Ulrich Gebert, Keltie Ferris, Elizabeth Jaeger, Fiona Mackay, Adrian Sauer, Marijn van Kreij
June – August 2020

Representation of nature – historical, scientific, medial; (inner) landscape; directness and exaltation; pureness and authenticity; the imperative of the „back to the … „; Physicality – Sexuality – Identity; policies and politics…the list goes on…

The exhibition ’naturlich!{sic!}‘ brings together works that approach the phenomenon of the ’natural‘ in a variety of ways and thereby express the ambivalence of human observation, attribution and reshaping.

Ulrich Gebert addresses in his conceptual photographs the culturally influenced relationship of man to its environment and nature. He investigates how human societies establish themselves in their habitats and queries the violent appropriation inherent to their cultivation techniques. In the series Soft Land, Gebert assembles found, reproduced and enlarged image material into freely associated tableaus that is strangely humorous and clumsy. Through our attempts of categorization, the composition of partial forms and abstract information arranged in loose tableaus seem to reveal a formal and conceptual coherences. Yet the result contradicts our expectations, as brutality alternates with tenderness and absurd humor intervenes in the disturbing contrast.

Keltie Ferris opens a new avenue in the series body print where she injects herself physically into her works, both as a form of self-portraiture and as an alternate means of mark-making. The oil-coated body of the artist is pressed against the paper on the floor of her studio. The imprint is covered with powdered pigment, resulting in a photographic yet fragmented impression, recalling an X-ray or a Xerox copy. Corporeality of the process is highlighted as the artist subtly shifts the position of her body to create impressions that range in tone from static to fluid, defensive to aggressive, and masculine to feminine. With these works on paper, Ferris continues to explore painting as a personal index and the literal relationship between artist and work.

Elizabeth Jaeger explores in her sculptures, ceramic objects and installations the relationship of corporeality, perception and consciousness, between sensation and emotion. The artist has recently worked with her own ambivalent formal language which deals with complex structures of organisms that are made by human hand. In an archaeological fashion, the artist explores the essence of things between the dead and the living, spanning an arch from ancient tear vessels to the current global problems, through a natural observation to the human condition. A virtual climatic effect enfolds in the room, converting it to an abandoned harbor of refuge. The fragile, mutated animal objects epitomize exhaustion and escapism, as a social statement.

Fiona Mackay oscillates between abstraction and figuration, constantly nudging to sensuous, emotional and sensual implications through her works. Her paintings ambiguously but with much intensity refer to corporeality and sexuality, resulting in imbuing themselves with an authentic bodiliness. Existing in the room as if they were forms of flesh, the paintings create a climate in the exhibition space in which viewers feel like they could almost smell the skin and hear the breath of those two bodies. Being radically open to and thus stimulating subjective perception and interpretation, Mackay’s works reverberate in the exhibition space like sound waves, approaching the audience with keen desire.

Adrian Sauer tackles the established principles and definitions of photography, testing and experimenting with the conceptual and substantial border of the medium. The photographs of cloudy skies are a part of Sauer’s ongoing archive Form und Farbe which started early in his career. Beyond referring to personal memories of Sauer, and beyond his daily ritual of pointing the camera upwards, the cloud photographs further open a ground where one can reflect on the visual and technical qualities of photography. Without a reference point or a certain perspective, any attempt to read scale or ratio in these images is pointless. The panel format overtaxes the resolution of the digital compact camera, leading the images, when seen closely enough, to disintegrate into millions of millimeter-sized pixels.

Marijn van Kreij’s multifaceted oeuvre, consisting of drawings, paintings, collages, videos and installations, the process of duplication, repetition and autonomy plays a key role. Through his works, the artist finds connections to prominent works of art history, the legacy of modernism in particular, as well as with music and the broader visual culture. His drawings reflect the inner landscape of the artist, the paper becoming a scene at which his bodily movements, letters and words around his mouth and floating bits of ideas arrive. As most ordinary details are raised to the level of art through the artist’s manual approach, his works on paper form a sharp contrast with the digital and online visual culture of the current age.

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