Norbert Messler

  • Karin Kneffel

    Karin Kneffel paints in ways that, seen superficially, seem like ironic and irksome internal measures aimed at pictorial deformations. Yet these canvases are anything but a painter’s Modernistic laments. In her depictions of animals, Kneffel takes energetic steps back into painting, toward painting. The very big- or very small-format works here show dogs, poultry, horses, rabbits, and wild boars. Bizarre, absurd, yet somehow appealing, these excellently painted animals, whether in masses or in isolation, consistently function as independent entities in regard to the overall composition. These

  • Asta Gröting

    Strikingly distributed throughout this generous space, the ten works here by Asta Gröting—both floor and wall pieces—come across as consciously modern avatars of what might generally be called “appealing art.” The most obvious feature of these pieces is their surprising materiality, followed by the intense up-to-dateness of their esthetics of impact: the tendency to be cool and rational. Transparent materials such as glass and plastic are used along with more amorphous materials such as rubber and modeling clay. Organic nature, in the guise of wood, coexists with found or manufactured objects.

  • Susana Solano

    In 1949, Sigfried Giedion described modern sculpture as having atavistic elements, as divulging “a reminiscence of the eternal source,” adding, “Its essence is to be sought in the way it shapes and forms space.” In these terms, the new pieces by Susana Solano are thoroughly modern. By dealing with the sculpture of the ’60s without quoting it and, additionally, by including the seemingly utilitarian esthetics of furniture sculpture of the ’80s without stylizing it, Solano places herself firmly within the discourse of contemporary sculpture. This exhibition consisted of four recent pieces, one of

  • Hanne Darboven

    Hanne Darboven’s works are basically impelled by the thought of naming time. Time—say, the passing of the present, which is a different experience for each individual consciousness—is usually captured by Darboven in an artistically arbitrary system that aims at objectivity. In its complexity, this system transforms abstract time into a visual, graphic sign that is both tangible and comprehensible. For instance, time is written out by hand and linked to combinations of numbers. The artist often employs a code with a rigid foundation that is composed partly of mathematics and partly of free

  • Katharina Fritsch

    A fundamental concept of Katharina Fritsch’s work is what might be called the department-store mentality. Her sculptural approach evolves from the idea of the presentation of the multiple: 288 lemon-yellow plaster madonnas, 145 white vases with a steamship motif, 4 money crates bearing a total of 25,000 aluminum plates, and 55 silk scarves in green, white, black, and red, all bearing the printed image of St. Martin. Under the artist’s guidance, individual objects have been industrially fabricated and multiplied. Contrary to what we might think , these are not readymades. Their character is

  • Mike Kelley

    Mike Kelley’s exhibition here was bound to strike a nerve in the viewer who hopes to look at art with restraint or curiosity, judging it in peace and quiet and drawing inspiration or not. Instead, without a distance to facilitate the experience, the viewer found himself in front of paintings that seemed to bode no good. They demand, “Discover the human body organ: the brain, the lungs, the kidneys, the heart, the intestines.” With quiet compositions and modest gradations of black and white, these works take us on a very special pictorial journey into the world of organic tissue—and polyethylene

  • Rolf Walz

    In viewing Rolf Walz’s photopictures—all of which have the same format and bear the same title— we can hardly speak of photographs in a clear-cut sense of the word. By using diverse methods of reproduction, Walz is trying to find a location outside of subjective and conceptual photography, while not excluding reminiscences of painting. As a result, his pictures are reflections on pictures, ultimately becoming pictures in their own right. Walz specifically intends to translate a second-, third-, or fourth-degree reality of found, appropriated, mass-produced photographs. His approach is conceptual,

  • And Meager Magnetism

    The two friends charge forward, close and side by side, Harmodius powerfully swinging his sword, Aristogeiton ready to stab forward with his, and holding his cloak in front of him. The vehement motion is rendered strongly and freely. A masterful solution has been found to the difficult problem of uniting two people acting together, of fusing them into a group that appears lucid and effective from the front as well as from the sides.
    —Anton Springer, 1921, on Kritios’ and Nesiotes’ Group of Tyrannicides (477 B.C.)

    AS AN EXHIBITION, “The BiNational,” a two-part show of West German and American art

  • Peter Roehr

    The principle of a calculated, axiomatic serial montage is the logo of West German artist Peter Roehr, who died in 1968 at the age of 24. For the 20th anniversary of his death, the Galerie Paul Maenz offered a survey of his work, recalling this artist’s remarkably self-contained overall conception. The inevitable and catchy essence of Roehr’s art is revealed once again in the 15 pieces here.

    Roehr’s oeuvre consistently demonstrates the same principle: film footage, consumer objects, letters of the alphabet, texts, and advertising photos, in precise, linear, and completely lucid series, are turned

  • Sibylle Ungers

    Sibylle Ungers’ drawings are emphatically unpretentious, yet secure in their forms and compositions. The artist here uses mixed media—charcoal, oil crayon, pastel, watercolors, and gouache—in 10 medium-sized and 11 smaller formats. Employing just a few basic geometric forms, Ungers develops her suggestive, colorful draftsmanship until it achieves a painterly fusion. With delicate smudges and powerful, constructed contours, she creates work that occupies a status between hard and soft, closed and open. The sculptural adhesion of the figure to the background is illusionary in some spots, completely

  • Udo Lefin

    Udo Lefin showed five large-format paintings in his first one-man exhibition. He works extremely slowly: the five pieces in this exhibition constitute his entire output of the past three years. His working method may be, in turn, a result of the complicated nature of the paintings themselves. All of these paintings were done with lacquer pigments and transparent varnishes on canvas and wood; their surfaces are dazzling and reflective. His goal is obviously to create an intense color-surface effect—fiery red and sunny yellow, deep black and midnight blue. The complexity of Lefin’s paintings is

  • Imi Knoebel

    Upon entering the gallery, one instantly sensed that the five pieces on display here were created specifically for this environment; they related directly to the multilevel space, scattered as they were over the three levels of the gallery. Four of the paintings—Arbeit Stahl (Labor steel, 1988), O mein Schatz (Oh my darling, 1988), Mama, Look at the Sea, 1988, and Die Töchter (The daughters, 1988)—could be viewed from the entrance, as if they occupied a simultaneous stage. The emphasis of the presentation was on an order that the viewer could experience and understand intuitively, an arrangement