Louisa Elderton

  • picks March 19, 2020

    Monika Maurer-Morgenstern

    Sometimes you just need to have a quiet word with yourself. German artist Monika Maurer-Morgenstern’s works conjure such a psychological space: a many-colored penetrating self-dialogue, by turns calming and castigating. In her works on paper in pencil, crayon, pastel, and watercolor, from the 1970s to the present, Maurer-Morgenstern—who was formerly referred to as an outsider artist—suggests power plays within the self.

    Wein doch nicht (Don’t Cry), 1997, sees a scarlet apparition looming angrily over a cowering, wide-eyed figure, wild scribbles propelling outward from their chest, anxiety made

  • A.K. Burns

    A nosebleed, a thick pipe from which liquid drips, a juicer spilling pools of bejeweled color, the hazy aura of a sun eclipsed by the moon—these were among the images of leakage in the three video installations, a silent film, and twenty-one collages in A.K. Burns’s exhibition “Negative Space.” Another kind of leakage was evoked by Chelsea Manning’s military jacket, which reappeared throughout the series of sci-fi films on view, including two older works, A Smeary Spot (Negative Space 0), 2015, and Living Room (Negative Space 00), 2017; and the more recent Leave No Trace (Negative Space 000),

  • picks July 03, 2019

    “Max Beckmann in Dialogue: Cecily Brown, Ella Kruglyanskaya, Dana Schutz”

    “We are all tightrope walkers,” navigating the lines between art, grief, and passion—or so wrote Max Beckmann in “Letters to a Woman Painter,” composed for a 1948 lecture at Stephens College, the US’s second-oldest women’s college, in Columbia, Missouri. That same year, he arrived in the United States following his long exile from Nazi Germany and painted Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), a portrait of opera singer Minna Tube, his first wife and muse. Beckmann’s depiction of her as the spear-wielding principal from Wagner’s eponymous opera is a keystone work in this exhibition, which places the German

  • diary May 21, 2018

    From Bratwurst to Bulgari

    THEY SAY YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL. When it came to the fourteenth edition of Gallery Weekend Berlin and the second iteration of ArtMonte-Carlo—both of which opened on April 27 and ran until April 29—I did as much as I could. The organizers of the latter attempted a collaboration, ferrying collectors between the two sites via private jet and helicopter—not very Berlin, but very Monte Carlo. The idea was to coax the most coveted collectors from Monaco’s principality to Germany’s capital and vice versa. Not a bad idea given Berlin’s desire to entice the international elite.

    The New York Times hosted the

  • picks February 27, 2018

    Elham Rokni

    Iranian artist Elham Rokni confronts a subject that has been increasingly sidelined in the mainstream media of late, namely, the displacement of peoples due to war and conflict. After interviewing refugees from Eritrea and Sudan seeking asylum in Israel, the artist made mixed-media works on paper, a book, and a video recounting their folktales and oral histories, rendering stories as dreamlike images.

    Refugees’ rucksacks stored in treetops open the video The Seven Abdulkarims (all works cited, 2018) before we are introduced to Khamis Elshaikh/Abdulkarim, a Sudanese actor. Rokni and he visit the

  • picks February 16, 2018

    Leonor Antunes

    Leonor Antunes’s exhibition here, “the frisson of the togetherness,” thrills as rapturously as an eagerly anticipated kiss. Her materials, forms, and techniques coalesce to stirring effect, producing an atmosphere that carefully weaves the viewer into her mesmeric installation.

    Soft light from freestanding lamps, which casts gentle shadows, caresses the perforated shapes that divide the gallery. Leather horse bridals sit within tangled trellises; teak panels, reminiscent of room partitions, are laced together and fan out (permutations, all works cited, 2017). They’re punctured with large, triangular

  • picks October 12, 2017

    Holly Hendry

    The body has long been a subject of artistic investigation, from Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical studies or Rembrandt’s paintings of autopsies to Alina Szapocznikow’s sensually corporeal sculptures of limbs and lips and Sarah Lucas’s 2009–2010 “NUDS” series, to name a few. The lineage leads to Holly Hendry, a young artist whose unique sculptural language abstracts the body into layers of organs and dermis, akin to the sedimentary buildup of soil.

    Following her graduation from the Royal College of Art last year, this is the artist’s first solo show in Berlin. Combining floor-based and wall-mounted

  • picks September 22, 2017

    Ed Clark

    Maybe you’ve heard of Ed Clark, but even if you haven’t, you’re in for a treat with this exhibition. Though a part of the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 1950s and an early adopter of working with shaped canvases, Clark—who was born in Louisiana in 1926 and grew up in Chicago—has retained a relatively low profile, only recently receiving a solo show at the Art Institute of Chicago, in 2013. Here, he presents paintings made between 1978 and 2013: large-scale canvases of brightly colored acrylics, fluid and forceful, as well as smaller pieces on paper of acrylic and dried pigment, which

  • diary September 19, 2017

    First Time’s a Charm

    BERLIN IS IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE, both seasonal and structural. Seasonal because a summer of torrential rain has finally given way to the blue skies and orange hues of autumn, and structural because, as Forbes said earlier this year, Berlin has “turned into a thriving global capital that draws investors.”

    One of said investors is the respected fair Art Cologne, which has now merged with art berlin contemporary (abc) to create Art Berlin. This event was inaugurated last week and, as most of Berlin’s art world succumbed to the flu, sales soared for art and Ibuprofen alike.

    The city’s exponential

  • picks September 08, 2017

    “From the Aesthetic of Administration”

    How do you envisage the aesthetics of administration? Early morning light, a wood-veneer desk, perhaps tea in a chipped mug? Conceptual artist Joshua Schwebel seeks to examine art from a structural perspective for this exhibition, which could be mistaken for a dowdy office. The show began as an email (a copy of which is pinned to the wall here), sent by Schwebel to Berlin’s arts-funding administration, the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa (Senate Administration for Culture and Europe), inviting its staff to produce artworks for his show. He received only two positive responses, from Pauline

  • diary June 24, 2017

    Julia’s Child

    SOMETIMES THE UNIVERSE throws you a curveball. Like at the ten-year anniversary exhibition of the Julia Stoschek Collection in Düsseldorf, where, standing in front of Ed Atkins and Simon Thompson’s SKY NEWS LIVE, a gripping newsfeed depicted the unfolding results of the British general election. Having witnessed from afar the Westminster, Manchester, and London Bridge attacks, sandwiched by Theresa May’s hard-line Brexit rhetoric and her snap election, I was ready to give up when reading a poll predicting the biggest Tory landslide since Thatcher. (No prizes for guessing my politics.) But as

  • picks June 19, 2017

    Sarah Sze

    American artist Sarah Sze’s immersive installation Timekeeper, 2016, renders time as a relative element that can be manipulated, layered, stalled, stretched, and compressed. You wander through what could be a mad scientist’s den, which takes the form of a three-dimensional collage incorporating a wildly higgledy-piggledy desk illuminated within a darkened room.

    Countless scraps of ripped paper are layered upon a thin metal armature. They gently blow in the wind from fans as projectors throw images of natural and urban realms, and there are even plastic potted plants on which the light beams