until 22.04. | #3749ARTatBerlin | Galerie Schindler in Potsdam presents from 2. March 2023 the exhibition Natural Strangers by the artists Florentine Joop and Tanja Selzer.
Galerie Schindler presents a dual exhibition of the two artists, Tanja Selzer and Florentine Joop. Two painters whose work is primarily dedicated to the depiction of people in and with nature. Natural Strangers is meant as an approach to the unknown, although it is in us and around us, perhaps frightening, strange or wild, but also to the seemingly familiar – but the closer you look at it, the stranger it becomes – and it almost seems as if you are seeing it for the first time. Each of the two artists has her own way of approaching this theme.
Faces have always fascinated Florentine Joop, and she always tries to overcome the distance between the image and the viewer, tries to create an intimate moment in which the viewer feels involved. Touched. Looked at. A moment of tranquillity and exchange with the familiar and yet so alien beings – be they humans or animals. Man, animal and nature in a tense and relaxed exchange.
Florentine Joop, white as snow, 2023, 60 x 42 cm, Watercolour on paper
The works are accompanied by old fairy tale images in a subtle but noticeable way, for the Grimm fairy tales are, along with Luther’s Bible, the best-known and most widely read book in German cultural history. They are also the first systematic summary and scientific documentation of the European and Oriental fairy tale tradition and are one of the artist’s most important sources of inspiration. People carry animals, but who threatens whom, protects whom, or who is the Predator and who is the Mesopredator remains unclear. The fine drawings are the basis of the works, the pencil is and remains the most important tool, says the artist. Soft, flowing watercolours composed with graphic elements, the interplay of painting and drawing has become Florentine Joop’s own style over the years. Born in Hamburg, she has lived and worked in Potsdam since 2016 and has exhibited solo and with other artists throughout Germany.
Florentine Joop, Fuchs tragen, 2023, 60 x 42 cm, Watercolour on paper
Tanja Selzer‘s painterly work manifests fleeting encounters, sensual moments, intimate exchanges in impressionistic colours and with a loose style on large-format canvases. What can be so intangible as an encounter and only a snapshot, Tanja Selzer tries to capture what is felt. Sensually sexual, yet almost innocently playful, one sees figures, bodies and landscape melting together. Bright colours, skilfully transferred scenes borrowed from modern explicit imagery and film, her paintings radiate energy and lust for life. She refills the gutted representation of today’s sexuality with eroticism and sexual essence.
Tanja Selzer, Playing Venus 7, 2022, 60x40cm, Oil on linen
“Writing about sexuality and sensuality,” Anaïs Nin once wrote, “has nothing to do with pornography. Writing erotica is wild poetry for me.” The same applies to Tanja Selzer’s painting. She is thus inspired by another classical subject, the erotic depiction of the human body. Everything negative seems distant, like on a sunny day by the sea, you can literally hear the rustling of the wind. Picturesque poetry. One feels like an invitee rather than a voyeur. Tanja Selzer’s works are exhibited internationally and are represented in public and private collections. The artist lives and works in Berlin and is a member of the MalerinnenNetzWerk Berlin-Leipzig and Saloon Berlin.
Tanja Selzer, Playing Venus 3, 2022, 220 x 170 cm, Oil on canva
The natural enemy is a standing concept. But let us understand ourselves as part of nature. Are we friend or foe in our natural cosmos? How can we approach the stranger, feel whole? Natural strangers we are to each other, promised to each other, sexually attracted to each other, dependent on each other, thinking we have grasped things, sufficiently, and yet a residue of strangeness remains. The nature within us is an incomprehensible being. The nature that surrounds us even more so. Biblically, man wanted to stand out from nature, to free himself and become whole with the spirit. The “below” had to be suppressed in order to distinguish oneself as a human being from the animal. Man’s natural enemy is nature itself. In order to be able to work creatively, one has to open oneself upwards and downwards to the spirit, because only then can the energy flow that it needs to transform the state from “non-existent” into “existence”. The woman, by nature, seems less driven by fear of the “stranger” within and around her – more by curiosity.
Florentine Joop, Lilith, 2023, 60 x 42 cm, Watercolour on paper
The traditional fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm tell young women – for example in the world-famous fairy tale “Little Red Riding Hood” – about this “stranger” and how they can move through the world with and in “him” without being “devoured” or isolated. Finding the balance between healthy shyness and surrendering trust, relying on the inner inherent power and bringing hearts and minds into harmony and trust.
Sexuality, as one of the most primal and necessary natural needs, like eating, drinking and sleeping, is nevertheless most and almost everywhere on earth dominated by social, political and religious restrictions. To seize this primordial power and make the legal claim to the narrative of one’s own sexual self-determination one’s own is the modern crusade, because it leads into the inner world and into one’s own emotional world, which is seemingly as foreign to many as the promised land once was.
Tanja Selzer, Playing Venus 4, 2022, 60 x 40 cm, Oil on canva
Beginning with the re-seeing and looking at what is apparently so familiar and explored, the “female gaze” is still and urgently missing, be it in politics, science, art or religion. Do women see themselves as not seen, because their view of the world is rarely seen at eye level. We are all natural strangers, because everyone is a stranger. This makes it all the more important to get involved, to dare to look, to look without fear, to take it in and feel the effect. To understand change as an opportunity for growth.
Art can provide a view without danger, a moment of contemplation that has already been seen through the eyes of the artist, absorbed, transformed and now one can be guided through it. Grasping and processing, creating a moment, a contact with the previously foreign. We participate in the artist’s decision to devote himself to one thing and leave out another. And yet it remains a dialogue rather than a dictation.
Author: Florentine Joop
Opening: Thursday, 2. March 2023, from 6:00 pm
Exhibition dates: Thursday, 2. March – Saturday, 22. April 2023To the Gallery
Exhibition Florentine Joop + Tanja Selzer – Galerie Schindler | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Potsdam Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin