Gerhardsen Gerner

Giò Marconi @ Gerhardsen Gerner

22 Jan - 18 Apr 2013

Installation view, Gerhardsen Gerner, 2013
Matthew Brannon, Nathalie Djurberg, Simon Fujiwara, Markus Schinwald
22 January – 18 April 2013

Gerhardsen Gerner is proud to invite Giò Marconi and Esther Quiroga to Berlin for an exhibition with some selected artists from their gallery program in Milan. We will show works by Matthew Brannon, Nathalie Djurberg, Simon Fujiwara and Markus Schinwald.

The represented artists draw on a wide range of media: Nathalie Djurberg’s notoriously offensive videos, Matthew Brannon's aesthetic prints and paintings, Markus Schinwald’s sculptures and paintings evoking twisted body postures, and Simon Fujiwara's narrative objects have nothing in common, except that they happen to exhibit with Giò Marconi in Milan. On closer inspection, however, it is striking that all artists are in some way busying themselves with the chasms of the human soul.

Swedish artist Nathalie Djurberg’s videos are animations of moulded plasticine characters getting up to all manner of strange things in their colourful and surreal surroundings. The selection ranges from peculiar sexual tendencies usually classified as deviant, to fantasies of murder, rape and mutilation. Djurberg’s world is distorted, colourful and discordant, the viewer is simultaneously repelled and fascinated, while the artist skilfully plays with our own voyeuristic element. Djurberg stages nightmares from the nursery.

Djurberg is showing three videos – “All This Meat and No Potatoes” from 2004, as well as “Open Window” and “Monster”, from 2011. The two more recent films both reference a kind of claustrophobic experience of space. In “Open Window”, a pale white, naked and bald character, finds himself trapped in a dark room. He has already accepted the fact that, despite a convertible window repeatedly lighting up in multi-coloured flashes, there will be no way out. Suddenly, a colourful bird appears behind him also trying to escape through the window in vain. They finally both seem to find an alternative escape route, when the figure is carried away by the bird through the air.

Matthew Brannon creates elegant graphic reproductions of decorative arrangements of everyday objects. While they are supposed to seduce us with their aesthetics, they often simultaneously examine phenomena such as drinking or other contemporary neuroses arising from crises of confidence. Brannon reduces his depictions to their geometric shapes and fields of colour, combining them with lines of text of his own writing. It is a mix of obsessions, reflecting notions of power, self-understanding and (self-)affirmation, which characterises Matthew Brannon's work and makes it intriguing.

The work “Nothing Like it” (2009) is showing in a somewhat stylized fashion a brightly lit window with a bra suspended nonchalantly on its upper cross bar. What goes on behind the window and why this apparently exhibitionist element? On closer examination, it becomes apparent that what is depicted here is actually the back of a canvas.

‘I am my work’, says Simon Fujiwara about himself during a studio visit by art critic Kirsty Bell in 2010. Fujiwara builds part of his artistic work on a novel that he is writing about the life of his parents as erotic fiction. “Welcome to the Hotel Munbar” is this novel, which he began in 2006. An eponymous installation was shown at Tate St Ives earlier this year, visualising the very bar, which was operated by his parents towards the end of the Franco dictatorship in southern Spain prior to his birth.

The artist often follows erotic fantasies in his complex work, as in “Desk Job” (2009), shown on the occasion of the 53rd Venice Biennale (curated by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset) at the Nordic Pavilion. In this curatorial project by Elmgreen and Dragset, the fictional protagonist is a writer and art collector, working on an erotic novel about his life. The work itself consists of a desk with a typewriter holding a sheet of paper, retracted a moment ago and freshly typed. The scene is surrounded by architectural photographs, notes, and homosexual pornography.

For the Gerhardsen Gerner group show, Fujiwara is showing works from the series “The Passions”. A man's shirt with raised sleeves and a tie around its collar is suspended inside a wooden cabinet in the piece “The Passions, FIG VIII (2012)”. The shirt’s arms as well as the tie are directed upwards, giving rise to a notion of falling or a hanged body. A raw piece of meat and a porcelain jug serve to enigmatically encode the action within the shrine-like cabinet further.

The sculptures and paintings by Markus Schinwald are of entrancing beauty. Smooth polished table and chair legs morph into delicate sculptures, seemingly ancient oil paintings depict elegant people of the 19th century. There are, however, small appliances or interventions interfering with the aesthetics of the paintings – bandages, masks and jewellery-like gadgets or prostheses are integrated into the faces of the portrayed subjects, supporting their mouths and ears, probing or obscuring their eyes.

The artist finds inspiration in Freud's writings, especially in his realization that the ego be primarily a physical and not just a surface entity, but is itself the projection of a surface. Schinwald translates internal, emotional disharmony and distortions into externally visible states. His elegant sculptures depict forms in extreme, and thus very unnatural tension, almost to the degree of a sprain. Schinwald traces in his work the human obsessions and compulsions, the dark and mysterious, the inexplicable; the longings and human abysses, pathos and gesture, vague passions and vague fears.

Tags: Matthew Brannon, Nathalie Djurberg, Simon Fujiwara, Markus Schinwald