chicago

View of “Kerstin Brätsch: PELE’S CURSE,” 2015. From left: Unstable Talismanic Rendering_ Pele’s Curse Nr. 34, 2014; Unstable Talismanic Rendering_27, 2014. Photo: Michael Tropea.

Kerstin Brätsch

The Arts Club of Chicago

View of “Kerstin Brätsch: PELE’S CURSE,” 2015. From left: Unstable Talismanic Rendering_ Pele’s Curse Nr. 34, 2014; Unstable Talismanic Rendering_27, 2014. Photo: Michael Tropea.

IS KERSTIN BRÄTSCH a skeptic or a believer? Throughout her practice, the artist subverts individual aesthetic gestures, technical skill, and objecthood, but it’s often difficult to tell whether Brätsch wants to critique the “institution”—or warmly embrace it. On one hand, her work can be overburdened with a proliferation of voices, so that any individual output is subsumed under other monikers and makers. On the other, her paintings are elegant, considered—ready to be wistfully contemplated and quickly acquired. Like Martin Kippenberger before her, Brätsch surrounds her work with advertising strategies through DAS INSTITUT, her two-person collective with artist Adele Röder; she also collaborates with Debo Eilers as KAYA. Posing as a fictitious import/export agency, DAS INSTITUT has, over nine years, provided Brätsch with a “strategic form of insurance,” in the words of

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