Eva Scharrer

  • picks May 16, 2007

    Jonathan Monk and Peter Roehr

    The pairing of Jonathan Monk, known for his smart, poetic reinterpretations of Minimalist and Conceptual artworks and ideas, with Peter Roehr, an underappreciated Minimal Pop artist (if the term doesn’t exist, it should), is logical—if unexpected in a commercial gallery. It’s possible that Monk’s monumental One in Two Hundred and Fifty in One, 2007—his largest installation to date—was inspired by Roehr, who died at twenty-four in 1968. Monk’s work consists of two hundred and fifty black-and-white photographs printed at a photo lab on standard Ilford photo paper, each depicting the cover of the

  • picks May 15, 2007

    Hilary Lloyd

    Studio, 2007, Hilary Lloyd’s latest work, is a film portrait of her new East London studio floor. It was made for this Berlin venue and is screened on two gallery walls as a silent double projection. The camera tracks the floor methodically, as if it were a surveillance device, remaining in each section for a while before moving on, sometimes with a sudden twist that shifts the perspective. At times, the movements of the two screens are synchronized, like a ballet, but they mostly follow an unpredictable choreography. The wooden planks bear traces of the studio's former tenant, a painter who

  • Robert Kusmirowski

    Known for his meticulous re-creations of places and spaces of the past, such as D.O.M., 2004, a reconstruction of a late-eighteenth/early-nineteenth-century Polish graveyard that he showed at Galerie Johnen in Berlin, Robert Kusmirowski here pushed his artful play with simulation and nostalgia to another level with a three-part scenario of fictionalized history, whose dense atmosphere is reminiscent of Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker (1979). In the first zone, still clearly recognizable as the museum entry with front desk, stood an old power mast and several displays of diagrams and technical drawings

  • picks December 12, 2006

    Rodney Graham

    Appropriately entitled “Renaissance Man. Works 1400–1977,” Rodney Graham’s current exhibition beautifully mimics the seamless loop in which cultural production is trapped. At its center stands a fictional Fluxus-era artist, whom we witness performing for a casual, alternative-art-space audience in Lobbing Potatoes at a Gong (1969) (all works 2006), a black-and-white 16-mm film. The potatoes that actually hit the gong during the performance were subsequently distilled to create a limited-edition vodka; the still and some of the bottles are on view here as well. This centerpiece is accompanied by

  • Luca Vitone

    White cube, black flag, carte blanche. . . these catchphrases recur as visual metaphors throughout Luca Vitone’s oeuvre, which investigates the meaning—and loss—of “place” within a globalized world. This major survey brings together works from 1988 to 2006, beginning with Vitone’s Carte atopiche (Atopic Maps), 1988–2004, geographical or city maps (or gallery floor plans, as in the series Il luogo dell’arte [The Place of Art], 1991–94), from which he removed street names and other indications of place. The exhibition is set up like a journey through the interconnected phases of the

  • picks November 14, 2006

    Willie Doherty

    The city of Derry, in Northern Ireland, is Willie Doherty’s hometown, and its fraught history is the constantly revisited and renegotiated site of his artistic oeuvre. In his latest video installation, laconically entitled Empty (all works 2006), Doherty scans the facade of an abandoned office building, producing moody, slow-motion images, filmed from dawn till dusk on a single day. We see paint peeling off the wall and changes in the weather—at times quite dramatic—reflected in the building’s windows, while that convulsive history (and the building itself) is left ambiguous, thus leaving space

  • Costa Vece

    In the picturesque baroque city of Solothurn, Costa Vece presented a dark take on the notions of cultural identity, religion, and Heimat (homeland), and, ultimately, on the very possibility of social inclusion. Born in Switzerland, the son of Greek-Italian immigrants, Vece seems to have experienced the chilly as well as the warm side of his home country. Yet he clearly retains a deep, if mistrustful, affection for its customs and traditions. His installation Heaven Can Wait (all works 2006) is made out of darkish gray wooden planks, recalling the covered bridges seen everywhere in the canton of

  • Tue Greenfort

    Producing a 1.5-liter PET plastic bottle wastes twice as much water as the bottle will hold. That’s the kind of fact you learn through the work of Berlin-based Danish artist Tue Greenfort, who is fascinated by the absurdities of our everyday ways of production and consumption, as well as by the smallest wonders of nature. But “learn” might give the wrong idea; Greenfort’s works aren’t didactic, finger-pointing lessons in ecologically correct behavior. Rather, his art is a smart, at times minimal but always playful and poetic investigation of how cultural and natural behaviors coexist and interact.

  • picks October 24, 2006

    Rosângela Rennó

    “A última foto” (The Last Photo), a series by Rio de Janeiro–based conceptual photographer Rosângela Rennó, poses questions about authorship, copyright, and the disappearance of the analogue image. Asking several photographers to shoot a picture of one of Brazil’s most iconic tourist sites—the statue of Christ the Redeemer overlooking Rio from the Corcovado—with various old cameras from the artist’s own collection, and presenting the resultant images (including her own contribution) as diptychs next to the actual camera with which they were shot, Rennó idiosyncratically mimics an

  • Steven Parrino

    On New Year’s morning last year, Steven Parrino, aged forty-six, died in a motorcycle accident near his Brooklyn home. A bit more than a year after his death, “Steven Parrino, Retrospective 1977–2004” opened at the Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain in Geneva—the first extensive museum show of his oeuvre, originally conceived as a mid-career survey but, sadly, turned into a posthumous retrospective. Covering two floors of the museum, it featured over two hundred works, from early drawings, collages, and photographs, dating back to the beginning of his career, to paintings, sculptures, and

  • picks August 29, 2006

    Katharina Grosse

    In violent, beautiful sweeps, Katharina Grosse has employed a spray gun, Styrofoam cubes, and stones to transform three of the gallery’s rooms into a huge walk-through painting. The intervention is most radical in the first room: Thousands of pebbles and fluorescent spray paint in every shade have been mobilized to turn the entrance area (including reception desk, bookshelves, and floor) into a dramatic landscape. The frenzy abates in the next room, where outlines drawn on the wall serve as an index of the objects that resided there prior to the exhibition, including three big tondi that have

  • picks August 21, 2006

    “Cooling Out—On the Paradox of Feminism”

    Has feminism imploded? Is gender still a relevant topic for younger generations of female artists, and if so, how does their work differ from the radical feminist art of the ‘70s (and its clichés)? This group show—comprising fifteen female artists and artist collectives and two men—strategically poses such questions rather than answering them directly. The debate has obviously cooled in recent years, but the question of whether or not gender equality has been attained throughout professional and social spheres (not to mention different parts of the world) remains an important one. Acutely

  • picks August 08, 2006

    “Seduções”

    “Seduções” (Seductions) is the promising title of this show, which juxtaposes room-filling installations by three accomplished artists from Brazil. Clearly appealing to the senses, the ambiguity of this seduction is underscored by the soapy-sweet scent arising from Valeska Soares’s flat basins filled with perfumed, copper-colored liquid. Titled Vanishing Point, 1998—a union of vanitas sensibility and perspective terminology—this floor installation is reminiscent of Baroque gardens’ neatly cut mazes of hedges, and ironically mimics the Minimalist sculptures of Carl Andre and Donald Judd. In

  • picks August 04, 2006

    Silke Schatz

    For her third solo show at this East London gallery (aptly titled “Private / Public”), Silke Schatz juxtaposes two histories related to her hometown—Celle, in northern Germany. One of the protagonists is architect Otto Haesler, who, from the late 1920s to 1933, as a pioneer of the Bauhaus-related Neues Bauen movement, was responsible for several private houses and social housing complexes in Celle. Schatz highlights the hue and sculptural qualities of Haesler’s elegant constructivist buildings in two joyous models, Siedlung Georgsgarten Block 1 and Direktorenwohnhaus (all works 2006). Her

  • picks June 29, 2006

    Dorit Margreiter

    Los Angeles– and Vienna-based artist Dorit Margreiter’s video 10104 Angelo View Drive (Prequel), 2004, screened on a fancy 1982 Bellini monitor placed on a metal case, begins with a spectacular view of Beverly Hills. Suddenly, a vertical gap opens in the middle of the picture, slowly revealing the very same view in a brighter shade—the result of the opening of a sliding glass facade. The view belongs to one of LA’s most iconic architectural masterpieces of the late modern era, the Sheats-Goldstein Residence, by late US architect John Lautner. Used as a movie set in Hollywood productions like

  • picks May 22, 2006

    Mona Hatoum

    Mona Hatoum’s first Berlin solo show consists of two pieces: a sculpture and a work on paper. Hot Spot, 2006, is a human-height, freestanding, transparent globe, whose longitudes and latitudes consist of slim, stainless steel poles and whose national borders are formed from curved red neon tubes. Like most of Hatoum’s objects, the work is deeply and purposefully ambiguous: beautiful on sight, but dangerous nonetheless. Its sinister character fully unfolds through the subtle, disquieting sound of the electric tubes and fuses, an insistent buzz that indicates deadly high voltage. The other work

  • Gustav Metzger

    Gustav Metzger has always worked against the art market, rather than for it. In 1959, he articulated his concept of autodestructive art in a manifesto—an adaptation of Theodor Adorno’s argument that “writing poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric” to the field of visual art in the era of nuclear weapons. By 1974, his radical approach led to the call for an “art strike.” Though he initiated and participated in many groundbreaking events, like the Destruction in Art Symposium (DIAS) in London in 1966, it took decades for Metzger’s art to find its way into museums (and a very few private collections).

  • picks April 19, 2006

    Bethan Huws

    In her prior text-based works, Welsh Conceptualist Bethan Huws acutely analyzed language and the fine gaps in between. Following in her own footsteps, her fourth film, The Chocolate Bar, 2005, is built around an eleven-line conversation between two people, in which a basic misunderstanding of terms leads the scene into the absurd. The first part of the film, shot in black-and-white, takes place on a dark theater stage, in the center of which stands Duchamp’s Bottle Wreck, 1914. The two protagonists, a young man lying down and another man dressed in the costume of a traditional Welsh woman, are

  • picks April 04, 2006

    Javier Tellez

    With La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (Rozelle Hospital, Sydney), 2004, originally conceived for that year's Sydney Biennial, New York–based Venezuelan artist Javier Tellez continues his deeply personal investigation of what constitutes “normal.” A red velvet curtain divides the gallery, and inside one finds randomly placed chairs between video projections on opposing walls—a situation that leads to what can be called “spectatorial schizophrenia.” A ninety-minute rendition of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent classic La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc (1928) is screened on one side. The original film stretches

  • Valentin Carron

    “Rellik,” the title of young Swiss artist Valentin Carron’s debut, refers to the English word “relic” with its span of connotations, from disdained leftover to religious veneration. Reading it backward, however, it becomes “Killer.” Apparently, “Rellik” is also the nickname of the first graffiti tagger from Martigny, Carron’s hometown in western Switzerland. The pun is typical of Carron’s practice, which draws on symbols of cultural identity—always with an awareness of their complex (sub)cultural recoding. Carron comes from the canton of Valais, typically thought of as the most authentic, “wild,”