Hans-Peter Feldmann, Niklas Goldbach, Nina Hoffmann/Kathrin Sonntag,
Christoph Girardet & Matthias Müller, Elaine Stocki
November 12 – December 19, 2015
Opening Reception: Thursday, November 12 from 6:00 – 8:30pm
Thomas Erben Gallery is very pleased to present (Re)Set, an exhibition including works by Hans-Peter Feldmann, Niklas Goldbach, Christoph Girardet & Matthias Müller, Elaine Stocki, as well as a collaboration between Kathrin Sonntag and Nina Hoffmann. Working with photography and video, these artists employ various strategies to explore, reevaluate, and reorganize troves of images. Sensitively attuned to the contemporary condition of accelerated image production, consumption, and obsolescence, the presented works embrace this condition and use it as a source to generate meaning.
Elaine Stocki’s carefully staged and formally luscious images of nude women carrying abstract paintings visit the aesthetics of 1970s-era performance documentation, combining that genre’s relationship to the provisional with a thoughtful, even classical approach to photography. Relaxing her previously stringent editing process, Stocki’s accumulation of images allows for a greater degree of insight into the performative genesis of these photographs as well as her parallel painting practice.
Working in reverse order, Niklas Goldbach looks for correspondences within a multitude of his photographs, editing quadriptychs of, for example: a natural landscape, part of a sculpture by Sir Lawes-Wittewronge, Brutalist architecture, and a dystopian contemporary cityscape. His images connect the utopian logic in Modernist architecture to its disintegration under the rules of global Capitalism. Akin to endless surveillance videos, Goldbach’s existential reflection The Nature of Things No.1 (2011), an unedited 3 ½ hour video, records a young man who is bonded to a tree trunk, enduring time as well as the vagaries of weather, insects, and other disturbances.
For their collaborative slide projection Ein Bild (An Image), Nina Hoffmann and Kathrin Sonntag went through their extensive photographic archives, each pairing one photograph based on categories devised together. These categories make visible an essential part of the artistic process, and one specific to photography: looking, selecting, and often discarding. Thoughtful, funny, and sometimes uncanny, these so-called useless images and the categories that sort them, such as “A picture I took because I was bored”, make us think about how we see and how we establish visual hierarchies.
In his Time series from the early 1970s, Hans-Peter Feldmann set up a premise for his neither explicitly photographic nor documentarian, casually shot photographs. The exhibited pictures were taken while the artist traveled across a bridge or along a pond bordered by a palace, using up an entire roll of film on each occasion in an attempt to contain the passage of time. “I also think individual photos are not right for me. I find them too loaded with meaning, too elitist. The mood of a whole series is more important than an individual picture. When things are repeated, then there’s an average value that’s more correct than an individual picture can be.” – Hans-Peter Feldmann in a conversation with Kaspar König (Frieze Magazine, No. 91, May 2005).
Christoph Girardet & Matthias Müller carefully collage sequences from the immense repository of mainstream cinema to lay bare underlying social constructs and filmic conventions while introducing multiple layers of meaning. In Maybe Siam (2009), actors portray blind characters who are trying to maneuver through interior spaces while noisily bumping into furniture, groping for door handles, and dropping objects that clatter to the ground. Yet these scenes are silent, as the accompanying sound has been transposed onto intercut segments of blank black screen, emulating the experience of blindness. At some point during these alternating sequences of seeing/not seeing, Faraway Places begins to play – a melancholic song about a longing to see distant lands that serves as a bittersweet confirmation of the dependency on and limitation to imagination, both for our protagonists and for us as viewers.
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Hans-Peter Feldmann (b. 1941) lives and works in Düsseldorf. He has exhibited widely, including a recent survey at the Serpentine Gallery, London (2012), which traveled to BAWAG Contemporary in Vienna (2012) and Deichtorhallen in Hamburg (2013). Other solo exhibitions include Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark (2015); Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid (2010); Arnolfini, Bristol (2007); and Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1992). He has participated in numerous group exhibitions including Documenta 5 (1972), Documenta 6 (1977), and the Venice Biennial (2003 and 2009). In 2010, he was named winner of the Hugo Boss Prize. Feldmann’s work is included in numerous museum collections globally.
Two independent artists, Christoph Girardet (b. 1966) and Matthias Müller (b. 1961) have been collaborating since 1999 starting with their found footage piece Phoenix Tapes, which premiered at the Venice International Film Festival. The artists' work has been honored with major awards and has been exhibited at art institutions worldwide, such as the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Bozar – Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Tate Modern, London; Deichtorhallen, Hamburg; and EYE Institute, Amsterdam. Their joint projects are held in public collections such as Marta, Herford; Goetz Collection, Munich; Colección Sánchez Ubiría, Madrid; and Kunsthalle Bielefeld, among others. Girardet lives and works in Hannover and Müller lives and works in Bielefeld and Cologne.
Nina Hoffmann was born in 1980 and lives and works in Berlin. She attended the MFA program at New York’s Bard College and previously studied under Katharina Sieverding at the Universität der Künste Berlin. In 2007, Hoffmann was awarded a DAAD scholarship and in 2013, she was selected for a residency at the CCA Andratx in Mallorca. Recent institutional solo exhibitions include Kunstverein Arnsberg (2013) and Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen (2014). As part of her practice, Hoffmann sometimes organizes exhibitions related to her own artistic interests, such as I Put a Frame On You at TÄT, Berlin (2010), and Über Dich at Galerie Kamm, Berlin (2012).
Niklas Goldbach (b. 1973) was awarded his MFA from the Universität der Künste Berlin in 2006 and has received numerous competitive awards and scholarships, including a Fulbright Grant (2005), Stiftung Kunstfonds award (2010), Arbeitsstipendium Bildende Kunst des Berliner Senats (2013), and Projektstipendium des Berliner Senats (2014). His photographs and videos have been shown internationally in solo and group exhibitions, including the Museum der Moderne, Salzburg; Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; and Centre Pompidou, Paris. Goldbach lives in Berlin, where he recently taught Experimental Film and Media Art at the Universität der Künste.
Kathrin Sonntag (b. 1981) earned a BA and MA in Visual Arts from the Universität der Künste Berlin (2000-06). She has been awarded many prestigious prizes and fellowships from organizations such as the Federal Office of Culture Switzerland (Swiss Art Award 2009 and 2013), Stiftung Kunstfonds (2013), and DAAD (2012). In addition to participating in numerous group shows, institutional solo exhibitions include Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (2013); Kunstverein Hamburg (2011); Kunstraum Walcheturm, Zürich (2010); Swiss Institute, New York (2009); and Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen (2009). Sonntag will take part in the Guggenheim's group exhibition, Photo-Poetics: An Anthology, which opens this November.
Elaine Stocki (b. 1979, Winnipeg, Canada) holds an MFA from Yale University. Her work has been exhibited in the USA, Canada and Germany. Stocki’s photography has been featured in TIME Magazine’s Lightbox, Night Papers (Los Angeles), TBW Books, and the current issue of MATTE Magazine. Her photographs are included in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and were most recently exhibited there in Take One: Contemporary Photographs. Her work will be featured at Paris Photo 2015 (Stephen Bulger Gallery, Canada) and NADA Miami 2015 (Thomas Erben Gallery). Stocki lives and works in Los Angeles.