Jurriaan Benschop

  • Vivian Greven, Qulla I, 2020, oil and acrylic on canvas, 19 1/2 x 15".
    picks May 18, 2021

    Vivian Greven

    “Apple,” the title of Vivian Greven’s latest exhibition, evokes a neat range of associations, from the Tree of Knowledge, to William Tell’s arrow, to the computer brand. If the fifteen paintings here recall ancient Greek statuary in their depictions of smoothly modeled nudes, their finely glazed shapes and electric sheen also suggest the inhabitants of digital nonspace. Existing somewhere between Adonis and avatar, the figures never fully register as flesh. Although Greven is careful to avoid any expressive mark-making, the illusionistic spell is occasionally broken, as in APL (all works 2020)

  • Louise Bonnet, In Bed, 2018, oil on linen,  7' × 10' 1⁄8".

    Louise Bonnet

    Seeing a reproduction of Louise Bonnet’s painting The Pond (all works 2018) on the invitation to her exhibition made me both curious and skeptical. It shows a woman posing in an uncomfortable, if not impossible, backbend curve, her form conjuring a shortened bridge, with her hands and feet under water. What we mainly see is a large body against a dark background. Face and individuality are hidden behind physicality. Firm, outsize breasts point straight up toward the sky. It is certainly a weird scene—but I couldn’t decide if it was weird as in interesting, or more like a cartoon or a forgettable

  • View of “Poems to Gadgets,” 2018.
    picks January 24, 2019

    Angelika Loderer

    A group of six brass sculptures at the far end of the room is visible as one enters the gallery. These Poems to Gadgets (icicles) (all works 2018) have been molded after dripping blocks of ice and are buttressed by slim, slightly bent steel rods, lending them an air of precarious elegance. The artist was interested in solidifying an imprint of a material that begins to dematerialize upon touch. To approach the icicles, one has to walk over Poems to Gadgets (scatter piece), a surface covered with mixed sand imprinted with the tracks of previous visitors. The piece consists of remnants of the

  • Philipp Fürhofer, Tequila Sunrise, 2017, acrylic and oil on acrylic box, two-way mirror, electric wire, lightbulbs, LED, wood, 36 5/8 x 36 5/8 x 9 7/8".

    Philipp Fürhofer

    The title of Philipp Fürhofer’s recent exhibition, “Walpurgisnacht,” was borrowed from a scene in Goethe’s Faust, so we can assume that the show’s recurrent concern with light was to be understood not only literally, but also in a symbolic way. The thirteen pieces on view could be called assemblages, light boxes, or paintings; in most cases, they were all three at once. Many of the works harked back to the tradition of Romantic landscape painting.

    Using a transparent acrylic glass box as a base for most of the works, Fürhofer brought in incandescent lightbulbs and LED tubes, usually lots of them,

  • André Butzer, Untitled (Früchte), 2016–17, oil on canvas, 9' 6“ x 14' 1 1/4”.

    André Butzer

    I was lucky to see André Butzer’s new paintings on a sunny winter day, with natural light coming in to make visible what is hidden in their black surfaces. There were eight big and nine medium-size dark paintings in Galerie Max Hetzler’s Bleibtreustraße location, along with one very large and colorful canvas, a small work on paper executed in colored pencil and crayon, and an artist’s book. The dark paintings each have a sort of vertical seam, right of the center, where light seems to come through, sometimes clear, most often faint. Around this so-called Fuge, or gap, brushwork is visible, dark

  • Angelika J. Trojnarski, Rising, 2017, paper and oil on canvas, 59 x 47 1/4".

    Angelika J. Trojnarski

    “Currently I am more attracted to sculptors than to painters. They look at objects from all sides,” Angelika J. Trojnarski remarked, with an eye to this exhibition, titled “The Rising.” The Polish-born, Düsseldorf-based painter is interested in three-dimensional moving bodies such as airplanes and ships, and in the technologies that make mobility possible. Even though she usually depicts her motifs in two dimensions, an understanding of volumes is essential to her work. In this exhibition, three larger oil paintings were combined with seven collages, a hanging fabric piece, and two small MDF

  • Norbert Bisky, Trilemma, 2017, oil on canvas, 94 1/2 x 74 3/4". © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

    Norbert Bisky

    Built in a Brutalist style, the former Saint Agnes Church that is now the König Galerie is anything but a neutral gallery space. The hanging paintings on the high walls of its nave can easily, perhaps too easily, bring out any spiritual aspirations the works may harbor. Norbert Bisky wisely—and humbly, even if some of his paintings appear to be the opposite of modest—chose to resist this temptation. The twenty-six works in this show, “Trilemma,” were presented on three double-sided walls of increasing size, designed for the occasion and placed zigzag in the nave. This arrangement seemed

  • picks November 27, 2017

    David Schutter

    David Schutter’s three grayish paintings, all titled with variations of ANB M 109 (all works 2017), seem to turn their backs on the viewer, showing hardly any articulation or contrast. Once adjusted to the dark surfaces, though, one can discern some color in the mix, as well as a painterly hand at work. With time, distinctions appear between gestures, movements, lighter patches against dark: Is that a head, a ghostlike appearance, or just a wiped surface? A white-on-white silverpoint, Study Sheet for ANB M 109 1, executed blindly, completes the show, assuring us that the overall focus of these

  • Iulia Nistor, Evidence E1 W4 A3, 2015, oil on wood, 15 3/4 × 19 5/8".

    Iulia Nistor

    The work of Iulia Nistor focuses on the unseen and the hidden rather than the obvious or the representational. It suggests that omissions in visual availability can evoke a sense of the real. Considering the proliferation of digital imagery in recent years and the daily flood of representations, the medium of painting enables a different take on what matters. The main body of Nistor’s exhibition “canary in a coal mine” was formed by eleven small panels, each titled Evidence and no bigger than about twenty by sixteen inches, creating a modest and intimate space. The most expressive actor in the

  • Richard Serra, Ramble 3-54, 2015, litho crayon and pastel powder on handmade paper, 19 3/4 x 25 1/4".
    picks July 17, 2017

    Richard Serra

    Richard Serra forgoes color in his drawings, considering it an added value, not a structural property. Color does not fit the straight logic of his process, in which materials exist unto themselves and not as references to anything else. This exhibition presents around eighty of these black-and-white drawings, the majority made in the past two years. They are drawings by a sculptor, but not in the sense that they are sketches or structural three-dimensional representations. Rather, the works share some basic aspects of their conception with Serra’s sculptural work. The compositions are the result

  • Vajiko Chachkhiani, Winter which was not there, 2017, HD video, color, sound, 12 minutes 30 seconds.

    Vajiko Chachkhiani

    “For me, it is important to let works happen—I don’t approach a work by thinking, ‘Now I’m going to make a sculpture,’” Vajiko Chachkhiani once remarked. The Georgian artist’s recent exhibition “Summer which was not there” certainly foregrounded the question of what makes certain works feel “natural” and others less so. The show consisted of nine sculptural works and two videos, of which the latest, Winter which was not there, 2017, was without a doubt the show’s highlight—its down-to-earth poetry and fine sense of understatement conveyed a convincing inevitability.

    As the video begins,

  • Dan Attoe, Visitor Center with Pines, 2016, oil on canvas, 48 × 48".

    Dan Attoe

    “I never thought I would be a landscape painter,” Dan Attoe once remarked—and yet landscapes have played a role in all his work to date, as settings for figures in action. Attoe grew up in nature, his parents working as foresters around the country, so he is familiar with the often spectacular natural settings of the United States. Yet as a small-town kid he is also used to being bored, feeling alienated, or “doing crazy shit” (as he put it in a 2014 lecture). His early experiences have poured into his oeuvre of the past decades, which comprises highly detailed figure paintings depicting