Catrin Lorch

  • Jorge Pardo, Untitled (detail), 2012, MDF, paint, wood, acrylic, dimensions variable.

    Jorge Pardo

    Parts of each of five large paintings by Jorge Pardo (all works Untitled, 2012) hung in the first room at Galerie Gisela Capitain. But they extended far beyond this one space: Like moss or lichen, they proliferated on the walls of all three of the gallery’s rooms, in each of which was also one of three large lamps. For many years now, Pardo has been using all sorts of light sources as material for his three-dimensional works, so these new lamps, their freshness notwithstanding—they have an organic presence with painted round shades and the protruding tangles of tentacles cut out of wood

  • Roman Ondák, Enter the Orbit (detail), 2011, mixed media, ninety-six elements, dimensions variable.

    Roman Ondák

    The Sputnik lies there like a sack of sturdy linen with stenciled numbers. It’s even got an address: ROMAN ONDÁK, SPUTNIKOVA 1, BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA. Seventeen stamps commemorating the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957 show the Earth as a blue ball encircled by a blue ring representing the spacecraft’s orbit. The stamps bear cancellation marks. This work, After Return from Orbit, 2011, appears to be part of a dream that has haunted Slovak artist Roman Ondák for many years—at least since 2004 when, for one of his first major works, Spirit and Opportunity, 2004, he built up an artificial Martian

  • Guillermo Faivovich & Nicolás Goldberg, El Taco, 2010, iron and nickel, two halves, each approx. 23 5/8 x 51 x 63".

    Guillermo Faivovich & Nicolás Goldberg

    Entering the Portikus exhibition hall, you walked directly toward a solitary dark boulder, split in half down the middle. The boulder is about a yard across, knee-high, and jagged as a nugget of lava. But the split edge is smooth and perfect. Its precision distinctly shows that this cut was carried out deliberately, with carefully calibrated instruments. And while one half looks rusty and a bit weathered, as though it had been outdoors a long time, the other has a metallic sheen; it seems to have been sheltered from the elements.

    Though this boulder, which constituted the entirety of the show “

  • Michael Venezia

    In a career spanning more than half a century, Michael Venezia has pursued a mode of painting based on drastic forms of reduction developed under strict constraints. This exhibition, “Nacht wird Tag” (Night Becomes Day), gave an overview of his oeuvre since 1969 but with special emphasis on works of the past two years. From the first, the Brooklyn-born artist was influenced above all by his encounters with what would soon be known as Minimalism: After dropping out of college in 1958, he returned to New York, where he found a job at the Museum of Modern Art; his coworkers there were Dan Flavin,

  • Reinhard Mucha

    Reinhard Mucha’s first solo show since his appearance at Luhring Augustine in New York in 1998—and his first show in Düsseldorf in twenty-three years—was both familiar and unfamiliar. He is still recycling traces of the past: Entering the gallery, one saw to one’s left a tall stack of twelve gray wooden crates containing (but also part of) unsold copies of the artist’s Edition 1991–Kreuzstück (Edition 1991–Cross Piece), 2004, and right next to them a vitrine titled Before the Wall Came Down, 2008; to the right, on the side wall, were a series of untitled oil paintings from 1986 by Mucha’s friend

  • Stephen Willats

    The name “European Kunsthalle c/o Ebertplatz” sounds grand, but Ebertplatz is a rather blank underpass lined with shops, built in the 1970s, in which a formerly empty storefront has been temporarily occupied. The interloper is an organization created several years ago by a group of artists, architects, curators, critics, and designers who came together when the Kunsthalle am Josef-Haubrich-Hof—a cultural center born out of the spirit of the ’70s—was torn down. There probably aren’t many artists who would be better suited to exhibit in this space than Stephen Willats, who came of age then: “At

  • Nairy Baghramian

    The building that houses the Neuer Aachener Kunstverein is simple: two levels, each a single long room, connected by a plain staircase. This manageable structure was the perfect setting for Nairy Baghramian’s exhibition “Affairen. Ein semiotisches Haus, das nie gebaut wurde. Zu Gast: Janette Laverrière und Henrik Olesen” (Affairs. A Semiotic House That Was Never Built. Guests: Janette Laverrière and Henrik Olesen). In it, the artist staged doublings, reflections, recollections, and meetings. Downstairs, the sculpture Entrechambrage vertical, 2008, greeted exhibition-goers. An architectural

  • Rita McBride

    Assembled out of softly rounded wooden elements and painted a bright yellow, Rita McBride’s Arena, 1997, filled the entire exhibition space of the Witte de With in Rotterdam when it was first shown that year, reaching almost to the ceiling. Yet its imposing format appeared to be truncated, an abbreviated version of what was possible—the curve along which nine rows of seats rose up could have been augmented by several more to produce a complete circle, but was instead left incomplete. Fittingly, in the Museum Abteiberg’s “Public Works,” McBride’s first retrospective in Germany, Arena can only be

  • Roman Ondak

    It would have been easy enough for hundreds of Japanese steelworkers to cast a steel sculpture the size of a full-grown Serra—it was no doubt trickier to convince them to undertake the playful bit of bricolage Roman Ondak asked of them, a task they eventually carried out with imaginative precision: The artist gave 500 workers a chocolate bar apiece, asking them to save the wrapping paper and sculpt something out of it. A white veneer table, nearly twenty feet across, now serves as a wide pedestal to hold these tiny, shimmering silver sculptures—miniature boats, boots, heads, classical origami,

  • Matts Leiderstam

    Just past the entrance to “Nachbild” (After Image), the first solo show in a German institution by Swedish artist Matts Leiderstam, one saw a grotto. Photographed in the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, it reached to the ceiling: a slide projection on an almost entirely freestanding painted wooden board. At the center of the grotto, as part of the photographic mise-en-scène, stands an easel with a painting that in turn displays a landscape, Leiderstam’s own copy of Nicolas Poussin’s Spring or the Earthly Paradise, painted in Rome in the seventeenth century.

    At first we seemed to be viewing a sort of

  • Tris Vonna-Michell

    The photocopies strewn across the floor appeared to be left over from a demonstration. Behind them, fresh pages lay ready, sorted into eleven little stacks lined up along one wall. This was Leipzig Calendar Works, 2005/2007, and it sometimes came to life in the presence of museum visitors: Tris Vonna-Michell would appear and ask to be given a length of time—thirty seconds per page, one minute per page, two minutes, whatever. If the visitors gave him thirty seconds per page, then, with the artist reading one sheet from each stack, they could expect a story exactly five and a half minutes long.

  • Manuel Graf

    One cannot help but cower at the feet of Ekkehard Wallat—not least because the older gentleman appears almost life-size in a projection that fills the entirety of a gallery wall; the room is furnished with low, modern plastic stools. Wallat is a teacher accustomed to translating complex ideas into simple formulas. Here, in a presentation more graceful and direct than that of any politician or late-night talk-show host, he summarizes the evolutionary theory of Otto Heinrich Schindewolf, comparing the curvatures of the skulls of adult and child Homo sapiens with those of their ancestors since