group show

1000 Sterne

01.12 – 13.01.2018

Jennifer Bennett, Fritz Bornstück, Damien Deroubaix, Günther Förg, Sonja Ferlov Mancoba, Philip Grözinger, Leiko Ikemura, Karsten Konrad, Sebastian Meschenmoser, Monika Michalko, Jan Muche

The exhibition 1000 Sterne, curated by Fritz Bornstück brings together 11 artists with roots around the world, whose works all in their own way approach the image of the stars. From Monika Michalko's eclectic paintings and etchings taking us into the laboratory of the astronomer to the pristine, almost spaceship-like, lead surfaces of Günther Förg's paintings, the exhibition sparks associations to such different subjects as the Copernican Revolution and human space colonies. The artists examine the thin line between utopian and dystopian visions of the future: In Fritz Bornstück's collaged painting, a single star, in the shape of an electric light bulb, casts a stellar light on a lone peacock in a seemingly deserted room, transforming the scene into a lunar landscape with the starry sky visible above. An astronaut (or is it a man in a hazmat suit?) in weird swamp-like surroundings faces a sharp, possibly ominous, light in Sebastian Meschenmoser's Selenit.

Jan Muche's portrait of the Soviet architect Valdimir Tatlin inside the structure of his never realised constructivist monument almost becomes a monument of the monument reaching for the sky once more, while Philip Grözinger's painting shows a future (or maybe present) globe transformed by industry and technology. In this way, a number of the works can be seen as both utopian or dystopian with their ambiguous imagery.

Although a main theme is the genre of science-fiction, the selection of works is deliberately limited to media painting on canvas, sculpture and etching offering a contrast to the futurisms. There is a longing for the stars, a sort of playful nostalgia or melancholia, in the exhibition. Jennifer Bennett's four bronze sculptures all mime the shape of a star with almost clumsily robotic gestures; they are like something out of a children's drawing or an alchemist's laboratory. The same sense of homemade reverie can be found in Karsten Konrad's sculpture, half space shuttle ready for take-off, half observatory.

Despite all the differences, the positions in the show all have a certain silence to them and they share a starting point of simple observations rather than grand ideas. Rather than impressive effects and media spectacle the exhibition favours a more introspected view. Leiko Ikemura's Island lies isolated and peaceful under the enormous, infinite night sky, but the painting is also full of the droning of complete silence. While Damien Deroubaix's painting Wunder der Natur 11.XI.17 puts us face to face with an almost literal stargazer, Sonja Ferlov Mancoba's impressive bronze sculpture takes the room like some kind of quadruped out of this world, at the same time hauntingly alien and strangely human. The Universe is often portrayed as a fantastic place full of the most incredible things: Spaceships, alien life forms, strange planets and myriads of stars. Rarely, one imagines that it consists mainly of nothing and is held together by nothing. It is this fluctuating nothing that binds together the 1000 stars in the show.

Photos: Jan Søndergaard