Kunsthalle

Painting Forever!
To Paint Is To Love Again

Jeanne Mammen – Antje Majewski,
Katrin Plavčak, Giovanna Sarti

18.9. – 10.11.2013

  • For the collaborative project “Painting Forever!” Deutsche Bank KunstHalle presents four women painters of different generations: Jeanne Mammen, Antje Majewski, Katrin Plavčak, and Giovanna Sarti, curated by Eva Scharrer.

    Jeanne Mammen (1890–1976) is best known for her illustrations and socially critical depictions of Berlin’s nightlife of the 1920s in the style of Neue Sachlichkeit. Her career was twice interrupted by war. During the Nazi regime she continued to work secretly, turning to a painting style influenced by expressionism and cubism, which at the time were labeled “degenerate.” After the Second World War, she began to incorporate wire and tinfoil into her paintings, arriving at a “lyrical abstraction.” The works shown here come from different groups of work from the 1950s to the 1970s. These are material collages and semi-abstract compositions, populated by cipher-like symbols, ghosts, marionettes, and masks.

    For the first time this late work, which is still very little known, is confronted with works by three Berlin-based women painters in such a way that, despite their differences, one can draw connections in terms of both form and content. The three artists deliberately entered into a dialogue with Mammen’s work and produced new works for the exhibition, which are shown alongside selected existing paintings.

    Antje Majewski (born 1968) follows a conceptual and anthropological approach. Her latest works are based on texts written by museum curator Sebastian Cichocki. The Museum in the Garage (2013) is an imaginary museum of both natural and manufactured things of diverse origin and significance. Majewski classifies these objects, painted in oil and egg tempera on various supports, in self-invented categories. It is precisely through the ambiguity of artifacts removed from the museum’s clarification system that existing systems of value and signification can be recognized and investigated.

    Katrin Plavčaks (born 1970) interdisciplinary praxis encompasses various formats and media, but she always puts painting at the center of her considerations. Her points of departure are different realities, pictorial spaces, and viewing perspectives that lie between representation and abstract form. Art history, politics, science, science fiction, and utopias, as well as the artist’s personal surroundings, are examined and commented on from a female perspective. In so doing, Plavčak places topical subjects in a surrealist realm. Her universe is full of “frayed edges” behind which “black matter peeps out.”

    Giovanna Sarti (born 1967) works with process and counter-compositionally in slowly superimposed layers, making use of the individual qualities of liquid binders, metallic pigments, and glitter. Heavy and light painting substances, applied in differing density, trigger chemical processes that can only to a limited extent be controlled and sometimes continue even after the painting has been completed. For Sarti, painting is a contemplative search for the universal through the microscopically small. The painting process can be apprehended in the organic structure of the finished work.

    On the occasion of Berlin Art Week 2013, four Berlin institutions for contemporary art are working together: the Berlinische Galerie, the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, and the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. Dedicating themselves to the theme of “Painting,” they are collaborating for the first time.

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    Gallery

    Antje Majewski, Das Museum in der Garage, 2013 (installation view)

    Catalog

    Painting Forever! © DruckVerlag Kettler / Foto: Christian Pade

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