Opening reception 4 x 1: Four fellows of the German National Academic Foundation and the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research in the Galerie Heinz-Martin Weigand
on Friday, June 26, 2009 (7pm to 10pm) we are opening the exhibition 4 x 1 with works from Matthias Böhler, Felix Burger, Charlotte Simon and Joscha Steffens
(klick auf das Bild = Weiterleitung zur Website mit den Bildern der Ausstellung)
The artists will be present at the opening reception .
4 x 1. Four fellows of the German National Academic Foundation and the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research Opening reception: Friday, June 26, 2009 at 7pm Exhibition from June 27 to August 15, 2009 Galerie Heinz-Martin WeigandMuehlenstr. 31D-76275 Ettlingen/Karlsruhe, Germany+49.7243.536262
In the group exhibition 4x1 the Heinz-Martin Weigand Gallery presents the works of three fellows of the German National Academic Foundation and one holder of a development grant of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research.
The four young artists are or were students at different colleges, they work with different media and, at first sight, they have little in common other than those above-mentioned awards. A closer examination of their works makes it evident that they share an interest in thematising staging and in the exploration of so-called reality at the sensitive borders of forgery, manipulation, and other forms of sabotaging reality.
Matthias Böhler's drawings and installations deal with the kindling and simultaneous destruction of romantic yearnings for the perfect idyll.Contentually he is concerned with the precarious tension between nature and culture.For his model worlds he uses natural or processed materials from hardware stores and from everyday life, products of our consumer society. With these, he creates illusory, ironic spaces and projection screens, assembling them with economic gestures whilst at the same time making use of their specific material properties.In Fondor, for example, the drilling rig, as dictated by the slant of the MDF, curves towards the sea, itself made of panels, on which the streaks of leaking oil form lakes, carpets of fondor.In some of Böhler’s works the lighting plays an important role when it comes to creating certain eerie moods. For this he uses desk lamps which he attaches to the plinths of his installations. They have the same effect as spotlights or floodlights. In Forst (forest), they cast their light through the scrawny trees, the leaves covered in house dust, whose shadows fall on a barren Styrofoam landscape. Seen from a distance his sculptures and drawings appear to be romantic, aesthetically staged idylls. When one gets closer, however, this impression gives way to disillusionment; they are transformed into persiflages, commentaries on the way our culture treats nature.
Matthias Böhler studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg and is currently enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.
Felix Burger's works deal with dreams and constructed memories. His videos and sculptures thematise the smooth transition from reality governed by the intellect to fiction created by our subconscious. The artist takes great pleasure in inventing biographies, in skilfully forging documents and manipulating photographs.He presents the results of this passion in provisional, minimalistically constructed cabinets.They focus only on their interior, and force the viewers to engage with them by entering Burger’s world - through a hole or a small door which opens onto imaginative, dreamlike or nightmarish scenarios, thematically rooted in the bourgeois lifestyle to which the artist alludes with stucco, rugs, and parquet flooring.Dramaturgically, Burger relies upon sound and lighting effects which he frequently combines with specific individual objects in order to evoke his characteristic ambivalent moods. In his way Felix Burger seems to move effortlessly through the past, to recreate it afresh again and again.
"His work Burgers Geisterbahn (Burger’s ghost train), from the outside a pragmatic case made of wood plates, expands internally into an opulently forceful account of a fictitious ghost train. Felix Burger declares himself director and shows in this red, museum-like space a conglomeration of manipulated photographs, fictitious entry tickets, absurd noises, fake letters, and constructed memories. It is a claustrophobic space which, besides amalgamating reality and fiction, and obsessively dealing with a cultural hybrid, is also humorous. It is a dark, intellectual irony which is at odds with the world. This work of art is in the tradition of Karl Valentin1, a tradition of subversive dislocation of perception." Stephan Huber
Felix Burger studied art history and philosophy at the LMU Munich, sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, and new media at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.
Charlotte Simon is also interested in artistic self-staging. She, quite literally, moves in the sphere of video.Short clips from musicals, videos, sentimental films with an idealised regional setting etc. form the basis for her montages. She isolates passages, paints over them, recreates scenes or tells them differently, she comments, she plays and dances with the protagonists in her videos.Film offers her a vast stage on which she can operate and manipulate, free from reality. The artist stages herself in ironically amateurish, melodramatic roles. She composes the music to accompany those clips herself or records it live herself. Using backdrops, she expands her video collages into the exhibition space. These mock-up constructions are used as projection spaces and, at a secondary level, quote elements from the respective films; stages through which the visitors move as an audience.An extremely interesting aspect of her work is the thematisation of failure, variants of which she lives through in her clips and provokes in feigned yearning for fame, harmony, and eternal childish fantasies.
Charlotte Simon studies liberal arts at the Akademie Mainz and is currently a guest student with Prof Judith Hopf at the Frankfurt Städelschule.
Joscha Steffens uses photography to examine questions of authenticity and its points of attack. Unlike Simon and Burger, however, he is interested in an invisible intervention. His pictures show moments the way they were or could have been. The artist mixes documentary and staged photographs and deliberately refrains from showing which is which. He is fascinated by the great tension between found fleetingness, staging, and digital imaging which this medium allows him to create.
In his more recent photographic works he thematises behavioural patterns of teenagers, a group which - influenced by the omnipresent media images - reacts by staging itself. There seems to be an unspoken compulsion to be constantly partying and to be excessive, whilst, paradoxically, at the same time affecting an attitude of boredom. This arises from a certain affluence, the excessive demands made by a multitude of possibilities, and the lack of idols (everybody is a star). As a result the young people he photographs are frozen in poses of the perceived, seemingly endless banality of reality.Be it the photograph of the Pornonauti (pornonoauts), where five teenagers are shown in a backyard, in the process of making a porn film. The protagonists seem rather lacking in ambition - maybe they already have an inkling that the kick they crave will not happen. Or Silvia's Room, a girl lying on a bed in a darkened room on whose walls hang indefinable photographs and posters. These do not help us to know what to make of this scene, only a poster of the Doors offers an irritating reference to this generation, which did not have to rebel against its parents idols and is still looking for new, more radical representatives of the zeitgeist.
The artist conveys the perceived dilemma of these teenagers by means of a certain arbitrariness and interchangeability of the protagonists and locations of his photographs like, for example, the three women in Strandbar (beach bar), a scene which could have been photographed on any one of many beaches. At first sight Steffens’ images do not seem to be very different from the snapshots which circulate on the internet, taken with mobile telephones by young people in order to document their parties and their everyday lives. Only upon a closer look does an eclectic displacement become evident, controlled by Steffens’ dramaturgy of light, the composition of the image, and the deliberate use of accessories.
Joscha Steffens studied at the University for Arts and Design in Karlsruhe and is currently enrolled at the Leipzig Academy of Visual Arts.
more information about the show on my website
I would be very happy if you have the opportunity to visit the show and/or the linked website. Best regards,
Heinz-Martin Weigand Galerie Heinz-Martin Weigand
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