Jens Asthoff

  • Johanna Jaeger

    Johanna Jaeger’s pictorial practice unfolds along a variety of trajectories that are always in close touch with a core characteristic of photography: its relation to time. The new works she presented in her recent exhibition “checkerboard sky” translate this program into pictures that fuse complexity with Minimalist precision. Jaeger has devised an open and experimental yet distinctive visual idiom; her motifs are often liquid—drops of colored ink in water—and ephemeral phenomena, such as the process of a form’s gradual dissolution. Jaeger draws attention to modes of transition that

  • Joachim Grommek

    To make his paintings, Joachim Grommek combines trompe l’oeil techniques with abstraction. In his recent exhibition “High End,” Grommek presented new works on canvas alongside three slightly older paintings on chipboard (all Untitled and numbered). Although the new paintings were separated by fundamental formal differences from the earlier works, they were exemplary of his play with the illusionism of the concrete. The compact compositions in small square formats consisted of a large color field, set just a bit off center, in combination with stripes and bands in different hues grouped along

  • Anna Virnich

    What hit you first about these works was their scent. Sweet and subtly intense, it was not so much perfumed as organic. It was also vaguely familiar, even if it was not what you’d expect from a group of abstract paintings. This disconcerting quality is a deliberate component of Anna Virnich’s work. Even before you realize what’s happening, your experience of looking is pervaded by the sense of smell, which combines with the picture’s visual meaning to become part of its elusive materiality.

    Virnich’s work is particularly concerned with the interplay between materiality and perception. Her large

  • Kamilla Bischof

    The six paintings in Kamilla Bischof’s exhibition “Cosmetic Songs” were accompanied by a story. And the works themselves tell multilayered stories, too. Carried by a mercurial and ebullient figuration, they are peopled by various gods, humans, and animals, as well as by siren-like hybrids and fantastical creatures. It is fitting that the short press release, penned by the artist, reads like an excerpt from a novel: Oneiric and picturesque, it’s nothing like the boilerplate you usually get. You could almost think of it as another painting that just happens to have taken the form of writing. A

  • Jean-Pascal Flavien

    The first impression one got from Jean-Pascal Flavien’s exhibition “Ballardian House” was of having entered an artificial reality that was a mirror image of our own. The large-scale ballardian four, 2015–17, for instance, with its cleanly traced forms and precise economy of space, at first appeared to be a house, but its function is more sculptural than architectural. By incorporating textual elements—short passages from the work of the British writer J. G. Ballard—into the piece, Flavien opened up yet another space to the imagination. Put generally, Flavien paraphrased and abstracted

  • Thomas Ruff

    Of all the photographers to emerge from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and the Becher school, Thomas Ruff has probably pursued the most radical and varied exploration of the nature and history of photography and its genres. With his recent series “press++,” 2016, based on archival press photographs, he once again opens a new chapter. For the enormous range of his work from the 1980s until now, Ruff has consistently pursued two basic lines of investigation: how the medium of photography and its rapidly changing technology shapes our notion of the relationship between image and reality, and how we

  • Caleb Considine

    The eight small paintings in Caleb Considine’s exhibition “Cancelled” might at first have seemed a bit lost in the gallery’s spacious rooms, but they gradually made their presence felt. The generally pale colors—attaining, here and there, a passing luminosity—lent them a dreamlike pellucidity, but also conveyed a sense of determined and prosaic effort. Considine’s art bespeaks genuine devotion to painterly subtlety: Though his craftsmanship was evident, the work was the opposite of mere technical display and razzle-dazzle.

    It also took the viewer a while to understand that the irreducible

  • Anselm Reyle

    In “Eight Miles High,” his first one-man show at König Galerie, Anselm Reyle created a shining sculptural trinity of geometrical abstraction, beautifully combining processes of secularization and re-sacralization. In the gallery’s central exhibition space––the converted nave of the former Saint Agnes Kirche––he placed three free-hanging large-scale aluminum sculptures: Windspiel (Diamond), Windspiel (Square), and Windspiel (Circle) (all works 2017). The setting is both ambitious and demanding: a vast room, forty feet high and more than four thousand square feet in size, whose walls are covered

  • Hanns Kunitzberger

    Compacted voids throbbing with color, replete with an abundant emptiness: Hanns Kunitzberger’s paintings put the critic in the position of having to resort to such paradoxical descriptions. Despite their powerful presence and quiet clarity, they elude the gaze, metamorphosing before the beholder’s eye, their diffused chromatic spaces never quite tangible. Their hazily opaque complexions focus representation on their own existence as pictures. Methodically inward-looking, this art is absorbed in the contemplation of color as phenomenal quality. Works such as Ende 2015 Anfang 2016 später (End of

  • Stijn Ank

    The Belgian artist Stijn Ank recently staged a large-scale sculptural intervention in the architecture of Künstlerhaus Bethanien, which appeared concurrently with his exhibition of comparatively modest wall pieces at Galerie Michael Janssen. Both exhibitions were titled “Fresco,” and the artist had made all the works on display by pouring liquid plaster into custom-built casting molds, occasionally mixing pigment into the plaster during the layer-by-layer casting process.

    Fresco painting, which flourished in the fourteenth century—“a fresco” literally means “upon the fresh [plaster]”—is

  • Anna Möller

    For this show, eleven framed photographic works, Untitled #1 through #11 (all works 2016) were brought together with the installation The Great Unpaid Laborer of the World (Porcelain Rubber Dust), which consists of fragile white porcelain objects exhibited on three open-sided Plexiglas boxes, one of which was partly fitted inside another. Among the materials used to make this work, the artist listed both the titular porcelain dust and fingerprints on the transparent surfaces. This is symptomatic of her approach, for Anna Möller is preoccupied with the indeterminate.

    The photographic works show

  • Etel Adnan

    The simplicity of Etel Adnan’s paintings conceals the complex experiences of the artist’s remarkable life. Born in Lebanon in 1925 to a Greek mother and a Syrian father, Adnan grew up amid multiple cultures, languages, nationalities, and religions. In 1949 she went to Paris to study philosophy at the Sorbonne; she continued her studies at the University of California, Berkeley, starting in 1955. She taught philosophy at Dominican College in San Rafael, California, from 1958 to 1972, during which time she also started painting and writing poetry. Then she returned to Beirut, where from 1972 to

  • Amelie von Wulffen

    The inner life of the German soul is a gloomy thing. The pristine white fabrics of traditional costumes vie to be the brightest, yet the mood around the lunch table is oddly depressed. And here are Martin Buber and Martin Heidegger, bathed in a glaring green aura; they are seated at a table with two other interlocutors, but the conversation seems to have come to a halt. Paul Celan hovers above another circle like a colorless ghost. Elsewhere, children dutifully playing music in an austere farmhouse parlor seem to be lost in another world—a woman by a window, clad in antiquated garb, takes

  • Natalie Czech

    A few years ago, while speaking about some of her early pieces for the series “Poems by Repetition,” 2013–, Natalie Czech described these works as “writing with photography.” Abstract as it might sound, her statement stayed with me, and now in retrospect it seems key to understanding Czech’s work. This was most recently apparent in her extensive solo show at the French CRAC Alsace, where examples from all her important groups of works were exhibited. Czech’s photographs incisively present subtle semantic linkages between image and sign, text and object, literary and quotidian genres of text and

  • Tobias Pils

    Tobias Pils paints with a reduced palette of black, white, and gray. If at first glance his pictures have a graphic, drawing-like character, however, this turns out to be deceptive: As paintings, they are as opulent as they are subtle. The Austrian artist’s recent exhibition demonstrated that he has developed an idiosyncratic pictorial language in which figurative and floral elements seem to have been set loose among latently abstract, free-form ornamental structures such that each of these aspects—representation and abstraction—interpenetrates and interprets the other. The paintings

  • Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili

    Part of the unconventional beauty of Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili’s photographs lies in their blurring of the boundary between medium and motif; her approach to representation is intimately bound up with the inherent characteristics of the photographic medium. The artist generally works with analog technology and large-format cameras, but she also integrates digital techniques into her compositional processes. Having studied with Stephen Shore in New York, she is fully conversant with the methods of analog color photography: From operating the camera to manipulating the negative and negotiating

  • Deborah Remington

    This selection of sixteen works produced between 1972 and 1982—four canvases, eleven drawings, and one oil study on paper—was the first exhibition in Germany of the American painter Deborah Remington, who died in 2010 at the age of seventy-nine, and was organized by Jay Gorney. Born in New Jersey, Remington moved to San Francisco in the early 1950s to study at what was then the California School of Fine Arts—later the San Francisco Art Institute—where Clyfford Still and Elmer Bischoff were among her teachers. Becoming part of the Beat scene, she was the only woman among the

  • Cordula Ditz

    A montage of cinematic anxiety-dream imagery, a visual space composed of B-movie and trashy horror footage, Cordula Ditz’s solo show “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye” was dominated by a two-channel video installation of the same title, dated 2016, with its large-format projections, one on a wall, the other on a screen set up in the middle of the room. Rather than tracing the arc of an action, the video unfolds in the mode of free association; one focus of Ditz’s selection was on stereotypical images of the artist and of femininity. Isolated from their original contexts but still informed by the specific

  • Inge Krause

    The exhibition’s title is prosaic, even a bit curt: “Something to Look At”—nothing more, nothing less. But taken at its word, it is quite apposite: To look at Inge Krause’s pictures is to experience a sort of purified vision. Her nonrepresentational painting focuses the gaze on a concentrated phenomenology of nuanced color. For this show, she has juxtaposed two older works—Ohne Titel (Farbverlauf) (untitled [Color Sequence]), 2002–2007, and Ohne Titel (Farbverlauf), 2002)—with pieces created in 2015. This illuminating juxtaposition revealed the constancy of her engagement with

  • Anselm Reyle

    This was Anselm Reyle’s first solo show since his announcement in early 2014 that, for the time being, he would neither make nor exhibit new work. True to this resolution, the exhibition did not feature new pieces: On view was a single series that the artist regards as complete as of this self-imposed hiatus—the definitive date in the show’s prosaic title, “Streifenbilder/Stripe Paintings, 2003–2013,” indicating as much.

    The exhibition was a look back of sorts, then, and another first for Reyle: He had never presented a solo show entirely dedicated to one ensemble and the stages of its