Jens Asthoff

  • 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

  • picks December 11, 2010

    “Photography - Ideology of Representation”

    Melike Bilir opened her gallery in Hamburg in 2010, after having curated numerous exhibitions with emerging artists in her roving space Walk of Fame since 2007. Today, Bilir is one of the most important rising dealers in Hamburg, and the show “Fotografie—Ideologie der Abbildlichkeit” (Photography—Ideology of Representation), organized with Oliver Ross, testifies to her excellent curatorial skills as well. The exhibition seeks, according to the press release, to contradict “the common assumption that photography, as a technical recording of images, is an aesthetic repetition of ‘reality.’ ” One

  • Michael Hakimi

    The exhibition pavilion of the Overbeck-Gesellschaft is right in the heart of Lübeck but nonetheless has an air of peaceful isolation about it. You access it indirectly, via the classical Behnhaus, an elegant residence that has been converted into a museum. From there a wide hallway leads past paintings by the likes of Johann Friedrich Overbeck and Caspar David Friedrich to a small park dotted with sculptures containing an unadorned pavilion dating from 1930. So the visitor’s approach to Michael Hakimi’s show was necessarily circuitous, involving several stages and epochs and aesthetic presentations.

  • picks November 30, 2010

    Jessica Stockholder

    The Reina Sofía’s light-flooded Palacio de Cristal, with its central dome and three side wings, couldn’t be further from the typical experience of viewing art in a white cube gallery. The architecture unfolds as an expansive space, imparting the feeling to visitors that they are at once inside and outside. Jessica Stockholder’s installation Peer Out to See, 2010, transforms this gallery into what might be called a traversable painting––even if there are several dominant sculptural aspects. Foremost among these is the slim sculpture reaching up to the glass ceiling. The work is made up of plastic

  • Stefan Panhans and Andrea Winkler

    Even before looking closely at individual works and their details, visitors to Stefan Panhans and Andrea Winkler’s show “Du kannst die Polizei belügen, aber nicht mich” (You Can Lie to the Police But Not to Me) were conscious of a calculated mixture of improvised effortlessness and aesthetically rigorous stylization. The show appeared meticulously composed when viewed from any point in the room; walking around constantly led one to new connections and “spatial pictures.” As formally different as the two artists’ work might be—Panhans makes photographs and videos, while Winkler develops minimalist

  • Annette Kisling

    Annette Kisling trains her photographic gaze on unspectacular, quotidian surroundings. Often she treats architectural subjects—row houses, housing developments, or allotment gardens—occasionally also taking up other, less clearly definable traces of civilization, such as traffic signs, fences, or furniture, any of which the camera may inspect in close-up, or at a distance as empty signifiers in the landscape. She has also made some nature studies—pictures of overgrown parks or grassy dunes—but her cityscapes in particular bear such a distinct mark of human presence that one often has to look at

  • Thomas Helbig

    This show of new work by Thomas Helbig was staged in two locations: Galerie Guido W. Baudach’s extensive exhibition hall in the Wedding district, and its recently opened cabinet-like showroom in Charlottenburg. Precisely placed in self-contained arrangements, the paintings, drawings, and reliefs (and one sculpture, in the new venue) were presented as individual pieces, but Helbig was clearly interested in creating a specific atmosphere for each location.

    In Wedding, on both sides of a specially built freestanding wall in the middle of the gallery, Helbig hung painstakingly configured sequences

  • Pernille Koldbech Fich

    Danish artist Pernille Koldbech Fich continues to refine her work in the genre of photographic portraiture. She has long situated her subjects within specific surroundings, with both subject and context characterizing each other reciprocally. For the early series “Søstre” (Sisters), 2002–2003, she photographed diakonisser, or Danish ordained nurses, in their own living quarters, letting the rooms that they themselves designed serve as an expressive stage. Since then she has been emptying out her studio and stylizing her backdrops, emphasizing the pictorial space in itself as an atmospheric medium