Jens Asthoff

  • Lawrence Power, Stein X, 2021, oil and collage on canvas, 31 1/2 x 23 1/2".
    picks October 08, 2021

    Lawrence Power

    Lawrence Power is a painter of understated craftsmanship. His palette may be spare, but his techniques vary widely, from bands of impasto applied straight from the tube, to expansive translucent sheaths of pigment, to collaged pieces of canvas, coated with thick layers of color or dyed in pale hues. This multifaceted practice lends Power’s work a markedly tactile allure. His formal vocabulary is defined by an edge of deliberate coarseness. It often takes a closer look to recognize that his raw-built minimalism is based on the rudimentary representation of objects he might have bought at a

  • View of “Elif Saydam,” 2021. From left: The Drone I, The Drone II, The Producer II, The Producer I, all 2021. Photo: Fred Dott.

    Elif Saydam

    The Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof is located in a former train station in Hamburg’s Harburg district, and traces of this past are visible today in the magnificent coffered ceiling featuring the original painted floral decoration from 1897. In their exhibition, “. . . schläft sich durch” (. . . Sleeps Through), the artist engaged with the kunstverein space in imaginative and multifaceted ways. Building on their own distinctive visual language, Saydam adroitly activated painting for contextual reflection without losing the thread of their own narrative—here by designing the show as a commentary

  • View of “Monika Michalko: Laboratoire Lapidar,” 2021.
    picks August 11, 2021

    Monika Michalko

    One steps inside Monika Michalko’s paintings as one might enter a room, drawn in by her characteristic palette of reds and warm blues, sometimes complemented by milky hues, their vibrancy contrasting with bleak and murky tones. Color creates pictorial spaces in which realities mingle: Though tangible scenes—interiors, still lifes, landscapes (sometimes on the verge of disintegration)—are almost always at the core of her pictures; materiality and abstraction appear intimately akin and interwoven, blending into each other, forming hybrids, compacting in complex textures. In canvases like Mauretanisches

  • Liliane Tomasko, We Sleep Where We Fall, 2019–20, acrylic and acrylic spray paint on linen, 82 1⁄4 × 76 1⁄8".

    Liliane Tomasko

    Liliane Tomasko’s art is abstract and yet isn’t. In her exhibition “We Sleep Where We Fall,” the manner in which things attain presence in her paintings became even more forceful than in the past. Some viewers might not even have noticed the referential character of her pictures, and, compared to earlier pieces, much of Tomasko’s new work looks utterly nonrepresentational. Despite their considerable atmospheric compression, her paintings from the early 2000s are clearly legible as interiors or still lifes, showing pillows, sheets, blankets, apparel, and fabric stacked up in wardrobes. The empty

  • View of “Tamina Amadyar out of the blue,” 2020.
    picks October 16, 2020

    Tamina Amadyar

    Alongside large-format canvases—abstractions, never in more than two shades—Tamina Amadyar is showing watercolors for the first time. Figurative, multicolored, and intimate in scale, this new group of works, begun this spring, stands in clear contrast to Amadyar’s iconic pigment and gluten paintings, an image type she has developed since 2013. The watercolors have a liquefied appearance, with some clear and some diffuse passages. They maintain an intimate tone, showing fleeting but familiar views from the artist’s immediate surroundings: in devoure and closing time (all works 2020), her young

  • Anna Oppermann, Antidesign, 1970–72, mixed media. Installation view.

    Anna Oppermann

    Anna Oppermann (1940–1993) is best known for her “ensembles”—expansive and complex assemblages of drawings, photographs, notes, and found objects that she developed, often over the course of years, in idiosyncratic creative processes. The fruits of an approach that was both intensely visual and tenaciously reflective, her ensembles are explicitly open works. Oppermann had earlier constructed still lifes but later said that she often found the preparatory work more compelling than the final paintings. At some point, she began simply to leave the constructions up, in part because in many instances

  • Dasha Shishkin, small sharp weapons and a hunk of kick-ass cheese, 2019, acrylic and sanguine on cloth, 29 1⁄2 × 51 1⁄8".

    Dasha Shishkin

    At the center of Dasha Shishkin’s work is a cast of characters hopelessly entangled, torn apart by desire, or pleasurably relaxed as they let themselves go. Everything is suffused with erotic tension, surging up and undermining systems of order. Shishkin has long been working on a recalibration of painterly figuration, exploring the human and especially the female figure in relation to pictorial space. In staging her characters, she emphasizes the carnal, keeping their bodies, whether filled with lust or just calmly being themselves, close to dissolution in color field structures. The animal

  • Anne Neukamp, Clearance, 2019, oil, tempera, and acrylic on linen, 39 3⁄8 × 31 1⁄2".

    Anne Neukamp

    This exhibition’s title, the triad “ALT-MOA-BIT,” sounded like onomatopoeia or an abstract battle call but was actually derived from the name of the street on which Gregor Podnar recently opened a new gallery space in Berlin’s Mitte district. In this regard, the title of Anne Neukamp’s third solo show with the gallery performed a kind of consecration of the new location. The first hyphen mirrored the normal spelling of the street name, Alt-Moabit; the second was her addition. The graphic tripartition she thus implemented lent the name a forceful rhythm.

    In defamiliarizing an element found in

  • Alexander Heim, Nock - Ten, 2019, cast concrete, polyester resin, 19 1/2 x 15 1/2 x 2".
    picks October 15, 2019

    Alexander Heim

    With “Fifty Typhoons,” his fourth solo show at this gallery, Alexander Heim is exhibiting a set of small-format mural reliefs and room installations. The sculptural praxis of the London-based artist is rooted in casting and recasting found objects, often industrial products, in synthetic materials. For his 2012 exhibition here, he made sculptures out of found auto parts: Elegantly cut hoods or fenders were transformed into abstract wall objects, while headlights and smaller autobody parts were reworked with clay and polyester resin, metamorphosing into amorphous forms. In 2015, he squeezed clumps

  • Thea Gvetadze, Becoming Thea Merlani, 2018, cloth, wood, 63 × 51 1⁄8".

    Thea Gvetadze

    Thea Gvetadze’s exhibition “Subtropical Ushguli” coincided with the opening of this year’s Tbilisi Art Fair in Georgia, where her work also appeared in the show “Four Discourses” alongside that of three Georgian artists of different generations. The conjunction of these presentations confirmed Gvetadze’s prominence within the country’s contemporary art scene. If “Four Discourses” gave context to her work, the solo show offered a welcome opportunity to delve more deeply into her oeuvre, which spans diverse mediums, including painting, ceramics, relief, drawing, and installation. The paintings

  • Linda McCue, Untitled, 2018, oil and transparent gesso on canvas, 17 3⁄8 × 23 5⁄8".

    Linda McCue

    Linda McCue, a Canadian painter who lives in Hamburg, called her recent show “Surfacing” after the novel of the same title, in which Margaret Atwood, a fellow Canadian, probes questions of personal and national identity, gender, and memory—themes that recognizably play a part in McCue’s work. Objects from the artist’s childhood, whose images are stamped on her mind, surface in many of her works. Rather than figuring in narratives, however, these objects operate as a concentrate of sorts, embodying recollections and undergoing iterative variation with a focus on their formal aspects. Porcelain

  • Salome Machaidze, Vancouverian vendetta #16, 2019, oil on Styrofoam, ink-jet print, ceramic, textile, 47 1/4 x 24".
    picks July 17, 2019

    Salome Machaidze

    The wall text for Salome Machaidze’s recent exhibition recounts the fictional story of “Vancouverian rebellion huckers on motorcycles . . . who decided to use non-biodegradable plastic bags instead of paper to create art, write history, and create databases that will never fade, disappear, evaporate, or vanish.” It goes on to explain that disposable plastic has been rarified through art—the high demand has reduced supply and thus mitigated climate change. The utopian theme builds upon an ironic and enthusiastic fantasy of art as vendetta, as a transformer that promises, through a radical