Critics’ Picks


Tommy Camerno

Auguststraße 10
March 15–April 12

In his first solo exhibition in Berlin, the young British painter Tommy Camerno posits an “Astral Clubhouse” via eleven paintings, a sculpture, and an online video. The ongoing series, which he started last year, stems from the artist’s interest in author Carla Yanni’s research into the interior architecture of US mental institutions, wherein repetitive banality may play no small a role in exacerbating, rather than ameliorating, patients’ psychological travails. Camerno’s response is a house wherein every room is rooted in a different historical era, a different design aesthetic; a dwelling that cannot be reduced to any one style or name; a home, in short, more aligned with the ever-shifting nature of the cosmos than the static promises of the Earth.

The paintings range from abstract elucidations of emotional spillage (untitled [Peach], 2018) to extreme close-ups such as Astral Clubhouse Bedroom, 2017, which depicts an empty corner of a room; skyscapes, revealing the scene out the window; to scenes of confused abjection, such as Exhausted Apartment, 2018, in which two young men carry a third, passed out in his underwear, into a hallway.

Camerno effortlessly traverses painterly styles in rendering his artificial universe, which makes it all the more convincing as an open-ended concept. These images of mutated interiority suggest a healing antidote to the blows of queer trauma as well as the crescendo of an exciting new voice in contemporary painting.