Critics’ Picks

French Junkies #2, 2002.

French Junkies #2, 2002.


Nicole Wermers

Admiralitätstrasse 71
September 7–October 12, 2002

Nicole Wermers, who lives in Hamburg and London, is now well known for her miniature models of run-down shops and decked-out banquet halls. In “French Junkies” she continues her exploration of architectural interiors, while the exhibition’s title evokes a territory where enjoyment and addiction, and elegance and trash, overlap. A tiny modernist church is suggestively supplemented by projected images of bright perfume flasks, clipped by Wermers from glossy magazines to recall the crystalline transparence of stained glass. This cheeky glamour, playing out on the threshold of public and private, sacred and profane, also suffuses her ashtray sculptures. The type of standing ashtrays typically developed as corporate accessories, they're grouped together here like a family of prototypes. Several play upon Constructivist formalism while others evoke American Art Deco or the cubical objects of Minimal art, and, by way of these references, the materials used—Plexiglas, cement, plywood—gain new value. They become proud icons, dignified even in accepting the ashes of the art-seeking public.

Translated from German by Sara Ogger.