37 Artist Group Exhibition "Zuordnungsprobleme" at Johann König,

Markus Amm, John Armleder, Will Benedict, Henning Bohl, Tim Braden, Wolfgang Breuer, Lecia Dole Recio, Michaela Eichwald, Adam McEwen, Matias Faldbakken, Morgan Fisher, Carsten Fock, Poul Gernes, Wade Guyton, Lone Haugaard Madsen, Mary Heilmann, Thilo Heinzmann, Gregor Hildebrandt, Alex Hubbard, Nathan Hylden, Yayoi Kusama, Lisa Lapinski, Meuser, Charlotte Posenenske, Stephen Prina, Anselm Reyle, Pietro Roccasalva, Thomas Scheibitz, Lara Schnitger, Jim Shaw, Andreas Slominski, Katja Strunz, Marianna Uutinen, Johannes Wohnseifer, Alexander Wolff, Amelie von Wulffen, Heimo Zobernig

Johann König, Berlin is delighted to present the group exhibition Zuordnungsprobleme (“Problems of Assignment”) in temporarily expanded quarters. Featuring the works of 37 artists both from Germany and other countries, Zuordnungsprobleme explores the limits of painting, i.e. the boundaries between painting and other art forms. A point of reference for the exhibition is provided by the term “Specific Objects”, coined by Donald Judd in 1965 for a new art form that is neither painting nor sculpture in the classic sense.

The German artist Charlotte Posenenske (*1930 – 1985) was one of the first to expand the conventional concept of painting to include more sculptural elements. The Sculptural pictures and Reliefs she produced from the mid-1960s form a bridge from the two-dimensional surface into three-dimensional space. Eschewing painterly illusionism for unambiguous geometrical shapes, she used industrial production methods to create series of works in unlimited, unsigned editions. In a marked contrast to Posenenske’s position, the work of Yayoi Kusama (*1929, Japan) is characterized by an almost obsessive self-absorption. In comparison with the illusionistic environments she designs in theatrical performances, Kusama’s paintings seem subdued, their confinement to a two-dimensional surface almost claustrophobic.

Another approach can be seen in the work of Poul Gernes (*1925, Denmark), a lithographer and self-taught artist whose early work adhered strictly to the principles of hierarchical composition. In the 1950s, he became increasingly interested in non-figurative shapes and using bright colours to create decorative patterns. From the 1960s on, he expanded his range to include sculptures reminiscent of Minimalist Art and conceptual installations, in which, however, series of paintings somewhere between Minimal and Pop Art remained central elements. Mary Heilmann’s (*1940, US) ceramic pictures, furniture pieces and paintings composed according to the principles of graphic design also push the conventional boundaries of abstract painting. The relationship to sculpture is immediately apparent, as is a pronounced interest in contemporary lifestyle and design culture. John Armleder’s (*1948, Switzerland) installations of ready-made objects – often items of furniture or parts thereof – are frequently composed as expansive tableaux, though their affinity to painting is unmistakable in the use of colour. The work of Meuser (*1947, Germany), who studied with Joseph Beuys also eludes any attempt to classify it according to medium. Despite their often heavy metal frames, there is something light and playful about his mostly wall-hung installations thanks to their bright colours and absurd/ironic titles. Morgan Fisher’s (*1942, US) mostly monochrome paintings pursue a wholly abstract idea of representation. This master of structuralist film has been working in the medium of painting since the late 1990s, in a continuation of his approach using other means. The paintings of Heimo Zobernig (*1958, Austria) are characterized by their formal reduction to the minimum of elements necessary for their function as an artwork; Zobernig also applies this stringent criterion to his work in video, sculpture, installations and graphic design. Characterized by thick layers of paint and prosaic titles, Jim Shaw’s (*1952, US) partly figurative, partly abstract material pictures break through the painted surface to create reliefs and even completely sculptural figures.

Taking these established positions as a point of departure, the exhibition Zuordnungsprobleme presents younger artists, not all of whom started out as painters, but whose works all refer to the medium of painting. Although all featured artists take the two-dimensional surface as their point of departure, two-dimensionality is not the focus of their work; instead they use complex processes to create works that venture from the traditional territory of painting and incorporate other media such as graphic arts, sculpture, installations, performance and film in sometimes quite radical ways. In doing so, they redefine the medium; the reference to painting is always present, even if in some cases it consists solely of the choice of canvas as a “painting base”.

Johann Koenig




STANDARD (OSLO) is pleased to announce its first solo exhibition with British artist Emily Wardill, featuring her two most recent films: “Sick Serena And Dregs And Wreck And Wreck” and “Secs”. In Wardill’s films any coherent reading of reality seems suspended in favour of recognizing a meshwork of different versions of the real – tensely weaved together.

Q: “What are you thinking about?”

A: “A giant bollock that could be used as a spacehopper.”

The documentary real, the theatrically unreal or hallucinogenic surreal repeatedly intertwine in Emily Wardill’s films, leaving logic restlessly fading in and out of sync. In the case of “Sick Serena And Dregs And Wreck And Wreck” this results in a layering of modes, meanings and historical moments, where the iconography of stained glass windows from medieval British churches is taken as the point of departure. Filmed footage of this imagery – initially serving as allegories and translating the liturgy into images to the illiterate visitor – is juxtaposed with several vignettes, staged by the artist and lit in correspondence to the bold palette of the stained glass. Wardill recomposes these tableaux in ways that invoke both a sense of unease and amusement. The frequent anachronisms verge on slapstick comedy, as in the case of the bearded Amira reappearing in a tracksuit while reading the Yellow pages rather than the Bible. This estrangement is further emphasized by the faltering delivery of the actors and the fragmentation of the dialogue. Wardill is not merely addressing the exaggeration and artifice of cinematic melodrama, but also the allegory’s continued ability to reveal hidden meaning, whether morally or politically.

Produced at the same time as “Sick Serena […]” is the short film “Secs”. Throughout its length of two and a half minutes the camera stays with the same figure: a person sitting motionless in the dark, but whose silhouette is cut clear by light. From this darkness and empty portrait a story unfolds. The anonymous source takes us through a series of events that led to unemployment. The voice of this person is equally disguised, with the words of the confession being pronounced slowly and in an unnaturally low tone. Trivially being caught researching historical artefacts on the Internet through work hours, “Secs is an account of bad judgement, a sequence of errors that seem relatively innocent when compared to the crimes of passion described in Sick Serena … or the narratives associated with anonymous appearances on television”, writes the curator Michelle Cotton. “The form exceeds the ideas it contains and Wardill draws out it’s own strange theatre. What occurs is an identification of style, a memory of something else that once inhabited that same form, a trace of affect.”

Emily Wardill lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), London and Jonathan Viner / Fortescue Avenue, London. Her works have also been included in group exhibitions such as “Lightbox” at Tate Britain and “Ballet Mecanique” at Timothy Taylor Gallery, and will also this spring feature in “Reykjavik Experiment Marathon” curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, as well as “An Ambiguous Case”, curated by Emily Pethick at MUMOK, Vienna. Wardill was earlier this month announced as first laureate of the Follow Fluxus–After Fluxus grant, which will conclude with an exhibition at the NKV Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden.

Standard Oslo

Bob and Roberta Smith I AM A LIVING SIGN

Hales Gallery is pleased to present I AM A LIVING SIGN, The Bob and Roberta Smith Diaries. The show is their second at the gallery and brings together two recent strands of the artists work; the Diary Pages and the bronze Thought Examination sculptures. The extraordinary diary pages are painted on large wooden panels and line the gallery‚s walls from floor to ceiling. Each page is created in Bob and Roberta Smith‚s unique style that celebrates the vernacular skills of jobbing signwriters. The diary texts themselves are by turns funny and sad: 14th February 1984, I had Tickets to see the Smiths tonight. I was excited. My friend Ian had seen them support the Fall and he said they were good. I had their first album and liked it very much. This afternoon Mum rang to say this time Dad was really dieing. He had cancer in his gut. I phoned the Hospital, They said to hurry because he did not have long. I gave my Smiths tickets away. As the train sped through Doncaster station it began to rain. I thought the Smiths will be opening their show with either, ‘Girl Afraid’ or ‘Back to the Old House’. By the time I made it to Northallerton General Hospital my Dad had died. Bob and Roberta Smith believe that we should all try to understand the stories that make up our lives. Although their new show is reflective of their own experience, often it is cultural and political events common to all that have informed their opinions. The Thought Examination sculptures are placed in the centre of the gallery, each supported by their own homemade plinth. The works are made up of a series of cast bronze vegetables or fruits balanced on top of each other to create strange forms reminiscent of 20th Century modernist sculpture. Thought Examination was the term given to a punitive form of self incrimination used during the Cultural Revolution in China. Unfortunate Chinese citizens accused of bourgeois tendencies, were forced to write down their ideas, attitudes and relationships. Bob and Roberta Smith see their Thought Examination sculptures as three dimensional Rorschach ink blots that mirror in a more benign way, the process enforced by misguided youth during the Cultural Revolution. Bob and Roberta Smith are interested in what you can make of them. During the show people will be invited to draw the sculptures. However, after the process of drawing there will be no imprisonment or torture! Fast becoming recognised for their politically astute artwork and crazy performances, Bob and Roberta Smith have been widely tipped to win the Fourth Plinth Commission for Trafalgar square. Adrian Searle (The Guardian) says that Bob and Roberta Smiths proposal, Œhas a brazen vitality reminiscent of 1960s French nouveau réalisme∑..It is stupid, but oddly, uplifting. Man the barricades!‚ Tom Lubbock (The Independent) ŒBob‚s is the only one worth building‚ and The Times list Bob and Roberta Smith‚s Faîtes L‚Art Pas La Guerre top of their list of the hopeful entries. Bob and Roberta Smith live and work in London. Currently their work can be seen in Tate Britain as part of the gallery‚s recent re-hang. They have been exhibited world wide including Paul Thek, In the context of today‚s contemporary art, ZKM | Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe, Germany 2008, Shop Local, Peer Gallery, London (2007), Hearing Voices, Seeing Things, Serpentine Gallery London (2006), Centre of the creative Universe: Liverpool and the avant-garde, Tate Liverpool (2006), The New York Art Amnesty, Pierogi, New York 2002 and Make me a Sandwich, Richard Heller Gallery LA (2001). Bob and Roberta Smith‚s work is included in many public and private collections around the world including the Tate collection (UK), Arts Council collection (UK), British Council collection and the Goss-Michael foundation (USA).

Hales Gallery

Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen

Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen
Saturday, March 29th 9PM

Mis United
Performance, Lyrics and concept by Lilibeth Cuenca
Music by Anders Christophersen
Costume design by Lise Klitten

Mis United is a complex contemporary character, constantly prepared to change directions and with no solid ground under her feet. Lilibeth will perform 6 new songs with a variation of genres electronica, punk, rock and hiphop with her own lyrics and like the ever changing Mis United her costumes changes for each new music piece.

Renwick Gallery