Melissa Canbaz

  • View of “Private Viewing,” 2019.
    picks March 01, 2019

    Sofia Duchovny

    In her first institutional solo exhibition, titled “Private Viewing,” Sofia Duchovny arrays a series of sculptures that give form to the imaginary between the private space of production and the public site of presentation. Components from camping tents have been used to construct works that, like their origins, are easily plugged in and transported. The resulting compositions not only suggest fauna but are, in fact, quasi-bodies. In Fly With Me (all works 2018), poles that nearly reach the ceiling are webbed with tulle, leather, and lace, the elements’ impressive materiality coming together to

  • View of “Geta Brătescu,” 2018.
    picks December 17, 2018

    Geta Brătescu

    Geta Brătescu’s first solo exhibition at a Berlin institution presents the artist’s idiosyncratic approach to citation and the processing of forms through thirteen new and historical pieces, some of them previously unexhibited. Brătescu, who studied both art and literature, often assimilated her interest in text in her visual work, as she did in her reinterpretations of Goethe’s Faust, or her appreciation of Brecht’s protagonist in Mother Courage and Her Children. In Linia (Line), 2009, an index of triangular and semicircular shapes is arranged like an alphabet for a sign language, while Elnoi

  • picks November 09, 2017

    Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet

    The name Straub-Huillet is practical in that it designates not only two individuals who worked together but also emphasizes that they did not regard the distinction of authorship as important. Nevertheless, Jean-Marie Straub, who has survived Danièle Huillet, has often stood in the foreground as a filmmaker; this exhibition examines Huillet’s role and finds her to have been a valuable partner, correspondent, and facilitator. The multilayered show is structured around Kommunisten (Communists), 2014; one of Straub’s recent films, it serves as a compilation of the duo’s creative concerns as a whole,

  • Shirana Shahbazi, [Frucht-03-2007] (Fruit-03-2007), C-print on aluminum, 47 x 59".
    picks May 11, 2017

    Shirana Shahbazi

    While hardly anyone still believes in photography’s claim to truth these days, the medium continues to renew its promise of authenticity. The contention that images, identities, and worlds are constructed has long been evident––even analog photography has for some time now had to account for it. Rather than clinging to that discussion, Shirana Shahbazi’s pictures take as their point of departure the material world, never completely breaking away from their relationship to objects. In this exhibition, thirty-five photographs are seemingly displayed at random, but each’s presentation is deliberate

  • View of “John Samson: 1975–1983,” 2016–17.
    picks March 13, 2017

    John Samson

    The current exhibition presents five documentary films by the late Scottish artist and anarchist John Samson. The gaze here is invariably focused on oddities, outsiders: Dressing for Pleasure (1977)—perhaps Samson’s most famous work—investigates rubber and latex fetishism, with rare footage of the punk boutique Sex, run by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren. Garments such as inflatable latex bodysuits, gas masks, and PVC overalls become ethnographic objects. These fetish costumes—along with those who derive a great deal of enjoyment from them—are presented and described with an almost

  • Anni Albers, Schwarz Weiß Grau (Black White Gray), 1927, silk and cotton fiber rug, 61 x 47".
    picks February 20, 2017

    “In the Carpet”

    Starting with two works by Sheila Hicks––both titled Gebetsteppich (Prayer Rug), from 1972 and 1974––the exhibition “In the Carpet” foregrounds the cultural-historical dimensions and production practices of this type of textile. Installed directly opposite each other are traditional Moroccan woven works, the Zemmour rug, ca. 1940, and the Beni Ourain rug, ca. 1920–30, named for the ethnic groups of the Middle Atlas that made them. At the same time, a formal dialogue runs between such traditional rugs and the works of key Bauhaus players such as Anni Albers, Gunta Stölzl, and Rudolf Lutz. Albers

  • David Meskhi, Nonexistent Spot No 02, 2013, ink-jet print, 5 x 8".
    picks December 15, 2016

    David Meskhi

    In David Meskhi’s photographs, the juxtaposition of opposites, in terms of form as well as content, is always in the foreground. The thirty photographs currently on display can be read as a movement study of the body: Alternating black-and-white and color exposures present male gymnasts in training put into dialogue with photographs of skateboarders in the open air. Even if images such as Nonexistent Spot No 02, 2013, recall the Californian skater scene at first glance, the surreal, brutal backdrop in Meskhi’s photograph, an abandoned concrete spot reminiscent of a landing strip, points to his

  • Jan Groover, Untitled (85.11.19.25), 1974, chromogenic prints, each 2 x 9 1/2".
    picks October 06, 2016

    Jan Groover

    Jan Groover’s first solo show in Germany is made up of selections from the most divergent phases of her production. In the late 1960s, the artist’s focus shifted from painting to photography, though she always remained true to a certain style. In the three-part work Untitled (85.11.19.25), 1974, part of a series of motion studies, formal considerations are confronted with intuitive moments. Her practice, in these works, of timing captures to events—in this case, cars driving past—reflects a certain conceptual approach, it is colors and shapes that generate the content of the image and which are,

  • View of Ursula Böckler, “Photos of the ‘Magical Misery Tour’ with Martin Kippenberger,” 2016.
    picks August 01, 2016

    Ursula Böckler

    Martin Kippenberger’s “Magical Misery Tour” is almost legendary. From December 1985 through March 1986 he toured Brazil to collect material for his project Tankstelle Martin Bormann (Gas Station Martin Bormann). As the story goes according to Kippenberger, there was supposedly a gas station somewhere in the country that had belonged to Bormann—a private secretary to Adolf Hitler. The artist resolved to realize the myth by buying a filling station and naming it after Bormann. Photographic documentation of this expedition was undertaken by Ursula Böckler, his assistant at the time. Staged thirty

  • Jochen Lempert, Untitled (Drops), 2016, gelatin silver print, each 19 x 14".
    picks May 31, 2016

    Jochen Lempert

    In Jochen Lempert’s exhibition, the gaze of a photographer merges with the methods of a scientist. His black-and-white photographs are studies that document similarities among humans, the animal world, and other organisms in nature via associative patterns. This ordering principle becomes especially clear in Plant Volatiles (all works cited, 2016)—a display case in which small-format photograms and gelatin silver prints are presented as if they were excerpts from a lexicon of the modern world. The arrangement of the installation is defined by discrete groupings in which visual motifs are corralled

  • View of “Isa Genzken: Make Yourself Pretty!,” 2016. From the series “Ellipsoids and Hyperbolos,” 1976–82.
    picks April 27, 2016

    Isa Genzken

    Isa Genzken’s comprehensive exhibition “Make Yourself Pretty!” is, for Berlin, a truly overdue survey of her life’s work, bringing together excerpts from the artist’s entire spectrum of sculpture, painting, film, photography, and books. On the floor in the atrium of this venue lies the series “Ellipsoids and Hyperbolos,” 1976–82, an array of long, slender, abstract wooden sculptures that have the same presence as any upright figure. Corporeal elements are a motif in her sculptural pieces, including in the series “Schauspieler” (Actors), 2013–. These theatrically and trashily clad mannequins are

  • View of “Anthea Hamilton and Nicholas Byrne: Love IV; Cold Shower,” 2016.
    picks March 14, 2016

    Anthea Hamilton and Nicholas Byrne

    Anthea Hamilton and Nicholas Byrne have been working together since 2009 but also, as has been widely noted, share a private partnership. The mobilization of personal relationships within artistic discourse becomes most interesting when they’re made visible. The pamphlet for their exhibition “Love IV: Cold Shower” is a nice example of this. In a kind of mild repartee, thought fragments are formulated about a group of works from the series “Love,” 2012–, as if they were metaphors for the condition called “love.” The six inflatable sculptures here form a playful and at first almost infantile