Thursday, 1 October 2020

Last Week of "Lusofolia: A Beleza Insensata" at Centro de Arte Oliva

Jesuys Crystiano, untitled, undated, mixed media on paper, 150 x 219,5 cm
Jesuys Crystiano, untitled, undated, mixed media on paper, 150 x 219,5 cm

It is currently the last week of the show
"Lusofolia: A Beleza Insensata" at Centro de Arte Oliva in S. João da Madeira, curated by António Saint Sivestre

The show features among others Evaristo Rodrigues, Jesuys Crystiano, José Teófilo Resende and Marilena Pelosi.

The life and work of Jesuys Crystiano are only documented after 2010, at which time he was living on the streets of Ilheus (Bahia) and taken care of by neighbors. How Crystiano ended up here still remains unclear. It was then that a German hotel owner who lived in the area first caught sight of his monumental wall drawings in abandoned buildings. From then on he continuously supported and documented Crystiano's artistic output and took him in until Crystiano's death in 2015.

Hundreds of coals and pencil drawings, some of them in large format, collages, objects and notebooks were produced during this period. In his drawings he invents surreal worlds which he puts on paper with an secure and dynamic trace. Airplanes, crowned vultures, fish, umbrellas, upside-down chairs and tables, as well as uprooted tree trunks are the recurring subjects of his drawings.

For more information visit the page of the museum here.

Friday, 4 September 2020

Moritz Scheper's Guide to DC Open!

Tomasz Machcinski, untitled, 2012, digital print on baryta paper, 30 x 21 cm

We are thrilled to be included in Moritz Scheper's guide to the best shows in Düsseldorf and Cologne

"This exhibition by Polish autodidact photographer and performer Tomasz Machcinski presents 30 photographs, dating from the 1970s to the present day, in which the artist assumes the guise of various historical figures, pop icons or alter egos in eccentric outfits. Instead of fitting into a well-composed mise-en-scène, he depicts the ageing processes of his body. Several videos, in which Machcinski dresses up as an entertainer and performs songs he has written (for example, 7 Wench, 2013), appear to offer a camouflage for his crossdressing, which was prohibited during Poland’s socialist era until 1989 and is again under threat after the country’s most recent turn to the conservative right." Moritz Scheper

Read the full guide here.

Saturday, 29 August 2020


Tomasz Machcinski, untitled, 2005, Vintage photography, 15 x 10 cm


With Love to Tommy

September 4 – October 24, 2020

Opening: 04.09., 11 am – 10 pm

A magic trick is immediately obvious. A bad trick exposes itself as such, while a good one instantly draws you in. 

For a long time I considered whether the selfie should play a role in this text. Whether this sort of image, perhaps the most banal of our time, actually has anything at all to do with the work of the artist. After all, while he doesn’t want to be an artist, he naturally is one nonetheless, this Tomasz Machcinski, from the small Polish city of Kalisz. 

But there is a video on YouTube of Machcinski in which he explains how he first made an image of himself, sometime in the mid-’60s of the last century. And how this older man now stands there in his front room, around 60 years later, and once again stretches out his arm, camera in hand, to shoot himself – so there it is. Machcinski doesn’t use the word selfie, of course; he speaks of light and shadow, of faces and figures and poetry. “I create figures that have lived, that do live, and some which are still to be born,” he says.

The earliest online use of the word “selfie” can be traced back to 2002. It describes a photographic self-portrait, often taken at arm’s length from one’s own hand. The Oxford English Dictionary declared the term its “Word of the Year” in 2013. Since then, it has also stood as a codeword for the act of working on oneself; for the permanent pressure to perform one’s own life; for the spiral of public staging; for the always more beautiful self; for the cult of the body; and for a schizophrenic relationship to media, and online narcissism. Today, 30 percent of young people see becoming famous as an explicit goal in life; 10 years ago, it was 14%.

Tomasz Machcinski is not famous. Did he want to be? Machcinski was born in 1942. He is the only man on the planet with 1000 faces; 22,000, to be exact. Since taking the first photograph of himself, Machcinski has repeatedly staged himself in new roles. “I is another,” the poet Arthur Rimbaud wrote in 1871, in the second of his so-called “Seer Letters.” And this is perhaps the greatest question of Machcinski’s unbelievable body of work: whether he really has been photographing himself for 60 years now, or 22,000 others. Machcinski has previously transformed himself into Charlie Chaplin, Marx, Lenin, a long-haired junkie with needle, a sheikh with pointed beard, a prisoner with shaved head, a young priest with sacrament, a soldier with pipe, a film noir police commissioner, a Nazi commander, a bearded biker, a bard with guitar, D'Artagnan with rapier and red hat, a bearded biker with steel helmet, “Che” Guevara, a hippie, the Pope, Caesar, a half-Hitler, Jesus. In addition, countless fantasy and historical figures, a knight, a cowboy, a policeman. And when he dresses as a woman – as Mother Theresa, a glamorous Hollywood actress, a woman shopping – Machcinski seems somehow even better, more exalted, more diverse. 

One sees the passing of time in his pictures – analogue black-and-white photographs from the ’60s and ’70s, later on digital photos. A young man, an old one. But their allure stems from the relationship between virtuosity and infirmity: at some point he loses teeth and gains a hunch; he wears no wig, his hair simply how it is, sometimes long, sometimes short; his chin sometimes covered by a massive beard, at others smooth. It is always both him and another that we see – an obsessive, overwhelming confusion of authenticity and artificiality. And the work of an amateur: all of these images he produced alone. Looking through them, the artist, who sometimes exhibits his scars and bodily infirmities and sometimes hides them, appears rich. The perfection of many images, his gaze, the light, the contours of his glamorous face. His 22,000 faces create a mood that irradiates out of the images. It speaks of old Hollywood – a camp, knowing otherworld; a fragile tight-rope dandy.

It was in the small Polish city where the artist has now lived for 80 years – his whole life – that the photo first reached him that started it all. On the photograph, sent to him in 1947 by the actress Joan Tompkins, stood the message, “With love to Tommy. Joan ‘Mother’ Tompkins.” Until he was 20 years old, the artist was convinced that the great Hollywood actress was in fact his actual mother. He then learned that, as a war orphan, he had been part of an “remote adoption programme.” It was the end of his dream. What is real? What is not? What is a self? Machcinski’s pictures leave all of these questions in pieces.

 - Timo Feldhaus

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Horst Ademeit im Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt!

Horst Ademeit, untitled, 06.07.1993, inscribed polaroid, 11 x 9 cm

Horst Ademeit in der Ausstellung "Sammlung"  (22. August-30. Mai 2020) im 

Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt

Mit Silvia Bächli, Sammy Baloji, Éric Baudelaire, Thomas Bayrle, Vija Celmins, Marlene Dumas, Isa Genzken, Tishan Hsu, Anne Imhof, Barry Le Va, Lee Lozano, Bruce Nauman, Cady Noland, Marcel Odenbach u.a.

"(...) Hände, Mienenspiel, Wortwahl und Betonung formen ein politisches und kulturelles Vokabular, das Martine Syms räumlich in einen Dialog mit den Betrachter_innen setzt. Und während Horst Ademeit, Thomas Ruff und Jeff Wall in ihren Arbeiten minutiös Identifizierung und Beobachtung als Grundlagen von Überwachung untersuchen, verhandeln Marlene Dumas, Sammy Baloji, Thomas Bayrle und Tishan Hsu in ihren Arbeiten Religion und Ritual, Körpertechnologie und Geschlecht. Die Ausstellung zeigt Werke aus der Sammlung des MMK von den frühen 1960er-Jahren bis zu zeitgenössischen und jüngst erworbenen Werken."

Mehr Informationen erhalten Sie hier.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Alexandru Chira in der Efremidis Gallery

Alexandru Chira, Study XVI, 1984, Öl auf Leinwand, 90 x 56,5 cm
Alexandru Chira, Study XVI, 1984, Öl auf Leinwand, 90 x 56,5 cm

Alexandru Chira als Teil der Tony Just Ausstellung "Our Inchoate Love" in der Efremidis Gallery, kuratiert von Tenzing Barshee

Das Monopol Magazin veröffentlichte eine spannende Rezension der aktuellen Tony Just Ausstellung mit Werken von Alexandru Chira:

"(...) Da ist jemand, der die Malerei gerade erfährt, anfängt, sie im wahrsten Sinne zu begreifen und mit ihr in eine neue, magische, fast romantische Beziehung zu treten. Wie es der Titel "Our inchoate love" andeutet, geht es um eine beginnende, unfertige, im Entstehen begriffene Liebe. Das auf einer zartgelb leuchtenden Wandmalerei platzierte Sonnenbild "Aphrodite giver of blessings" (2020) wirkt wie ein vorzeitlicher Hochzeitsaltar. Justs monochrome, in Gelb, Violett oder Pink gehaltenen drip images haben organische Strukturen wie Äste, Adern. Sie könnten Eingänge zu einer anderen Welt sein, magische Portale.

Um diesen Eindruck noch zu verstärken, hat Tenzing Barshee, der die Schau mit Just zusammenstellte, noch zwei Bilder des rumänischen Künstlers und Visionärs Alexandru Chira (1947- 2011) von der Kölner Galerie Delmes & Zander ausgeliehen, die sich auf sogenannte "Outsider Art" spezialisiert. In einem kleinen Dorf in Transsylvanien geboren, entwickelte Chira als junger Künstler ein aufwändiges System von Kunstobjekten und symbolischen Bildern, um den Boden zu verbessern und wegen der anhaltenden Dürre den Regen zu beschwören. In Korrespondenz mit Justs Wandmalereien, für die er auch die japanische Heilmethode Reiki nutzt, hängen nun im Fenster der Galerie zwei Bilder Chiras, die erstaunlich dekorativ aussehen.

"Chiras Praxis orientierte sich dabei an bestimmten Vorstellungen von schamanischen Prinzipien, aber auf ziemlich verrückte Weise", erklärt Barshee, "denn er versuchte, mit seiner Kunst tatsächlich das Wetter zu kontrollieren. Er wollte mit seiner Arbeit die Erde heilen. Das ist im Hinblick auf Tonys Werk interessant, in dem Heilung heute ebenfalls ein ganz zentrales Thema ist. Wenn man Chiras Vorstellung von spiritueller Kontrolle anschaut, verhält es sich bei Tony eigentlich genau umgekehrt. Für ihn war es eine aufregende Erfahrung, mit all diesen unterschiedlichen Möglichkeiten zu experimentieren, um seine Bücher und Gemälde zu machen – und dabei eben viel weniger Kontrolle darüber zu haben, was da für ein Bild entsteht. Er erkannte dadurch, wie befreiend es sein kann, die Kontrolle aufzugeben. (...)"

Oliver Koerner von Gustorf

Den vollständigen Artikel können Sie hier lesen.

Saturday, 18 July 2020

New study on Horst Ademeit

Horst Ademeit, untitled, 04.02.1994, edited polaroid, 11 x 9 cm.

A thrilling case study on Horst Ademeit by Rosanna Mclaughlin

"Rosanna Mclaughlin is a writer, editor, and cultural critic. Her criticism has been featured in publications including Frieze magazine and The Guardian. She is the author of the book Double-Tracking: Studies is Duplicity, published by Carcanet Press. She is an editor at The White Review."

Rosanna Mclaughlin has chosen a selection of Polaroid’s taken by Horst Ademeit as the subject of her study as part of Study Series, intiated by the David Roberts Art Foundation. DRAF are a series of focused case-studies of works from the David Roberts Collection. Each presentation centres on a single work or series.

Read the full study here.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Bruno Schleinstein I Warten ist der Tod

Bruno Schleinstein, untitled, undated, mixed media on paper, 42 x 30 cm

Bruno Schleinstein

Warten ist der Tod
July 18 – August 22, 2020
Opening July 17th, 6 - 9pm

“What must the itinerant traveller think when he dreams he’s home again – and is awoken by a song from his own country only to see that he’s in a foreign land.” (Bruno Schleinstein)

Bruno Schleinstein is born in 1932 in Berlin, the youngest of three illegitimate children. Unable to cope with the responsibility of raising her young child, his mother gives him over to the custody of a children’s home when he is just three years old. He lives there for the following six years. As a so-called Reichsausschusskind (a designation for mentally and physically disabled children deemed “unworthy of life” under the NS euthanasia programme), he is transferred to the Wiesengrund educational facility at the Bonhoeffer Nerve Clinic in Berlin in 1941. Doctors employed at Wiesengrund are by this time already performing medical experiments on the children that often end in the latter’s deaths. There is no record of whether any such experiments were performed on Schleinstein himself. What is certain, however, is that he can describe the operations carried out on the children there in detail.

Schleinstein remains locked up even after the war’s end. Following several unsuccessful escape attempts, he is transferred to a psychiatric hospital for children in 1947, justified on the grounds of his “obdurate tendency for escape.” In 1955, he finally succeeds in escaping from the facility and travels to Baden-Baden. He returns to Berlin in 1963 and finds a job at the Borsig-Werken, where he remains employed until his retirement.

An advertising display board for the company Asbach Uralt featuring a Moritaten (street ballad) singer gives Schleinstein the idea of taking up the profession himself. From this point on he spends his weekends wandering the city’s rear courtyards, where he performs music with an accordion and glockenspiel. He also illustrates his songs with his own painted display boards. An employee of the Akademie der Künste becomes aware of Schleinstein and invites him to participate in a Moritaten festival being held there. Schleinstein makes his first record, through which the filmmaker Lutz Eichholz becomes aware of the singer. This leads to his first film: 1966’s Bruno the Black. 

In 1973, Werner Herzog, who has just finished writing the script for his film The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser and is seeking to cast the lead role of Hauser himself, sees Eichholz’s film during a screening by the German public broadcaster ARD. Herzog is fascinated by Schleinstein’s authentic and unaffected personality and contacts the artist, subsequently casting him in the lead role under the stage name Bruno S. The film is screened as a German contribution to the 1975 Cannes Film Festival and is awarded the Grand Prix by the jury. In 1977, Bruno S. again plays the lead role in Herzog’s film Stroszek – a role written especially for him by the director. Bruno Schleinstein becomes a global star. Despite this, he continues to work as a forklift operator during the week and to spend his weekends playing music in courtyards. He draws and paints continuously. The first exhibition of Schleinstein’s pictures takes place in a Berlin bar in 1983, with his first gallery exhibition following a year later at endart gallery in the Berlin district of Kreuzberg. Delmes & Zander exhibits Schleinstein’s paintings and drawings from the late 1990s on. They are shown with great success at international art fairs and in both solo and group exhibitions. It is his fellow artists that are most fascinated with the authenticity and directness of his work, however. As an autodidact who taught himself to play music, to draw and to paint, and who always strove to perfect his technique, Schleinstein serves as an inspiration to them. And so it is above all artists, photographers, filmmakers and musicians that come to play a role in Schleinstein’s life and allow him to operate as an artist amongst other artists. Bruno Schleinstein dies in Berlin in 2010.

A monograph of Bruno Schleinstein’s work, edited by Susanne Zander and Nicole Delmes, was published in early 2020, offering a view of his multifaceted artistic output.