Critics’ Picks

Vibeke Tandberg, Tears, 2008, black-and-white photograph with marker, 68 x 44”.


Vibeke Tandberg

Galerie Klosterfelde
Potsdamer Strasse 93
November 1–December 20

When Britney Spears released her hit “Piece of Me,” last year, the world was desperate for any sliver of scandal about her. But despite the accompanying music video’s lineup of blondes writhing Britney-style in front of their dorm-room mirrors, no one really wanted to be the singer anymore—except Norwegian-born artist Vibeke Tandberg, who devotes two concurrent shows in Berlin to the diva. Of the series of works on view, the leading one at Klosterfelde Gallery riffs on the chaotic media frenzy surrounding Britney in her darkest days and includes several works depicting the artist posed as “Miss Bad Media Karma,” as the singer once termed herself. Prosaic, floral wallpaper covers the gallery’s walls; on closer examination, it appears to be a composite of a paparazzo shot snapped as Spears left a courtroom in tears after losing custody of her children. The image is another example of the glossy, schadenfreude-stimulating images of Spears that have become a backdrop to the everyday activities of ordinary people. But unlike the predators stalking Spears or the populace consuming the raw, meaty mess of her life, Tandberg shows some sympathy for the star. In roughly constructed collages at c/o-Atle Gerhardsen, the artist deploys pop-culture imagery in her own idiosyncratic visual style. In one image, Britney’s head sits on top of a petite and conservatively dressed woman in a conventionally composed black-and-white photograph, with a cartoon skull roughly drawn over the singer’s unavoidably recognizable face. In another work, sneakers poke out from beneath a marker’s manic swirls and squiggles. Though the starlet rarely wore sensible footwear or acted all that prudently, these gritty, constructed images capture the chaos obscuring Spears and articulate and lament our nasty interest in her celebrity.

This exhibition is also on view at c/o-Atle Gerhardsen, Holzmarktstr. 15–18, until December 20.