3 x Berlin
Nina Canell, Barry MacGregor Johnston, Tobias Putrih

Issue no3
June / July 2019
Brussels / Bruxelles

With an intensified focus on installation art comes an intensified visual experience. However, this doesn’t necessarily lead to a deeper understanding of the works on display, as a small range of Berlin galleries showcase in their new exhibitions. But who says experiencing isn’t better than comprehending?

Nina Canell - Matter Of The Heart

April 29 – June 6
Konrad Fischer Galerie

Although stacked in the corners of the room, Swedish artist Nina Canell’s (1979, Växjö) delicately draped wire installations stand out immediately. The white cords are intricately constructed and hung in the corners of the room. However, Canell made them lose their common meaning as secondary supporters of the work (a light beam the size of a ball point) but showcases them as a main focus of the piece, reminiscent of Eva Hesse’s contouring of her minimalistic rope pieces in the 1970s.

Canell’s presentation Matters of the Heart at the Konrad Fischer Galerie consists of several installations that make subtle statements of their own, either in material or meaning. For this show she performed an underwater study on the fluctuating depths of a river and found ways to map this invisible movement. Her ideas show great flexibility of form in this matter, but are always translated in sculpture and a seeming quest for eclectic and sometimes seducing materiality. However, that is where the level of enjoyment is left, or better yet, gets stuck. The poetic appeal of her aesthetics are very worthwhile but at no point whilst viewing the show did I find myself thinking about Gaston Bachelard’s ‘imagination of movement’ or the title referring to the supposedly first intentionally composed ‘fade-out’.

Barry MacGregor Johnston - Street Light

April 30 – July 30
Galerie Micky Schubert

Incomprehensible at first, but amusing at a second glance, is Micky Schubert’s display of works by Los Angeles based artist Barry MacGregor Johnston under the title Streetlight. The exhibition consists of several pieces: brightly coloured satin sheets hanging on the wall cut out as robes with a black face in the middle; an accumulation of used wooden and aluminium broomsticks surrounding of what appears to be an amorph piñata; a big green crystal circle on a wooden construction in the back of the space that glistens from the distance; and among these items two white wooden beams with the cut-out of a hole and a smiley face on eye level.

On a first associative level, every piece speaks to the physical presence of the viewer and the potential activity performed by them. But the carnavalesque medievalness of the arrangement stays relatively mystified by the lack of any written elucidation. However, the show is accompanied by two collages that MacGregor Johnston created to further verbalize his works. One of them reads: ‘Everything is open, everything is empty, everything is filled with everything else.’ Macgregor Johnston utilizes the overabundance of distinctly diverse objects and subalternates them to the playground of the gallery space. With that in mind, ‘merely’ undergoing the experience, leaving a concrete interpretation aside, seems to suffice for now.

Tobias Putrih - A, H, O, I, ! ...

April 30 - June 25, 2011
Galerija Gregor Podnar

The openness of interpretation and the possibilities this evokes, is also shown in the installation pieces of Tobias Putrih’s (1972, Kranj) new show at the Galerija Gregor Podnar. The presentation is constructed out of three levels: five modular objects of Styrofoam sticks supported by an inner wooden grid structure (Sculpture A, H, O, and I); the large-format pencil drawings (O to H, End of A, Beginning of O) and the newspaper installation (Times).

The Styrofoam installations are based on the ideas of the Metabolists, a group of Japanese architects and city planners founded in 1959. Their vision for the cities of the future to be inhabited by mass society were characterized by flexible, expandable large-scale structures evoking the processes of organic growth. The half undone constellations leave the viewer as a container of potentiality that can look upon the works, not as official references of past objects and conventional architecture, but as structures that underlie and allow new ways of interpretation. It is this structure of the structure it seems, the underlying and invisible traces that control the pattern of thought. Purith’s work is about the potential of the event; what could have happened, and what might happen in the future.

Comments
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1
24 May 2011
sophie

foutje bij foto, dat zijn niet Putrih's sculpturen maar Canell's

25 May 2011
Judith

Dag Sophie, welke foto bedoel je? De onderschriften kloppen allemaal.

25 May 2011

Er was inderdaad een foutje geslopen in de onderschriften, maar het is inmiddels hersteld. Dank je Sophie voor de oplettendheid!

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Magazine
Metropolis M Magazine for contemporary art No 3 — 2019