Friday, February 12, 2010

17th Century to the Future in Present Tense

February 12

So, today I went by tram to see the galleries Laura recommended.  The weather was still cold and snowy but in the daylight not so forbidding.  First dropped by Bernard Knaus Fine Art . There was a group show with a few videos, some  large photographs in light boxes and some other interesting things.
Marcel Odenbach's large installation "Im Kreise drehen" (something like "the circle turns", although it may be an idiom)is a grid of sepia montage prints pinned to the wall that seem to tell a visual history.  There are German phrases cut out of the paper I couldn't translate.  I have seen a lot of text in the contemporary art here.  

Peter Schlor  has a fantastic photo of a row of trees in winter.  It's about 10 feet long and a little over a foot high.

There was a video by Tamara Grcic, a portrait of Bolek, a 24 year old Roma, telling disconnected stories about her life.  Very simple and I couldn't understand a word but I enjoyed watching her expressions and listening to the tone of her voice.

I kept hearing heavy breathing and on my way out discovered Lawrence Weiner's arty porn video "Water in Milk Exists".  It's a laid back orgy in a gallery among six or seven twenty somethings.  The sex is very graphic with a lot of variations but there are also conversations going on, some philosophical, some playful.  It looks like a bunch of interns and a few friends decided to hang around after an opening, drag out a few mattresses and have sex... and some film makers  just happened to be on hand to record it all.  

From there I went to see the Neil Beloufa exhibit at Kai Middendorff Gallery. The very charming and accommodating director , Mr. Middendorf set up the Baloufa films for me to watch, both great.  I also got to see Ekrem Yalcindag's work, as impressive in reality as the online images suggested. (see February 11 post).  

detail of a painting by Ekrem Yalcindag

Kunst, kunst and more kunst.  I then went back to the Staedel Museum.  The Botticelli was crowded so I checked out the 17th  Century Northern European galleries:  Vermeer's geographer,  a Rembrandt portrait and Adriaen Brouwer with his mouth agape. 

Discovered Johannes Verspronck.  They call it a millstone collar.  They don't know the identity of the sitter in this portrait yet she looks so familiar.

And later checked out  the exhibition of the museum's art school, the Staedelschule. This also was Laura's suggestion.  Here are a few images from that scene.  Unfortunately I don't have the artists' names:

I thought this interesting little piece, about the circumference of a dinner plate, was clever until I found out that it is encased in an educational toy you can buy from the Discovery Store.  When you look inside the circular lens on top, there is a kind of diorama of two tiny sculptured figures in a landscape. They seem to be embracing, but you couldn't really tell. Then your eyes play this trick and there's an optical illusion, like a hologram, of the figures, larger and seemingly suspended in space above the plate, and you see that one figure is holding a gun to the other's head.  I couldn't photograph the optical illusion, it looks out of focus here.  You can make out the tiny 3D figures at the bottom of the circle.

 In closing I will honor the  kunst objekt at every blockbuster exhibition the world over: 
the international Refrigerator Magnet