The Krokus Gallery presents a selection of works by German photographer Samuel Henne, Hungarian visual artist Ádám Kokesch, Czech painter Alice Nikitinová and Austrian photographer and video artist Nina Rike Springer.
The relationship to reality in the visual arts changes under the influence of new technologies and production methods. The artistic response to the state-of-the-art inventions of high-tech culture may be the search for simplicity and reduction to the fundamental basis, reinvention of the forgotten, work with history or combining traditional techniques with new methods and materials. The presented artists commit (in the best sense of the word) to the idea of art as a creative game whose strength is opening new ways of the cognition and thinking about the world through other visual forms of looking at reality. Written in the words of the French art theoretician Nicolas Bourriaud, today’s art is “do-it-yourself approach using readymade products”. Artists browse the networks of already-existing signs; the boundary between reality and art, between consumption and production of art has been long cancelled.
In the series of photos Something Specific About Everything (2010), Samuel Henne captures colourful compositions of petty things arranged into bizarre sculptures. He does not use photography in a traditional way to capture authentic reality objectively; he prefers to stage the world of objects – a laundry peg, a cosmetic tampon or a plastic cup that turn out to be in the improbable context. Henne transcends the borders between photography and sculpture, traditional still life and installation, inspecting the options of a chromatic spatial composition of a photographic image.
Likewise, Alice Nikitinová tackles everyday objects in her painting. In the era of internet smog and mass production of “anything”, her fresh approach is based on the effort to purify objects in their simplicity and to surprise viewers by confronting them with exposed banality. The well-known becomes the unexpected. Nikitinová’s work is close to the works of Kazimir Malevich or De Stijl, although unlike the utopian ideas having to do with the establishment of the new non-objective world by means of abstract painting, she does not deny reality that, for her, remains a bold point of reference.
Ádám Kokesch balances on the verge of painting and contemporary sculpture, his spatial objects are characterised by the spot-on painter’s surface finishing, as he uses a traditional technique of reverse glass painting (so called Hinterglasmalerei), working with such materials as plexi-glass, wood, metal and plastic. He is interested in the relationship of function and form, in the way how objects are assigned their functions and how their shapes are rooted in our visual experience. Kokesch enjoys using waste materials or packaging, transforming them through the methods resembling laboratory experiments and “examines visual structures of making meanings” (A. Fenyvesi). The result of his work are hybrid objects, in which Kokesch’s handicraft work simulates an impersonal surface of machine production.
Relatedness with industrial design and liking for abstract geometrical shapes refer to the tradition of Bauhaus and one of its most famous representatives, László Moholy-Nagy.
Nina Rike Springer‘s main areas of interests are mostly photography and animated video. In the series titled Human Processors (2011), she features a human figure set in the abstract geometrical compositions and rids it of its unique identity. Similarly to Samuel Henne, she uses photography to stage her own reality, to compose her photographic image she works with banal props such as a bath cap. The final shot is subsequently post-processed in graphical programmes, thus reaching a sort of digital “collages”. Her performative photos where she transforms a human body into a motionless still life could be also viewed in the tradition of figural constructivism of Oskar Schlemmer.
the curator of the exhibition and the author of the text
The exhibition is realised in collaboration with Goethe Institut Bratislava a Banská St a nica Contemporary
Samuel Henne (*1982 Göttingen, DE), studied visual arts and communication design at HBK Braunschweig. In 2010, he won an award in the contest “Gute Aussichten – junge deutsche Fotografie”. In 2011, he was awarded by Kunstverein Hannover and got an award of Plat(t)form Fotomuseum Winterthur. Exhibitions: Deichtorhallen Hamburg, VHS Photogalerie Stuttgart, Goethe Institut Washington DC, Freies Museum Berlin, Kunstverein Hannover, Galerie Karin Sachs München. Lives and works in Hannover.
Ádám Kokesch (*1973 Budapest, HU), graduated from the Academy of Visual Arts in Budapest (studio of Dóra Mauer). He received Strabag Art Award in 2006 and the award of the Studio of Young Artists (FKSE) in 2007. At the exhibition, he will present works created during his residential stay in the centre Banská St a nica Contemporary in summer 2012.
Exhibitions: Ludwig Museum Budapest, S.M.A.K. Gent, Trafó Budapest, Plan B Berlin, Künstlerhaus Dortmund, Kisterem Gallery Budapest. Lives and works v Budapest.
Alice Nikitinová (*1979 Žatec, CZ), graduated from the Academy of Visual Arts Prague (in the studio of painting at the professor J. Sopka), shortlisted for the The Jindřich Chalupecký Award and Strabag Art Award 2010. She was the resident at the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten Amsterdam (2008 – 2009). Exhibition: Strabag Kunstforum Wien, Galerie Juliette Jongma Amsterdam, Prague Biennale 4., Galerie Rudolfinum Prague, Czech Center New York, Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten Amsterdam. Lives and works in Prague.
Nina Rike Springer (*1976 Klagenfurt, AT), graduated from the Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien (the studio of Gabriele Rothemann), lecturing there since 2012. In 2004 – 2005, she studied at the Bauhaus Universität Weimar. She received the Bank Austria Kunstpreis award in 2011. Exhibition: das weisse haus Wien, MMKK Klagenfurt, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Triennale Linz, Kunsthalle Wien, Fotohof Salzburg. Lives and works in Vienna.
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