Maximilian Lehner

  • Zsófia Keresztes, Untitled, 2023, polystyrene, glass mosaics, construction adhesive, steel, cement joint, fiberglass mesh, spirit levels, 86 1⁄4 × 46 × 44 7⁄8".

    Zsófia Keresztes

    Indulging in an aesthetics that falls somewhere between that of Buddhist temple guardian statues and that of Chupa Chups lollipop packaging, Zsófia Keresztes has developed a unique style of sculpture. Reminiscent of Catalan Art Nouveau, the artist’s large organic shapes are made of polystyrene covered in small mosaic tiles. These forms are often perched on top of each other like cairns, their contours dripping like cake frosting, or they might lie on the floor in long, winding wormlike shapes. The palette of the tesserae, with tones ranging from pale orange to fleshy pink and baby blue, would

  • View of “Small Things, Precious Things”, 2023. Photo: Andrei Infinit.
    picks April 10, 2023

    Mircea Nicolae

    Organized by the Bucharest-based curatorial initiative Salonul de proiecte, “Small Things, Precious Things” delivers a loving ode to the late artist Ionuț Cioană (1980–2020), who practiced under the nom de plume Mircea Nicolae, a combination of the names of two of his favorite writers: Mircea Eliade and Nicolae Labiș. In Timișoara’s slightly derelict former garrison, A4-size sheets flank the walls of every exhibition room. Each contains a title, a description, and at least one color image, components of Nicolae’s long-running body of blog entries, 100, 2007–10. The pictures range from installation

  • View of “Of Pleasure: The Learnings and Strange Fortunes of Atletica Ideal.” Photo: Mihaela Vezentan.
    picks January 26, 2023

    Apparatus 22

    In 2015, Apparatus 22 embarked on the “Suprainfinit utopian universe,” a conceptual framework named after the gallery that hosted the collective. Their latest exhibition, “Of Pleasure: The Learnings and Strange Fortunes of Atletica Ideal,” continues to build out this artistic ecosystem, filling the gallery with sculptures made from black leather, metal chains, and marble balls; neon letters spelling out musings like “my crusade for love reached the end of the world” or “metaphysics and flesh crushed in pleasure”; parts of birdhouses coated in black paint; and “lightbox skeletons”—wall-mounted

  • Kateryna Lysovenko, Something for Everyone, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 86 5/8 x 256". Installation view. Photo: Catalin Georgescu.
    picks November 22, 2022

    Kateryna Lysovenko

    Kateryna Lysovenko’s exhibition “Something for Everyone” draws viewers in with its large eponymous 2022 installation, which centers on a standing painting that curves to form a kind of apse in the back of the gallery. Arranged as couples or groups of three, the figures depicted on its surface keep to a color scheme ranging from pale yellow to a brownish red. The sharp contours of their silhouettes stand in contrast to their surroundings, which are filled in with lighter strokes.

    Completing the installation is a long, low pedestal with a surface reminiscent of stone. Its presence transforms the

  • View of Kvadratni Meter, Welcome, 2022.
    picks November 07, 2022

    Kvadratni Meter

    For their latest project, Welcome, 2022, the Slovenian artist collective Kvadratni Meter (“square meter”) have turned the gallery into a vacation home rented out through Airbnb. The back entrance leads you into a spacious normcore fantasy, with the couch, the cushions, the carpets, and even the bedsheets all in the tasteful grayscale of an Ikea staged apartment. A simple white standing shelf marks off the sleeping area, while the hallway is rigged with a shower (a slightly cramped one, if you believe a tourist’s review.) The cliché is only exaggerated by the doormat and wall decorations, emblazoned

  • View of “TristxtOTL.” Photo Cătălin Georgescu.
    picks October 25, 2022

    Mădălina Zaharia


    A dark, saturated blue fills Mădălina Zaharia’s solo exhibition. The neon tubes emitting this colored light play at diagramming, imitating line graphs that plot out the muscle contractions necessary to frown—except where usually one would find precise descriptions, instead there is but a single neon letter: A, D, or S. Only in the second room, where the artist’s latest film, TristxtOTL, 2022, is screened does the combination reveal itself to spell out S-A-D.

    The strange title of Zaharia’s film already hints at “trist,” the Romanian word for “sorrow.” But with the attached acronym “OTL”—shorthand

  • He Xiangyu, House of Nations, 2022, 2K, single-channel video (color, sound 5.1), 28'58.'' Installation view. Photo: Diana Pfammatter
    picks May 23, 2022

    He Xiangyu

    The venue for the newly launched CCA Berlin has all the markings of an up-and-coming cultural center in a soon-to-be-gentrified area. Within this semi-industrial space, He Xiangyu’s House of Nations, 2021, feels oddly at home. In one of the first scenes of the twenty-nine-minute single-channel video, a Chinese exchange student pulls an old carpet down a street using a trolley. Once he arrives at the “House of Nations,” a dormitory for international students in Berlin-Wedding, the protagonist cuts a piece of the rug to fit the floor of his room. In the gloomy images that follow, Xiangyu tracks

  • View of “Eyework,” 2022.
    picks March 28, 2022

    Neogrády-Kiss Barnabás

    Neogrády-Kiss Barnabás’s exhibition “Eyework” brings photographs from three of his recent series—“Stone, Paper, Socks,” 2016–18, “Double Bond,” 2018–20, and “Solitude,” 2020–21—together in a single work predicated on the formal and semantic correspondences generated through installation. In one of the images from the “Solitude” series, Untitled 19, 2020, a cloud of flashy orange smoke turns out to be a tea bag diffusing in hot water. It might be mere coincidence that the color rhymes with that of the roof tiles of the Solitude Palace, the Rococo-style castle that gives the series its name, in