Justin Hoffmann

  • Bojan Šarčević

    These days, spatial interventions are no longer anything unusual. They’re one of the standard modes of exhibition praxis. Since acts of displacement often play an important role in Bojan Šarčević’s oeuvre, comparisons to Michael Asher may suggest themselves; however, Šarčević, a Bosnian living in Paris, is hardly interested in reflections on the institution or on the function and history of its architecture. Gordon Matta-Clark, another important protagonist of spatial intervention, deconstructed buildings, but as a sculptor thinking in great and violent dimensions, and his works seem massive

  • Olaf Metzel

    With American and German troops currently involved in the same military campaign, there has been considerable animated discussion in Germany about its relationship with the United States. An explicitly political artist like Olaf Metzel would be expected to take a position in this discourse; perhaps unsurprisingly, war and pop culture seem to dominate his view of America. A photograph of a burning house evokes a war scenario, but the title, Universal Studios, Hollywood, 1986, quickly makes it clear that this dramatic event was staged for the camera—whether it was for a crime show or an

  • “Personne Sait Plus”

    The local public didn’t seem to get “Personne sait plus” (Nobody knows anymore), perhaps in part because the German art scene differs so greatly from the French (the artists included in the exhibition aren’t all German, but most had studied in Germany), and in part because the show was curated by Olaf Metzel, an artist known for his unconventional approach to things. None of the pieces Metzel selected fits any traditional definition of sculpture.

    At the entrance to the exhibition space, Rainer Oldendort, an artist who usually works with film, presented a series of slides depicting the participating

  • Harald Klingelhöller

    Harald Klingelhöller uses letters of the alphabet to blur the boundary between the pictorial and the linguistic. In his recent show, "Alle Metaphern werden wahr” (All metaphors come true), which contained a selection of sculptural assemblages created over the past decade, the entire exhibition space became a container for language. Klingelhöller builds sculptures out of three-dimensional letters cut out of various materials, including plasterboard, steel, cast iron, cardboard, and glass. The letters in a given piece, which are often the same as its title, are arranged into blocklike forms that

  • Paul Winstanley

    The situation is a familiar one: you enter a lounge or lecture hall to find no one there, only vacant seats, and a feeling of emptiness, of being caught between moments, washes over you. You arc likely to experience a similar feeling when viewing paintings by the London-based artist Paul Winstanley. Much like works by Edward Hopper, Winstanley’s canvases invite the viewer to inhabit vacant rooms, generating his or her own narratives from personal memories. These works are like mental images in a double sense: first, each painting is itself a remembrance of something seen; and second, the depicted

  • David Lamelas

    For a long period David Lamelas’ position in the art world was somewhat peripheral—partly because of his Argentinean origins, but also because his cultural critiques at times challenge the very workings of the art market. This substantial exhibition, entitled “A New Refutation of Time,” recognized the significance of Lamelas’ production between 1963 and 1976.

    Although a critique of mass media’s pictorial conventions and narrative structures has become central to Lamelas’ project, he began as a sculptor in the early ’60s, exploring the symbolic potential of abstract forms and the tension between

  • Heimrad Prem

    The current economic crisis in Germany is causing many artists and intellectuals to reexamine the Situationist movement, which has inevitably led to a rediscovery of the work of Heimrad Prem, an important member of the German branch of the Situationist International. In the larger context of the movement, Prem may not seem like a shining example—he is often associated with depression and failure—but many of his supposed “failures” constitute efforts that are worthy of attention.

    Though Prem’s artistic discoveries can often be considered apart from his political and cultural goals, hardly any

  • Marko Lehanka

    Presented as a pair, the ears hung on the wall at eye-level, with a space between left and right, as if inviting one to insert one’s head into the empty spot. The joke suggested countless snapshots in which extended fingers appear behind someone’s head like rabbit ears to make the subject look ridiculous. But in this piece Marko Lehanka used pig, rather than human ears, which he purchased in an animal-food shop—drying and then decorating them with plant and animal motifs, charming ornamentations, and text. Wooden boards with mottoes burnt into them adorned the walls, next to the pig ears,

  • Ilona Ruegg

    The strengths of Ilona Ruegg’s method are her particular way of combining drawing with mixed media and the manipulation of space. Although drawing is at the center of her artmaking, Ruegg often incorporates it into site-specific projects. Her recent exhibition entitled “Slippage” left viewers with the impression that every detail had been carefully thought through. She managed, for example, to present a large number of drawings without having to hang the images too close together, by setting four wooden strips over one another on opposite walls in two rooms connected by an open door. Onto these

  • Stephan Huber

    In Stephan Huber’s recent show, the voice of Marcel Duchamp, speaking in the last interview he gave before his death, emerged from behind a closed door. Although the door in fact led nowhere, this piece was meant to usher the viewer into the world of the artist’s childhood in Bavaria. An obvious reference to Duchamp’s famous last work, Étant donnés: 1° la chute d’eau, 2° le gaz d’éclairage, 1946–66, the object of desire beyond the door was simply Duchamp’s own words, rather than the supine body of a naked woman.

    A second door, also leading nowhere, appeared on the same wall, and barely audible

  • Michael Hauffen

    Signs tell us how fast to go on the highway, indicate where the restroom is, warn us to beware of the dog, thank us for not smoking. In short, signs are everywhere, and not just the semiotic kind. There are more than a few people who think there may be a few too many. Why, then, does Michael Hauffen insist on producing hundreds more, and on covering the walls of the gallery with rows upon rows of them?

    Expectations to the contrary, Hauffen’s signs seem to have nothing to do with bringing more order into the world. They distinguish themselves quite clearly from run-of-the-mill signs, even when

  • Thomas Locher

    Since 1989, it is not only the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany that has increased, but the legion of unemployed and of right-wing extremists. And for the first time since World War II, Germany is once again involved in combat, in ex-Yugoslavia. It seems timely, therefore, to take another look at the foundations of this state: namely, its so-called Basic Law, the Grundgesetz. As things stand today, presenting this text in any form, and certainly displaying it publicly, is in itself a political act, casting a certain doubt on the legitimacy of present-day developments and procedures.