Monday, November 18, 2013

Night watch at Clärchens Ballhaus (summer 2013)

In the spotlight

Rose-guardians over sleeping chairs

Not a self-portrait! Part II

Thank you Lucian Spatariu for the beautiful image!

This is a Polaroid! Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Up the walls again!

Vernissage: Friday, the 4th of October 2013, starting 7 PM
Exhibition: 5 October - 25 october 2013
Caffe degli Artisti, Fidicinstr. 44

Artists: Ioana Muntenescu (RO) & Daniel Lamas (DE/PE)
Curator: Claudia Lamas Cornejo
Management: Julia Goth

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Not a self-portrait!

Thanks, photographer!

Enjoying the other side of the camera
Wrangelstr., July 2013

Portraits in the Wrangelstr.

On a sunny day: Joscha, July 2013

July Instants: The Bunker

Sunny morning, July 2013

The entrance, July 2013

Instant pictures in August

In the hood... Wrangelhood!

At Baretto, Wrangelstr.

Visible, invisible, present... 

Frieda Gabriella with Nora&Lars

Saturday, August 10, 2013

II II // I

Nothings (and Somethings) by Christian Burnoski
1st-14th August, 2013
with opening performance To Be It by Andrea Jenni
with Martina Cesari & MariaGiulia Serontoni

A black bowler hat decorated with white buttons hiding a tennis ball... A white wall framed by two perpendicular paintings, mainly orange, except for a spot of white, where they meet the wall. Red stripes of the American flag in a round frame and some missing stars, like the title overtly states (Stripes without Stars, 2013). What you don't see and exactly what you see lie in front of your eyes... Playful and conceptual in the same time, Christian Burnoski's show in the attic of Hochstr. 45 involves seeing, imagining, making-believe, believing.

Tennis Ball Under Hat with White Buttons (2013) draws its inspiration from a scene in Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966), in which the camera follows an imaginary tennis ball... The presence of the ball in Christian Burnoski's piece is a creation of both the artist's and the viewer's powers of imagination. Due to their round shape, the holes (like little nothings) in the canvases making up Vine St. (2012) dialogue with the buttons from the near-by magic hat. Playfulness is at the heart of this piece, too: the title refers to the artist's address as a child and the holes nostalgically encapsulate his “childhood phone number growing up” . 

Vine St. 2012
holes cut in canvases, acrylic

Some of the installations incorporate architectural elements of the exhibition space itself: White Wall between Two Paintings mentioned before and Echoes II, in which the window is being doubled by paralleled pieces of glass hanging on rope.

Echoes II, 2013
glass, rope, metal clasps, window

According to the artist's own confession, Between Two Infinite Voids (2013) encapsulates his view of life as a thin time span between two infinities (past and future), which makes it “the most existentialist piece in the exhibition”. When human life is a short, almost unsubstantial and invisible thing caught between before and after, the attempt to make it visible and to make it real resembles magic.

Andrea Jenni's performance TO BE IT brings different rhythms in the exhibition space. Alternating movement and stillness, dance and gesture, it echoes Burnoski's play with juxtapositions, repetitions, reflections. The opening of the performance installs a feeling of levitation and slowness. Hit against the wall, two black latex balloons return to the performers in a calm movement, almost floating. At the end of the performance they will become exhibited objects and keep still in a corner, between two wooden bearers (Inflatables in Space, 2013). 

Inflatables in Space, 2013
latex balloons

During the second part of the performance the two dancers, each of them in a different spot of the exhibition place, perform slow motion movements in connection with the black balloon. The last part involves dancing between Echoes I and Echoes II (2013). The dancers' movements are more rhythmical, they mirror and counterpoint each other, just like the neighbouring art pieces.

Christian Burnoski's exhibition and Andrea Jenni's accompanying performance engage in a dialogue with the space and with each other. Out of their collaboration the void and the Nothings became images of life and invitations to play. Something worth seeing and sharing...

Exhibition views and performance stills: ©Ioana Muntenescu
II II // I   Hochstraße 45, 13357 Berlin,

Friday, June 28, 2013

Wonderlust during the 48-Stunden Neukölln Festival... and after!

The exhibition lasts until the end of June.
Opening hours: daily, from 6 PM... until the bartender decides to go home.
Many thanks to Frank and the Froschkönig:

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mircea Cantor (b. 1977, Romania). Short notes on a personal discovery

I discovered Mircea Cantor by chance, leafing through a French art magazine. And I immediately liked his works. In the beginning it was the UNPREDICTEBLE FUTURE: the handwriting on a steamy, wet window. I think each of us has, at least once in his life, put his finger on a dusty car or a steamy window, wrote something and left there a short message. A message addressed to everybody, to who ever happens to pass by and spot it.

In Mircea Cantor's work the letters leave their traces as they start to melt, before they will disappear. Letters: evanescent, living traces...
The spelling mistake is charming and it made me think of a child having written this on his way to school, home, to the playing ground, ... through life.
A short poem on fragility, evanescence, surprise, hope and the imagination.

The artist is renown for his film entitled Deeparture, in which a wolf and a deer were brought in a white, empty gallery and left to watch each other, make each other nervous and unsettle our own senses and expectancy. The tension surfaces from challenging the instincts, from the crude beauty of bringing together two creatures which in a different environment (their natural one) are destined to play the roles of pray and hunter. The viewer of this film witnesses the exchange of glances between the wolf and the deer, their breathing, restlessness and calm.

This is a simple, almost minimalist film. Bringing together the two animals is a challenge Mircea Cantor addresses to death and survival instincts (both violent and fully natural) and it is also an invocation of the unexpected. Things no longer happen according to a preconceived scenario.

When I read in his CV that he lives ”on Earth” I remembered another work, also made in a minimalist manner, namely by adding a single letter: the French title Le Monde becomes for Mircea Cantor Les Mondes. The critics read in this an anti-globalisation message; I rather see it as a small manifesto of freedom, an apparently simple game, with letters and a marker: the artist-child and the artist-protester play with the world, correct it, complete it. The artist’s toy, the world, becomes a multitude of toys (les mondes). There is a Dadaist feeling in his work, drawing back to the Romanian inception of modern art. 

In a video entitled The Landscape is Changing a group of protesters carry mirrors instead of banners with slogans. In their mirrors you see how the environment changes while the people themselves walk and change their position. As the artist himself confesses, he is interested not in a global discourse, but rather in a universal one. The protest takes places in an unknown city, no words are written anywhere, there are only people and the world they transform. The image (the reflection in the mirror, the video itself) mediates between us and the world.

Although The Title is the Last Thing, (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2006), I confess I like Mircea Cantor’s titles: Changing Sky (Ciel Variable, Frac, Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, 2007), Born to be Burnt (GAMeC, Bergamo, 2006). Works such as The Second Step and Double-Heads Matches raise my good spirits: a double-headed match is a sign that the world keeps on being reinvented.

The second step: is it Armstrong’s second step on the moon, taken out of anonymity by the artist or does it belong to another lunatic astronaut? In both cases, it is a fresh, cheerful and optimist imprint upon the open world we live in.

I like Mircea Cantor’s humour: regarding the for or against discourse on globalisation, he brings in a mischievous smile: ”I hear a lot of this official, left-winged discourse about the periphery. Berlin, Los Angeles... I myself came to live in Paris in order to be at the periphery of Romania. It’s my manner of keeping a distance from everything. (”J'entends beaucoup ce discours officiel, de gauche, sur les peripheries. Berlin, Los Angeles... Moi-meme, je suis venu habiter a Paris pour vivre a la peripherie de la Roumanie. C'est ma maniere d'avoir une distance avec tout”, Beaux Arts, No.275, May 2007). The artistic credo of a man living in exile, but ”on Earth”.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spring is on ity way!...

You are kindly invited!
Poster-invitation done by Chiara Bonetti, using one of my photos. Mille grazie!
Please visit her work here:

Friday, February 1, 2013

Latifa Sayadi: A twist of iron(y)

Genetically manipulated something, 2007

Latifa Sayadi's metal sculptures have a playful character: entanglements, twists and foldings of the material are paired with word-plays and innuendos. Conceived as individual pieces or as series, Latifa Sayadi's works re-enact a situation, express a state of mind, suggest a human form. Although she defines her works as abstract sculptures, their focus doesn't lie in virtuosities and stylization of the form. What makes them abstract is their poetic and often ironic interpretations of reality.

Done in various materials, her sculpture surprises by the way one material meets the other, one brass detail fits within the body of the steel. Nevertheless, the sculptures don't work by contrast, but by surprise. Sayadi's art is not an attempt to gain an effect, but to express and trigger a discovery. In her view, balance is a zigzagging flight of stairs (Equilibre, 2012) and craziness can dis-place and display a “heart” of gold (Verrückt) .

Verrückt (detail)

While some of the single sculptures are built around a defining detail, the series play with the idea of reality and its multiple perspectives (Lonesome Tragedy and Lonesome Comedy). But the artist is not fixed on binary situations and the serial character of her work is a playful and insightful attempt to catch the richness of life (see Expression, Impression, Depression).  

Lonesome Tragedy, 2007

Latifa Sayadi's playing ground is quite large: besides sculpting metal she also makes installations and etchings. While the forged metal sculptures carry the memory of fire and noise which accompanied their coming into form, the etchings put forward a certain quietness and delicacy. In her installations, born out of a desire to react to and interpret real events which caught her attention, the evocative power of the chosen materials is reinforced by the works' titles (Immigrants leaving traces or Rue de l'Impasse). Be it personal experiences or serious political themes (such as immigration, land poisoning through bomb dropping, re-installation of dead-end regimes), her subject matter is always treated with a twist of irony.

Dictature globale, 2012

Immigrants leaving traces, 2011

The text was first published in: Latifa Sayadi, catalogue, simpact, Tunis, 2013.
Photos: ©Stefanie Gierke, Latifa Sayadi, Holger Ziefus (for the sculptures); ©Joerg Kretschmann (for the etchings).
Please visit Latifa Sayadi's website: 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Die bewegende Welt: die reale Rahmung jedes Fotos

Pieter Hugos großformatige Fotografien aus der Permanent Error Serie sind Einzel- oder Gruppen-Porträts und Landschaftsaufnahmen von einer Schrottplatz für Elektromüll in Ghana, der lokal auch unter dem Namen Sodom und Gomorrha bekannt ist. Jungen auf der Suche nach wiederverwendbaren Teilen, umgeben von großen, grauen Asche- und Giftwolken und orangen Feuern; am Ort liegende Kühe mit zwei laufenden menschlichen Figuren im Hintergrund. Es gibt Bilder der Arbeit, die sich der Atmosphäre eines Infernos annähern, und Bilder der Ruhe, wie zum Beispiel das eines Arbeiters beim Schlafen.

Weiter, in dem großzügigen Raum der ehemaligen Turnhalle trifft man zuerst auf Yakuba Al Hasan: eine volle Ladung Kabel krönt seinem Kopf, auf der linken Schulter trägt er einen Reifen. An der Wand gegenüber steht das Bild von dem kleinen, schüchternen und ernst blickenden Mädchen Naasra Yeti in einer hochzeitsähnlichen Kleidung. Der Junge Al Hasan Abukari ist auch Teil der Porträtierten und sein türkisfarbenes T-shirt zeichnet ihn vor dem grauen Hintergrund deutlich ab.

Durch mein Studium der afrikanischen Kunst war mir das Werk von Pieter Hugo (geb. 1976, Südafrika) schon bekannt, wie zum Beispiel die Serien Nollywood und The Hyena and Other Men (die ihn 2007 bekannt gemacht hat). Ein paar von seinen Stil-Charakteristika sind auch in der aktuellen Ausstellung wieder zu erkennen: eine präzise Inszenierung des Porträts; sein Interesse an Außenseitern und der Versuch, ihren Lebensstil zu dokumentieren (wie bei der Hyena and Other Men Serie); eine ästhetizierende Wirkung (eine Art slum-coolness in diesem Fall); die Ambivalenz seiner Bilder, gleichzeitig reell und surreal, faszinierend und störend.

Ich wusste ein bisschen was mich in der Ausstellung erwartet: die schon erwähnte “apocalyptic Vision“ und “die dahinter stehende ethische Fragestellung zu unserem rapiden Umgehen mit Technik“ ( Irgendwie hatte ich Angst, dass das ganze Projekt nur bei dieser Ebene bleibt. Ich kam zur Ausstellung um den Künstler abzuchecken, gebe ich zu. Nach meinem Besuch, haben seine Fotos mich überzeugt, dass sie mehr als sensationell und störend sind. Über diese persönliche Entdeckung möchte ich euch erzählen.

Für mich waren die Videos das Unerwartete in seiner Ausstellung. Jeder der drei Fernseher, die sich am Eingang des ehemaligen Turnsaals befinden, zeigt einen Jungen der versucht vor der Kamera eine Weile still stehen zu bleiben. Hinter ihm arbeiten seine Kollegen weiter, ganz ungestört und der Rauch von den brennenden Materialien hebt sich ab. Am Anfang bist du dir ganz nicht sicher, ob du ein slow-motion Video oder ein Bild betrachtest.

Mit ihren überlagerten Tempos (Kino und Foto in einem), mit ihrem Spiel zwischen Vor- und Hintergrund wirken Pieter Hugos Videos wie entfaltete und verlängerte Fotoschüsse. Ihre Protagonisten erkennen wir schon aus den Bilder an der Wand und es ist als ob wir Zeugen bei der Entstehung der Fotos werden. Die Frage stellt sich: wie wurden dann die Porträts aufgenommen? Mussten die Jungen lange still bleiben, wie Exponate in einem Museum oder in einer ethnographischen Ausstellung? Die Videoarbeiten stellen die Stärke und die Schwäche der Fotografie in Frage. Wie z. B den fast unmenschlichen Versuch, eine Person auf dem Stillstand zu halten, sie in ein unbewegtes Objekt zu verwandeln.

Die Stärke dieser Bilder besteht auch darin, dass sie gleichzeitig Spannung und Stille erzeugen können, Coollness und Ausdauer. Es gibt etwas Berührendes in der langen Pose des Junges der versucht, die große Ladung auf seinem Kopf im Balance zu halten. Uns wird es wieder bewusst: ein Foto zu machen ist ein Prozess, die Fotografie braucht und handelt mit der Zeit. Und noch mehr: die Fotografie bringt die Welt zum Stillstand. Die Videos offenbaren eine Verbindung zwischen dem Leben, das immer in Bewegung ist, und dem Foto, das aus diesem Fluss des menschlichen Agierens entnommen ist.

Wir gucken uns die unerschrockenen, eifrigen Protagonisten an, die lange still bleiben können, während der Hintergrund weiter läuft. Das Individuum und die Welt. Was ist die Verbindung zwischen dem Still-Bild und der Welt, die reale Rahmung jedes Fotos? Wo kommen wir, als Zuschauer, ins Spiel?

Die Permanent Error Serie setzt sich mit brisanten Themen, wie Globalisierung, Verwendung von Technik und Verschwendung auseinander und liefert dadurch eine Meditation über unsere Welt und unser Leben. Die Bilder zeigen Kontraste und damit werden auch Verbindungen aufgedeckt. Mit ihrem Fokus auf von kaputten Computern umgebenen Individuen, können die Fotos von Hugo auch als ein Zelebrieren des Lebens verstanden werden.

Noch kurz zum Schluss: die Fotos von Pieter Hugo befinden sich in der guten Begleitung der poetischen Bilder und Kleinvideoaufnahmen von Rinko Kawachis. Durch ihre Werken gelingt es beiden Künstlern uns eine Meditation über Dauer, Ausdauer und Lebenszeit anzubieten.

Pieter Hugo im C/O Berlin: 10. November 2012 - 13. Januar 2013

Alle Bilder im Text: ©Pieter Hugo. Mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Stevenson, Cape Town and Yossi Milo, New York
Text erschienen auch auf