Eva Scharrer

  • Nida Sinnokrot

    Split into three administrative divisions, intersected by barriers, pierced by settlements, and punctuated by rapidly erected high-rises, the West Bank is visibly dismembered terrain. Nida Sinnokrot’s solo exhibition “Expand Extract Repent Repeat” offered poignant reflections on the role of real estate in the geopolitics and economics of the region. The centerpiece of the show was the Palestinian-American artist and filmmaker’s 2014 installation Jonah’s Whale, which consists of an overseas shipping container surgically sliced into a line of eleven freestanding segments. The background to this

  • Steirischer Herbst

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    My visit to Steirischer Herbst—the annual arts-and-theater festival held in Graz since 1968—started with a nighttime taxi tour organized by the local Theater im Bahnhof, a self-described “contemporary Volkstheater (people’s theater).” During this work of “taxi-choreography,” the backseat became my box seat for personal stories told by my designated drivers: Tom, a dedicated punk-rock musician and singer who has been driving since age fourteen; and Ahmet, who acts as a chauffeur for a blind child and writes poetry during his breaks. It was a rather heartwarming

  • picks May 20, 2017

    Paolo Chiasera

    With his solo exhibition opening during Berlin’s annual Gallery Weekend, Paolo Chiasera preempted the hazy state of mind that bustling art consumers might experience after such an event. The artist plays Dr. Frankenstein and creates uncanny chimeras, each composed of two to five fragments taken from works in various mediums by the fifty-four artists whose shows also opened as part of the official weekend programming. In Chiasera’s resulting paintings, some references remain legible while others are dominated and blurred by juxtapositions. The distorted face in Frankenstein 18 BSDM (all works

  • picks October 20, 2016

    Barbara Hammer and Oswald Oberhuber

    The pairing of multimedia pioneers Barbara Hammer and Oswald Oberhuber might constitute a form of art-historical fiction. Born in the 1930s in such diametrically opposed environments as Hollywood and South Tyrol, Italy; going on to practice in the US and Austria, respectively, the artists’ paths never crossed. But this juxtaposition of their works dating from the late 1960s to 2013 traces an astounding congeniality—not only in a formal sense but also between two free spirits .

    Both artists have strong ties to the gallery: Hammer, a pioneer of queer feminist and experimental cinema, has had three

  • Emmett Williams

    Barbara Wien began working with Emmett Williams in 1991, and she has continued to collaborate with the artist’s estate following his death in 2007. Her “gallery and art bookshop” makes an appropriate venue for the Fluxus pioneer’s written and visual work. A writer, editor, performer, visual artist, concrete poet, and chronicler of Fluxus—“a non-historian recounting the history of a non-movement,” according to critic Gauthier Lesturgie—Williams has published a multitude of texts, anthologies, poetry collections, and artist’s books. This show focused (though not solely) on his collaborations

  • Harm van den Dorpel

    “Ambiguity points to the mystery of all revealing”—the title of Harm van den Dorpel’s recent solo show—is taken from Martin Heidegger’s 1954 essay “The Question Concerning Technology.” Deprived of its context, the line itself becomes ambiguous, an empty shell to be filled with any random meaning—and exemplifies the artist’s practice of collage for the digital age. A programmer-cum-artist, Van den Dorpel, born in 1981, is generally associated with the so-called post-Internet generation. The rationale behind this label seems to be that there’s been a shift in sensibility between

  • Tue Greenfort

    Tue Greenfort’s latest exhibition, “Vis Vitalis,” comprised diverse materials—newspaper clippings, sculptures, C-prints, posters, videos—coordinated through a built-in exhibition architecture. From the outside, visitors first encountered a blown-up photograph showing demonstrators in violent clash with the police—a familiar image that immediately triggers an array of associations related to the manifold global uprisings of recent years. Chunks of melted plastic are attached to it; brand names, still legible, identify these lumps as yogurt cups. The iconic image, taken from the

  • Julian Beck

    One of the highlights of this year’s Gallery Weekend Berlin was the discovery of drawings and paintings by Julian Beck (1925–1985). An artist, poet, actor, and director, Beck is mostly known for cofounding, with his wife, Judith Malina, the Living Theatre in New York. One of the most radical theater companies of the twentieth century, it was inspired in part by Antonin Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty. Uncompromising in their confrontation with all aspects of human existence—social, political, religious, sexual—the Living Theatre’s performances had a reputation for being challenging

  • Dorothy Iannone

    It took a while for Dorothy Iannone to have her first comprehensive institutional solo exhibition in Berlin—considering that she has lived and worked here since 1976, when she was invited by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), and, like many involved in that program, stayed. The American-born Iannone was an autodidact who started painting in 1959 in an Abstract Expressionist style, and who later turned to ornamental allover structures and sexually charged figuration. Her life and career took a turn when she traveled to Iceland with her millionaire husband in 1967 and befriended

  • 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art

    After Artur Żmijewski’s controversial seventh edition, in which activist strategies prevailed over artistic ones, the 8th Berlin Biennale (organized by Gaitán with a team that includes six artists and curators) will attempt a more traditional presentation. Some fifty artists will show work in three venues: the KW on Auguststraße, the rather off-center Haus am Waldsee, and the ethnological Museen Dahlem, whose collection, given its colonialist ties, is currently the subject of critical debate. The ways in which such ghosts of Berlin’s cultural past continue to act on the

  • Seiichi Furuya

    “I prefer to be on this side,” Seiichi Furuya’s second exhibition at Galerie Thomas Fischer, is as much about borders as it is about loss. Intentionally or not, Furuya has become the chronicler of two histories—one private, one public—that intersected for a while, then both disappeared. His biography and his work are inseparable. In 1973, at age twenty-three, the photographer left Japan for Austria. In Graz in 1978, he met Christine Gössler, a student of art history and later an aspiring actress. They married a few months later and in 1981 had a son. From the beginning, Furuya felt

  • Than Hussein Clark

    On first sight, Than Hussein Clark’s debut solo show, cryptically titled “Waves (Das Glückliche Rothschild)” (Waves [The Happy Rothschild]), looked a bit like a postmodern interior-decor display. A fluffy, richly ornamented carpet in shades of turquoise, blue, and salmon, Konnigratz/Hamichuri/ Konnigratz/Hamichuri (all works 2013), ran for some twenty-four feet through the space, from the front window to the back wall, where it was reflected by a mirrored brass room-divider, Love Is Not a Feeling, recalling elements from Viennese Art Deco facades. There were cane-bottomed bistro stools and

  • Bergen Assembly

    In 2009, the city of Bergen hosted a conference called “To biennial or not to biennial?” Under discussion was a proposal to establish a new biennial in Norway, ambitiously envisioned as becoming the biggest international art event in the region. In the end, the city settled on a project called the Bergen Assembly—An Initiative for Art and Research, and opted for a triennial cycle instead, considering the two-year model rushed. Its first edition, “Monday Begins on Saturday,” curated by the Moscow-based duo Ekaterina Degot and David Riff, was conceived as a rewriting of the titular 1964 Soviet

  • picks November 28, 2012

    Maryam Jafri

    “Global Slum” is Maryam Jafri’s debut solo show in Egypt and the inaugural exhibition at Beirut––a new art initiative and exhibition space that recently opened in Cairo’s Agouza district. Claiming the institution building’s incursion in the landscape of Cairo as a curatorial act––an especially urgent one in light of the current situation in Egypt and the region––Beirut has dedicated its first season of activities to the subject of contemporary labor.

    Consisting of nine grids, each comprising one panel of printed text and eight photographs––different views of one location––gathered from image

  • picks March 05, 2012

    Tobias Zielony

    It’s hard to tell what came first: the tattoo or the scar. Both are spread across the taut stomach of a young man in Tobias Zielony’s photograph Chronic, 2009–11. Gazing down from a porch, he pulls up his shirt to reveal the inky mark, which spells out the word “chronic” in big letters. The last letter is inverted, and the scar, which runs from his chest to his navel, cuts through the “o.” Central to Zielony’s exhibition is the man’s heritage: Part of the aboriginal community in Winnipeg, Canada, he is a first-generation descendent of a population brought up in the Residential Schools, which

  • picks December 06, 2010

    Paul Branca

    How should painting act nowadays, given its market-driven reification and the endless revivals of figuration and abstraction (and their own ready-made gestures)? In “Couch Crash,” his aptly titled Berlin solo debut, New York–based artist Paul Branca explores these questions through nineteen paintings depicting a word or punctuation mark that spell out in black letters on monochrome backgrounds (yellow, red, and dark gray) an awkward, Google-translated line: HEY JUNGS KÖNNTE ICH ÜBER DER COUCH CRASH, ICH BIN WIRKLICH MÜDE UND KANN ES NICHT WEITERGEHEN (Hey guys could I crash over the couch, I am

  • Morgan Fisher

    The Portikus exhibition hall, newly built in 2006 on an island in the river Main and attached via a plank to Frankfurt’s historical Alte Brücke, or Old Bridge, doesn’t exactly look like a building designed for the display of contemporary art. With a small footprint, but rising high with a sharply pitched roof, it recalls the typology of the city’s medieval houses. Inside, soaring walls (nearly thirty feet tall), vertical windows, and a narrow balustrade underneath the coffered ceiling shape the appearance of the space. A balcony halfway up offers an overview and houses the institution’s reception

  • picks March 13, 2009

    Mariana Castillo Deball

    Mexican artist Mariana Castillo Deball investigates cultural memory via material found in encyclopedias, libraries, and archives and infiltrates history with myth. “Kaleidoscopic Eye,” her Swiss debut, takes on the form of a convoluted snail shell: The exhibition’s contracting temporary architecture is a work in itself. Visitors to the show will first encounter Falschgesichter (Wrong Faces), 2009, a series of blank sheets from a publication about exotic masks. The ethnological inscriptions are still there, but the images have been erased, and only abstract folds that form convex and concave

  • picks February 12, 2009

    Marco Fedele di Catrano

    “So Far So West,” curated by Federica Martini in this artist-run exhibition space, is Marco Fedele di Catrano’s first solo show in Switzerland and his third site-specific installation in which he superimposes the floor plan of his apartment in Rome over similarly sized spaces. Using north, south, east, and west coordinates, the artist builds brick walls that intersect and partially block the original architecture. His first intervention happened in a private apartment in Berlin, the second in a gallery in Rome. Here, in a former printing shop, the collapse of two different architectural realms

  • Alexandra Bachzetsis

    In her first institutional solo presentation, dancer, choreographer, and performance artist Alexandra Bachzetsis redefined the term show in the museum context. “SHOW” consisted of five evenings of performance spread across four weeks in the Oberlichtsaal of the Kunsthalle, which was transformed into a stage equipped with basic features like theater lights, props, and bleachers. During regular opening hours, the stage remained empty or was used for rehearsals that visitors were free to attend. Two smaller side rooms that served as backstage for the performers during the shows were also on display.