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18.09.2009 - 07.11.2009, Berlin
Je est un autre
A group show with Heike Aumüller, Uwe Henneken, Jamie Isenstein, Eva Kotatkova, Ján Mančuška and Jonathan
Monk, as well as a concert by Kammerflimmer Kollektief
We are pleased to present the group show “Je est un autre”, featuring works by the six contemporary artists Heike Aumüller, Uwe Henneken, Jamie Isenstein, Eva Kotatkova, Ján Mancusca and Jonathan Monk who work in different media with a surrealist appropriation of figuration. Painting, installation art, film and performance included in the exhibition will be further complimented by a concert by the group Kammerflimmer Kollektief (Heike Aumüller, Johannes Frisch and Thomas Weber) which will occur in our gallery space on Friday, the 25.9.2009 at 8 pm. Parallel to this exhibition we will be presenting two further artistic stances at our fair stand at the Art Forum Berlin: Daniel Roth and Ján Mančuška, whose assemblage-like installation pieces there fall into line with the concept of the group show. This open curatorial form allows correlations among the featured positions that shift between visual arts, music and film to develop, and guarantees freedom beyond the specific medium for an encounter with each of the very individual formal languages.
Based on self-reflection, the pieces that are juxtaposed within the show deal with perception, formation and breakage of identity, sometimes in a humorous way. The title “Je est un autre” leads back to a letter written in the year 1871 by the poet Arthur Rimbaud addressed to the littérateur Paul Demeny, wherein Rimbaud discloses his idea of the new function of the poet as a creator, magician and seer. The phrase drafted in this letter “Car je est un autre – For I is another” characterises his concept of a self through the dissolution of all senses, a magnitude composed of fragments, which resembles an oscillation between form and formlessness. Arthur Rimbaud sees this shattered self embodied in poetic articulation as a melodic-rhythmic scoring of thought, which – as an overcoming of a self-image cleaving to the merely physical – warrants the recognition of social reality.
Jamie Isenstein shows how the body itself can become a part and the object of an artistic work in her performance “Rug Rug Rug Rug Rug”. Intermittently during the complete duration of the exhibition the artist lies face-down on a rug, for an amount of time defined by herself, her body covered with a series of animal skins – wolf, sheep, bear. Along the lines of Aesop´s fable “The Wolf in Sheep´s Clothing” or also in reference to the quote made popular by Thomas Hobbes “Homo Homini Lupus Est – Man is a wolf to man.”, Isenstein not only caricatures the fluctuation of truth and deception in an outward gesture, she also simultaneously masks and demasks. With the addition of a sign reading “Will return” as is used to announce shop opening hours that proclaims the artist´s absence, Jamie Isenstein´s work shifts between performance, still life and sculpture.
The paintings by Uwe Henneken form a series of self-portraits ranging from figurative to abstract, in which he personifies himself through the appropriation of foreign poses and roles. The painter draws on cultural and political, literary and art-historical contexts, which serve him as fictive templates and synonyms and encompass a morphology of personality and history. The figures (such as the Schlemihl) that appear in an altered context, are cited – sometimes from his own paintings – and refer to innovators, outsiders or rebels who resist categorisation and were occupied with the constitution of imperial structures and the renunciation of limitations in an conceptual, idealising way. In the painting “Reite den Tiger”, which refers to Julius Evola´s book “Cavalcare la Tigre – Ride the Tiger”, Henneken not only transforms the metaphor inherent to the book for a model of thought that disregards the self, but also counteracts the ambivalent thought structure of the anti-modernist Dadaist Evola as an antagonism of the self.
The drawing-, sculpture-, and performance-based “House Arrest” piece by the artist Eva Kotatkova handles possible forms of self-cognition: In testing and performing diffuse poses and gestures the artist generated a series of objects - enhanced by sketches – which developed into surrealist apparatuses and installations. Books, furniture, as well as constructions out of wood and metal form a body of sculptural work, which react with an abundance of free-hanging caricatured drawings, conveying subtle instructions to the viewer. Kototkava exposes the self as a model-like husk that – girthed by the corset of her installation – questions a subject-affirmative positioning of the self.
While Rimbaud ascribes musical attributes to mere language, in Heike Aumüller´s video pieces “Absence” and “Blindlings” the acoustics of a wordless improvised action form the composition of the portrayed scene. The silently acting, usually masked protagonists – whose bodies serve as instruments for the respective sequence of action – do not let any individual traits become visible outside of the grotesque events. The interior in which Aumüller places the figures, however, is unique: The given field of view shows a temporarily appropriated room from which ultimately the partially improvised performance emerges, and that dissolves in its function as a stage after the implementation of an abstruse scene.
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"Je est un autre", Berlin, 2009