Tag Archives: Berlin


26 Apr

(*Too long, did not understand.)

Either I just succumbed to some kind of reading disorder, or the reliably daft e-artnow list has delivered another payload of grade-A twaddle. I’ll make some allowances for Bildfrost (“Frozenness”) being an exhibition at a German gallery, but on the other hand although I’m pretty confident that I speak German I’d still want to run my German press release past somebody who was a native speaker to make sure I wasn’t making ein Arsch of myself.

I’ll just pull out the silliest phrases and paragraphs at random from what is quite a lengthy screed, but trust me: it all makes about as much sense out of context as it does in context, i.e. virtually none. There’s also a lot of telling us what we’d be able to see with our eyes if we could see the art, which is redundant, patronising and controlling if we intend to see the art and usually baffling if we can’t see the art and probably never will.

BILDFROST (“Frozenness”)

“Initially, the picture seals itself off from the interpretation of any impression. An oscillating flurry emits from the center that steers the anticipation of a disappearing space into darkness. At the same time, it becomes clear that the fabric of colors is the result of picturesque grid structures. Has large pixilated photography been translated into painting or is the painting imitating a print? The understanding of the romantic image remains a wanting. The work resists any outsider’s demand to understand and requires an active positioning of the viewer. A motive between figurative speech and reflections on media.”

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26 Nov

From Berlin gallery Fruehsorge (who came to my attention thanks to complaints from other arts professionals about their, shall we say, relaxed attitude towards financial relations with artists* see footnote) comes this splendid slab of bullshit about their current exhibition of drawings by Matthias Beckmann. This is a verbatim cut and paste from the English version of their site, but I speak German as well so I can assure you this is a fair translation of a German write up that is also brimful of crap.

“Matthias Beckmann is a draftsman. He meets his counterpart as a discreet dialog partner who then turns into a silent observer in front of the motif. Beckmann looks for places and finds pictures right there. “The draftsman Beckmann, who finds what he wants to see in everything, has an anarchic wit that flashes up time and again …” There is never only one picture, there are always mostly larger series, so that his drawings expand and condense to a larger visual narrative. Thus a fundamental characteristic already of the individual sheet augments itself, for Beckmann’s drawings give the impression that for the draftsman “at least on paper … no thing as such is significant. It is only the attention it gets that lifts it out of the arbitrariness of “all sorts of things”.” Exactly this is one of the crucial preconditions for relativizing the documentary gestus of these drawings. Beckmann’s pencil lines are contours, lines which directly refer to an extra-pictorial object. Nevertheless he succeeds in liberating the drawing from a one-dimensional object reference and transforming what is seen into a solely pictorial reality. That is why one should never reduce his drawings to their mere depictive function, even though Matthias Beckmann certainly, and not least, is a drawing documentarist. But the big achievement of his drawings is an intensified sensitization of seeing. The viewer has to renew the way he sees the drawn objects and their spatial contexts, has to readjust his view of the world.”


“He meets his counterpart as a discreet partner…” It’s rare for an art text to accurately convey how blithely sordid, mercenary and pervy many artists are about exploiting other people to make their work, but this is a pretty good distillation of it. It almost sounds like a phrase from a disturbing Craigslist personal ad. Continue reading

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