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Matthias Beckmann
26 October - 01 December 2012

"Visiting a studio that has so far been unknown to me, is always a revealing experience, because the room itself and the arrangement of objects tell me how an artist is organized and how this impression relates to the artistic oeuvre. In many cases, I believed to be able to identify a correlation between the works and the studio; sometimes I was surprised that conceptual artworks with a strictly rational approach can be conceived in a rather improvised surrounding."

Matthias Beckmann

Matthias Beckmann is a draftsman. He meets his counterpart as a discreet dialog partner who then turns into a silent observer in front of the motif. Beckmann looks for places and finds pictures right there. “The draftsman Beckmann, who finds what he wants to see in everything, has an anarchic wit that flashes up time and again …”(1) There is never only one picture, there are always mostly larger series, so that his drawings expand and condense to a larger visual narrative. Thus a fundamental characteristic already of the individual sheet augments itself, for Beckmann’s drawings give the impression that for the draftsman “at least on paper … no thing as such is significant. It is only the attention it gets that lifts it out of the arbitrariness of “all sorts of things”.”(2) Exactly this is one of the crucial preconditions for relativizing the documentary gestus of these drawings. Beckmann’s pencil lines are contours, lines which directly refer to an extra-pictorial object. Nevertheless he succeeds in liberating the drawing from a one-dimensional object reference and transforming what is seen into a solely pictorial reality. That is why one should never reduce his drawings to their mere depictive function, even though Matthias Beckmann certainly, and not least, is a drawing documentarist. But the big achievement of his drawings is an intensified sensitization of seeing. The viewer has to renew the way he sees the drawn objects and their spatial contexts, has to readjust his view of the world. The present publication is an invitation to do just this.

Over the last years he has visited public places of art presentation, has drawn in many museums and exhibition venues. Interestingly enough, commissioned works are quite frequent among the drawing series made there – commissioned works meant to capture temporary, and hence ephemeral, situations, as in the Hessische Landesmuseum Darmstadt shortly before its closing due to a five-year pause for reconstruction or with the Einzug der Alten Meister [Entry of the Old Masters] in the Johanniterhalle in Schwäbisch Hall. So now from the public places of art to the artists’ studios. Between 2010 and 2012 Matthias Beckmann visited 88 Berlin studios, making at least three drawings at each place. That way, not least of all, ‘an homage to the countless artists working in the town and its surroundings’(3) was created as well.

(1) translated from: Christoph Peters: Matthias Beckmann – der Einzug der Alten Meister. In: Matthias Beckmann, Einzug der Alten Meister. Exhib. Cat. Johanniterhalle Schwäbisch Hall, Künzelsau 2008, n.pag.
(2) ibid.
(3) Andreas Schalhorn: Am Tatort. Zu den Berliner Atelierzeichnungen von Matthias Beckmann. [At the scene of the events. On Matthias Beckmann’s Berlin studio drawings]. In: Matthias Beckmann: Berliner Ateliers, Exhib. Cat., p. 389

From the preface of the Exhibiton Catalogue Matthias Beckmann: Berliner Ateliers by Jörg van den Berg, Director Kunsthalle Ravensburg.

Matthias Beckmann visited the studios of the following artists: Frank Ahlgrimm, Sonja Alhäuser, Martin Assig, Atak: Georg Barber, Frank Badur, Fritz Balthaus, Heike Kati Barath, Robert Barta, Gabriele Basch, Olivia Berckemeyer, Anne Berning, F. W. Bernstein, Bernhard Bretz/Matthias Holliger, John Bock, Monika Brandmeier, Hartmut Böhm, Candice Breitz, Tatjana Doll, Sven Drühl, Daniela Ehemann, Tim Eitel, Eva & Adele, Valérie Favre, Wolfgang Flad, Thomas Florschuetz, Pia Fries, Axel Geis, Ingo Gerken, Massoud Graf-Hachempour, Asta Gröting, Christian Hasucha, Aline Helmcke, Vanessa Henn, Anton Henning, Gregor Hildebrandt, Esther Horn, Leiko Ikemura, Thomas Huber, Michael Kalmbach, Hannes Kater, Isabel Kerkermeier, Paco Knöller, Clemens Krauss, Raimund Kummer, Susanne Kutter, Alicja Kwade, Mark Lammert, Via Lewandowsky, Pia Linz, Nikolaus List, Jeanne Mammen, Matthias Mansen, Gerhard Mantz, Bjørn Melhus, Isa Melsheimer, Nanne Meyer, Bettina Munk, Carsten Nicolai, Wolfgang Petrick, Thomas Rentmeister, Gunter Reski, Anselm Reyle, Peter Rösel, Dennis Rudolph, Heike Ruschmeyer, Karin Sander, Andreas Schmid, Jo Schöpfer, Nada Sebestyén, Markus Sendlinger, Heidi Sill, Rainer Splitt, Malte Spohr, Martin Städeli, Julia Staszak, Volker Stelzmann, Caro Suerkemper, Alex Tennigkeit, Beate Terfloth, Peter Thol, Klaus-Martin Treder, Jochen Twelker, Jorinde Voigt, Patricia Waller, Barbara Wille, Markus Willeke, René Wirths, Renate Wolff.


Matthias Beckmann was born in 1965 in Arnsberg/Westfalen and lives in Berlin. He studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and at the Kunstakademie Stuttgart. His works are represented in various internationally renowned collections, such as the Kupferstichkabinett Berlin, the Berlinische Galerie as well as the Kunstsammlung des Deutschen Bundestages, Berlin.

The catalogue Matthias Beckmann: Berliner Ateliers accompanies the exhibition. Critical essays by Jörg van den Berg (Director Kunsthalle Ravensburg) and Andreas Schalhorn (Curator Kupferstichkabinett Berlin).

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Bertram Hasenauer
7 September - 20 October 2012

The show focuses on a group of new works which can be read as a sythesis of Hasenauers painting characterized by the strong use of flat colours and the delicately structured lines of his drawings.The wooden support is covered by an either black, white or grey backgroundcolour from which the shapes of the pencil drawn figures emerge.
Unlike most of Hasenauers previous exhibitions, TROON does not include landscapes or text works, but centres on one single genre – the portrait.

Once again, we encounter a well known repertoire: seemingly ageless figures who either face us directly, look away, close their eyes or even turn their whole body away from us. Enigmatic entities with a subtle androgyn aura whose spectral appearances emanate like shadows of memories from the depth of time, like a fading after-image on the retina of an eye that gazed into the sun far too long. In the strong presence of Hasenauers figures a sort of profane epiphany of something non-material, non-physical can be felt. The time of their appearance seems to point to the future like an announcement of a vision, or mark a flash-like moment in the Now.

In his latest works, Hasenauer abandons the indigo coloured pencil in favour of a drawing palette in black, white and grey. This colour choice produces a grisaille-like effect that enforces the impression of the work’s artificiality and furthermore creates an even greater distance between the viewer an the figures. Hasenauer uses photographies as source material, but in contrast to artists like Gerhard Richter or Luc Tuymans, they do neither figure as historical models nor is photohraphy a medium of reference which undergoes an iconic reflection in the other medium, be it painting or drawing.

Hasenauer‘s survey of the portrait as genre, which is traditionally associated with questions of mimesis and representation, with individual (self-)construction and psychological analysis, tries to look beyond these above mentioned aspects in order to find a type of portrait that both lacks any signs of individuality and displays no historical references whatsoever, a type which can be described as supertemporal and supra-individual.

In an age of free floating phenotypes, ever-changing fashion styles and people who play multiple roles in their everyday life, the idea of the face as a mirror of a hidden, innermost being which can be perceived by observing the outward appearance seems to be an utterly outdated assumption. The portrait as sum of all portraits is a pure sign that abandoned its signifier, the appearance of a presence is only superficial and does not allow an individual interpretation. In the devoted celebration of their cool beauty, these conceptions of man intone a lucid swan song to the genre of portraiture.

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Astrid Köppe
8 June - 28 July 2012

„Monsters have a practical value, they challenge our intellect.“
Étienne-Geoffrey de St. Hilaire, from the19th century.

Bakemono are the traditional monsters in japanese culture. The word itself means „changing things“ and thus many Bakemono are the result of bizarre transformations. Familiar figures like animals and every-day objects shift into shapes which we encounter with shivering fascination and pleasant uneasiness alike. Astrid Köppe’s drawings take us to a place where notions of The Natural and the Supernatural, the Usual and the Fantastic are no longer apllicable. By means of her own creative imagination, the artist transforms concrete experiences and studies of the every-day into motifs, that seem to be frozen during a process of metamorphosis. In order to read what is seen, the viewer needs to call on his own experiences of reality, however decipherment can only fail. Although one might recognize familiar textures like fur, hair, sting or plush, irritation about the veritable character of Köppe’s objects prevails.

The drawn figures ostensibly create the impression to be domesticated by the consistent use of identically sized frames. A closer look, however, soon unmasks this treacherous certitude. Köppe’s ‚monsters’ impress us with a very delicate application of various materials and thus develop such tactile qualities that the viewer is – despite of their quaintness - constantly reminded of their factuality. The wall-piece on site pierces into the real space. The relief like structure made of artificial eyelashes is the first in situ installation since the exhibition „100 drawings“ in 2011 in South Korea. The eyelashes are individually and in meticulous work appliqued to the wall. They seem to relate to the pencil stroke of a drawing, due to their mere accumulation they also evoke elements of substantial volume. At the same time, the artist takes up „hair“ as a subject. Hair as well as monsters place the viewer in an ambiguous position. On one hand, we associate hair with grace or even virility, on the other hand, it is only a small step to utter revulsion if we find them in places where they ought not be, according to our perception, and thus cross a line which the installation piece tries to explore.

On the bigger enamels the objects have a stronger pictogramic character. Outlines are sharper and clearer, and through their strong figurative presence they appear almost as logos even though their message still remains enigmatic. The diversity of the materials used in the drawings are eliminated on the glittering surface of the enamel, that reflects the light.

Bakemono is Astrid Köppe’s third exhibition with fruehsorge contemporary drawings and the first one in Germany for which the artist creates two installation pieces on site.

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Siân Bowen & Nova Zembla
27 April - 2 June 2012

As Guest Artist in Drawing at Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Siân Bowen spent two years (2010-12) developing a new body of works; the Nova Zembla collection of prints, which, having lain frozen in the Arctic for three centuries, provided opportunities to explore the materiality of drawing and the ephemeral nature of museum objects on paper. The prints were carried as merchandise on a 1596 failed Dutch expedition to China. An over-wintering refuge on Nova Zembla housed these stacks until their discovery: they had been transformed into papier-mâché blocks. In 1977, methods were devised to reassemble the thousands of fragments.

The works in this exhibition reflect Bowen’s own ‘journey’ 
through the project, emphasizing the tactile qualities of her 
artworks which, at the same time, employ light, transparency, perforation, reflection and fragility, 
and consolidating the often fugitive nature of the materials used in 
their making.
 The artist realized the project collaborating with Rijksmuseum’s Paper 
Conservation Studio to employ 16th century methods and materials to new ends, and also with archaeologists, curators, historians, printmakers and filmmakers. She worked closely with papermaker, Gangolf Ulbricht, to make paper for her drawings sympathetic to that of the Nova Zembla prints. In addition she retraced part of the route of the original expedition and filmed this journey through the fragmented icepack as it was reflected in a replica ‘Claude glass’.

The catalogue "Siân Bowen and Nova Zembla: Suspending the Ephemeral", published by RGAP, accompanies the exhibition. Critical essays by Wim Pijbes, (Director of the Rijksmuseum), Jan de Hond, (Curator of the Nova Zembla Collection), Jan Philipp Fruehsorge, Chris Dorsett and Joel Fisher contextualize the new works which include drawings, vellum bound artist books and video pieces.

The project has been supported by Rijksmuseum Amsterdam and the Art and Humanities Research Council, UK.

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In the Cabinet:
Bettina Munk
27 April - 2 June 2012

You say: the real, the world as it is. But it is not, it becomes! […]
The world, the real is not an object. It is a process.

John Cage in conversation with Daniel Charles, Christopher Shultis:„Silencing the Sounded Self: John Cage and the Intentionality of Nonintention, in: The Musical Quarterly, Vol. 79, No. 2 (Summer 1995), S. 319.

When John Cage made this remark in 1970 in a conversation with Daniel Charles, the world was still divided into firm blocks with no sense of mobility, a matter of course in today’s media age. John Cage shows, that the coincidences which appear in his notations can be seen - together with the coincidences which occur during the display of his works – as art. That means that information based on coincidences together with substantiality becomes the reality of the piece of music. Cage articulates that something coincidental does not have to be arbitrary.

In the 21st century, the once inflexible categories came into motion. Art and science became closer. As a result, this years documenta 13 hired quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger as a consultant. Zeilinger is convinced that the role of coincidence is one of the most important discoveries of the applied sciences in the 20th century and also that the concepts of information and substantiality are interwoven and inseperable. Although the world as process has come to the fore, substantiality and reality are still taken for the same. But reality is the result of the interaction between coincidence with information and substantiality as a potentiality. To continue to make this idea clear, is the core discipline of art how Cage understands it.

The concept of the exhibition „im Orbital“ broaches the issue of coincidence in the tradition of John Cage and the design of substantiality of quantum theory. The shown drawings and animations are determined by coincidences.

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2 March 2012 - 21 April 2012

"In her wall installations, such as Föhnkrankheit (2009) or White Ilinx (2010), there is an impression of sinister impenetrability - hanging paper strips and filigree forms seem to emanate from the wall, creating a dynamic that is reminiscent of intersections and overlaps in the structure of the maze or labyrinth. The labyrinth is a place of uncertainty, a metaphor of what is hidden or lost, a place from which escape is difficult. McGowan-Griffin cites as influences the intricate linguistic structures of writers such as Raymond Roussel (1877-1933) whose brilliant compositions such as Locus Solus (1914), or Impressions of Africa (1910), seem at first sight simply bizarre but are in fact written under a strict set of formal constraints that generate random associations based on clever word plays. Or Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), whose skillfully woven essays and narratives draw the reader into a giddy confusion between fiction and reality.

In McGowan-Griffin’s work, an important role is played by the various attributes of the material, especially the weight, thickness and transparency of the paper. While The Whiteness of the Whale III relied for its effect on a combining of thick, heavy paper for the outer layers, with delicate, tissue-like Japanese papers and waxy glassine for the interior, the installation at frühsorge contemporary drawings uses for first time a type of very light or thin paper known as “bible paper”. This fine but sturdy material is used - due to its lightness and opacity - for the printing of large volumes such as bibles or encyclopedias. The installation is designed as a walk-able space, a kind of abstracted labyrinth structure, which guides the viewer on a tangential journey through the Encyclopaedia Britannica, with which the artist has had a longstanding fascination. The installation, like Borges’ short story Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius (which makes reference to this same encyclopedia) deals with the creation of imaginative worlds – the encyclopedia being a carefully ordered chaos, where sarsaparilla, Saussure, and silkworms might strangely and irrationally collide together in one volume, due to the apparently rational, alphabetical, way of ordering things. When one is inside this labyrinth of language it might appear chaotic and easy to lose the way, but if one is able to view the labyrinth’s complete structure, one sees an intricately ordered universe. Both states – chaos and order, rational and irrational – perhaps exist simultaneously in all of the literary models cited, and McGowan-Griffin’s work is a visual manifestation of the resulting tension – a tension which is generated in the creative process itself."

Excerpt from the exhibition catalogue "Charlotte McGowan-Griffin. Cutting in, Cutting out", 2012. Text by Petra Roettig: „Cutting In“.

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Nadine Fecht
13 January 2012 - 25 February 2012

field recording by Nadine Fecht involves the presentation of a lightroom.

Just as the process of photographic exposure requires a darkroom to control the incidence of right, this lightroom clearly needs overexposure to show structures that would otherwise remain invisible.

Set against the background of a completely white room, there are small and large-format drawings which act as graphical reference points, creating a field where individual details add up to new meanings and to a new context in a process that appears like disorientation. The static design of the room and the two-dimensional fields of the drawings dissolve into vibration and unrest. This continuous restlessness covers both content and form.

The title of the exhibition refers to the idea of a field as an entity that can be described as such and which can therefore be given a mentally fixed form while nevertheless being in motion. By nature, such fields are electrical, magnetic, acoustic and indeed psychological and social. At the same time, the concept of drawing has been given a wider definition in order to satisfy the requirements of a conceptual and installational procedure. In the interaction and interplay between a placeholder and the placement of an item, both our glances and body movement acquire a certain rhythmic quality. This continues in each of the drawings. In this illusory ensemble of the overall field and a specific structure all orientation remains vague and provisional.

Where the level of detail is concerned, field recording consists of numerous small and large-format drawings on paper (Echo, Radio Horizon, Writing 1, Writing 2 and Layer), two murals (untitled) and a vinyl record (53 Beginnings). The latter is furthest away from the traditional understanding of a drawing. In the centre of the exhibition room a record player has been set up for listening through a headset, with 53 beginnings of records, starting with the touchdown of the stylus and continuing with the subsequent crackling of the first groove of each record. The repeated touchdown of the stylus and the peculiar subsequent noise create an atmosphere of unrest that speaks of a deep inner field of personal expectations which, ultimately, serves as the starting point for any discovery of the world around us.

[Text Eric Wunder]
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