Each artistic position shown in this group exhibition appears unique, original, and complex. Through their combination, the works solidify into a new formation, encouraging a re-examination of the whole. Borrowing from Aristotle’s claim that “The whole is more than the sum of its parts”, Greater than the sum reveals new synergies.
Just as the exhibition establishes various cross connections, Kerstin Brätsch (born 1979 in Hamburg, lives and works in New York) regularly engages in collaborations and as such raises questions about the artist-subject, among others. For the work shown from the series "Unstable Renderings" from 2016 the artist, who was given a large solo exhibition at the Museum Brandhorst in 2017, experimented with the century-old technique of marbling. She created an autonomous entity with monstrous faces – a reference to the Hawaiian snow goddess Poli’ahu and her three sisters – in cooperation with Dirk Lange, a specialist in this area, without whom she would not have been able to carry out this challenging production process, particularly on this scale. Neon tubes with different hues, which look like design objects and allow the work to mainly glow in primary colors, complete the installation. References to the mythology and traditions of art history are as important an element in Brätsch's artistic practice as the consideration of digital technologies.
A density of references and artistic techniques equally characterizes the work of Michaela Eichwald (born 1967 in Gummersbach, lives and works in Berlin). The materials and surfaces she uses in her paintings, collages, assemblages and sculptures are as diverse as her reference points, ranging from observations of the art market to everyday snapshots. In the piece "Memory-Klinik-Notluke-Persönlichkeitsschale" (2012) kitchen utensils, chemicals, a rubber glove, and chairs are gathered together next to text fragments from a book of poetry by Ulf Stolterfoht as well as from Niklas Luhmann’s publication "Legitimation durch Verfahren". A swimming pool scene, which is integrated into the collage, refers directly to the Nordbad public pool in Munich that Eichwald regularly frequented during her academy time. The collage reveals a dense structure of visual associations and overlays, embedded in an abstract, painterly composition. Next year, the Kunsthalle Basel and the Walker Art Center will be presenting solo exhibitions by Eichwald.
The works of Helen Marten (born 1985 in Macclesfield, lives and works in London) appear playful and dadaistic. At the center of her installation "A face the same color as your desk (7)" from 2012 there is an off-white, functional table similar to a lectern. While paper and packaging waste can be seen under the foot of the bizarre-looking piece of furniture, a toilet roll with a branch sits prominently on the table surface. Apparently incidental, pens and strings are draped over the lower shelf, and a plastic net filled with fruit, leaves, and paper sits on the floor near the table, completing the ensemble. Marten, who was awarded the Turner Prize in 2016, consistently utilizes waste as well as banal everyday objects in her artistic work, creating a tense contrast with the digital images in her videos. Through re-arrangement and re-structuring the artist interrupts traditional modes of viewing and creates new relationships and levels of meaning. Titles play a particularly important role here.
The works by Sarah Ortmeyer (born 1980 in Frankfurt/Main, lives and works in Vienna) presented in the exhibition revolve around the subject of chess. The game, which allows countless constellations, epitomizes in its form the opposing powers of light and dark, good and evil, or heaven and hell. Although the chessboard works – painted on metal or wood, simultaneously painting and sculpture – seem monochrome at first glance, in reality they hide impressions of the sky behind their black and white pattern. A sense of formal clarity continues by means of the symmetrical shape of ostrich eggs placed on metal bars. Ortmeyer shows this group of work both in its natural appearance (as in PION) as well as marbled, the latter in cooperation with Kerstin Brätsch (MONSTERS). The artist, who had a solo show at Kunstverein Munich in 2018, currently presents a solo exhibition in Chicago: INFERNO CHICAGO.
In her artistic work Laure Provoust (born 1978 in Lille, lives and works in Antwerp and London) focuses in particular on language and its representation. Drawing from philosophical as well as psychoanalytical concepts, she experiments with words and sound using installations, films, and objects in order to explore questions of translation and (mis)communication. The work Ideally the art work opposite would start talking to you (2019) belongs to a series that depicts statements each beginning with “ideally” in white letters on a black background. These pieces which function like signs reveal not only a discrepancy between reality and desire, but challenge the viewer to complete the work using their own imagination. By formulating the words “You Could Hear this Image” (2017) in a tapestry to be shown in this exhibition, Prouvost, who represented France at this year’s Venice Biennale, makes it apparent that image and language are subjected to constant re-evaluation.