until 31.10. | #2814ARTatBerlin | janinebeangallery shows the group exhibition DODO DIALOGUES with the artists Anna Borowy, Dominik Butzmann, Kathrin Günter, Arny Schmit and Martin Stommel from September 5, 2020.
In the upcoming group exhibition “Dodo Dialogues” the janinebeangallery will show the works of the five artists Anna Borowy, Dominik Butzmann, Kathrin Günter, Arny Schmit, and Martin Stommel as a thematic juxtaposition of man and nature. The paintings of the three painters Borowy, Schmit, and Stommel have landscapes as well as animal depictions as motifs but do entirely without human figures. In contrast, the photographs of Dominik Butzmann, as well as the collages of Kathrin Günter, show people as main protagonists, but they are nevertheless unmistakably connected with flora and fauna, both through their roles as environmental activists or, in Günter’s case, through their surroundings.
In Arny Schmit‘s landscapes, even the technique is very materially indicative of disturbances. Schmit uses multi-layered cardboard as a carrier for his oil colors, which he cuts open at certain points and in part provides a fluorescent tube on top. His motifs are thoroughly unidyllic realms, chaotic vegetation, and unrestrained, threatening weather prevail. This mood is created and supported by a deconstructive, because abrasive wiping technique, which repeatedly distorts layers of color and forms and crosses them with previous ones. In addition, the fluorescent tubes, which are mounted transversely in some of the works, contrast strongly with the painted landscape as the epitome of industry and civilization.
Martin Stommel only gives animals the foreground in his paintings in the exhibition. The flowing forms of the bodies are dynamically interwoven with other animals and natural background. The animals are tightly staggered in the pictorial space, their contours partly merge into each other. The painter nevertheless skilfully emphasizes and highlights the individual bodies and their movements by a reduced, concentrated application of paint. The works “Day 6” and “The Little Garden” are based on biblical themes, namely the act of creation and paradise. In contrast to classical models, however, Stommel does not depict a creator himself in humanoid form. The animals – in the case of “Der kleine Garten” only extinct ones – are alone and self-sufficient splendor of the works.
In Anna Borowy‘s paintings for the exhibition, too, animals represent the protagonists and get along without people. However, the expression and posture of their creatures show astonishing and familiar similarities to human features, which illustrates the soulfulness of Borowy’s fauna. Their graceful creatures show themselves to be marked by emotions, their condition is precarious both physically and emotionally. The painter has not used the animals as mere placeholders of human characters but has depicted them as valuable counterparts or as animistic additions.
Kathrin Günter‘s collages have taken on the content of various prominent actors of environmental protection. For the “portraits” of people like Leonardo Di Caprio, Greta Thunberg, or Jason Momoa, Günter used digital set pieces from their Instagram Accounts and combined them with the pictorial elements of animals to create a new structure. The results are hybrid avatars of humans and animals, equipped with symbols and gestures of their ecological commitment and positioned against the threatening background of natural forces. The portrayed personalities reveal their strengths and weaknesses in an ambivalent to ironic way.
Kathrin Günter also reflects on the effectiveness of self-portrayal and the personality cult as a social projection in social media. Especially for this purpose, Günter has created an accompanying book with several thousand printed comments from Greta Thunberg’s Instagram Account. Especially these reactions to her person show the Janus-faced and the abysses of the social media: on the one hand in their function as very potent amplifiers and mediators of a movement, on the other hand as a reservoir of human perfidy.
In the exhibition, Dominik Butzmann juxtaposes the portraits of two outstanding figures of environmental activism with his two photographs. The picture in landscape format entitled “How Dare You?” shows the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who fixes the viewer here strictly and according to the title.
The second work depicts the last minister of the environment in the GDR, Michael Succow, with a serious but equally mild expression and bears the title “How Dare I? In addition to many other commitments to nature conservation, Michael Succow was responsible for the adoption of the National Park Program at the last meeting of the GDR Council of Ministers, thanks to which seven percent of the area of the former GDR was placed under nature conservation. Although the two protagonists portrayed by Dominik Butzmann are categorically committed to the same cause, namely environmental protection, their attitudes, and approaches seem to approach their goal from opposing positions. What the differences in the biographies of the two, in their approaches, their age, or rather generations, their cultural origins, reveal can be subtly read in the black and white portraits.
Although the motifs of the paintings in the exhibition function fully and independently, the absence of images of people is striking, even though they show the traces and effects of human influence. The works realized in a special way the beauty and vulnerability of nature as well as empathy with the creature. There is a solution
understood by anthropocentrism, which can also be understood as a cause for negligent handling of nature. The photographs and collages in the exhibition join the critique of human hubris, although from a different perspective. Here, on the one hand, are Dominik Butzmann’s portraits of the very different exponents of environmental activism, on the other hand, the environmental activism accompanied by animal avatars, and on the other hand, the celebrities in Kathrin Günter’s collages, who are accompanied by animal avatars and who, discreetly or through a personality cult, dedicate themselves to the protection of the environment. The collages in particular also reflect human vanities and emotions, which may still stand in the way of pure altruism.
As an ensemble, the works in the exhibition “Dodo Dialogues” emphasize, through the inherent or obvious juxtaposition of man and nature, the necessary recognition of the symbiosis in which they find themselves. This connection is also revealed in the COVID 19 pandemic and the vulnerability of man in nature because he is a part of it. The behavior of nature and humans naturally conditions them mutually, to their detriment or advantage.
Text: Matthias Bergemann
Opening: Friday, September 04, 2020, 5-21 p.m., Dr. Eckart von Hirschhausen will ceremonially open the exhibition.
Exhibition dates: Saturday, September 05 – Saturday, October 31, 2020
Opening hours during the Gallery Weekend: Friday, 11.09.: 11-8 p.m. | Saturday, 12.09.: 12-8 p.m. | Sunday, 13.09.: 12-6 p.m.To the Gallery
Exhibition DODO DIALOGUES – janinebeangallery | Contemporary Art – Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin – Exhibitions Berlin Galleries– ART at Berlin