Solo Performance at the Pinakothek der Moderne
“Look At This”: A show of the new order
Translated by Sameh Al Tawil
A cool view from the outside: “Look At This” is the name of the new presentation of the collection in the Pinakothek der Moderne.
Munich – They still look confident of victory, the old white men. In Bodo Buhl’s 1983 photo series “Wir wollen alle nur das Beste,” the Munich artist (1951-2010) strung together anonymous portraits of so-called “Bestimmer” in the relevant poses of powerful men. The photographic work was stored for years in the depot of the National Art Collections.
The young Nigerian curator Folakunle Oshun has now taken it out of storage for his exhibition “Look At This” in the Pinakothek der Moderne and hung it on the display wall at the top of the magnificent staircase as an intro, so to speak.
Bernhart Schwenk had invited Oshun to take a new look at the contemporary art holdings with a clear view from the outside. And Oshun circumvented any expectations of bringing color and movement into the coolly deferential Pinakothek and put together an analytical presentation of the collection (supplemented by a few loans) that spatially and ideally misses the institution of the museum in a new way.
Color plays only a marginal role
Black and white painting is the program here: Color plays a marginal role in most of the contributions, and the walls are also partly whitewashed, partly black, in order to take the play of contrasts formally to extremes and to question the pathos formulas of architecture.
The real prelude to the show is David Shrigley’s titular drawing “Look At This”: a black rectangle in which there is nothing else to see – and which throws the gaze back on ourselves. And as conceited as the gentlemen next door appear, it’s clear that their time is running out. This is also made clear a few walls away by Gerhard Richter’s painting “Sargträger” from 1962.
Rosemarie Trockel’s plaster portrait “Grandfather” (1995), more of a clown mask, and Heike Kati Barath’s warped clock (2014) also demonstratively show that the old certainties only apply to a limited extent. In her double projection “Such prophecies we write on banana skins” from 2015, Kirstin Buch blows up Mount Everest and the New York Guggenheim. It’s striking, but effective.
Sameh al Tawil’s performance:
bringing out the best of a minimal space
Julian Göthe, in whose sculptures and arrangements the equipment and the backdrop become m main actors, makes emptiness and torpor visible in “Immer nur lächeln” and “Exit,” over which the permanent “showtime” imperative is meant to deceive. In this context, Nam June Paik’s video installation “The Thinker” from 1976, in which the camera films an image of Rodin’s seated figure at his – invisible – activity, is read differently.
Perhaps there is simply nothing there. On the other hand, the film performance by the Egyptian Sameh al Tawil, who once studied in Munich, demonstrates that it is also possible to get everything out of minimal space. In his “Solo,” oppression is present: in it, hands stuck in handcuffs play an oppressively beautiful melody.
One of the most beautiful works is the spatial sculpture “Contrade dell’ Arte” by Andreas von Weizsäcker, who died in 2008: the Munich artist took plaster casts of the horses of the twins Castor and Pollux in front of the art academy and arranged them, broken down into individual fragments, into a floatingly light installation, all the more weighty in expression and effect. Only the shadowy boats made of metal struts that Ndidi Dike stranded on the floor in the room next door under the title “Lost” are similarly filigree.
The only artist who loosens up the house a bit with paint and tinsel is Victor Ehikhamenor – on the exterior: with umpteen fringed, colorful canvases, he has covered the circular columns around the main entrance that support the roof. “Bha dò ghé” is the name of his installation, “Come and see.” Absolutely.
Until September 19, Pinakothek der Moderne, Tue – Sun 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thu 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; visit currently possible without advance reservationdownload the exhibition Booklet
Thoughts for visiting the exhibition: curators Folakunle Oshun and Bernhart Schwenk on themes, works and questions of the exhibition.
Intro and editing: Alexander Löwenstein