Reuterstr. 31, 12047 Berlin
A groupshow with artists from Luxembourg and Berlin
Reuter Str. 31, Berlin-Neukölln
24 February to 5 March 2023
Opening Reception Friday 24.2 from 18 to 22
Artist talk with Neckel Scholtus Saturday 4.3 from 17 to 18
Ivana Cekovic, Frederic Spreckelmeyer, Franck Miltgen, Tobias Sternberg, Neckel Scholtus, Nat Tafelmacher-Magnat, Philip Topolovac
Polished/Raw brings together three artists from Luxembourg with four from Berlin, all advancing material strategies of representing nature and artificiality in human culture. The group show is part of an exchange between HilbertRaum and Musel Link and is curated by Tobias Sternberg and Ivana Cekovic, who invited the participants from Luxembourg. In Cekovic’s preceding project Agenda 22/XXI – Extracts from intimate diaries of the 21st century at Gallery CAW in Walferdange, Luxembourg, the invited artists were asked to condense their impressions of the already lived first part of the 21st Century in extremely small artworks. By confronting such a large theme with the miniature format, Cekovic forced the viewers to observe closely which led them to immerse themselves in an intimate moment of perception.
Taking over the baton from Luxembourg and considering how to formulate the next part of the project, Sternberg focused on the strategies of presenting materiality which could be perceived in the artistic positions. With technology and material knowledge more easily available to the artists of the 21st Century than to any generation before, could it be that the poetic truth of our times is most easily spotted in those micro choices about varnishes, hardeners, alloys, cutters and mounts made in the artists studio? Or about color ranges, depth of field, motion blur and shutter priority in the case of a photographer?
The access to a seemingly endless array of options and materials can seduce us to believe perfection is possible, but this is an illusion. A speck of dust will always fall on the hyper glossy epoxy before it hardens, the best of lenses produce chromatic aberrations under weak light, and the CNC-cut edges are only smooth as long as you don’t look close enough. Plastic dries out and crumbles, coats and varnishes scratch and even titanium will eventually corrode. Knowing this, many artists forego permanence and cause the breaks and blisters themselves. Is this dilemma not a telling metaphor for our current times – so vastly able and yet so miserably failing?
Both Franck Miltgen visiting from Luxembourg and Philip Topolovac here in Berlin carefully recreates, highlights and preserves totally banal everyday surfaces – in their Extrusions and Mappings series respectively – using unreasonable amounts of effort and resources to turn a bit of ground or a painted wall into museum worthy objects. By someone lacking in understanding it could almost be confused with a misplacement of resources and labor.
Miltgen also creates from scratch, smoothly shaped crumbled entities in metal and paint, here matched by Frederic Spreckelmeyer’s faux high-tech compositions in color and material, evoking an era neither past nor future but definitely imagined. Equally utopian are Ivana Cekovic’s sculptural gems floating freely in the air, spinning gently around their own axis inside the universe of their own macro projection calling for us all to get in closer. This tension between utopian and dystopian visions, between constructed and broken, between polished and raw, pops up again and again in the work of the invited artists.
And it is captured as well by the astute lens of Luxembourg photographer Neckel Scholtus, allowing us to see it from the sidelines as if we were simply passing by, not involved and definitely not invested. Yet the formal composition of her images makes us suspect that they could all be highly staged. Berlin based filmmaker Nat Tafelmacher-Magnat takes this staging to absurd heights, by deconstructing the camera itself, tinkering her own image making devices and allowing abstract film landscapes to emerge seemingly beyond her control but clearly within her plans. In this she is almost the conceptual mirroring or opposite of Spreckelmeyer whose nonfunctional constructions looks so highly intentional.
Avec le soutien de Kultur | lx – Arts Council Luxembourg
Mit freundlicher Unterstützung der Botschaft des Großherzogtums Luxemburg in Deutschland