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
Green, Blue and You expands on the themes already explored by Marco Basta (*1985 Milan) in the previous exhibition Rainy Days, presented in 2012 in the spaces of the gallery in Milan.
The Green and Blue mentioned in the title are the main tones of the works in the show, but also refer to different moods, ranging from great serenity to melancholy. Here we can already glimpse the ambiguity that lies behind Basta’s poetics: a title that offers a possible key of interpretation, but at the same time opens the way to other directions and readings.
Delving deeper into the works on show, one of the artist’s leitmotifs is the image of a vase: an archaic, real but also always symbolic element, the mythological vessel of Pandora with hope hidden in its depths. The form of the vase is determined by empty space, and as Alessandro Mendini puts it, “drawing a vase is like drawing a thought.” The fact that the void determines its shape, perfectly reflects the work of Marco Basta, in which there is a subtle shift between what is seen and what exists, where the perception moves from outside to inside, from visible to invisible.
Vases are seen in the show both in pictorial form, where a slender graphic line indicates their elegant profile, and sculptural form, like the vase-column Genova. The latter is a reminder of medieval phytomorphic spiral columns, where nature – another constant in Basta’s research – manifests itself in an abstract form.
Abstraction also comes into play in the large glazed ceramic sheets, where the random arrangement of the colored pigments can be seen as a landscape: Mississippi is a large blue abstraction that speaks of the delta of a river, or the memory of an atoll seen from above, with its shadings and variations, from the depth of the sea to the translucent surface of the water.
The show is completed by a neon work, with more urban implications, but that, with its circular structure, evokes an embroidery made with the age-old bobbin lace technique, in which a continuous line gives rise to a design: an attempt to grant form to the void, just as in the vases.
The circle closes, leaving a constellation of hypotheses, memories and allusions, sometimes clarified by the titles of the works, sometimes left suspended in a rarified, silent atmosphere.
Marco Basta, in 2015, won the residency of the Fondazione per l’Arte of Rome, and took part in the exhibition Wholetrain. His work was included in 2014 in the group show The Remains of the Day curated by Rita Selvaggio at Casa Masaccio in San Giovanni Valdarno; in 2012 at Gasconade and the Galleria d’Arte Moderna of Milan, in the group show Fuoriclasse curated by Luca Cerizza; and in 2011 in the exhibition Vedere un oggetto, vedere la luce at Palazzo Re Rebaudengo in Guarene d’Alba
Platform China Contemporary Art Institute is pleased to present Tong Kunniao’s solo exhibition “Dreaming an Earth” on 17th April, the show will be run until May 22th. This will be the gallery’s second solo exhibition of the artist’s work.
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