Winter-Special at Trödelmarkt
Peter Kalkhof: Moon eclipse
Jude Griebel: Arms, Eyes, Detritus
September 14 until October 26, 2017
Modern Grotesque 2, 2017
Jude Griebel’s new work continues his examination of our ambiguous relationship with the material and natural worlds. The work in Arms, Eyes, Detritus is displayed on shelving that positions the collection as anthropological artifacts, revealing both the absurdity and anxiety of the 21st century.
Jude Griebel grew up in the open landscape of the Canadian prairies. It’s a place where it’s easy to imagine the natural world as dominant, a setting in which humans have mounted heroic struggles to tame and shape nature into a habitable environment. For all the blue sky and waves of grain, this is a manmade world with millions of acres of crops, including GMOs, sprayed for weeds, bugs and disease. The ruins of the family farm stud the landscape: barns that once housed animals and grain, fences, abandoned windmills that still turn in the summer heat, all replaced by industrial farming. In Barn Skull RR4 and Barn Skull RR5 (RR is a rural route in Canada) Griebel interprets rural ruin as biological remains, evoking human loss in the hollow stare of the barn.
By embodying environmental degradation and romanticized ruin in human forms, Griebel invites us into an awkward confrontation with our place in the landscape we inhabit and are creating. Thinning Glacier stumbles forward with the confusion and pathos of Frankenstein’s monster, its body melting and weeping, monstrous and pitiable. In Drag and Stretched Thin, emissions from jets and transport trucks create a stick figure of thick grey cloud; at the same time they stretch and drag their fragile faceless creature towards certain destruction. Griebel uses diorama techniques to create colossal figures in a miniaturized human world. At once imposing and ethereal, their shaky balance reflects the uncertainty of a society that has created a reality it both wants and fears.
As he removes the barriers between us, the detritus of our material world, and our anthropological past, grotesque figures evolve. In the series of Modern Grotesques, Griebel chooses unmistakable contemporary corporate icons: MacDonald’s, Evian, Coke, Starbucks, and the ubiquitous plastic straws and cutlery that nourish disposable culture. The grimacing heads, ruins from antiquity complete with lichen, recall Italian renaissance garden statuary from the Gardens of Bomarzo and the Giardino Giusti in Verona; these contemporary chimeras clash the past into the present with dispiriting results.
There is playfulness here that is at odds with the gravity of the theme. In Wreck, a toy-like sailboat skips along candy coloured waves towards a small island; beneath the waves a more sinister reality reaches towards the surface. Arms, Eyes, Detritus challenges us to understand where we find ourselves in this narrative, and to accept that the line is not as clear as we might hope.
June 29 until August 13, 2017
„sans titre“, 2017
Theatrically, almost surreally, always constructed and stage-like, the paintings of Benjamin Moravec move on the narrow ridge between reality and virtuality.
Gloomy, eerie rooms accommodate a “picture in picture” on an easel-like construct, on which a radiant, almost romantic landscape appears; in confusing fascinating tableaux, strange spatial structures overlap with the image of a human figure; landscape representations are broken by irritating image surfaces. Moravec is always concerned with “the effect of images on our perception of reality” and the investigation of how people deal with today’s mass of images.
Jochen Pankrath: Neue Töne
April 27 until June 12, 2017
Bodypainting III, 2017
New tones are emanating from Jochen Pankrath’s painting. Having been awarded numerous prizes in recent years, the artist is now expanding his palette with the exhibition at Galerie Sturm. Intense yellow, luminous blue, and a deeply nuanced white bring an increased focus on color to his images. At the same time, the works actually deal with color itself as the basis of painting. Although Jochen Pankrath employs traditional artistic themes, such as the figure and still life, he draws attention to the fact that all figurative painting – as well as abstract painting – is ultimately composed of color. His work reveals that although the image depicted indeed is not real, it does however show the painter’s ideas, which then work in combination with the paint to generate a reality that only exists on the canvas.
In the dreamlike, surreal scenarios, Jochen Pankrath produces conceptual images that make us question how we deal with the visual reality that is constructed through paint. This is the case in his work “Engaged Leg – Free Leg” in which the model is seen in the process of metamorphosis – the viewer bears witness to the act of creating an image. It is reminiscent of René Magritte and his work The Treachery of Images, which includes the famous text: “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (this is not a pipe). That work similarly deals with the question of what is actually on the canvas, for it is in fact not a pipe, but merely a representation thereof, or – to be completely honest – paint on a canvas.
That’s how Jochen Pankrath also captures what René Magritte, the great philosopher among the Surrealists, once called the “inspired moment.” This inspired moment is the visualization in the image of that which is concealed behind the things. It is the attempt to encourage the viewers to think differently about the world, to shift their perspectives, and in doing so, to inspire new realizations about things they had previously taken for granted. This is what Johannes Hüppi is referring to in his statement on Pankrath’s paintings: “Sometimes it is just that simple. You paint what you see and shift the reality a little, making it more dreamlike or more believable, in order to understand more from life.”
Anne Simone Krüger, Art Historian, M.A., Hamburg
Translated into English by Theodore Kuttner
Jasmin Schmidt: The Arena Enigma
March 9 until April 13, 2017
Tree snake green, Indian yellow, fiery red, and ultramarine – the new works of Jasmin Schmidt captivate the viewer with their intense palette. When you step in front of one of her large-format works, you dive into a world that is composed of numerous nuances of color. The paintings are structured by patterns. Like intricate street patterns on a map, they traverse the image surface in multiple layers. By superimposing these patterns, shifting them in opposite directions, they create an extremely unconventional spatial structure, whose depth and dimensions are difficult to discern. Similar to Barnett Newman’s color field paintings, they encourage the viewer to lose himself in the expanse of the image. However, in contrast to Newman’s paintings composed entirely of color fields, in Schmidt’s work, since our brain is predisposed to finding patterns, we begin to mentally align the structures and search for associations. Why is this honeycomb pattern so familiar to us? And where have we seen these distorted diamond shapes before?
The point of departure for the “cover” group was a book series for young adults from the 1970s, which had a cover design that stood out due to its unusual structure. The artist picked up on the formal elements and colors and freely interpreted them – this resulted in images that catch your eye with their unconventional blend of intense dynamism and geometric harmony, but are also reminiscent of other objects, such as the layout of a board game. Honeycombs, diamond shapes, shapes arranged in a star pattern – these are forms that have been familiar to us viewers since our early childhood. Even Friedrich Schiller dealt with the importance of play and games for mankind.1 Also, the cultural anthropologist Johan Huizinga proposed that human capabilities only unfold and cultural creations such as art can only result from the joy of purely doing something for its own sake, from undertaking an action that is in itself rewarding and doesn’t serve the needs of anyone else.2 So Jasmin Schmidt’s work may also be read as a homage to the creative potential of mankind.
This allusion is also seen in the title, albeit somewhat ambiguously. “The Arena Enigma” creates a metaphor for the creation of these pieces. On the one hand, the artist describes how art is a playground where the images are created “in oscillation between the poles of discovery, the tangible, the associative, and along the paths that are opened up by their various combinations.” On the other hand, the artist’s studio can be viewed as an arena where the continuous endeavor of exploring form is played out. The arena enigma, the intuitive moment of inspiration, can never be solved, neither by the artist herself nor by the viewers – yet when we view these works with playful curiosity, they show us that we are at least on the right path.
Anne Simone Krüger, Art Historian, M.A., Hamburg
Virtual Art Experience
January 28, 2017
Cafe Herrlich, Nonnengasse 12-14, 90402 Nuremberg