Friday 31 January 2020

KARL HANS JANKE Das große Ziel Erde Nr.2

Karl Hans Janke, Das große Ziel Erde Nr.2, 1950-1970, 29,7 x 42 cm, Pen and Pencil
on Paper


Das große Ziel Erde Nr.2 

February 8th - Marth 6th, 2020

Opening: February 7th, 6-9pm

New Findings! New discoveries! Enduring development! – Modernism saw the future. At the beginning of the 20th century, it required little effort to sense the optimism of a new era. Scientific insights were abundant and astounding, and within a few decades, many inventions would change everyday life completely. Yet unlike in other self-confident eras, the burgeoning period of modernism lacked something. There was renaissance man such as Leonardo da Vinci or Goethe, who each summarized their epoch. Furthermore, it seemed as if the division of labor in modern production had also divided art and science. In a rapid development, art too was no less striving for the new, and it detached itself from the task of depiction and thus from its once self-evident role as a commenter and chronicler.

Karl Hans Janke, born in 1909, was a child of his time. Growing up in an increasingly visually based media world, he found his visual stimuli and challenges not in Goya or Picasso, but, like so many young people in the approaching decades, in the illustrations accompanying popular scientific literature, in rough sketches and exploded views of the latest technical inventions and in the pictorial worlds of artists who, though disdained by the custodians of high art,depicted speculative visions of a future that science fiction literature put into words. However, science fiction had not yet committed itself to sociological allegories and dystopias, but found its motto in the title of Alfred Bester’s novel The Stars My Destination. Bester's novel was very well informed about the horrors of those wars, which Karl Hans Janke experienced first as a child and later briefly as a soldier. There is no record of what led Janke to devote himself entirely to invention, but it became the life work of the man who, after his mother’s death in 1949, spent most of the remainder of his life in psychiatric institutions despite his own self-assessment that he was perfectly mentally sound.

Karl Hans Janke drew his inventions and created elaborate models, of which the latter almost certainly no longer exist. What made his drawings remarkable from a scientific perspective is their accuracy and attention to detail, thanks to which, even his most preposterously absurd inventions hold a definite persuasive power. Despite its uncertain technical feasibility, Janke was granted a patent for a GPS-like positioning system, and his visions of space gliders for tourists use also point to one of his special abilities: he knew how to detect or anticipate needs. In addition to his great visions, he designed, as did the late chancellor Konrad Adenauer, a great number of both practical and nonsensical things for everyday living some of which if their production had been pursued, would have had a good chance of being commercially successful. But he did not see his true destiny in small things. Karl Hans Janke wanted to show mankind the way to a better future.

What made him do it? One of his works shows not an invention, but two fighting dinosaurs. The striking motif is clearly reminiscent of Charles Knight’s drawing Leaping Laelaps from 1897. This first depiction of dinosaurs as agile creatures still inspired imaginary worlds in the 1970s, what must it have been like for a young person seeing such a depiction at the beginning of the 20th century! Janke’s drawings and inventions process the significant advances in geological understanding that science gained in his youth: he understood our planet to be not a solid, fixed entity, but a sphere comprised of gradually moving and changing land masses. One can regard him as an enthusiast whose understanding of the knowledge of his time drifts into the fantastic and serves as a point of departure for his own theories. 

Karl Hans Janke did not become an inventor of world-saving proportions, but functioning as a researcher between popular science publications and a fantastical world of ideas. He interpreted the knowledge of his time and realized his experiments in his dreams. Well-known researchers of his time also crossed this border. Nikola Tesla, who developed the alternating current for the transmission of energy over long distances, talked about a "free energy" that could be drawn inexhaustibly from space – a notion pursued by Janke in his remarks on the "German Atom".

Between all these directly and in detail impressive works, it is not really possible to assign Karl Hans Janke a fixed role as either an inventor, a fantasist, a designer, a driven, fascinated child, or a fantastic artist; no attribution seems to suffice and never do the individual parts stand in the same relationship to each other. An enigmatic person, not a polymath, but an artist who had absorbed the complexity of modernism and was able to depict it. All of this unaffected by the admonishing voice, so present today, warning it is "five to twelve," yet in the spirit of modernism full of hope that humanity will ultimately be able to find good solutions. Naive? – When we look at his image of the second Earth today, it is immediately noticable that the recently arrived spacemen seem to have had nothing better to do than to return to a stone age way of life; Janke unmasks our own longings for modernity in a perceptive way. Good art can do that.

Oliver Tepel

Tuesday 14 January 2020

DREAM BABY DREAM im Haus Mödrath mit Werken von Morton Bartlett

Morton Bartlett, untitled, ca. 1950,  Vintage Print, 8 x 8 cm
Courtesy of Delmes & Zander
DREAM BABY DREAM, kuratiert von Gesine Borcherdt
2. Februar - 20. Dezember, 2020  

"Das Haus der Kindheit ist ein Ort der Fantasie, des Schutzes und des Spiels, aber auch des Traumas, der Gewalt und der Angst. Hier entscheidet sich, wer wir sind, was wir werden und was wir verdrängen. Der Impuls des Kunstmachens rührt bei vielen Künstlern aus der Kindheit. Frühe, ureigene Erfahrungen werden in Kunst und somit in etwas Größeres transformiert, das unseren Blick auf die Welt erneuert, weitet und ändert.

Die Ausstellung Dream Baby Dream zeigt Künstler, deren Werke aus einer solchen Vorstellungskraft heraus entstanden sind. Sie weisen eine starke Bindung zur Zeit des Aufwachsens auf – als gestalterische Inspiration, aber auch als Metapher für physische, psychologische und soziale Konflikte. In ihrem Zusammenspiel entsteht eine Atmosphäre, in der die dunklen Seiten von Kindheit und Jugend neue Formen annehmen. 

Der Titel der Schau geht zurück auf den Song des einflussreichen Elektro-Duos Suicide, Pioniere des Post-Punk und Vorläufer von Techno. Der dunkle Sound des Songs und die Elvis-artige Stimme des Sängers Alan Vega lassen den „American Dream“, der unser Denken bis heute prägt, zu einer Alptraumschlaufe werden – und zugleich zu einem tranceartigen Hoffnungsschimmer. Rebellion und Sehnsucht, Angst und Fantasie greifen ineinander. 

Das Haus Mödrath blickt selbst auf eine lange Geschichte mit Kindern sowie auf einen entscheidenden Moment in der elektronischen Musik zurück. Erbaut Anfang des 19. Jahrhunderts als Herrenhaus einer Farbholzmühle mitten im Wald bei Köln, wurde es in den 1920er-Jahren in ein Wöchnerinnenheim verwandelt, wo der Pionier der elektronischen Musik Karlheinz Stockhausen geboren wurde. Unter den Nazis diente das Haus als Schulungsheim, im Krieg kamen hier Flüchtlingsfamilien unter, danach entstand ein Kinderheim mit bis zu 60 Kindern, und nach mehreren Jahren Leerstand zog eine Familie mit 15 Kindern ein. 2017 wurden daraus die Räume für Kunst. Die Ausstellung Dream Baby Dream ist die dritte Ausstellung, die hier stattfindet."

Die Ausstellung zeigt Werke von "Jean-Marie Appriou, Sue Williams, Susan Te Karuhangi King, Mike Kelley, Veit Laurent Kurz, Paul McCarthy, Charlemagne Palestine, Wong Ping, Barbara Rossi, Laurie Simmons, und Jean-Luc Verna" und Morton Bartlett.

Hier geht es zur Ausstellungswebsite:

Helga Goetze Article in Frieze Magazine - Print Issue January/February 2020

Helga Goetze, Indianische Astrologie (Indian Astrology), 1984-1985, embroidery, cotton twist, metal thread and nettle, 126 × 180 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Delmes & Zander, Cologne; photograph: Johannes Post
Helga Goetze Review

In the new print issue of Frieze Magazine (Number 208 - January/February 2020) you can find a sharp review about Delmes & Zander's exhibition "Helga Goetze", written by Martin Scheper. 

"Consisting of tapestries, collages and protest signs, Goetze’s current exhibition ‘Ficken ist Frieden’ (Fucking is Peace) at Delmes & Zander in Cologne is the first to provide an overview of her various artistic practices and their links to her sex-positive activism, revealing the cosmos behind ‘Germany’s super-bitch’, as she called herself with reference to a tabloid headline."