Rendezvous with an Impulse @ Künstlerhaus Bethanien

The starting point of the exhibition is the “aesthetic rigour of the grid” and the “manic seriality” in the work of Thomas Bayrle, but his work – humorous prints with figures consisting of infinite iterations of smaller figures, the way pixels make up an image – has little to do with that of many of the six participating artists in Rendezvous with an Impulse.

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According to the text, the exhibition “… opens a view towards current creative processes under the influence of overlapping digital and analog painting praxis …”, yet it might be truer to say the works in the exhibition show the influence of digital technology or contemporary painting practice and in some cases both, making the scope too broad to be meaningful.

Thomas Bayrle’s prints and the imposing abstract dot-paintings by Igor Mishiev do seem computer designed and look mechanically made, but the influence of digital technology on the paintings by Lui Shtini and Sue Williams, for instance, is insignificant or altogether absent.

The most prevalent influence on the latter’s paintings – depicting naked bodies in revealing poses against monochrome backgrounds – is the feminist discourse of the 80s and 90s, in that the subject matter is loosely concerned with the obscene and subversive in regard to the male gaze.

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Did digital practices influence Bernhard Martin’s paintings? Again, it is hard to say and also irrelevant. They do offer a rare vista: a sort of candy-floss colored, capitalist surrealism. One painting depicts three paper planes, folded out of three different currencies, crashing into each other. Surrounding this event, the frame is so filled with potential symbols there is no real meaning to be discerned, just a nightmarish, disaster bound hysteria.

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The issue I take lies entirely with the purported overarching concept of the show. The work itself is well-made and visually rich.

Partaking artist are Thomas Bayrle, Bernhard Martin, Igor Mishiev, Jon Rafman, Thomas Ruff, Lui Shtini, and Sue Williams.

16 November – 9 December
Di – So: 14 – 19 Uhr

Künstlerhaus Bethanien
Kottbusser Str. 10/d, 10999 Berlin

 

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