Eva Scharrer

  • picks January 30, 2006

    Ryan McLaughlin

    Old Master-esque figurative painting may be in vogue at the moment, but the small-scale oil paintings by young, Berlin-based, American painter Ryan McLaughlin go above and beyond this trend. Simultaneously fantastic, cryptic, and hilarious, his works feature three fictional protagonists—the owl Allen (in the dual role of uncanny hunter and allegory of reason), the scientist Dr. Kenneth Stevens (mad professor or wise healer?), and a flat, abstract form called Borox (a split rhombus made out of four differently colored triangles)—engaged in curious scenarios set in Romantic landscapes.

  • picks January 10, 2006

    “Irrational thoughts should be followed logically”

    The title of this exhibition, curated by Philipp Ziegler, is borrowed from the fifth of Sol LeWitt’s famous “Sentences on Conceptual Art” (1969), and, accordingly, the works follow the solid premises of modernism in a playfully logical way. Most appealing in this elegant six-person show are the works of three young Danes, who all studied at Frankfurt’s Städelschule. Simon Dybbroe Møller presents a set of photographs that show Constructivist paintings (reproductions of the referenced works are partially visible in the shots) re-created with stuff, like old sweaters and tape, he found in his

  • picks January 03, 2006

    Fabian Marcaccio

    Fabian Marcaccio stretches the limits of painting with Paintant Stories, 2000, an approximately 100-meter-long freestanding mural that snakes through the museum’s spacious rooms. Marcaccio adapts the narrative modes of traditional wall paintings to the information age, layering photographic, digital, and illustrated images into a dense and evolving panoramic composition. The work is a painting-cum-film, or vice versa, activated by the spectator’s peripatetic movement, refusing a linear reading. Here Marcaccio employs several techniques and motives recurrent in his oeuvre: A digital painting

  • Christoph Büchel

    Basel-born and -based Christoph Büchel is known as a master of incommodiousness. In his recent installation HOLE, 2005, he confronts us once more with a meticulously staged worst-case scenario. And once again, his vision gets closer to us than we wish. The title evokes a number of associations: from the ugly deep wound that came to be called Ground Zero to Saddam Hussein’s cavelike hideaway to black holes in the universe. Actually, the installation represents none of these, yet it suggests a great many similar things. The title might also refer to the narrow passages and claustrophobic rooms

  • picks December 28, 2005

    Christian Schwarz

    In today’s flood of overproduced images, sometimes it’s a relief to see “honest” pictures—if the term “honest” can properly apply to photography at all. Zurich-based shutterbug Christian Schwarz’s black-and-white photographs are just such pictures: unpretentious milieu studies in the timeless tradition of Brassaï, Robert Frank, or perhaps more accurately, Nan Goldin’s intimate portraits of friends and social underdogs. Schwarz’s affinity for Goldin is apparent in the double portrait Marco und Nan, 2000, in which a tattooed man poses in profile in front of Goldin’s book I’ll Be Your Mirror,

  • diary November 17, 2005

    Truffle Shuffle

    Turin

    “T1,” yet another large-scale international periodical exhibition, opened in Turin last week in conjunction with the ARTissima fair. Organized by two accomplished curators (Castello di Rivoli's Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev and Francesco Bonami from the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago), staged at three museums and four additional venues, and involving ten “international correspondents” (consultants who offered suggestions to the curators) and seventy-five more-or-less young artists, the show provoked great expectations. Besides, foodies will know that it's truffle season, reason enough for

  • picks November 11, 2005

    Marco Poloni

    In Michelangelo Antonioni's 1975 film The Passenger, the reporter David Locke, after having failed on a professional mission in the North African desert, steals the identity of a man who has just died, suddenly, in the next hotel room. For his installation The Desert Room, 2005, Geneva- and Chicago-based artist Marco Poloni recreated, to scale, the shabby hotel room in which the identity theft took place—from the open suitcases to the cockroaches on the wall. But instead of the journalist's tape recorder, an open laptop rests on the table, and its screen betrays the fact that the room is

  • Jeff Wall

    As Jeff Wall remarked about this retrospective at the press conference, it’s most likely the biggest show he’ll ever have. And, indeed, with seventy-two works “Jeff Wall: Photographs, 1978–2004” brought together more than half of the artist’s oeuvre. Given that most of us were used to seeing no more than a few of Wall’s large light-box transparencies at a time, one might have wondered how the individual pieces would hold up in such numbers. Thanks to the architecture of Herzog & de Meuron, and above all to the artist’s precise sense of size and scale, the works did not detract from each other

  • picks October 23, 2005

    Ceal Floyer

    Ceal Floyer makes her art out of very little, almost nothing. Basic essences, like light, water or sound, turn into something else. In Peel, 2003, she projected the eponymous Adobe Premiere tool on a white wall. Instead of artificially blending one image into another, the simple computer effect made it look as though the wall was peeling off layer by layer—the tool itself became the effect. In her smartly reductive solo debut at Esther Schipper, what we see and hear is precisely what the titles say. The film projection Apollinaris, 2005, shows nothing more than the titular beverage, the

  • picks September 12, 2005

    Nedko Solakov

    Nedko Solakov’s current show, “Leftovers,” is set up like a miniature art fair—with seven international galleries, but only one artist. Actually, it resembles a cramped storage space, with pieces of artworks tightly stacked and filed like, well, leftovers, sitting on wooden shelves as if waiting for somebody to pick them up. Typical Solakov, the show is a winking sidelong swipe at both the hysteria of the art market and institutional power. By showing a selection of precisely ninety-nine works that haven’t yet been sold by his galleries, Solakov undermines the museum’s prestigious mission,

  • picks September 05, 2005

    Amelie von Wulffen

    Amelie von Wulffen’s collages work like the labyrinthine chambers familiar from dreams. Using photographs as a point of departure, Wulffen paints over the images’ borders, extends lines into the far distance, and combines different views into kaleidoscopic montages of memory. As “real” as they seem from afar, once you get close the arrangements seem to collapse into fragments: Suddenly the anti-illusionism and impossible perspectives of the painted sections are revealed. This mini-retrospective starts with architectural collages from 1998 in which shards of ‘70s socialist architecture morph into

  • picks July 01, 2005

    Simon Starling

    Simon Starling's exhibition is called “Cuttings,” but “Global Transplants” would have worked too. By excising pieces of information from their original contexts, traveling with them and reconfiguring them somewhere else, Starling layers and conflates stories from different geographical points and different moments in history. A section of the sky over Spain's Tabernas Desert, for instance, rematerializes on the museum's ceiling (Three Day Light, 2004): Over a period of three days, the artist “stole” energy via solar panels from the sunniest place in Europe, just outside the secure confines of

  • picks June 09, 2005

    Mickry3

    Swiss collective Mickry3's newest installation, at Groeflin Maag Galerie, offers a wildlife adventure, of a sort. Where the gallery's office and reception desk used to be, you'll find a babbling indoor fountain guarded by a cardboard meerkat and surrounded by lounge chairs shaped like gophers and jerboas. The artificial desert continues in the main gallery, where whole meerkat families flock around a lounge area called the “Hot Spot.” More pieces of furniture shaped like cute animals, such as desert foxes, invite you to pet them (as the gallerists try to get work done on their laptops). You'll

  • picks June 09, 2005

    Marjetica Potrc

    It is not in the ideas of city planners and architects that Slovenian artist/architect Marjetica Potrc spots innovative building strategies, but rather in the provisional living concepts found in shantytowns growing uncontrolled on the periphery of cities around the globe, in ad-hoc solutions based on cheap materials, recycling, and creative maximization of limited territory. Her architectural recreations primarily revolve around questions of self-sufficiency and autonomy within the urban environment, while concepts borrowed from biology, like symbiosis and parasitism, also come into play. In

  • picks April 01, 2005

    “The Need to Document”

    Filmic and photographic documentaries have become commonplace in museums in recent years. Now this “documentary turn“ has itself become the subject of scrutiny. Many of the participating artists in “The Need To Document” come from former Eastern-bloc countries; the effort to come to terms with recent political transitions and to negotiate the constructs of globalized media seems to have figured in the artists' use of self-reflexive strategies. Mircea Cantor's contribution at first looks like an educational film about the manufacturing of matches in Romania—at least until the matches are

  • picks March 24, 2005

    Erik Steinbrecher

    Erik Steinbrecher’s new works look like a lot of things, but not necessarily like sculptures. Leaning on or hanging from the gallery walls like amorphous sacs, or curling up- or downward like curved twigs, his strange objects arouse a variety of associations—phallic ones, most obviously. Beyond that, they prompt a range of questions, such as: What exactly are these things? What are they made of? Are they hard or soft, heavy or light, rigid or elastic? Indeed, what appears to be soft fabric or foam is in fact hard cast resin, while the slightly disturbing, longish, black leather . . . things,

  • picks March 10, 2005

    Matthew Buckingham, Markus Schinwald, Clemens von Wedemeyer

    The works in this three-person show examine the language and narrative structures of film. Clemens von Wedemeyer’s Big Business, 2002, is a remake of the Laurel and Hardy classic of the same title, in which an unfortunate attempt to sell a Christmas tree in the summer leads to mayhem. Von Wedemeyer has set his version inside a prison, using inmates as actors. A mockumentary that traces the making of the film exposes the conditions that framed its production—disclosing, for example, that the inmates spend most of their time building model houses and tearing them apart again, like characters in

  • picks February 07, 2005

    Florian Slotawa

    Since 1996, Florian Slotawa—best known for his one-night transformations of hotel rooms into cavelike temporary hideaways—has worked almost exclusively with his own personal belongings in lieu of more conventional materials. In the ongoing series of “Besitzarbeiten” (Property Works), he accumulated, sorted, moved, and arranged all of his earthly possessions according to their formal qualities or to autobiographically and art historically-inspired concepts—until, in 2001, a collector purchased every item in the artist’s household. Before getting rid of everything he owned, Slotawa

  • picks December 16, 2004

    Aus aktuellem Anlass

    Wars, economic crises, bombings, catastrophes, political scandals—they follow each other faster than we can process them, while the events behind the headlines barely have time to register on our radar screens. “Aus aktuellem Anlass”—a not-really-translatable term for breaking news on German television that means, more or less, “From current cause”—takes a stab at winning this race against time with a group of works that mimic the format and strategies of the media. Each picks up on a specific topic that, even if no longer front-page news, hasn’t lost its relevance. Natascha Sadr Haghighian

  • picks November 19, 2004

    Michael Rakowitz

    Innsbruck has plenty of tourist attractions of its own-it's a cozy Tyrolean city surrounded by the impressive panorama of the Austrian Alps—so why the hell should it need a “Stowe Inn”? Usually it is the whiff of the exotic that makes tourist sites appealing, but American artist Michael Rakowitz's exchange project imagines what happens when the native and the exotic merge to form a weird hybrid. The backstory begins in the 1930s, when a few pioneers—including the legendary Sepp Ruschp, who helped popularize skiing in the US, and, of course, those singing von Trapps—fled Nazi-controlled