May 20, 2022

FACE/OFF

 

28 January 2012, 7pm

 

Here we are: at the corner of Lindenstrasse 35. Galerie Gebr. Lehmann, Berlin.
The Gallery is somewhat crowded and the white walls of the white box are shiny. We are in the cage of the show; we are in the cage of a secret performance. People go, turn at the corner and come back, sipping a red wine of uncertain quality. Beyond the heads I start to see fragments of paintings. Colors, shapes, other faces. People go, turn and come back. In the background; other faces. The glass is rounded and everything starts to have a voiceless sense. Yellow, white, black…dots of colors print feet on the canvas. Then the silence.

 

She is walking now, and you can see her there clearly, presenting you with her back. She’s crouching…a big brush in her hand and a lot of energy. Splash: red lines. Splash: yellow color. Splash, here a mouth, there a nose. She walks on the canvas and her figure reminds you of an ant running on an open, empty book. This world is so big. This world is so small that you cannot really change it into a platform of emotional paintings. Splash.

 

The sounds come back again, and you are in the middle of the Gallery, with an acid glass of wine in your hand and a lot of questions. Next to the triptych, standing in front of you, there is a shy nameplate, upon which is written ‘Tatjana Doll’. You turn, like an impressionable compass, 360 degrees, again immersed in the flow of other faces, other stories. This time, the scene is awful, an awfulness that many people would avoid. The syringes are everywhere in his body. Tits, tummy, arms and legs. A muscular bald man photographed while posing under the pressure of his own heaviness. It is sick, ugly and disgusting. His name is Roger Baptist. The artist is Bjarne Melgaard. There are decorative lines on it, recalling the important rule of catharsis in an ancient theatre. Slowly, the scene vanishes, like an old black-and-white shot of the past, and you turn on your way, a silent viewer turning his back on new experiences.

 

The walls are white, shining.

 

Directly on the left an amusing smile calls your attention. You can’t miss it. Coming closer, the attractive background of the medium-sized painting is an unusual classical navy blue, with a tidy face painted on it in pieces of fashion photographs. Maria Brunner seems to be going for the stream of post surrealism, and her faces are depicted with an incorruptible precision, recalling the Mae West Room of Dalì.

 

The exhibition starts to build itself, like a contemporary broken amphora under reconstruction. Slowly, the material which really didn’t have a sense before, now takes a meaningful shape: eureka! Those faces are The Face; those portraits are The Portrait. Every artist here wants to say something about her/himself through another face, and, at the same time, wants to talk about the others through her/himself. Magical, metaphorical, irreducible. The portrait, that which characterizises the personality, becomes, in this moment, a mere mirror in which everyone can dive, recognize and die. In different ways, Frank Nitsche, by geometrical forms, Konard Wyrebek following the grey tones of fashion photographs, Eberhard Havekost and his self portrait, John Isaacs and his abstract shining sculpture, and, again, Maria Brunner and Tatjana Doll, are all here, standing like a mirror to dissolve the knots of the embodiment and the automatic recognition.

 

Enough for this evening. My mind is in black-out, and my body goes slipping like a spider looking for other cages of dreams.

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