During Gallery Weekend Berlin Galerie Nordenhake presents its fifth solo exhibition of photographer Michael Schmidt (1945-2014). Schmidt’s works are characterised by the persistent quest of finding a new approach to reality by means of photography.
Since the mid 1990s his oeuvre includes works that the artist created by using images from his working archive. The process of re-contextualising his individual shots forms an integral part of Schmidt’s artistic practice. The interval between the shooting of the pictures and the revision enables a different perspective on the original subject. The artist also aims to reactivate the aesthetic potential of the archived material by employing different artistic criteria and creating new compilations of the works. This editorial process of not merely selecting but also re-arranging the photographs ultimately leads to a novel interpretation.
This process is employed in NATUR, a project that Schmidt completed shortly before his death in 2014. The exhibition of the delicate small-scale prints from negatives dating back to 1987-97 is preceded by the creation of a photo book, a practice at the core of Schmidt’s work. The choice of the title indicates that the artist goes beyond the mere depiction of a specific landscape and articulates an idea of nature in a distinctive pictorial language. Schmidt’s black and white images contain a wealth of silver tones and rich greys imbuing the images with an almost physical sense of gravity or lightness. The selection of the subjects, the employment of focus and blur and above all the implementation of light convey an existential understanding of nature and its significance for us.
Michael Schmidt was born in 1945 in Berlin, where he died in 2014. He is regarded as one of the seminal German post-war photographers. His works can be found in national and international collections and have been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions. A major retrospective of Michael Schmidt's work curated by Thomas Weski is planned for 2020 and will be shown in one of the museums of the Nationalgalerie Berlin.
In 1976, Michael Schmidt founded the Werkstatt für Fotografie at VHS Berlin-Kreuzberg, which became a major forum for international discussions on photography in (West) Berlin. In 1987 he exhibited WAFFENRUHE (CEASEFIRE) at Berlinische Galerie. In 1988 the Museum of Modern Art, New York presented the work in the exhibition „New Photography 4“. In 1996 EIN-HEIT was shown for the first time at MoMA, New York under its English title U-NI-TY. This was the first solo-exhibition of a German photographer at MoMA since decades. In the same year, EIN-HEIT was presented for the first time in Germany at Sprengel Museum Hanover. In 1995 a first survey exhibition of his work was on view at Museum Folkwang Essen, after the museum had shown exhibitions of Schmidt in 1981 and 1988. In 2010 Michael Schmidt presented his comprehensive survey exhibition “Grey as Colour. Photographs since 2009” at Haus der Kunst, Munich.
Michael Schmidt participated in the 55th Venice Biennial in 2013, and the Berlin Biennial in 2006 and 2010. LEBENSMITTEL (FOOD) was presented in solo exhibitions at Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen (2012), Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck (2013) and at Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin (2013). In 2014 the artist was awarded with the prestigious Prix Pictet for his work LEBENSMITTEL. The Prix Pictet exhibition ”Consumption" was on view at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and then travelled extensively in both Europe and internationally.
The Foundation for Photography and Media Art with the Michael Schmidt Archive was founded in 1999, and since the artist’s death is organising and preserving the artist’s archive.
OPENING: APRIL 29, 6-9 pm
Opening hours during Gallery Weekend: April 30th & May 1st 11-19 h
The third iteration of the Hammer’s biennial exhibition continues to highlight the practices of artists working throughout Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.
As part of an ongoing series, Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only addresses Los Angeles as a center of activity inseparable from the global network of art production and reveals how artists move fluidly between contexts and respond to their local conditions. Subtitled by the minimalist poet and writer Aram Saroyan as his contribution to the exhibition, Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only extends into such disciplines as dance, fashion, literature, music, film, and performance.
Rather than a unifying regional aesthetic, sensibility, or identity historically associated with Los Angeles, Made in L.A. 2016 focuses on artists from different disciplinary backgrounds, allowing individual projects and bodies of work to shape the overall exhibition. It features condensed monographic surveys, comprehensive displays of multiyear projects, the premiere of new bodies of work, and newly commissioned works from emerging artists.
We are pleased to present Zhang Ruyi's second solo exhibition “Pause”, will be opened on April 23, 2016. It will showcase the artist's newest paintings and sculptures. The dynamic relation between Zhang Ruyi's personal artistic experiences and the materials gleaned from everyday life as expressed in this exhibition is subtle and contains a tensile force. The artist's subversive resourcefulness is implanted within the fragmented exhibition space. The exhibition duration of Pause will last until May 29, 2016.
Zhang Ruyi's artistic creations exist within the logic of life. As described by the artist herself, she carefully observes natural settings and objects in life that have become baptized by industrial civilization. She questions the cumbersome relationships of bondage that are produced under the reiterating industrial model. At the same time, she attempts to give the thus systemized possibilities a place in her artistic creation process. For the artist this is a recurring and ponderously lingering state. From the gently withering clues, she simultaneously filters out the softness and hardness of individual experience. In fact, the relation between Zhang Ruyi's individual experiences and the world around her is either a realistic contradiction or a spiritual ‘running-in', or perhaps an emotional restraint. Confronted with these layers upon layers of collisions, she brings the rationality of artistic exploration back to the world of everyday life (Lebenswelt). In her artistic practice she clearly highlights the insignificant objects that common sense would typically deem mundane and trivial.
In the words of Michel Foucault: “ It was a matter of knowing how to govern one's own life in order to give it the most beautiful form possible (in the eyes of others, of oneself, and of the future generations for whom one could serve as an example).” The various hints displayed in Pause, whether it's images produced as extensions of the manipulation and mutation of plant shapes (cactuses), paintings that result from the three-dimensional progression between surfaces and the space as a whole, or sculptural works that lie scattered and weave through the exhibition space, all these allude to the erosion and occupation of individual serenity and spatial resources as a result of modern civilization's rapid progress. The artist uses post-minimalist forms to consciously make subtle interventions in the objects that make up the fabric of her life. One example would be her 'modification’ of power sockets that support the loop ports of modern mechanisms. Throughout her artistic creation, Zhang Ruyi attempts to strip away her personal artistic language, letting the ‘material’ itself become the driving force. Otherwise put, Zhang Ruyi deliberately retains an appropriate distance to this world, occasionally coming to a standstill and leaving behind silence. In these moments of pause, she painstakingly constructs a part of life. In doing so, she achieves a renewed annotation of intricate issues.
Zhang Ruyi (b. 1985, Shanghai, China). Recent exhibitions include “A Beautiful Disorder”, Cass Sculpture Foundation, London, England (2016); “We, A Community of Chinese Contemporary Artists”, K11 Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2016); “Non-Figurative”, 21st Century Minsheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2015). Zhang Ruyi currently lives and works in Shanghai, China.
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