André Rottmann

  • “Michael Krebber: The Living Wedge”

    The practice of Cologne-born artist Michael Krebber is as influential as it is (in)famous for laying bare the conditions and conventions of painting (and painter) by means of tentative gestural markings, evacuated canvases, diffident readymades, and lapidary exhibition displays. Krebber’s abstractions always appear to operate at the brink of disappearance as they continuously substitute ciphers of doubt, delay, withdrawal, and hesitation for the medium’s ancestral values of expression, plenitude, and presentness. While painting will take center stage

  • the collected writings of Renée Green

    Other Planes of There. Selected Writings, by Renée Green. Durham, NC, and London: Duke University Press, 2014. 506 pages.

    “MY WORK has for some time included multiple parts, created to coexist and thus create a density of layers, spatially, geometrically, sonically, visually, and textually.” So declared artist Renée Green in her 2004 essay “Why Systems?,” an incisive articulation of the additive method driving many of her works at that moment. The piece is one of the fifty-odd texts compiled for the first time in Other Planes of There, a five-hundred-plus-page volume of her selected writings

  • “Cosima Von Bonin: Hippies Use Side Door. The Year 2014 Has Lost The Plot”

    From its inception in the early 1990s, Cosima von Bonin’s practice has relied on the input and influx of others, a fact evidenced in both the mnemonic matrix of art-historical references manifest in her stuffed-animal sculptures, textile paintings, and labyrinthine installations, and in the number of her projects to which various of her network of peers and colleagues has contributed. Thus, this comprehensive survey will hardly read as a one-woman show, but rather as a display of delegated authorship and enforced collaboration. Alongside reconstructions of her own exhibitions,

  • Christoph Schlingensief

    “Whereas the Fifty-Fourth Venice Biennale’s German pavilion staged a requiem for Christoph Schlingensief (1960–2010), this first retrospective dedicated to the auteur, theater maker, opera director, and performer promises to throw the relentless vitality of his boundary-crossing oeuvre into relief.”

    Whereas the Fifty-Fourth Venice Biennale’s German pavilion staged a requiem for Christoph Schlingensief (1960–2010), this first retrospective dedicated to the auteur, theater maker, opera director, and performer promises to throw the relentless vitality of his boundary-crossing oeuvre into relief. The exhibition, which will remain open day and night for the show’s duration, will offer not only a rich selection of Schlingensief’s filmic works but also several impromptu contributions by his longtime collaborators—a

  • “Thomas Bayrle: All-In-One”

    “On the heels of Thomas Bayrle’s revelatory contribution to Documenta 13, this comprehensive retrospective promises further insight into the trajectory and topicality of the influential German artist’s oeuvre.”

    On the heels of Thomas Bayrle’s revelatory contribution to Documenta 13, this comprehensive retrospective promises further insight into the trajectory and topicality of the influential German artist’s oeuvre. Fusing Minimalist tactics with visual idioms culled from agitprop and popular culture, Bayrle typically works in the mode of so-called super-forms, dystopian portraits of postwar subjectivity derived from the obsessive repetition and modulation of a single pixel-like motif. The exhibition, organized by theme rather than chronology, will present an array of paintings,

  • TRACE ELEMENTS: THE ART OF NAIRY BAGHRAMIAN

    THE ORGANIC AND THE GEOMETRIC, the corporeal and the mechanical, the biomorphic and the technical: At first glance, Nairy Baghramian’s sculpture appears firmly grounded in these antinomies, inevitably recalling the decisive role played by such dualisms in the history of post-Minimalism and Arte Povera.¹ The Berlin-based artist’s invocation of this legacy is not aimed at posthistoire or pastiche, however. Rather, it serves to draw attention to those forces that today put the production and reception of aesthetic objects under permanent duress. At a time when much contemporary sculpture has replaced

  • OPENINGS: JAN TIMME

    LIKE MANY CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS, Jan Timme is committed to engaging the history of the discursive formations and practices that have shaped advanced art since the early twentieth century—but he does so on his own terms, without succumbing to nostalgia, academicism, or simple emulation. In his installations, photographs, sculptural objects, wall writings, films, and audio pieces, the Berlin-based artist often deploys the ironic attitude of the homo ludens to respond to the history of the readymade and to Conceptual and site-specific art of the 1960s and ’70s. Take Sweeping the Desert, 2007,

  • Michael Krebber

    Michael Krebber’s works—comprising not only painting but also artist’s books, arrangements of readymades, and texts—might be identified as symptoms of a diffidence that is interrupted only temporarily, in order to produce material effects, but without allowing for artistic progress. Formats, procedures, and references recur only to continually suspend development. To borrow the terminology of literary scholar Joseph Vogl, one might designate Krebber’s stance as a veritable “system of hesitation” that results in a “specific limbo” in which “opposing forces” simultaneously motivate and block one

  • 1000 WORDS: ALICE CREISCHER, MAX JORGE HINDERER, AND ANDREAS SIEKMANN

    FOUR DECADES AFTER ITS BIRTH, the art of institutional critique—that refractory offspring of 1960s site-specificity and Soviet factography—is under considerable pressure to settle into docile middle age. Of course, institutional critique’s once radical strategies were absorbed into the canon almost immediately after they were introduced; but increasingly, it seems, they are invoked in purely formal fashion by artists who seek legitimation via recourse to a heroic past. At the same time, there is a renewed intensity in the scholarly push for historicization, via a wave of anthologies, conferences,

  • Andreas Gursky

    Since the late 1980s, Andreas Gursky has been getting further and further away from his subjects. The evolution of digital manipulation techniques has enabled the Düsseldorf-based artist to occupy an increasingly remote vantage point from which he casts a privileged gaze on the exclusive sanctuaries of a globalized lifestyle industry and other sites off-limits to the public: a Formula 1 racetrack in Bahrain; man-made archipelagoes off the coast of Dubai; North Korean propaganda spectacles. In this respect, his large-format tableaux pursue an aesthetic strategy of spectacular superficiality in

  • Thomas Demand

    The method Thomas Demand has been using since the early 1990s to produce his often large-scale color photographs has become well-known: The Berlin-based artist and his team generally begin with press photographs, which they use as starting points for constructing detailed replicas of interiors, historical moments, public spaces, nameless buildings, and natural scenery. Demand then photographs these models, labels them with the most generic titles imaginable, and mounts them behind reflective Plexiglas via the Diasec process. These static tableaux are invariably missing certain details of their

  • OPENINGS: FLORIAN PUMHÖSL

    THE EMERGENCE OF POSTCOLONIALISM during the 1960s, which marked the delegitimization of Western modernism’s utopian and universalist project, was accompanied by an eclipse of medium-specificity—something that had in the pre- ceding decades been central to both the production and the criticism of American and European art. Rejecting the self-referentiality of the art object, site-specific Conceptual practices and early forms of institutional critique instead put forward the analysis of modern exhibition conventions (and the ideologies sustaining them) as the ineluctable context and precondition

  • Katharina Sieverding

    In her latest solo show, which formed part of the “Forum Expanded” program associated with this year’s Berlinale, Katharina Sieverding invited viewers to enter literally into a pictorial space in which—as critic Rainer Bellenbaum noted in a lecture during the film festival— the apparatuses of cinema and art exhibition overlapped. Sieverding projected a randomly controlled digital slide show, Projected Data Images, 2009, directly onto a large wall of the gallery, creating a dynamic surface with fragmentary views of architectural monuments of postwar German history repeated in parallel. These

  • Deimantas Narkevičius

    In his first film, Europa 54°54'–25°19', 1997, Deimantas Narkevičius sets out for the center of Europe—which, after a reestimation of the borders of the continent by geographers at the Parisian Institut Géographique National in 1989, is located at a spot in a village called Purnuškės, north of Vilnius (“One Friday morning I got the urge to go and see the center of Europe”). The artist can be heard off-screen explaining that he had previously disregarded the existence of this supposedly highly significant location in Lithuania, dismissing it as just another instance of the sort of ethnocentric

  • Ayşe Erkmen

    Visitors wishing to enter the first retrospective of the work of Ayşe Erkmen were required to pass through a security gate complete with metal detector. This initially irritating prelude is paradigmatic for the aesthetic method of Erkmen (who divides her time between Berlin and Istanbul): The checkpoint, titled Portiport, 1996/2008, resembled those found at any international airport (and, increasingly, other places as well) and announced via its light signals and alarm bells that the threshold of the institutional spaces of contemporary art had literally just been crossed. At the same time,

  • “Solo Show”

    Although corporate production models are increasingly synonymous with art-market success, the notion of individual authorship seems strangely intact. But can an artist working today ever honestly claim to produce a solo show?

    Although corporate production models are increasingly synonymous with art-market success, the notion of individual authorship seems strangely intact. But can an artist working today ever honestly claim to produce a solo show? That is the question at the center of this exhibition of work by one fictional Robbie Williams, created (in collaboration, naturally, with an art-production company, mixedmedia berlin) by Berlin-based artist Natascha Sadr Haghighian, whose practice typically aims at destabilizing the rules and formats of institutional representation. “Solo Show”—as

  • Andrea Fraser

    “I’ve always been very ambivalent about my field, and I made a kind of career out of that . . . ambivalence, but recently, it’s gotten extremely difficult. . . .” In the right-hand channel of her most recent DVD installation, Andrea Fraser is projected at life size and repeatedly bursts into tears. She speaks about feelings of failure, her “long history of commitment to certain principles,” desire for recognition despite her own privileged position, feelings of envy and shame, and admittedly all-too-indecisive rejection of the marketplace and its logic of injustice. Alternately, Fraser is also

  • the 5th Berlin Biennial

    THE BIENNIAL FORMAT may exert a more decisive influence on the field of contemporary art than any other kind of exhibition today, but such shows are also regularly criticized on account of their instrumentalization in the service of both cultural and local political agendas. Noting that this type of large-scale show tends to prioritize post-Conceptual and lens-based practices that engage the historical, economic, and (geo-)political resonances of specific sites in a particular city or region, Julian Stallabrass, in Art Incorporated: The Story of Contemporary Art (2004), goes so far as to argue

  • Kirsten Pieroth

    Untitled (Loan) (all works 2007), the first work viewers encountered in Kirsten Pieroth’s third solo show at Klosterfelde, comprised a vitrine and seven unframed photographs. An ironic examination of the international exhibition industry and its protocols, the images documented the Berlin-based artist’s contribution to “Learn to Read,” a group show at Tate Modern last fall. Pieroth had borrowed the wall label for the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in order to show it in London as an unassisted readymade, using this self-reflexive gesture to reenact the paradigmatic shift from work to frame (to borrow

  • Andreas Siekmann

    WITH SOME SIX MONTHS’ critical distance from last summer’s hyberbolic “Grand Tour,” it is now apparent that one of its most notable effects, in terms of the making of individual reputations, has been the increasing international attention enjoyed by the work of Andreas Siekmann. Indeed, the Berlin-based artist was, other than Martha Rosler, the only person represented both at Documenta 12 in Kassel and at Skulptur Projekte Münster 07. No doubt this visibility stems in part from the ways in which Siekmann’s politically engaged work, as it was installed in public spaces in Kassel and Münster,