Jens Asthoff

  • 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

  • Gabi Steinhauser

    An aerial photograph of a glacier that might almost be an abstract composition in somber greens; a deserted airport-terminal hall, its floor and baggage carousels shiny beneath an expansive and oddly oppressive array of round ceiling lights; a bleak river scene caressed by the light of a low November sun; people captured in fleeting moments—Gabi Steinhauser’s works hint at established genres such as landscape, architecture, and portrait photography, yet she aims for something else. They are uniformly Untitled (all works cited, 2014), prompting us to see them as instantiations of a neutral

  • Jānis Avotiņš

    Jānis Avotiņš’s paintings seem intangible, like the mental images that embody cherished memories, and yet their beholder experiences them with epiphanic immediacy. The Latvian artist’s most recent exhibition presented portraits and figure works, mostly paintings in small to medium formats; three highly subtle drawings enhanced the show. While much of his earlier work featured landscapes, which unfolded around his protagonists as a spacious stage, this element has disappeared from these more recent pieces, or contracted into a mere horizon—the barest definition of space conceivable. Whether

  • Amelie von Wulffen

    Goya’s a great guy—you’d be happy to go on vacation with him, see exhibitions together, or just shoot the breeze, and you can always call him when you’re feeling down. Or so it would seem, based on Amelie von Wulffen’s latest paintings. Max Beckmann, on the other hand, comes off as a little less approachable: Although the weather’s perfect for sailing, he just stands there in his blue jacket, smoking and staring blankly at nothing in particular. Then there’s van Gogh, another member of von Wulffen’s posse, gazing from the wooden backrest of an old-fashioned classroom chair with an expression

  • Marieta Chirulescu

    Some of Marieta Chirulescu’s pictures—created in finely nuanced pale hues of gray, with faint efflorescences of color that revealed themselves only on a second or third glance—seemed to fade into the spacious white cube of Kunsthalle Lingen. Chirulescu, who was born in Sibiu, Romania, lives in Berlin, and received the Twenty-First Lingener Kunstpreis for painting in 2014. Hers is a uniquely reflective approach to painting: Working with scanners, laser prints, photocopies, collages, and occasionally brush and paint, she interweaves the discourse on the conditions of painting with a

  • Annika Kahrs

    The central piece in Annika Kahrs’s exhibition “solid surface, with hills, valleys, craters and other topographic features, primarily made of ice” was a 2014 HD video of the same title, running just under twelve minutes. In this work, the artist, who studied with Andreas Slominski and Harun Farocki, resorted to imaginative as well as narrative devices to paint a portrait of Pluto—the dwarf planet traveling on an elliptical orbit in the outer reaches of our solar system—a heavenly body we know only from instrument readings and the conjectures and illustrations based on them. The subject

  • Michael Hakimi

    Michael Hakimi gave his recent show the title “Lichtfäden, die ins Bild hinüberwachsen” (Light-Threads That Wander Over into the Picture)—a phrase, as he notes in an accompanying essay, borrowed from an early description of the photographic process, whose author is unknown. The indeterminacy seems fortuitous, allowing the phrase to float freely as a perhaps linguistic image, its myriad implications—both poetic and material—resonating with Hakimi’s work.

    At first glance, you would have thought the works on display were paintings on smallish to medium-size panels, presented in a

  • Daniel Knorr

    In his recent exhibition “Lunarium,” Daniel Knorr presented works (all 2014, although some belong to series begun earlier) that translate various readings of urban space into the gallery sphere. The series “Berlin Wall,” 2014–, and “Depression Elevation,” 2013–, might be described as transformations of metropolitan action scenes into imagery and objects. In “Block,” 2009–, and Lunarium (the latter is the first and so far only work in a new eponymous series begun this year), Knorr experiments with performative theatrics that involve viewers in the process of visualization.

    Lunarium was set up in

  • Angela Bulloch

    For “In Virtual Vitro,” her eleventh solo show with Esther Schipper, Angela Bulloch used the gallery’s two rooms to constitute two distinct spheres. To the right were new works in characteristic Bullochian genres, including “Drawing Machines,” 1990–, “Listening Stations,” 2013–, and “Pixel Boxes,” 2000–; on the left, visitors encountered an ensemble of vaguely archaic-looking yet quasi-Minimalist new sculptures and wall pieces based on rhomboid elements.

    By now, viewers are familiar with the ways in which Bulloch’s sculpture interrelates different media and fields of perception. In the right