until 03.04. | #2986ARTatBerlin | EFREMIDIS GALLERY currently presents the group show From Almora to Amrum with artworks by 16 artists and in parallel the artist Mitchell Anderson at the [erp].
From Almora to Amrum shows works by Mitchell Anderson, Kamilla Bischof, Martin Disler, Hannah-Sophie Dunkelberg, Michaela Eichwald, Heike-Karin Föll, Nuria Fuster, Nikolas Gambaroff, Nico Ihlein, Shirley Jaffe, Tony Just, Arthur Laidlaw, Sophie Reinhold, Aura Rosenberg, Alexander Wolff and HP Zimmer.
From Almora to Amrum is a trip that never happened: it is an invisible and impossible line between two paintings, Almora (1943) by Alice Rahon, that depicts the Himalayan city, and Amrum (1970), HP Zimmer’s aerial view of the island in the North Sea, as seen from a lighthouse.
Rahon traveled to India in 1937, where she took inspiration from depictions of the Devi. Though her work often centers around femininity, she dodged easy categorization—when asked which school of art she belonged to, she replied, “I think I am a cave painter.” In the opening lines of one of her poems: “I file the bars of my invisible prison / I sigh like horses sigh,” she expresses her frustration with confinement. As is the case with much of Rahon’s work, this poem questions the legitimacy of categorization, as well as the tension between entrapment and self-determination. Not unlike the bars of an invisible prison, Zimmer’s depiction of Amrum also evinces claustrophobia, imprisonment: the houses are too close together, and the “dangerous, oiled” Wadden Sea—with the edge of the water high on the horizon, as though it might spill over—is layered with ghostlike etchings, an experiment in liminality.
From several perspectives, From Almora to Amrum daydreams impossible journeys, journeys that remind us more of confinement than freedom: be it the journey to a threatening, dangerous sea or a longing for home, such as in Martin Disler’s depiction of a disappearing Odysseus as he thinks of Ithaca. Sophie Reinhold’s Untitled is made with marble powder, reminiscent of ancient Greek sculpture, albeit pulverized, another deferred homecoming.
I file the bars of my invisible prison
I sigh like horses sigh
– Alice Rahon
What does it feel like to “sigh like horses sigh”? The second line from Rahon’s poem references the animal; it reverses anthropomorphism: A horse’s sigh moves us between human and nonhuman worlds as both organic and inorganic mediums form these images. This anthropomorphism occurs once more in Aura Rosenberg’s collages, where girl and bull embrace, on top of each other on different planes of vellum. The bull-creature calls to mind the minotaur’s labyrinth, prompting more questions of confinement and self-determination. In addition, Rosenberg’s images provide another thread: the importance of layering and texture, featuring throughout the show as wax, graphite and gold, among other reflective surfaces.
From Almora to Amrum muses on the boundaries of legibility, comprehensibility and identity, and does so with a formal playfulness reminiscent of Rahon, the “cave painter”: Nikolas Gambaroff’s heavy encaustic lines; Nuria Fuster’s deep Prussian Blue compositions; Hannah Sophie Dunkelberg’s glossy, protruding fantasies of dinner tables; Nico Ihlein’s almost bodily sculpture; the Spiritual Allegories by Tony Just in various shades of gold; Heike-Karin Föll’s densely-layered oil painting; a Disney rose lightly outlined in encaustic wax by Mitchell Anderson; or Shiley Jaffe’s painterly, decentered work as experiments in form and energy. Contributions like Arthur Laidlaw’s obscured backgammon players and wandering bathers; Alexander Wolff’s superimposed Chinese characters; Kamilla Bischof’s kicking, fleeting horse; Michaela Eichwald’s half-formed face titled Feeling; HP Zimmer’s portrait of a woman in what appears to be a cage: each of the pieces in From Almora to Amrum explores the disintegration of paradigms—man/animal, home/journey, figurative/material, confinement/freedom—in their place, rhythm emerges.
At the same time at the [erp]:
Mitchell Anderson (*1985, Chicago, USA) presents two pieces: Las Hilanderas (James D. Brady Briefing Room, White House, USA February 25, 2020) and Join (the resistance (NYCAntifa, c.2019)). Las Hilanderas is a screen-grab from The New York Times that depicts the moments before a presidential press conference. The video captures the anticipation of the conference attendees; however, the footage ends before POTUS speaks, leaving the scene unresolved. The artist invites us to “witness the witnesses”—namely journalists and the press—of what could be a significant historical moment and this looped video brings to mind a purgatory in which neither good news nor bad news will ever arrive. The title references Velasquez’s painting of the same name, which depicts two weavers in the act of weaving, a similar bearing witness to creation.
The second piece, Join (the resistance (NYCAntifa, c.2019)), 2020, is part of a series in which Anderson takes the word “join” from various posters in its original font and creates a neon light version. The posters the artist selects as source material are ideologically motivated (past examples include the word and font taken from a political cartoon by Benjamin Franklin with the caption “Join, or Die.” and a World War II Navy recruitment poster). The work’s emanating neon light is reminiscent of public space and public announcement, prompting questions on the dissemination of political persuasion and the relationship between ideology and symbols. The two works in combination take from the semiotics of mass media, advertisement and politics. What Anderson generates from these sources are signs without their original context, press conferences without news, exercises in deferred meaning.
Mitchell Anderson lives and works in Zürich, where he organizes the artist run space Plymouth Rock. Recent and upcoming institutional exhibitions include Kunsthalle Bern (2021); Kunsthalle Basel; Kunsthalle Zürich (2020); Fondazione Converso, Milan (2019); MAMCO, Geneva (2018); and Fri-Art Kunsthalle Fribourg (2017). He is a nominee for the Prix Mobilière 2021.
Ambition is an interesting force.
It is rewarded and romanticized in the abstract and punished in witnessed execution
– Mitchell Anderson
Exhibition period: Saturday 6th March – Saturday, 3rd April 2021To the gallery
Exhibition From Almora to Amrum – EFREMIDIS GALLERY | Contemporary Art – Kunst in Berlin – Exhibitions Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin