Hung salon style and packed to the brim for the opening, You’re Just Too Good To Be True is Contemporary Fine Art’s most attended show to date. Outside in the cold, a long queue snakes around the block, steam rising. Inside, in a sea of tortoiseshell glasses, camel hair coats, and variations-of-rouge lipstick, Berlin’s art world glitterati coerce their way through the crowds and around the baby strollers that block the exits, entries, and quiet solitary corners of the rooms.
More artistic madhouse than pristine salon, the co-curated exhibition packs together 70 works of art by more than 40 artists curated from the classrooms of celebrity artist German photographer Jürgen Teller and Danish painter Tal Rosenheim a.k.a Tal R. Together the professors from the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg and the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, respectively, have co-curated a selection of their “best in class.” Fleshy, saturated, and mockingly honest, the bacchanal is a perfect aesthetic genealogical study of the professors—a thesis the masters need not type out.
Lilly Urbat, Kloesse 3, 2014, 53 x 73 cm
Jürgen Teller’s imagery is unmistakable for its overexposed look that blurs the boundary between commissioned portrait and candid camera. Often risqué but always a brand of playful, Teller’s influence is speckled throughout the exhibitions. Claidia Holzinger’s I’ve got the look and Lilly Urbat’s Kloesse 1–3 draw on the awkward language of the staged pose exposing the grotesque seams shrouded in à la mode pastel.
Tanja Ritterbex, Shit happens, 2013, Painted bronze, 30 x 28 x 12 cm
A combination of frenzied robust brushstrokes, found objects, and playful juxtapositions point to Tal R’s artistic and curatorial eye. Large-format paintings fill the massive rooms. Sculptural moments bob at their center like disjointed creative happenings, islands of independent sculpture mingling and butting-up casually to gallery visitors. More than one visitor needs to step over Shit Happens as the crowd sways.
Left: Natasza Niedziolka, Still life, Embroidery, 2012, Embroidery on cotton, acrylic, cotton, metal yarn, 75 x 80 cm
Right: Fabian Kuntzch, Ehec, 2011, Oil, acrylic, lacquer on cotton, 160 x 130 cm
Natasza Niedziolka’s knit works, each titled Still Life. Yarn, call traditional materials and uses into question, subverting fine art views with folk art gestures whilst sticking to a palette that is wholly contemporary and on-point. Düsseldorf-based artist Fabian Kuntzsch seems to embody the interventive streak in Tal R’s work, expressed with the stark contrast of vertical and horizontal axes combined with chromatic clashes, as seen in works like Ehec and Untitled (Ball 1) and Untitled (Ball 3). With Scotland the artist allows for the found object to interrupt the inherent rhythm, throwing the harmony off kilter and making the whole experience playful and light.
The exhibition, which spans both stories of the gallery, creates unmistakable formal and conceptual connections between the celebrity-artists’ work and their protégés. Through the cross-referencing of the masters’ style and the echoes found in the works of their successors, an evolutionary narrative binds the experience of the otherwise almost overwhelming show.
More images from the exhibition:
Rear wall: Embroideries by Natasza Niedziolka
Jochen Goerlach, Installation view of collage works
Claidia Holzinger, Fashion Portraits, 2014, Photo mounted on forex, 3 motifs, Each 42 x 28 cm
Left: Tom Krol, Museo, 2014, Oil on canvas, 190 x 170 cm
Right: Eun Kyung Kim, Goddess, Mixed media, 180 x 110 x 57 cm
Left: Ali und Jochen Altin und Goerlach, Aktfotofix (Pop-Up-Studio), 2015, Mixed media, 100 x 200 x 208 cm
Right: Nils Bleibtreu, Empty Drains, 2014, Laquer, wood, metal, plastics, 168 x 78 x 109 cm
(All images: Courtesy of the artists and Contemporary Fine Arts Berlin)
The website will be permanently closed shortly, so please retrieve any content you wish to save.