Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kunsthalle Tübingen: The Interior View

Tübingen's main art museum, Kunsthalle Tübingen (sorry but the site is almost completely in German), is actually more of a gallery space, in a small but beautiful and well-laid-out building positioned on a sunny hill. Their current exhibition, titled Der Innere Blick ("The Interior View"), brings together several contemporary painters and photographers who focus on the various aspects of interior spaces. It's a simple but fascinating theme, with much room for exploration.

The first room shows the photography of Marina Gadoneix (France) and Thomas Florschuetz (Germany). The former's work is bright with neon lights and crisp, stark spaces. Everything is sleek and modern and full of contrasting colors. Unfortunately I couldn't get any good photos of her pieces due to the glass reflection, but she has a portfolio on her website. Florschuetz focuses more on the grittiness of large, open interiors such as many-windowed and derelict warehouse-like spaces. There's a halting sense of abandonment throughout his settings, but overall I wasn't especially engrossed by the photos.

Marina Gadonneix, from the Remote Control series (2006) Thomas Florschuetz: Untitled (Palast) (2006)
Thomas Florschuetz: Untitled (2006)I found Peruvian photographer David Zink Yi's Roma series incredibly affecting. He takes quiet, neatly laid-out rooms populated by a scarcely-seen elderly woman (his grandmother). Her veined hand or sandaled foot will edge its way into the frame of the photograph, acting as a disembodied limb. He reminds us that a human presence is necessary for all of the lace table cloths, decorative paintings, and cushy couches seen in the main composition. The works carry with them a strong atmosphere of loneliness, as if this woman has nothing but her surroundings to keep her company. They are both serene and slightly disturbing, creating a unique portrait. They reminded me a bit of William Eggleston's more domestic photos.

One of the reasons I really wanted to visit the Kunsthalle was I'd read that Richard Hamilton's Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Unique, So Appealing? (1956) was part of its collection. Upon learning that it was more of an exhibition space and had no permanent objects of its own, I was pretty sad. But then there it was! All by itself and surprisingly tiny, but there in all its Pop collage glory. I love this piece, and it fits really well into the exhibit's theme, portraying "today's" homes with over-the-top irreverence and familiar trappings of modern living.

British artist Ian Hartshorne's paintings are vibrant and dreamlike, utilizing broken angles and slightly garish colors to create a vaguely surreal interior space. He'll take a familiar substance like wood but break it up unevenly and combine it with a red staircase that seems to float and a statuesque android, catching the viewer off guard. His works are interesting, but I didn't particularly like them. Something about his painting style, I think, but I can't quite put my finger on what I didn't like. They just didn't grab me. Sort of emotionless, I guess.

Ian Hartshorne: When She Was Good (2008)
Ian Hartshorne: Babylon is Burning (2008)I did enjoy Czech artist Daniel Pitin's paintings, dimly lit and full of dripping strokes and unfinished edges. He distorts the spaces that he chooses to depict, with unclear walls and crouched figures who somehow seem disconnected from their surroundings. I especially like Lost Architect. It conveys a sense of loss and uncertainty, but without reverting to despair. There's a large collection of his images here.

Daniel Pitin: Lost Architect (2008)Daniel Pitin: Office (2007)Achim Hoops' works are a surprise delight, at first glance appearing dull and monotonous, but upon closer inspection revealing a keen eye for light and serious skills with crayon and colored pencil. The pieces are small ruminations on various empty interiors and exteriors, with dichromatic palettes and detailed line work. They are textured and grainy, focusing as much on the medium and wooden canvas as the composition. Really a treat to see in real life.

Unfortunately I can't find the video for Swedish artist Sofia Hultén's Familiars (2007), but it is really interesting. It's composed of a selection of short scenes all filmed inside a regular house, in which a figure would set up some sort of strange trick to presumably scare any family member who walked in. A woman lay hidden under a bed and moved it around so it seemed to be levitating. Another hid inside a dresser and hung her arms outside a drawer like a dead body. It's a cool look into the potential terrors of everyday home life. I don't know much about the artist but I'm interested to look into what her other work is like. There some more photos of it here.

Absolutely exploding with color and passion are the large-scale photographs of American artist Raissa Venables. She finds interesting architectural patterns and unreal lighting and exploits them to their fullest potential. Her works are fascinating, decidedly off-beat compositions packed with a nagging feeling that something here isn't quite right.

Raissa Venables: Temple Emanu-El NY Sanctuary (2008)
Raissa Venables: Red Stairs (2005)
Raissa Venables: Green ATM (2007)This is a really wonderful exhibition, with a range of styles from an international collection of artists. The Kunsthalle defies its small space with an impressive display of works, making for an interesting and truly enjoyable visit. This exhibit is up until July 5, if you happen to find yourself in the Tübingen area (though I understand that probably isn't a likely occurance for most of you). Hopefully I'll be able to catch their next exhibition on Israeli artist Tal R before I go back home.


Freedom In Creation said...


The Freedom In Creation Tour is a unique concert and art exhibition experience to benefit the work of Freedom In Creation in Northern Uganda. Visiting six cities from June 12 to June 18, our goal is to raise $10,000 for Freedom In Creation's weekly art sessions and fresh water well projects in the Koro Abili IDP camp community.

The Mad Hatter said...

Me again, just noticed that you had an art blog too. Thought you might like to see some of my photo work.

You can't levae comments on flickr without signing in for an account, but figured you'd like to give 'em a look every now and then.


Alex said...

Oh wow thanks so much for that link, Hatter! I'm not on flickr so I can't comment, but your photos are beautiful! Great attention to light and angles in the black and white ones, and the colored shots are equally intriguing. Definitely bookmarking!