quizzical also, the large woven from magnetic tape interconnected sculptures that look like Pyramids, Towers and Ziggurat, the interest of millinery and wig making become more clear when presented together with a video from the year 2006, by Ungauer. This video loop, is, in my mind just as much about strange youthful people, wearing black wigs with hair fibers that reach their knees, with nothing to do in a smallish city in sea-side France, as the iconic and brutal looking modernist architecture that the wig wearers take pause to walk past and observe. The video has a sound track with faintly recognizable thirty seconds and under samples of music that could fit in a spaghetti western film. The three characters mill about Brest, and are all braided to on another in the large wig all three wear. There movements are carefully measured and sloth like through out the video, which takes the form of, dawn to dusk «a day in the life of» and compresses it,with the wig bearers seated leaning against the wall of a building on a public street, like beggars, weary of asking for alms. By craniv boyd. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Joëlle Tuerlinckx. Geologie einer Arbiet: New and Old Paper-Assemblage in einer Kurzen Orangen Retrospective, Galerie Christian Nagel-Berlin,Weydinger

Joëlle Tuerlinckx. Geologie einer Arbiet: New and Old Paper-Assemblage in einer Kurzen Orangen Retrospective, Galerie Christian Nagel-Berlin,Weydinger Str 2/4 10178 Berlin. DE, by craniv boyd.



Dry humorous right brain cerebral current art is what Belgian artist, Joëlle Tuerlinckx, exposes in her short Orange Retrospective at Galerie Christian Nagel-Berlin. The exhibition takes place, in a spacious store front gallery space, that can accommodate larger artworks, but is still not quite big enough to house unwieldy installations with massive components. The space of, Galerie Christian Nagel-Berlin, and the Orange Retrospective, by Joëlle Tuerlinckx, are a comfortable match, for she offers yet one more installation as gesamtkunstwerk via post-modern Belgian means not dissimilar to, artist and fellow countryman, M. Broodthaers, and like the art of Broodthaer's, the current instance of Tuerlinckx's art work is not adversely affected by mid sized modernist white cube shoebox display settings.


Fluorescent Orange wallpaper, pinned with thin headless nails, covers the gallery walls. If you hunt, this particular orange color, would be called safety or blaze Orange, approaching the wall paper closely but with an appropriate measure of distance, your eyes can pick up on the Ben-day half tone dot pattern, used to produce the look of a brick wall painted white, printed on each section of the orange paper. This is an Impressive optical feat, considering that the paper is orange, the ink printed on it black, yet the photographic source, because of lighting when the picture was taken, calls to mind, a white wall.


On top of the brick wall: wallpaper, metal panels hung floating from the wall has photo reproductions of book pages. The dry fare of minerals and natural science, small magnets joyously hold small paper objects affixed to the metal surfaces. There is minor anarchic frisson that occurs when seeing, overblown science textbook, juxtaposed with odd, functionless paper artworks, small process of stunning in that viewers don't know if they may be here to see the origami, or the textbook art work, based on a different disciplines text book.


Confusions ensue further when stepping back and viewing the card-board boxes, painted solid colors on the inside, empty paint canisters, with solid colors that match the cardboard box innards, are wall mounted high above head level, lending an: "if paint buckets can fly than, anything can happen now" atmosphere. Yes per chance, visually tucked away, the metal limb that holds the at first glance, floating paint bucket, is when seen reassuring, but nevertheless, total art works that parley in playful dry references, to dryer harder sciences, are flat visual puns.


An archive of yet one more impersonal universe, an almost in-utter able image based narrative, as artwork, if you like structuralism and art work that needs an essay to argue that it is this kind of art, than Geologie einer Arbiet: New and Old Paper-Assemblage in einer Kurzen Orangen Retrospective, is your cup of Belgian tea. By craniv boyd.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Kajsa Dahlberg+Julien Grossmann: Vibrating Revivals+Guillaume Lachapelle: entre-temps+Zuspiel/ Judith Schwinn: planet earth rebirth=29th July-21st Aug

Kajsa Dahlberg

Julien Grossmann: Vibrating Revivals

Guillaume Lachapelle: entre-temps

Zuspiel/ Judith Schwinn: planet earth rebirth

29th July-21st August. Künstlerhaus Bethanien gmbh, Kottbusser str. 10, 10999 Berlin, DE, by craniv boyd.


When a group exhibition fails to be a group exhibition, it, a stage for the artist's work, fragments, splits apart into four single artist exhibitions, as exemplified by the current exhibition at Künstlerhaus Bethanien, in the just barely Kreuzberg area of Kreuzberg, Berlin. Sad when artists elect to indulge in the maxim of: "just me and my work by its own self in one big room, looks best".  Three of the lone "emerging" artists, art installations are titled by the "emerging talent" themselves, and one artist, leaves her name as title enough.


Of planet earth rebirth.


Flower arraignments as miniature anthropomorphic figurative micro sculpture. If making it big is not an option for you, than select to make your sculpture truly small and obscenely light, as German, Judith Schwinn does. Carefully glued shaped flora and fauna are Frankenstiened together into dancing monsters that, due to their small stature would most certainly fail in frightening a rat, or large mouse for that matter. The light of foot, figures stand whimsically on thinly gauged, hand formed wire or a narrow above eye-level pedestal. One extra long blue wire is playfully dangled from ceiling water piping tucked behind one structural cross beam. That blue wire dangles downward then culminates upward bound somewhere above waist level with one of the dancing flower creatures hot glued to its novel shaky support.


Of entre-temps.


Clever scale Model making is driven to a fast paced apotheosis or collision, by Canadian Guillaume Lachapelle, section or rooms of the exhibition. Suggestive Freudian models of libraries and bookshelves that in their chaotic folding in, look both, vulvic and yonic. Knowledge acquisition can be seen as akin to diving into the abyss, learning for the bibliophile a pleasurable experience like chaotic sex, or as for French existentialists like J.P. Sartre for whom knowing and possessing were closely relating.  This digression is unwarranted, for Guillaume Lachapelle, has made technically impeccable decorative objects the look like sets for films never to be filmed. The Vagina or chasm libraries, when set four on a grey wall under high harsh dramatic lighting lead viewers either: into a dark pit, or, down staircases, reminiscent of emergency fire stair for buildings, that end with last step in free floating air. With the aid of hidden smoke machine with timed emissions, a darkened curtain drawn room, a glass vitrine and light emitting diodes in each of the banal north American urban street lamp, Mr. Lachapelle creates an atmosphere for a vague memory of the panic of loneliness in fog covered city nights that the viewer should have.


Of Vibrating Revivals


Droning sonic angst or meditative ambient sound sculpture is what, French artist, Julien Grossmann's contribution to his own one-person exhibition at the artist house, known as Bethanien, is. As per obsolete magnetic tape, audio recorders and playback systems, placed on the floor, used as sculpture, with white plastic turning parts wall mounted to extend, and make transparent one big loop of magnetic tape that feeds and cycles over, and over, through said obsolete sound playback system. It is a sculpture that makes a lot of sound while it is doing its job of looking like current art. In another room a more seductive and elegant display of mini, disc shaped speakers as minimal geometric sculpture. Four ways of showing an old Peruvian recording, has its charm, gold colored thin circular speakers, a few centimeters in diameter, that look like Incan jewelry resting on a three leveled slate table that would perhaps cause any true modernist furniture designer to cry. Each of the "four ways" looks, visual, enough when contrasted with the dark colored table surface and subdued lighting, to overshadow the sound component of this artwork, the instance where the speaker discs lay flat is the most transparent, where viewers can know what those little shiny circles are. The low decibel sound, emitted from the flat laying speakers, causes small vibrations to shake up those golden speaker discs. Less convincing is the grey-scale photographic pairings of departed German scientists and explorers and a digital imaging or visualization of a sound record they made when alive. As characters they look bizarre enough, dressed up with combed blond hair in Inuit, costume but as art works it falls rather too neatly into the substratæ of Natural History or Science hall display.     


Of the works of Kjasa Dahlberg.


The Swedish artist, Kajsa Dahlberg, presents two videos, one pamphlet to take home, and on the upstairs level of Künstlerhaus Bethanien's exhibition spaces, a work of art, about a library book and those who read it that begs for written explanation, for more comprehensive understanding of what, the artwork is exactly, due to the fact that it is made entirely of photocopied sheets of paper under glass panels in pristine white display cases. The two videos on the ground level, are looped video documentation of an un-theatrical project for the theater that, is jam packed full of characters one does not normally see in the theatre, non acting Swedish women between the ages of 35, and 85, and a shorter loop which is an interview with an off camera female Danish language speaker, talking of an underground political lesbian "porno film" with the preconditions of you have to be a woman, in order to see it. All works exhibited, by Dahlberg are resolutely anti retinal, and are in many aspects refusals to see, or to show. The video loop is all sound or all image, silent sun-drenched public square across the street from the Mayors office in winter Copenhagen, is shown or the lens cap is on the camera recording video, recording video as the speaker on audio track says the word platform with a Danish accent. Kajsa Dahlberg, makes a rigid contemporary artwork with the dominant contents of, how north European people talk about what a contemporary work of art is.


To rehash:


The works in each of these four one-artist exhibitions are of artists who for whatever reason are not working together, who each have their own, based solely upon the character of their current artwork shown, myopic focus on a niche agenda. Broad generalist visually rewarding or big and heavy artwork are absent. Standing up to be-counted are however, the Xerox copy behind glass, the video loop, the extra large photo graph, the sound installation, the flower, the singular gesture; framed as work on paper, and last but not least the exacting scale model. The works all rest on the smaller side of small scale. The fact that they are impeccably lighted displayed and installed, brings the care behind the meticulous presentation, to the fore, emphasizing hallmark of a more practical artistic sensibility, that the installation technician team of Künstlerhaus Bethanien, doubtlessly possesses. By craniv boyd.   

Louise Bourgeois- The Puritan: 8 Triptychen-1990-1997. Galerie Fahnemann: Fasanenstr. 61 10719 Berlin, de, by craniv boyd.

Louise Bourgeois- The Puritan: 8 Triptychen-1990-1997. Galerie Fahnemann: Fasanenstr. 61 10719 Berlin, de, by craniv boyd.


All is right in Berlin, when you can see, art works on paper, created by a: productive, late, North American and celebrated, artist Louise Bourgeois.  At gallery Fahnemann, the intimate store front setting on a quiet west Berlin street, is pitch perfect with, the reserved, narrative hand colored, copper plate prints by an artist, who was well past sixty years of age when she made the cycle of 8 etchings titled the Puritan.


The structure of the cycle is a cohesive whole and is partitioned into text in the center panel and stereo images of nearly identical geometric abstract forms. The dual images deviate from one another in their details; the hand coloring of the identical plates, the vertical orientation, or where the aqua tint field is, or where ink has been left on the cooper plate for printing.


What most could find unapproachable or inaccessible about geometric abstraction, minimal shapes, there on a picture plane, is in this series of mature Louise Bourgeois playfully subverted. Viewers could be, as I was lured into a game of seeing. Where same-ness of minimal imagery, is teased into singularity, uniqueness of the artists hand. The shapes, that bookend the central text in bland san-serif type, take on illustrative meaning, when set against the words of a mysterious story with, first person, third person, and personal pronouns and no familiar names, yet as shapes, Louise Bourgeois, keeps those elements of the art work, resolutely, on a plane of mysterious import.


The story of The Puritan takes that terrifying space between prose and poetry. And Louise Bourgeois, in this work has not staked all, on one or other of those absolutes. The roughly eight paragraphs long tale asks if the viewers know the New York Sky, and tells them that: they should know it. The words employed in the tale are both clear and uncomplicated, all self reflective of the title and content of the whole series, Puritan.


With eight pages Louise Bourgeois, did a similar accomplishment, short rich story in eight pages only, to German playwright, Heiner Muller and his post-modern eight-page adaptation of W. Shakespeare's Hamlet, die Hamletmaschine. Both works rapidly transport their readership with few pages, the densely complicated references and language of H. Muller, more telling of an artists wordy look from divided Germany, jarringly expressionistic. The Puritan takes people to a different cultural vista, that landscape that speaks of social circles of a successful, elderly artist woman, living on the upper east side of Manhattan, and having a warehouse to make her art in Brooklyn, minimal and stable.


It is a pity, that given such high caliber minimal works on paper are shown, all etchings respite with magical moments of simple art bliss, that one print, all prints carefully, mounted, framed, behind glass would be damaged, holding a hardcore crease deep in the surface of its archival paper. Minimal art, works on paper, brilliant, for their restrained elegance are unforgiving when damaged. By craniv boyd. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ruth Kretzmenn, Insurgency: Opposing the Plasic Law 29.June – 30. Juli 2011, GALERiARTiST,Fasanenstr. 68, 10719 Berlin, by craniv boyd.

Ruth Kretzmann, Insurgency: Opposing the Plastic Law 29.June – 30. Juli 2011, GALERiARTiST,Fasanenstr. 68, 10719 Berlin, by craniv boyd.


If as an current art spectator you are in need of a groovy grand tour of the 19th century, romantic and realist french painting, then Ruth Kretzmann, and her recently hanging one person painting exhibition in central, Berlin West, could have fixed your yen. Ten mid scaled fraught, oils on canvass, with colliding subject matter, amounting to, wry visual punning that imbues the general impression of: gifted young north east sea coast American___Kretzmenn, comes from Massachusetts yet part of her artistic training transpired in Bavaria___ overdosing on the cultural painted assets of the good old world.


That aside we have poetical titling of the artworks with mild sardonicisms like both Philosophizing Sheep, of 2010, and Welcome to my Mansion, of the same year that ask of the viewer to know their G. Courbet form their E. Manet. The images, crafted by Kretzmann are, bastardized mutants of known and celebrated masterpieces of the second half of the 19th century, cloaked in all-to-terrible and gaudy garb.


The nude woman figure in Philosophizing Sheep, which corresponds to the seated staring woman in the now celebrated, and mythical, Manet, placed in the rail terminal turned Museum, Musée d'Orsay, in Paris, smokes a cigarette as she confronts those who behold her. Sheep trample waters in a landscape that would be bucolic were it not for the looks of too much acid rains. Or more literally, day-glo fluorescent blue contour edges delineating both, the wood, and their leaves. A man with a larger than life animal head accompanies her and is seated on a patch of glowing blue grass.


Trite processional lines of minivans,summer-vacation-trailers, clutter, and at times obscure, the leg room of the standing figures in Welcome to my Mansion. Supplementary figures who such as: female blond toddler in diapers, and kneeling, pale, grand-mother type wearing pink cardigan, co-populate the painting plain with Courbet him-self who has the head of a black horse, the art patron, Bruyas the art collector, appearing in Kretzmann's version, both dejected and with a case of hydrocephalus, and the character cast in the role of man servant, in Welcome to my Mansion, is naked below the waist, his, unseen fully frontal nudity, reminiscent of the metaphysical Italian G. de Ciricho large masturbatetor.


In that the paintings are as much about today as they are other older paintings painted at a minimum age of 100 years, the mid scaled oils, of Ruth Kretzmenn, although eclectic, dis-topic in their soucre imagery, and directed in their acerbic titles, are a far cry from being mutinous. As an art exhibition in Berlin west, just a hop, skip or jump from Ku'damm, Insurgency: Opposing the Plastic Law, proffers neither insurrection nor opposition. The paintings, however attest to, artwork of a good colorist. In particular, River Crossing Cattle, of 2011, a painting with two figures in a Phoenician ship fording a river, makes plain with token means,the mysterious sojourn, that can be art creation. By craniv boyd.