Dominikus Müller

  • Hans-Christian Lotz

    The works: all Untitled, 2020, organized in two groups. The exhibition: likewise untitled. Additional information: nil. Hans-Christian Lotz clearly didn’t much care to communicate with the audience or provide any overarching ideas for context. And the objects on view seemed to insist on the hard facticity of their industrial materials, some nerdily technical, others metallically cold, but all appearing peremptory and forbidding.

    The gearhead faction consisted of three pieces in which metal rods, looking a bit like inverted pendulums, are each topped with a single flower. The thin shafts mounted

  • Susanne Paesler

    The title of this exhibition was blunt: “Pattern Recognition.” Selected by the gallery together with the curator Tenzing Barshee, the paintings on view sported abstract patterns in the narrow and almost banal sense of the word: stripes, chessboards, rectangles. Dating from the first half of the too-brief career of the Berlin-based painter Susanne Paesler, who died in 2006 at the age of forty-three, these works were made between 1991 and 1998—an interregnum between painting’s comeback of the 1980s and its revival of the 2000s.

    Perhaps that interval of diminishing stakes and fading significance

  • Henrike Naumann

    Henrike Naumann’s first exhibition at KOW was about history in the broadest sense of the term. More precisely, it was a reflection on memory and the mechanisms through which recent history is written by still more recent history, as well as a study of the ways in which the now defunct German Democratic Republic figured in collective East German memory during the 1990s. The exhibition’s title was the portmanteau word Ostalgie—a contraction of the German words for east and nostalgia—which has come to describe nostalgia for everyday life in East Germany before it was exposed to the hardships of

  • Daniel Pflumm

    Daniel Pflumm’s exhibition at Galerie Neu—his first solo show in fifteen years at his Berlin gallery, featuring his first new video works in more than a decade—had the makings of a comeback. Pflumm built a reputation in the club scene of post-1989 Berlin, launching the now-legendary techno venues Elektro and Panasonic. By the turn of the millennium, he was gaining more and more recognition in the art world, which thrilled to his fast-cut videos and light boxes with gutted brand logos. Then, suddenly, the artist disappeared from view. A lot has happened since then: The city, technology, and the

  • Karla Black

    In recent years Karla Black has become famous for sculptures made of untreated, pastel-colored powdered plaster, ghostly accumulations of plastic sheeting that appear to have been casually, carelessly left to hang in midair, and incredibly fragile-looking paper objects that can stand up on their own but look as if even the slightest breeze would topple them. In short, she has been exploring the ephemeral qualities of enduring transitional states, which she has inscribed in the floury or scraggy bodies of sculptures that are balanced perfectly on the edge between form and anti-form. Her recent

  • Stefan Müller

    Let’s not beat around the bush: Stefan Müller’s “Salon der Daheim-gebliebenen” (Salon for the Ones Who Stayed Home) was a straight-up painting show. And as so often happens when painting starts to get interesting, it was treated here as “material”—both literally, with respect to the “material” of canvas and its preparation, and figuratively, as a self-reflexive “theme,” a set of various basic elements that can be shuffled and interwoven in many different ways.

    The process of painting, Müller reminds us, begins already with the various textures of the canvases and materials as well as the

  • Tobias Madison

    The title of Tobias Madison’s recent show was the tautological mantra “Do It to Do It,” a phrase borrowed from Donald Trump’s 1987 book, The Art of the Deal. This information—presented in the small accompanying catalogue—laid a trail from the outset: The exhibition was likely to be about the entrepreneurial side of making art and being an artist. Entering the show itself, one was immediately struck by the large number of collaborations, for example, Bora Bora Structure for Munich, 2010, created in collaboration with Kaspar Müller: hammocklike seats and other objects, all made of bamboo,

  • Katarina Zdjelar

    First comes the music. Even before the first images appear in Katarina Zdjelar’s seven-minute-long video Shoum, 2009, one of three works in her recent exhibition “One or Two Songs,” we hear the first measures of the 1984 Tears for Fears megahit “Shout.” And only afterward do the images arrive: We see an iPod, a sheet of paper, but above all hands, chapped hands with unkempt, dirty fingernails—the hands of hardworking men—holding pens. Over the course of the next seven minutes, two men—who, as the press release informs us come from Belgrade—attempt to decipher the lyrics of “Shout” as though they

  • interviews June 03, 2010

    Damien Hirst and Michael Joo

    Damien Hirst and Michael Joo have organized an exhibition of their works at Haunch of Venison’s cavernous Berlin branch, and have titled it “Have You Ever Really Looked at the Sun?” Here, both artists discuss the show, which is on view until August 14, as well as their long friendship.

    “HAVE YOU EVER REALLY LOOKED AT THE SUN?” is derived from a joke about snowmen. One asks another: “Can you smell carrots?” Of course, snowmen can’t smell carrots, not only because they can’t smell but also because it’s the very material their noses are made of. So in response to that, we’re asking this question

  • Sven Johne

    Sven Johne is not one of the loud ones. In a typically melancholic tone, the Berlin-based artist tells laconic stories of life and fate.

    Sven Johne is not one of the loud ones. In a typically melancholic tone, the Berlin-based artist tells laconic stories of life and fate. Often these tales of suicide, misfortune, and emancipation are lifted from local newspapers, so that Johne’s precise, conceptually clean work becomes a lens through which society’s bigger picture—the split history of a divided Germany, for example—becomes visible via individual narratives. This comprehensive survey, the artist’s first major institutional solo show on German soil, will feature his most recent

  • 6th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art

    The sixth edition of the Berlin Biennale has moved not only from spring to summer but, once again, locations. Besides its usual KW headquarters in the city’s center, the 2010 iteration will concentrate activity in Kreuzberg, a former West German borough. Nearly three hundred works from an international roster of fifty artists—including Phil Collins, Cameron Jamie, and Danh Vo—are intended to interrogate how and where art and reality intersect. To contextualize that interesting if broad thesis, curator Kathrin Rhomberg has invited art historian Michael Fried to curate

  • William E. Jones

    “I announce the destruction of the cinema, the first apocalyptic sign of disjunction, the rupture of this bloated organism known as a film.” These forceful words emanated from loudspeakers in a monotone computer voice in the video installation Discrepancy, 2009–, the centerpiece of William E. Jones’s first solo show in Berlin. The text is not by Jones, however, but by Isidore Isou, the founding father of Lettrism, the radical literary and artistic movement now mainly remembered as a precursor to Situationism. And yet Isou’s manifesto-like call, taken from the film Traité de bave et d’éternité

  • Clemens von Wedemeyer

    Galleries often re-present works commissioned for other contexts, but rarely do they expand on them. This is precisely what’s been done, however, at Koch Oberhuber Wolff for its solo show by Clemens von Wedemeyer. “The Fourth Wall,” 2009, consists of nine videos and films conceived for London’s Barbican Art Gallery and exhibited there last year. Here this project was supplemented by photographs, wall texts, a sound document, and vitrines filled with books and a copy of National Geographic. The work’s thematic reference point is the story of the Tasaday, an ethnic group with only twenty-four

  • Jordan Wolfson

    One’s first impression of Jordan Wolfson’s new video Con Leche, 2009, is likely to be: How very strange. This is primarily because of the video’s choice of “protagonists,” cutesy Diet Coke bottles on little legs drawn as comic-strip figures. But initial smirks soon give way to perplexity as one realizes that these bottles contain not a dark soda but rather white milk—“con leche,” in other words, just as the title promises. And the live-action video backdrop that Wolfson’s animated bottles wander through—sometimes all alone, sometimes in single file, in little groups, or as an entire army in

  • Andreas Slominski

    If it’s true that Andreas Slominski is a setter of snares, one who stages his work as a crafty, tricksterish game to be played with the viewer, he set a particularly big trap with his parallel shows in the Berlin galleries Jablonka and Neu. And he did this in his usual way: with minimal investment of resources and maximal success, but above all by using large quantities of black humor. At Jablonka Galerie there was nothing to see except for five monstrous garage doors, fully functional and ready for delivery with shrink-wrapped keys. Yet these doors were hung in such a way that they could not

  • Vincent Vulsma

    There are some exhibitions that at first glance seem exciting and completely convincing—but then somehow leave you feeling perplexed. The young Dutch artist Vincent Vulsma’s recent show in Berlin was one such puzzle. Vulsma does everything right: He compellingly executes intelligent ideas. Yet ultimately it’s hard to know what to do with them.

    Hanging in the gallery were eight almost identical, glistening, jet-black—well, what are they? Canvases, paintings, objects? Hybridity characterizes this art from the word go. On the one hand, all eight works start with a standardized, prefabricated, and

  • David Levine

    Desire for success is as integral to the economy as money. The same applies to the so-called cultural economy. Both, however, evince a yawning gulf between expectation and return. The number of those who just about get by—let alone “make it”—is dwarfed by the armada of unknowns who labor for years, agonize, and fail. Nevertheless, with sheer tenacity, they write yet another application and throw themselves at the mercy of the market for the umpteenth time. David Levine’s exhibition “Hopeful” picks up precisely from this point: Its only materials are applications written by actors to a New York

  • Sergej Jensen

    The carpet was brown and cheap-looking, showing obvious signs of wear. Parts of the wall were still painted a smarmy pink hue left over from the last show. Nearly all of the temporary walls added for that previous exhibition, however, had been taken down—but the rough parts of the wall where the seams used to be remained unfinished. Above the gallery benches, soiled spots and greasy strips were still visible from where earlier visitors leaned their heads. And if you looked closely, you might have noticed out-of-place holes and awkwardly bent nails in the gaps between the pictures, the traces of

  • Nina Beier and Marie Lund

    This first show at Croy Nielsen by Danish artists Nina Beier and Marie Lund was a tough case. Not because the four works they presented under the title “Permanent Collection” came off as particularly difficult to decipher. On the contrary, it’s because everything was presented so openly and was so easy to read. Everything seemed slick, superficial, too effortlessly digested. But this was precisely the exhibition’s appeal.

    Take, for instance, Autobiography (If These Walls Could Speak) (all works 2009), a site-specific piece for which Beier and Lund asked the gallery’s owners to remember all the

  • Guy Ben-Ner

    The charm of Guy Ben-Ner’s videos derives in large part from his unusual choice of actors—often the artist himself, his wife, and their child. True to form, Ben-Ner continued to avoid professional actors in his most recent video, Second Nature, made for the Liverpool Biennial in 2008. But this time, a fox and a crow are the stars, reenacting Aesop’s ancient fable of the fox and the raven with help from their trainers. And while “nurture” was an oft-repeated theme in his family films, Second Nature is an overtly behavioral experiment, in which the entire focus is on the conditioning of all