Doris von Drateln

  • Günther Rost

    The sculptor Günther Rost is attempting to develop a new material conceptuality. His use of painted zinc sheets produces a system of notation through the minimal intervention of the dot. Applying dots in frugal rows, he suddenly disrupts his quiet application with a gash in the paint or a bump in the metal sheet. The zinc sheets have precisely creased edges that create a four-inch gap between the piece and the wall. They jut out, hovering between two- and three-dimensionality, between a neatly outlined rectangle and a triangular cast shadow. Rost paints dots, commas, lines, and other signs,

  • Astrid Klein

    In some religions, time is honored as a second force of creation. It is also granted this function in Astrid Klein’s work. Klein makes use of the potential of various mediums—the precision of photography, the shadows and stereoscopic effect of relief, and the chiaroscuro and sfumato contours of drawing. Often she begins with a scrap of newsprint or a shred of a photograph. Gridded blow-ups and dissolves create alien structures, remote, inhospitable landscapes like those on other planets, forms stratified like mammoth sediments of dust.

    Klein transforms her paper pictures into depthless, traumatic

  • Gustav Kluge

    Gustav Kluge claims that he is not interested in painting. This may sound like an exaggeration, particularly coming from an artist who has mastered the language of that discipline so profoundly. Yet Kluge’s goal is not located in painting per se. As both a painter and an enemy of painting, Kluge uncompromisingly inquires whether his chosen medium is necessary or useless. His angular, unsparing depictions of the crippled, the tormented, the hopeless monsters—outsiders excluded from the triumphant march of evolution—exist on the other side of the easily digestible world of advertising images.

    With

  • Ingo Gunther

    In between the 58 pedestals, on which the 58 illuminated globes were mounted, the cables lay on the floor like trip wires, giving Ingo Günther’s installation World Processor, 1989, a provisional air. At the same time, they recalled a world held together by cables—Marshall McLuhan’s vision of a global village, his idea of global communication.

    For years now, the world—no more and no less—has been Günther’s working theme. The globes in World Processor reminded the viewer of balls, or of early geography lessons about the positions of the sun and the moon. In a way, this installation reversed the

  • Ralf-Rainer Odenwald

    Ancient wisdom teaches that it’s better to throw a pebble into a calm lake than a rock into a raging sea. Ralf-Rainer Odenwald has mastered this notion. His paintings are calm, and they move like rings on the surface of a lake. At the center of his pictures are figures, usually two of them. The surrounding surface vibrates, immersing the figures in their own cosmos, giving them an aura reminiscent of medieval icons.

    Indeed, ever since his student days, Odenwald has been influenced by medieval paintings, by the way the figures in them stand there and face the world. Yet their stance is never a

  • Gilbert & George

    Anyone who asked about the inclusion of women in “Art for All” might well have received a laconic retort from Gilbert & George: the pair would as soon have a fridge in their pictures as a woman. (These words were reported during the artists’ mammoth retrospective that traveled across Europe in 1986–87.) The new paintings (all works 1988) are still devoid of fridges. Instead, we find squeaky-clean female hustlers with skeptically yearning eyes (Being), and sumptuous panicles and umbels against a postcard-azure sky (Loves). We also see the two doyens of living sculpture in various leafy settings.

  • Jurgen Kramer

    From the blackness of a tomb, a pink, winged skull looms up, clumsily painted the color of raspberry chewing gum. The skull is perched on a pale female body that is pierced by a lance. In this painting, Leichenwagen (Hearse, 1987), Jürgen Kramer uses Bavarian votive pictures of purgatory as inspiration. But his palette is widely variegated. Kramer does not believe in a metaphysics of the image, or in esthetic appeal, or in the picture as a formed or shaped entity. His paintings help us to wander through the world of images. A constant subject throughout this wandering is death—not as the antithesis

  • Martin Disler

    Martin Disler is a rarity among German-speaking artists of the postwar generation in that he managed to survive the rapid rise and fall of wilde Malerei (wild painting), even though his name was linked to that movement for a while. He continues to produce work and to show in international galleries and museums. During the ’70s and early ’80s he filled spaces with trails of paint, in works with titles such as Öffnung eines Massengrabs (Opening of a mass grave, 1982), Die Umgebung der Liebe (The environment of love, 1981), and Streams of Eros, 1985. In a kind of dance ritual, Disler raged across

  • Christopher Knowles

    At first sight, Christopher Knowles’ Typings, 1988, recall the concrete or visual poetry of the ’60s, with perhaps the most famous examples of that genre being Ernst Jandl’s typographical play on the word moral. Jandl stacked lower-case m’s into a pyramid, and the remaining letters of the word formed a thin extension that poked out from the base, suggesting that when we consider the concept of morality, we see only the tip of the iceberg. Christopher Knowles, too, manipulates a single letter into typographic shapes. But when Knowles does so, he uses the initial letter of his first name, heaping

  • Piotr Nathan

    Piotr Nathan, a 31-year-old native of Poland who has lived in West Germany since 1978, has attracted much attention with his unusual exhibitions. Most of these have been staged in out-of-the-way “nonspaces,” such as former factory premises or buildings waiting to be torn down. Nearly all of his objects and installations somehow refer to space. In 1985, in an empty house near Hamburg’s railroad station, he put on Ein in Elle verlassenes Haus (A house abandoned in haste). This was an attempt to reconstruct the story of the family that had left this place, to look for their shadows and capture them

  • Beate Wassermann

    Beate Wassermann’s favorite story is the story of Icarus. It’s not his fall that impresses her so deeply but the monumental courage of having made the ascent at all. What she finds compelling is Icarus’ passionate desire to push his powers to the limit and his determination, despite his crippled wings, not to lose faith in a new beginning. Hence, the broken wing appears and reappears like a leitmotif throughout Wassermann’s works, as a simplified, abstract sign that represents the conquering of one’s own boundaries. For Wassermann, the power to attempt the impossible over and over again comes

  • Frank Dornseif

    For Frank Dornseif, coming to terms with the figure is the only challenge worthy of the name of sculpture. He has deliberately chosen to work with the conventions of traditional sculpture, but he takes them to extremes and frees them of their customary associations. By inverting the proportion of mass to volume, Dornseif creates figures that are “described” by airy contours. Their corporeality is only illusory, for they consist entirely of steel tape enclosing empty space. The sense of touch is betrayed not only by the illusion of volume but also, paradoxically, by an aspect of the works' actual,

  • Ludger Gerdes

    “You can unmask and reveal things with images; you can anticipate them and examine them. Images are trial runs for unborn reality,” says Ludger Gerdes. This Düsseldorf sculptor made his first public appearance in the early ’80s with installation works that were constructed “image-sites,” models that cautiously explored architecture and landscape as the most important arenas of human life. “The first and foremost function of art,” wrote Gerdes in 1984, “is to create and give shape to the spaces we live in.” Art, he says, should be in the public domain and act as a vehicle for social communication.

  • Marcel Odenbach

    Video art has undergone a fundamental change during the last couple of years, with video artists trying more and more to translate traditional fine arts media into video, to imitate drawing, painting, and photography using the flickering language of video imagery. In the case of Marcel Odenbach this change can be seen both in his videos and in his growing preoccupation with drawing. Although he incorporated drawings into his video works of the mid ’70s, the relationship of the two media in his work since 1981 has been somewhat different. The drawings, which originally began as sketches for his

  • Jürgen Bordanowicz

    Like the ancients, Jürgen Bordanowicz regards human beings as vessels. We know almost nothing of this vessel, are barely conscious of events taking place within it, and know nothing objectively of events in the world that surrounds it. Yet our existence is created out of the interaction between these external events and those that occur within us. In Stofflich-geistige Strömung (Material-spiritual flux, 1985) Bordanowicz has painted the human-being-as-vessel in the form of a large sitting figure in which streams of different colors flow together. The figure is surrounded by blue currents—blue

  • Ernesto Tatafiore

    Ernesto Tatafiore’s figures greet us elegantly with head, not hat, in hand. For instance, there’s Louis XVI: he inclines charmingly toward an audience outside the drawing, which is sarcastically entitled Luigi I’ultimo (Louis the last, 1981). This title reminds us of the drama of the French Revolution, with its protagonists Danton and Robespierre and its victim Louis XVI, the latter a key theme in his work. The headless Louis XVI is an emblem for death, which, as a border crossing, signifies for Tatafiore first and foremost a threshold to the new, specifically the departure from absolute monarchy