Martin Gostner

Galerie Nagel Draxler | Cologne

In an interview with Martin Gostner in 2002, Udo Kittelmann cited the Brechtian figure of Herr K., who, when asked what he was doing at the moment, said that he was having a hard time planning his next mistake. Following tracks that might prove misleading, taking detours, and keeping one’s distance from the supposedly familiar have been important elements in Gostner’s artistic practice, a complex one that consciously misuses media and symbols to make simple linear readings impossible and thereby open up new vistas. In “Them Powers,” his recent exhibition in Cologne, Gostner extended this strategy of planned error from the work’s form to its content. Frequently, the title of a piece gives the first hint of its political and social references: A work composed of human excrement in a glass cube is called Mach Mao (Do Mao), 2007—the digested matter is actually “The Little Red Book”; in A Thick

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