reviews

  • Norbert Schwontkowski, Waiting for Hans, 2010, oil on canvas, 24 × 20".

    Norbert Schwontkowski

    Contemporary Fine Arts Galerie (CFA)

    In Norbert Schwontkowski’s painting Ohne Titel (Dach) (Untitled [Roof]), 2009–12, a group of birds sit on a grid of white roof tiles. These birds are dotted so casually onto the canvas they hardly register as living beings—we wouldn’t wait for them to take off. Schwontkowski’s paintings dip in and out of figuration in the way life does: Sometimes we understand what’s going on around us, but most of the time everything’s a bit of a blur.

    Die von Da” (Those from There) presented an outtake of the late German artist’s works across three decades. The principle behind the selection seems to have been

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  • Henrike Naumann, Ostalgie (Urgesellschaft) (Ostalgie [Primal Society]), 2019, mixed media. Installation view.

    Henrike Naumann

    KOW

    Henrike Naumann’s first exhibition at KOW was about history in the broadest sense of the term. More precisely, it was a reflection on memory and the mechanisms through which recent history is written by still more recent history, as well as a study of the ways in which the now defunct German Democratic Republic figured in collective East German memory during the 1990s. The exhibition’s title was the portmanteau word Ostalgie—a contraction of the German words for east and nostalgia—which has come to describe nostalgia for everyday life in East Germany before it was exposed to the hardships of

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  • Stan Brakhage, The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes, 1971, 16 mm, color, silent, 32 minutes.

    Stan Brakhage and David Kamp

    Schinkel Pavillon

    There was an Ouroboros-like quality to “The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes,” an exhibition curated by the artist Ed Atkins, pairing Stan Brakhage’s 1971 film The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes with a new work by the Berlin-based composer, sound designer, and sound artist David Kamp. Shot over the course of three or four days on a variety of different film stocks, Brakhage’s 16-mm silent film documents the activities of the coroner and staff of Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County morgue as they perform autopsies on a number of human bodies (the film’s title is derived from the etymology of Greek

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