Maria Barnas
Alon Levin presents art shows - Maria Barnas
DEC 3 – DEC 18, 2010

The Living Room
A project by Maria Barnas

Featuring: Karen Røise Kielland
Furniture: Cees Braakman
Composer: Peter Lunow


In The Living Room I work within an interior that refuses to settle. In this concrete space that is also a space in thought, performance artist Karen Røise Kielland has taken the role of interfering with the furniture. Or does the furniture interfere with her? 
I have collected furniture by Cees Braakman (1917-1995), whose designs have been produced by Pastoe, a Dutch furniture company that propagated in the fifties. Cees Braakman was inspired by the work of Charles & Ray Eames. He experimented with bending plywood and created the first modern line of furniture for Pastoe. 
I see a special quality in the furniture of Cees Braakman. It is as if he has tried to release each object from its solidity, weight and meaning. He gave cupboards looped feet, on which they were meant to look less heavy. I mainly see an ambitious and brave, but awkward attempt at transformation. It is this magnificent failure that keeps me attracted.
After WWII, destroyed furniture companies throughout Europe embraced the opportunity to restructure their manufacturing and design processes. In the Netherlands, Cees Braakman led this shift for UMS-Pastoe. As manager and head of the design team from 1945-1978, he developed several lines of popular furniture and helped to initiate a new company approach to product identity and catalogue design. The advertising photography in these catalogues not only propagate a certain style but also a way of living. Especially women have a determined role in these settings: they are lovely looking, well dressed and groomed housewives.
In the film set that I have built I am looking for a tension between this type of woman and her interior life. More in general: the tension, attraction and aggression between manufactured objects and the individual. The imagery I use strongly leans on that of the catalogues I found from Pastoe. Bright, overly composed sets, with stylised behaviour within it. Today we are used to advertisements luring us into believing we could attain a new and better way of life by buying whatever product is being suggested. Looking at the way it was first done in the fifties, it is as if the luring techniques are broken down. The language of seduction is almost stripped bare. I have played with elements of this language, playing with furniture as words that are still looking for a final place in the sentence of the writer. My main focus in this project has been to compose images within the frame of the film camera. It was like making three-dimensional drawings. Design and designed elements, (conditioned) behaviour and a need to break away from manners of acting, the interior and the exterior, functioned as both subject and material.

Maria Barnas



Alon Levin presents Art Shows at KLEMM'S project room 7d5e

Four solo exhibitions by –

Helen Verhoeven – September 10 – 25, 2010
Meiro Koizumi – October 22 – November 6, 2010 
Amalia Pica– November 12 – 27, 2010
Maria Barnas – December 3 – 18, 2010

I have invited four artists for a fall program of solo exhibitions at KLEMM’S project room 7d5e. The artists are: Helen Verhoeven, Meiro Koizumi, Amalia Pica and Maria Barnas. I have asked each artist to develop an installation, performance, or happening that will be unique to the exhibitions’ space. Each of these artists has a keen sensitivity towards site- specific considerations. Each has the tendency to transform a space so as to embody their concepts and visualize their –quite poetic– realms; they all do this in a very moving but also acutely distinctive way. The project is meant to present these artists with solo projects in Berlin, but also to create an interesting dialog with artists of such diverse practices. The installation process is, in that sense, meant to be a collaborative process.

KLEMM’S project room 7d5e 
Brunnenstrasse 7d (5th floor) 
10119 Berlin

Gallery hours Tue–Sat 11 – 18 h 
Opening 18h – 21h