Navot Miller & Norbert Bisky: Swing State

27. Apr '2317. Jun '23
Additional Information: Tuesday—Saturday 14:00—18:00
Weserstraße 46, Berlin 12045
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The duo exhibition Swing State shows works by Norbert Bisky and Navot Miller. Two artistic positions whose affinities and divergences sharpen the eye for the particularity of the other. Bisky was born in 1970 in the former GDR, Miller in 1991 in a Jewish Orthodox settlement in Israel. What they have in common is the experience of breaking out of the confines of ideologically shaped parental homes and their adopted home of Berlin, the hedonist’s place of longing.

The title Swing State alludes to the children’s playground outside the gallery’s door as well as to the surrounding city as a play space for adults and the instability of political systems. Two swings designed by the artists take up the motif: A life in limbo is shown, outcome uncertain. Large-format works, usually Bisky’s metier, he leaves to Miller in this exhibition. In Swing State, Bisky focuses on a series of smaller works on paper that show intertwined bodies. Wrestlers on a battlefield that could just as easily be sexual as athletic in nature. In addition, some mirror works are shown. A technique developed by Bisky, which in recent years has taken up an increasingly broad space in his repertoire of expression. Painted canvases are cut up and arranged like collages on reflective surfaces. In addition to fragmented faces and set pieces of urban culture, the face of a retrograde Hebrew clock also appears here. A reference to the relativity of the understanding of time as well as Bisky’s deep connection to Israel, where he lived for several months in 2015.

Through the mirrors integrated into the works, everything surrounding them becomes part of the pictorial staging itself. Viewers are confronted with their own sight, and Miller’s paintings are also reflected in Bisky’s works in a literal way.

Miller’s vibrantly coloured surfaces, which combine to form landscapes, architectural structures, and figures, juxtapose Bisky’s ambivalences with a very tangible, if surreal and dreamlike, reality. On the surface, his images tell of the comforts of a mobile lifestyle. Routines of escapism: Motifs from Europe’s south, the U.S. and Israel are mixed together. Pools, vacation apartments, the cell phone always on the nightstand. Brands and apps that provide a constant stream of impressions and encounters. Miller also playfully turns himself into a brand by affixing his signature as a logo to ever different places in his paintings.

His view is never cynical, however, but rather tender. His paintings tell of longing for certain people and situations, lovesickness as a universal feeling. Miller searches for islands of intimacy in the banal. Small moments of truthfulness in the abundance of possibilities. A back that rises up like a protective wall, a furtive glance caught through an open door.

Finally, in the smallest room of the gallery, each artist shows a portrait of their own mother. A conscious confrontation with the specific circumstances of origin. In Swing State, two generations also meet, Gen X and Millennials, both of whom have been shaped in two ways by the all-pervasive power of pop and consumer culture: once as a broken promise and once as the visual archive of a world gone off the rails.

Bisky appreciates Miller’s boldness, the immediacy of his art, while the latter, conversely, admires Bisky’s attention to detail and mastery of execution. Neither Miller nor Bisky understand the artist’s position as admonitory or even accusatory. They are observers of the present, fascinated by the kaleidoscope of media-mediated realities and their possibilities of escape. They are interested in the coping mechanisms of human beings.

Text by Diana Weis

Albrecht/Wilke: Fucking Delicious Landscapes

19. May '2317. Jun '23
Additional Information: Tuesday—Saturday 14:00—18:00 (By Appointment)
Location: Weserstraße 56, Berlin 12045
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Leitmotifs of a stereotypical German middle-class cuisine hover in front of majestic landscape and nature depictions that irritate and delight at the same time. In their painterly collages, the artist duo Albrecht/Wilke deal with their upbringing in a humorous way. With irony and acumen, they bring bourgeoisie culture to our attention, hitting us with subtle familiarity, even though one wishes, time and again, that it did not.
Hawaii Toast, 2023
In the exhibition, the painter duo Albrecht/Wilke, who live and work in Berlin, take up typical German dishes that are particularly polarising. A Hawaiian-toast, for example, knows no shades of grey. Either you love the composition of lightly browned, crisply toasted bread on which a juicy cooked ham and a fruity sweet, canned pineapple are covered by the delicately melting slice of cheese, or you hate it. No matter which side you count yourself to, its promising silhouette stands out from afar and just by looking at it, the taste tickles your tongue.  
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The other motifs, whether grilled chicken, Black Forest cake or curry sausage, are also so familiar that their images trigger ambivalent feelings in us. Recognising them and immerse in our own memories is very satisfying because the pictures are so connectable and close. Seeing becomes a pleasure in the truest sense of the word. Like curry sauce to a sausage, the familiarity of the motif clings to us, even though we are trying to keep our distance. Because let’s be honest: there is hardly anything good in a curry sausage, apart from its exquisite taste. Eating meat, as the boss of a large sausage company said some time ago, is the cigarette of tomorrow. And although we know better, the prospect of a quick sausage makes us weak more often than we would like to admit. 
Ein Wurst, 2023
Seemingly without reference, the various delightful treats float in front of landscapes that are in no way inferior to edible pleasures in their familiarity. These romantically exaggerated depictions of nature always find a way into our souls and warm our hearts. It is difficult for us to escape the sublime. Casper David Friedrich already made use of this exaggeration and continues to inspire viewers to this day. Albrecht/Wilke use the same means to present us with a sunset by the sea or a mountain landscape that brings tears to our eyes. 
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True to their motto of making only “good painting”, the artists make use of different styles from art history. They sample and combine the fine painterly craft of Romanticism with the coarse brushstrokes of the Junge Wilde and let them clash abruptly. Where Casper David Friedrich used humans to draw the viewer into the picture, Albrecht/Wilke use classics of German culinary. The contrast of the banal Hawaiian-toast meeting an exaggerated sunset characterises their works. The simultaneity of the everyday next to the overwhelming, of the simple next to the content-heavy reference liberates from interpretive constraints and is simply Fucking Delicious! 

Text by Arne Schmidt

Mein Himbeertörtchen, 2023

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