Jens Asthoff

  • picks September 09, 2013

    Jochen Lempert

    In the early 1990s, Jochen Lempert, who had spent fifteen years working as a biologist, began making black-and-white prints of natural beings and phenomena that were related to his studies. He has since developed a rich and complex oeuvre. His latest exhibition surveys his output, illustrating the formation of his technique as well as presenting an intricate look at his methods, such as the creation of visual analogies.

    Technically, Lempert’s process in the darkroom is markedly traditional, yet he also experiments, often intervening directly in the image production process. Take the photogram

  • Erina Matsui

    In “Road Sweet Road,” her first exhibition in Germany, the Japanese artist Erina Matsui showed seven paintings, three wall objects, and a video, in addition to the installation Road Sweet Road mit Künstlerhaus Bethanien (all works 2013), which was literally and thematically its centerpiece, and lent its title to the show as a whole. The psychedelic quality of Matsui’s imagery simultaneously alienates and fascinates: In her self-portraits, for instance, she combines attributes that typify the Japanese idea of kawaii, or “cute,” with surreal deformations. Throughout her oeuvre, Matsui represents

  • Nina Könnemann

    The “Illuminations” of Blackpool have been a tradition for more than 120 years. An English seaside town that drew early waves of mass tourism, Blackpool reinvented itself—after a slow season in 1879—as an early adapter of electrification. Since then, it has transformed into a flashy sea of light for a few weeks each fall. At its inception, the display must have been spectacular and new, but these days it seems an antiquated curiosity, conjuring a British Las Vegas with the feel of a folk festival: garish, colorful, loud—and extraordinarily popular. Not only are streets and buildings

  • Natalie Czech

    Rudolf Zwirner, legendary gallery owner, art dealer, and curator, and Dorothea Zwirner, art historian and author, regularly use their private residence in Berlin-Grunewald to put on (public) solo shows of younger artists. They recently picked Natalie Czech, in whose poetic conceptual photographs image and word subtly dovetail. For this show, the

    artist selected works from her series “Hidden Poems,” begun in 2010. Nine pieces in various formats were distributed among several rooms in the house, sometimes displayed in discreet proximity to works from the couple’s private collection.

    “Hidden Poems”

  • picks August 09, 2012

    Antony Gormley

    Antony Gormley is fascinated by the figure in space, the human form being his central theme and motif. For his latest exhibition, the artist has hung an enormous black platform—some eighty feet wide and one hundred and sixty feet long—from the ceiling by steel cables; it hovers approximately twenty-six feet above the floor. Visitors are invited to climb onto the space via a side staircase and wander about its seamlessly wrought, reflective surface. Gormley’s work affords new views of the hall itself, and the reflective surface casts a mirrored view of the visitors, which, coupled with the fact

  • Andrea Winkler

    The architecture of Gerhardsen Gerner is unusual: It is situated in a barrel vault under a commuter-rail bridge. The front window affords a view of the Spree, which flows past at nearly floor level, and visually opens the room and immerses it in shimmering daylight. The sacral austerity of the lines of its arches; the coarse, whitewashed walls; and the flickering river light were well matched by Andrea Winkler’s exhibition “Patricia.” Her delicate, space-structuring works are complex three-dimensional collages, using sculptural elements such as metal chains as well as multicolored decorative

  • picks January 04, 2012

    Rocco Pagel

    Rocco Pagel’s latest work affords itself a slightly old-fashioned inflection––one closely connected to its radicality, which insists on the beauty of its subject. In “Belle Poule” the Berlin-based painter presents views of nature. Landscape appears in wide expanses and is often dissolved in color, almost to the point of disappearing, while his subjects––plants, trees, groves, but also seascapes with cloudy or clear broad skies––seem as though they are washed in light. Yet Pagel is also charmed by the gradual absence of luminosity; the atmospheres in his new paintings are not always soaked in

  • Sergej Jensen

    To many, the work shown in Sergej Jensen’s exhibition “Master of Color” must seem like a radical act of refusal: painting that celebrates its own absence. The predominantly large and midsize pictures exhibited here consist chiefly of various fabrics, often of several different types, that have been sewed or appliquéd together and then stretched on wooden frames or slats. Painting in the strictest sense is used only sporadically, and is often a minimal, almost incidental element. For viewers familiar with Jensen’s art, this will come as no surprise: He has been working for years on similarly

  • picks December 18, 2011

    Inge Krause

    Inge Krause’s latest exhibition includes portions of four new series of drawings, as well as an early Polaroid work. Krause has until now been known primarily for her unique process of painting: She pours numerous fine transparent layers of acrylic, with only occasionally a minimal pigmentation; the resulting paintings have the most delicate nuances of color and an inconceivable dimension of depth. The current exhibition, completely devoid of paintings, shows how Krause translates such qualities into the medium of drawing while preserving its autonomy. For her drawings, she has developed a

  • picks December 04, 2011

    Holger Niehaus

    Holger Niehaus’s latest exhibition features still lifes of flower and object arrangements. His subjects are simplified and refined, and they are thoroughly marked by a heightened sobriety. But this quality––something that Niehaus has also explored in his earlier works––does nothing to disturb their opulence and gorgeousness. On the contrary, it is often precisely through this tension that an impression of the arcane is established.

    Nearly all of the works are strictly concentrated on the subject. In a pack shot manner, Niehaus often displays the object against a white background, producing a

  • Pierre Huyghe

    A few surprises awaited visitors to Pierre Huyghe’s show “Influants” even before they entered the gallery. The evening of the opening, for example, there was a little crowd assembled at the entrance: People were being allowed to enter only one at a time. A young man standing guard asked each visitor his or her name. And as soon as the visitor discreetly answered, he opened the door to admit the guest, announcing his or her name in a loud voice. It was certainly a bit embarrassing to be presented as one of the attractions—at least until it was the turn of the next guest to suffer the same

  • Yeşim Akdeniz Graf

    For her exhibition “The Tell-Tale Heart,” Turkish-born Yeşim Akdeniz Graf (who studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, then lived in Amsterdam and Berlin before moving to Istanbul two years ago) showed new, predominantly large-format paintings. These works are marked by a characteristic, strikingly imaginative pictorial language and a repertoire of symbolic images. Often these were animal figures, such as the tigers in Love (all works 2011) and Retrospective. Both these tigers recline in the same pose, gazing directly at the observer. They are the principal characters in an allegory that Akdeniz

  • picks October 13, 2011

    Friederike Feldmann

    Friederike Feldmann approaches painting from a reflective outside perspective—always from new angles—and translates the results of her analytic gaze into an independent formal language. She focuses especially on the core aspects of painting such as gesture, texture, and representation. In the series “Ten Years After,” 2004–2006, pastel paintings evoke the texture and patterns of Oriental rugs, seemingly worn in spots by traces of time. Nearby are newer works that are also minimal, comprising spontaneously executed, rhythmically dense tangles of lines, as with Cyan Magenta Yellow 7, 2007. On

  • picks October 04, 2011

    Juliette Blightman

    On September 9, 2011, the sky over Berlin was overcast, and a palpable chill penetrated the warmth of late summer. It was raining on and off, and the light began to become gray earlier than usual. These details all became part of Juliette Blightman’s latest solo show, which opened that evening. Around 6 PM, dull daylight filled the spaces of the gallery. As one looked for art, one gradually became aware that here illumination itself, along with the general emptiness, was a decisive player.

    Juliette Blightman has covered the tall windows in three rooms with soft, white fabric in order to modulate

  • Eriks Apalais

    The paintings of Eriks Apalais have a sort of gravity-defying lightness. He presents the viewer with a hybrid world of images in which abstract and figurative elements interact across great expanses of undefined space. It’s not always clear what we are seeing, but the images have a characteristic tone, produced through surprising juxtapositions of heterogeneous objects that coalesce to form an open system of ciphers that alternates between legibility and enigma. The Latvian-born artist’s first solo show was titled “Confessions,” in allusion to St. Augustine, who along with Andrei Tarkovsky is

  • Ellen Gronemeyer

    Berlin-based artist Ellen Gronemeyer doesn’t often show her paintings. But that’s for good reason: Her pictures take time. She always works them over intensively, and her motifs emerge through this process. The small-format canvases in her recent show, “CDU/CSU” (named for the German center-right political faction), reveal that Gronemeyer, who is constantly developing and refining her artistic techniques, has brought her painting to a high level of compositional density. She presented just eight paintings and one drawing. Some are still, tight-lipped portraits; some retain a more cartoonlike or

  • picks May 18, 2011

    Philip Gaißer

    Chiuso” (Closed)—the title of Philip Gaißer’s solo exhibition at the Palais für Aktuelle Kunst—alludes to the fact that Gaißer has closed all apertures, so to speak, and plunged the show into twilight. Indeed, it references the process of analog photography itself, which depends on a shutter closing in order to expose film to a particular amount of light. In the staging of his photographs, Gaißer takes twilight as his point of departure and develops a nuanced dramaturgy of illumination: The images are tempered by spotlights, light tables, isolated points of light, and the diffuse glow of

  • picks April 20, 2011

    Peter Lynen

    “Three Fridays,” Peter Lynen’s first solo exhibition at this gallery, furthers his unique exploration of the boundary and transition between image and sculpture. Lynen practices a kind of neo-Dada wherein the parameters of natural science, psychology, and aesthetics are continually tested. EXHIBITION AS APPARATUS is a telling phrase written on a piece of paper that is displayed on the windowsill as part of the installation, indicating that we can usefully read the show in terms of scientific experiments. Works such as the sculpture Weltmodell (World Model), 2009, and the photograph Übersichtliche

  • Guðný Guðmundsdóttir and Jochen Lempert

    Galerie Dorothea Schlueter is a newcomer on the Hamburg scene; this exhibition by Guðný Guðmundsdóttir and Jochen Lempert was only its third. The gallerist’s name is a pseudonym invented by Nora Sdun, Sebastian Reuss, and Goor Zankl, who make up the triumvirate running the space. This imaginary figurehead, with a name that in German intentionally sounds a bit square, is a statement in its own right, situating the gallery somewhere between the charm of fiction making and the elegance of ironic modesty.

    In this exhibition, Dorothea Schlueter experimented with presentation as well: To accompany

  • Frank Nitsche

    A solo with a sidekick: Frank Nitsche, a painter known for his complex, synthetic-abstract manipulations of pictorial space, invited Swiss video artist Yves Netzhammer to augment his first institutional show in Berlin with a couple of bonus works—thus “Frank Nitsche COCKTAILHYBRIDCONCEPT—Feat. Yves Netzhammer,” which filled both floors of Haus am Waldsee. Nitsche focused his conceptually rigorous presentation on a new group of works from 2010, juxtaposing them with selected pieces from the last ten years to create calculated constellations. This above all made the exhibition worth