In late February, Berlin’s Kunstquartier Bethanien hosted the group exhibition „Setzen Stellen Legen“. A review by Hannah Nelson-Teutsch, Programm Director at THE WYE.
Steeped in the ontological question of affordance, the group exhibition Setzen Stellen Legen featuring the work of Sabine Bokelberg, Bert Didillon, Thomas Fischer, Lothar Götz, Katharina Ludwig, and Marie von Heyl teases out the complex relationships between individuals, objects, and the environment with a wink, a sigh, and a whisper.
Sabine Bokelberg’s rich, textured canvases blur the line between painting and sculpture, embracing the meandering evolution of construction as an industrial process in the production of grand, saturated assemblages. Marked, incised, regrown and regimented with chromatic authority, Bokelberg’s o.T. #O6IT, o.T. #SM66, and, o.T. #F6OT are objects unto themselves — intricate, austere, and charmingly elusive.
Perfectly offsetting Bokelberg’s grand, geometric abstractions with a sensuous intimacy, Marie von Heyl’s The Ease of Handling encases iPad videos in freestanding plate glass adorned with industrial suction cups, a deft nod to the lure of the tactile and a coy denial of the very urges conjured up by the object. Just beyond reach, bound by a screen and floating within the translucent space of the pane, von Heyl’s videos depict two white-gloved hands in the titillating act of touch. Couching the intimacy of caress in the casual loop of a video embedded beyond reach, von Heyl’s series artfully diffuses the seductive power of objects, demanding a conceptual return to the question of how we handle the what of the world.
With darting gaze and a dark, deft wit, Katharina Ludwig’s up//melt//burn//down — after the fall (Icarus) roughs up the polished minimalism of Bokelberg and von Heyl to dramatic affect. Forged in the conceptual fires of conflagration itself, up//melt//burn//down — after the fall (Icarus) delights in drawing out the spectral furies that flit between what is, what has been, and what might be.
While Bokelberg, von Heyl, and Ludwig tread lightly in the material realm, Lothar Götz Thomas Fischer, and Bert Didillon isolate the unquestionable allure of the formal with a luminous grace. Götz’s dynamic wall painting bends light itself to the task of material transformation, restructuring the very relationship between architectural space and the individual, while Didillon and Fischer’s sculptural totems inhabit the world of their creation with a warm, animate allure.
United by a bold curiosity and a casual compositional mastery, Setzen Stellen Legen brings the obtuse world of objects into sharper focus, shining a brilliant light on the ties that bind us to the world we live in.