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.

  • Ralf Peters

    Wrestling with the spatial nature of so-called installation art, Ralf Peters attempts to use the models of Conceptual art without limiting himself to merely documenting and sketching his works. In attempting to liberate himself from institutional, topographic, and social frames, while still producing works that speak of his ideas, Peters developed a system of models entitled “64 Modelle” (64 Models, 1993–95). He expressly designates these models as commodities, packs them in semitransparent film, and stacks them chaotically as if in a warehouse. On the wrapping there is a brief description of

  • “Die Utopie Des Designs”

    During the ’60s and early ’70s, designers like Joe Colombo, Ettore Sottsass, Jr., Superstudio, Luigi Colani, or Verner Panton worked with and planned ideas with a universal, perhaps even utopian thrust. For this reason, “Die Utopie des Designs” (The utopia of design) not only exhibited furniture, stereos, or corporate programs, but also touched on urban planning, and architectural questions. The presentation was correspondingly complex and comprehensive.

    The working group charged with organizing this exhibition determined that Munich had been an excellent example of that period. The Olympic Games

  • Ulrike Grossarth

    Ulrike Grossarth is interested in the structures of social systems that are visible on both a micro- and macro-level: in her work on National Socialism, cooking becomes a metaphor for larger questions. For Grossarth, the yeast cake of bourgeois households bears a peculiar resemblance to the monumental buildings that Adolf Hitler wanted to erect. This association is central to the piece entitled Mohn (Poppy seeds, 1987–93), which was also the title of this exhibition. Just as poppy seeds can either be a tasty ingredient or a numbing narcotic, seduction and collective intoxication were central to

  • Claudia Hart

    Claudia Hart’s most recent show, “NEW WORLD ORDER,” was a variation on an earlier show at the gallery’s Cologne space. Here, though, Hart eliminated the photoworks due to the lack of space. Subtitled “A Game of Social Surrealism,” the exhibition consisted of painted, enlarged, and manipulated flip sides of playing cards. A central element is the joker, a royal figure on an old bicycle, with a dollar sign on his chest, passing a road marker with the number 86 on it. The artist calls the joker—this crowned person with a beard—a self-portrait. Though there is no physical resemblance in the image,

  • Thomas C. Demand

    Thomas C. Demand seems to have found a place somewhere between Paul Cézanne and Andy Warhol. The way he transforms reality into art—the elementary constants of color and space—connects him to Cézanne; his relationship to Warhol is revealed in his thematic preoccupation with the commodity and his adoption of the esthetic categories of Pop culture. One indication of this interest in Pop is his use of numbers. As if they were titles in a catalogue from which he took these individual pictures, Abb. 21 (Picture 21, 1992) designates a tissue holder and Abb. 62, 1990, a bag of chips. The

  • Joachim Brohm

    Joachim Brohm’s work demonstrates that there are other kinds of “straight” photography in Germany besides the “Becher school.” The effect of Brohm’s work is comparable to that of the Bechers: he equates reproduction and the autonomous image, realism and abstraction, but his vision is different. While Thomas Ruff, Thomas Struth, or Axel Hütte place classical subjects such as humankind, a landscape, or the city at the center of their work, Brohm’s images seem strangely empty. Their centers seem to have fled; a surface has appeared in front of the camera’s lense that surrounds the actual image. In

  • Skulpturen•Fragmente

    For the curator of this exhibition, Herta Wolf, the title “Skulpturen•Fragmente” (Sculptures•fragments) described the aspects of photographic art Wolf believes typical of the ’90s. By “Skulpturen” she referred to the sculptural or spatial dimension of certain of the photo-based works here, for example the installation by Susan Trangmar: from the center of the darkened room, images were projected on the walls and floor, not frontally but diagonally, sometimes overlapping the room’s corners. Romantic images of the sky were mixed with group photographs of children—found images dating from the

  • Martin Gostner

    Martin Gostner is interested in Gletschereis (Glacial ice)—a hard crystalline candy sold in German-speaking countries—not for its tongue-tingling qualities, but for its form and material. Gletschereis is rectangular, slightly translucent, and light milky-beige in color. The candies serve Gostner as the building blocks of one of his works, in which he uses it to form larger blocks of varying sizes. He also takes raspberry candies to construct, according to their different shapes, individual balls and systems reminiscent of molecular models.

    An essential consideration in his choice of candy as a