Eva Scharrer

  • Jan Peter Hammer, Tilikum, 2013, digital video, color, sound, 25 minutes. From the Bergen Assembly. Visningsrommet USF.

    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

  • View of “Global Slum,” 2012.
    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

  • Tobias Zielony, Chronic, 2009–11, color photograph, 27 1/5 x 18 1/5".
    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

  • Paul Branca, Couch Crash (detail), 2010, oil on canvas and linen, dimensions variable.
    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

  • View of “Mariana Castillo Deball,” 2009. From left: Entropology, 2008–2009; and Do ut des, 2008–2009.
    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

  • View of “Marco Fedele di Catrano,” 2009.
    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.

  • Mark Wallinger

    It is the human being—not its ego—that stands at the center of Mark Wallinger’s work. And that distinguishes him from the YBAs with whom he was once associated. His Ecce Homo, 1999, conceived for a column in Trafalgar Square, where it was installed at the turn of the millennium, takes on a traditional motif of Western art history—the tortured Christ under the tribunal of Pontius Pilate—but depicts the former as an average human, wearing a barbed-wire crown on his shaved head, recalling the victims of twentieth-century extermination camps. The marble sculpture now stands in the courtyard of the

  • David Claerbout

    What if one could freeze a moment in time—or, more precisely, slow it down until its motion became almost ungraspable? And what if one could then freely move around in space within that frozen moment, so that one could closely observe each detail from all possible angles? This is what David Claerbout seems to visualize in the two works that frame his exhibition “After the Quiet.” His first solo museum show in Switzerland, curated by Konrad Bitterli, starts with The Algiers’ Sections of a Happy Moment, 2008, a digital slide show that develops a principle already probed in the previous Sections

  • Ursula Mayer, Le Déjeuner en fourrure (Lunch in Fur), 2008, still from a color film in 16 mm transferred to DVD, 8 minutes.
    picks October 29, 2008

    “Rooms Look Back”

    Departing from art historian Georges Didi-Huberman’s remarks concerning the perception of space and emotional memory (“What we see looks back on us,” he's noted), this elegantly installed group show reflects on physical and mental spaces via the medium of film and the reoccurring motif of the mirror. When one of the solemn actors in Ursula Mayer’s black-and-white 16-mm film Memories of Mirrors/Dramatic Personalities After Mary Wigman and Madam d’Ora, 2007/2008, holds up a mirror to the viewer, it accurately reflects the medium itself, as the light of the camera flashes toward us to make a

  • Left: Artist Mark Handforth with Eva Presenhuber's Thomas Jarek. Right: Hauser & Wirth's Roger Tatley with artist Isaac Julien. (All photos: Eva Scharrer)
    diary September 02, 2008

    Power Map

    Zurich

    Zurich’s gallery districts are ordered according to their own idiosyncratic hierarchy, though the division is somewhat comparable to other cities. (There are still “uptown” galleries and “downtown” ones.) The younger dealers and offbeat spaces have moved to the red-light district behind the train station, global players like Hauser & Wirth and Eva Presenhuber have their headquarters in the Löwenbräu building on Limmatstrasse, and the city center hosts more “classic” galleries. (As everywhere, exceptions confirm the rule.) The scattered layout makes for three days of season openings, which kicked