The sponsorship program has already been in place for nearly 40 years
ART COLOGNE is once again presenting the "NEW POSITIONS" sponsorship program this year. Fourteen young artists selected by a jury will receive the opportunity to present themselves in a special area of 25 m2 next to the stands of their galleries. The artists also utilized the entire bandwidth of artistic expression in 2019. Thus, classic media like painting, sculpture, and photography are increasingly being used to challenge and question viewing habits in installation arrangements. In addition to this, artists address current problems and acquire stimuli from the urban societal context in which they are active.
NEW POSITIONS 2019 at a glance:
• Yann Annicchiarico (Nosbaum Reding, Luxemburg)
• Nadja Bournonville (Jochen Hempel, Berlin/Leipzig))
• Joëlle Dubois (Thomas Rehbein, Cologne)
• Tobias Hoffknecht (Galerie Crone, Vienna)
• Paul Hutchinson (Sabine Knust, Munich)
• Thilo Jenssen (Christine König Galerie, Vienna)
• Felix Kiessling (Levy Galerie, Hamburg)
• Lone Haugaard Madsen (Nagel Draxler, Berlin/Cologne)
• Linda Matalon (Kadel Willborn, Düsseldorf)
• Márton Nemes (Erika Deák, Budapest)
• Laura Schawelka (Filiale, Frankfurt)
• Ulrike Theusner (Eigen + Art, Berlin/Leipzig)
• Fiona Valentine Thomann (Priska Pasquer, Cologne)
• Eleanor Wright (Petra Rinck, Düsseldorf)
The works of Yann Annicchiarico (Nosbaum Reding Gallery, Luxemburg) are settled at the interface between performance, video and installation. In this context, he primarily addresses the question of how images and their contexts influence our conceptions of reality. For the theatrical installation "yanny or laurel," which could be seen in 2018 in the Saarländische Galerie in Berlin, he set up a decoration architecture of stage elements and mirrors, which he had equipped with found props. The sophisticated light direction contributed to the uncertainty of visitors, who were sent searching for reality and truth in a seemingly illusionist space.
Associatively charged are the image worlds of the Swedish photographer Nadja Bournonville (Galerie Jochen Hempel, Berlin/Leipzig), who makes use of a variety of artistic resources. In the group of works entitled "A Conversion Act," the clinical picture of hysteria, including the medical theories surrounding it, are the starting point of her artistic explorations of photographs, drawings, and prints. Her own family history provided the occasion for "Intercepted." Here, Nadja Bournonville delves into the life of a relation who was active in the First World War as a spy for Germany and was already exposed after only a short time. She doesn't reenact this episode in conventional narrative images, but instead in symbolic arrangements that are difficult to decipher. These allow a diffuse, vague story located between fact and fiction, the gaps in which each viewer must fill in their own way.
With an ironically voyeuristic viewpoint, the painter and illustrator Joelle Dubois (Thomas Rehbein Galerie, Cologne) satirizes the increasing exhibition of extremely private situations on social media platforms. She presents men and women in compromising poses with drastic realism in striking, garishly colored paintings. In the process, she proves to be a critical commentator of exhibitionist excesses, which appear to be limitless in the digital era.
Tobias Hoffknecht (Galerie Crone, Vienna) always reacts to the respective locations of placement with his works, which are influenced by the traditions of Bauhaus und Minimal Art. The minimalist sculptures of polished steel plate of wood, which he refers to as "sets," join together to form installations that influence not only the space. They also interact with the viewer performatively, who is called upon to recognize the dialogic potential of the works. Hoffknecht reduces his sculptures to foundational design principles and a radical simplicity.
In his photographic work, Paul Hutchinson (Galerie Sabine Knust, Munich) turns his gaze to the phenomena of urban life and to contemporary youth culture. His images fluctuate between documentary representation and poetic-artistic aesthetics. Hutchinson captures intimate moments without the images appearing voyeuristic; his models, who he primarily stages from a rear or profile view, seem both vulnerable and self-confident. The seemingly random portraits are in fact very carefully composed. The photographer is also interested in urban situations, and teases out a special charm from building facades, spray-painted concrete walls, torn up streets and trash through unusual perspectives.
Thilo Jenssen (Christine König Galerie, Vienna) works with various media and techniques. One specific feature is the presentation of painterly works in free-standing displays and holders, which the artist builds himself and sees as a painterly complement. In this way, the images occasionally seem like figures or caricatured creatures. During the formation process, the canvases are processed in a variety of ways with industrial materials, like thermochromic paint and varnishes, so that cracks and ruptures occur in the surface. Jenssen acquires thematic stimuli from pop culture, from his current surroundings and everyday experiences, which he charges with new meaning through contextual relocations.
Felix Kiessling (Levy, Berlin), former master student of Olafur Eliasson at the Institute for Spatial Experiments, plays with experiences, questions perceptions and provides food for thought. In sophisticated, long-term examinations, he researches phenomena from nature and the environment and transforms them in the art context. For one of his installations, he suspended stones he had taken from the Elbe in the gallery space. The idea behind this is that this intervention has a minimal but measurable impact on the global water level. With his tools and objects in the exhibition space, he provides information about his research trips and their results, and allows viewers to partake in them.
Using various text formats, drawings, objects, and collected objects, the conceptual artist Lone Haugaard Madsen (Galerie Nagel-Draxler, Berlin/Cologne) dedicates himself to the basic conditions of art production and exhibiting. She surveys and reflects upon the parameters of the art business and the position she herself occupies within it. Her works, which are critical of institutions, always refer to the respective exhibition location. The objects placed there seemingly autonomously, such as studio wall casts, drawing surfaces, or forms that have been produced from remainder materials from her studio are references to work and decision-making processes she undertakes in her artistic practice.
The American Linda Matalon (Kadel Willborn, Düsseldorf) thematises fundamental interpersonal actions and their social context in abstract drawings and objects. The large-format works on paper, for which she uses wax, oil and graphite, originate in a complex process of layered application and subsequent scratching away. They develop a strong presence in the room due to their depth effect. With her minimalist sculptures, she establishes a link to the concept of "social sculpture" established by Joseph Beuys.
The painter Marton Nemes (Erika Deák Gallery, Budapest) utilizes unconventional materials and techniques for the production of colorfully abstract paintings. In his most recent works, fluorescing acrylic glass, mirrors and light-resistant film are used in addition to the traditional canvas, with which the artist achieves three-dimensional effects. He is similarly experimental with the application of paint. Nemes makes use of fragile steel or wood frameworks that project into the room for the presentation of his for the most part large-format paintings, which bear references to American Pop Art.
Laura Schawelka (Filiale, Frankfurt) creates a multi-layered dialogue between photography, video and sculpture in expansive installations. She turns here gaze toward current problems in her thematic exhibitions in the process. In the exhibition "Double Issue," she dedicates herself to consumer behavior changed by digitalization and juxtaposes new photographs with historical image material. The result is a journey from Paris of the 19th century to the age of online commerce staged in images, photographs, and videos. Her associative combinations irritate and leave a trail, and in the process she often plays with the materiality of the objects she uses and invents highly interrelated symbols. In the process, Schawelka's animated or static images occasionally become monumental backgrounds for props, for example, when she sets up sales worlds without goods, in which photographs take the place of real objects.
Ulrike Theusner (Galerie Eigen + Art, Berlin/Leipzig) presents a metropolitan society that is located between torpor and emergence in graphics, drawings, and paintings. In her often garishly colored, caricaturing-distorting series of wash drawings, she examines the lack of relationships between human beings and the loss of values. In doing so, she draws upon art history, literary, and photographic sources on the one hand, and her own observations and perceptions on the other.
Fiona Valentine Thomann (Galerie Priska Pasquer, Cologne) makes use of new media and digital technology and works in particular with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Her work with the title "Tracker" consists of a 3-D model, similar to a physical sculpture, which the artist drew freehand in the digital space. The "Trackers" are collages on mirrors. In order to activate their augmented reality version, the viewer scans the collages with their smartphones. These initially appear abstract, but when looked at more closely, one discovers a variety of references to the present digital culture. It is also possible to change the size of the 3-D model in the room on the phone display, move it to another place, and go into the details in more depth.
In the photo series "A Gradual Stiffening" and in the artist book "An Athens City Reader," Eleanor Wright (Petra Rinck Galerie, Düsseldorf) focuses on an empty shopping center in Athens, which originated making reference to the architectural stylistic devices of Frank Lloyd Wright. Like an apatment building, it was never handed over for its actual purpose. The only resident is the architect, who keeps the shopping center he designed accessible to the public. The artist also often makes reference to architectural elements and their function in the urban-societal or historical context in her installations and sculptural works.
The sponsorship program "New Positions" has been providing young artists the possibility to present their works in a 25 square meter special area next to the stands of their galleries since 1980. Financial support is provided by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Bundesverband Deutscher Galerien und Kunsthändler (German association of galleries and art dealers) and Koelnmesse.
For this year's Art Cologne (April 11-14), a jury of experts has selected 14 young artistic positions. The 2019 jury consisted of Susanne Titz, Director of the Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach, Stefan Kobel, art market critic and journalist, Berlin, Bogomir Ecker, artist, Düsseldorf, Andreas Schleicher-Lange, Sprüth Magers, Berlin, and Thomas Weber, Galerie Boisserée.
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