Characteristic of Levinson’s works is a grid-like structure, which results from the interplay of the paint and the surface of the canvas. In varying degrees of opacity, she applies oil paint with a palette knife on coarse jute fabric, keeping the texture of the canvas visible that thereby becomes an essential part of the image. The resulting works have a pointilist look and alternate between abstract shapes and vague or distorted human figures. The exhibition is comprised of paintings that deal with the influence of the digital on our perception.
A recurring theme in Inna Levinson’s works are schematic depictions of the earth elements. By presenting these materials, the artist refers to the Five Element theory, which deals with energies that influence human beings and shape the material things on earth. In addition to the Five Elements as a reference to the attempt to describe reality, her works also contain parts that mimic molecular structures and thus focus on the scientific explanation of the natural world. By condensing the technical, medial, social, cultural and biochemical framework that shapes our reality, Levinson measures our contemporary time, which is rapidly and steadily changing with technological developments.
Inna Levinson (* 1984) studied Fine Arts at the University of the Arts (UdK) Berlin. She lives and works in Berlin.
It is certainly a challenge to be a painter today. How can you really become modern with such a traditional language, one frequently accused of being superseded or without having the ability to communicate something? Through his recent work Marco Reichert appears to give us a valid answer: he offers the public the possibility of thinking of a new future for painting, one that does not forget the past and yet is able to capture the potentiality offered by contemporary technology. The works by Marco Reichert are pictorial planes that regain their verticality only at the end of the creative process, and they bring to mind horizontal surfaces destined to host objects and to collect the traces of their passage as well as to record the classical gestures of the “painter”. Each painting is planned, but it is also unpredictable. This is because it develops during the very course of the work, and each image is intrinsically tied to the elements utilised. The vast range of materials and tools involved leads to new structures, new textures, and new colours which could not have been arrived at without having passed through these pictorial mechanisms.
Besides this, what is of primary importance is the action that the “painting machines”, programmed by the artist himself, exert on the work. Planned at first as “robots” that followed a geometric path and rules in order to interact constantly with them, these devices have today become more complex, and they are for the artist a genuine tool, on the same level as brushes, ones capable of obtaining certain visual results. This is certainly a strange way of painting and it adds something to the final visual effect, one that cannot be separated from the creative imagination of its programmer. –– Maria Villa
Marco Reichert (*1979 in Berlin) studied Fine Art at Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin. He lives and works in Berlin.
With his art, Stefan Strumbel initiates a change in social values: Traditional ideals, clichéd notions of home and the reality of the individual are dissolved and transformed into an aesthetic that becomes an allegory of social status symbols. He exposes the mechanism of a society that in its desire for status and the pursuit of consumerism surrenders to the constant attraction of the media. With his transformed objects, Strumbel successfully creates an illusionary world, which reflects societies real maladies.
In the German village of Goldscheuer, the artist reconstructed the interior of the Catholic Church Maria, Hilfe der Christen (1962). Strumbel approached the church with the idea of a completely modern intervention. After initial skepticism towards the project, he soon owned the support of the whole town community; even Pastor Thomas Braunstein praised Strumbel’s work as ‘a gift from heaven’. The re-opening of the brand new designed Church on the 1st of July 2011 was recognized throughout all media platform: Leading print media such as Der Spiegel and FAZ published articles about the 6 meters high Madonna dressed in traditional Black Forest clothing, enthroning with her infant Jesus above the entrance. Funky stripes beautifying the choir wall, LED light shining on speech bubbles and comic-book elements, all innovatively adorn the Catholic Church. The New York Times commissioned the artist to design the cover of the their magazine.
Stefan Strumbel (*1979) lives and works in Offenburg.
XOOOOX works with delicate stenciled works and installations in an arte povera style that consist of weathered and decaying materials. In these works XOOOOX distinctly contrasts the glamour of fashion culture with existentialist themes such as vulnerability and transience. The life-size stencils of professionally styled photo models form the leitmotif of the figurative studies and scrutinize the worship cult and the seduction techniques of haute couture. Beguilingly beautiful, XOOOOX’s women convey a sense of melancholy and introversion and allude to the growing displeasure with the uniform, consumption-driven hype of the fashion industry. Using transitory media such as exposed building facades, worm-eaten wood, rotting fabric and rusty metal, XOOOOX grounds this apparently glamorous theme in the street, but the artist’s aim is not to deconstruct fashion culture. XOOOOX pays homage to traditional haute couture while levelling criticism at the over-industrialization of fashion as a cultural artefact of our time.
XOOOOX (*1979) lives and works in Berlin.