Category Archives: artists

Artist Spotlight: Jana Moser

The beautiful and, at times, chaotic cycles of nature are what keep Jana Moser inspired to continue looking and drawing. She finds inspiration both in the minutiae of the natural world as well as the larger forces of the universe, that in turn make us feel minute.  This interconnectedness is apparent in both her artistic practice and her free-flowing demeanor. She takes potentially challenging steps with ease and channels the rhythms of earth to inform her process.

This absorption-based inquiry gets distilled and filtered and takes form as a meditative layering of oil pastel while scraping, manipulating and working into cotton rag paper. The final effect is something akin to printmaking but in its repetitive and laborious singularity resembles something more. It becomes a visual record of a slow buildup of tension and release as the pastel works its way into the fibers of the paper, gets scraped and pulled away, and ultimately interconnects the paper with the piece as a whole. The paper serves as a bed from which color and texture grow. As she puts it – ‘the more I put on, the more the paper is present’. Pastel and paper merge into one material.

Since finishing her studies in the drawing and printmaking department at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Jana has attempted to push abstraction in her work. This conscious move away from representation is an attempt to take the viewer on a more visual and visceral journey. She wants to strip any semblance to representative form that may lead the viewer’s perception astray. Visually it comes through as if she were zooming in on a landscape painting or taking a microscope to a naturally occurring lattice structure. It is a strong hint at her appreciation of natural biology and the small beauties in life.

photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

This move towards abstraction and playing with spontaneity seems to be a natural progression of where her work has been. Coming from a printmaking background but ultimately leaving the often times confining and process heavy space that printmaking requires, Jana opted for something more fluid and immediate. In further exploring this type of mark-making we can expect a more playful use of space, working on a much larger scale and a general expansion outside of the borders of the paper itself. By imposing restrictions on her practice, such as a limited color palette, limited tools, and a basis of repetitive mark-making, Jana achieves this outward experimentation with a fluidity and ease all her own.

The artist is currently preparing for the final group exhibition at the Pilotenkueche artist residency. She does so with this experimental mindset, eased by the idea of remaining in Leipzig for another 3 months. She can finalize some new ideas by jumping off the walls, playing with new color combinations and expanding the size and range of the paper she works with. All the while content that she can keep exploring the city itself while continuing her artistic journey.

written by: Adrian Rötzscher


Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig

Wrestling with Impermanence 

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Performance: To be announced

Artist Spotlight: Dominga Vergara

“Content is to be dissolved so completely into form that the work of art cannot be reduced to anything not itself.” — Clement Greenberg, Towards A Newer Laocoon,  1940

In his famous essay Towards A Newer Laocoon (1940), Clement Greenberg theorised that the arts have historically undergone periodic cycles of imitation. The dominant art of any given moment, he said, becomes the prototype for all over medias. Each art form then goes through a process of incorporating one or more of its elements into oneself. According to Greenberg, the visual arts imitated at first the narrative structures of literature and poetry, and then the lyricism of symphonies. Instead, he advocated for a ‘purity’ and ‘separation’ of the arts. Painting, he said, should embrace its formal and intrinsic qualities. If the specificity of painting lies simply in the application of paint on canvas, then there was only one conceivable solution; pure abstraction.

Greenberg’s thoughts stand no better relevance than today. From the 1960’s ‘Multi-media’ emerged as an entirely new art form in itself, incorporating the likes of video, theater, design and music.  The fallibility of the human hand long since been exposed by the advent of Photographic realism. With the continued development of new medias and immersive technologies, the visual arts have took on a whole new dimension. Perhaps reverting back to the ‘purity’ of abstraction is exactly what is needed.

Although the golden era of abstract art has long since surpassed, it’s made a big comeback in recent years. Chilean artist Dominga Vergara is one of the artists making that happen She creates large format paintings on canvas using acrylic and oil chalk, occasionally employing tools to chisel into the surface to create dimensional layering.  Her paintings bear no witness to objective reality, instead referencing primary elements of form, colour and line. Her work translates the inner world of her unconscious into complex abstract forms.

photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Beginning with only an idea of a colour palette in mind, she starts to construct a basic skeleton of lines. Shapes begin to emerge from the canvas through a series of spontaneous gestures. But while some brush strokes are rough and expressive, others necessitate purified geometry and mathematical precision. “Chaos and control exist in equilibrium”, she beautifully puts it. Layers are slowly built up until finally she reaches a compositional balance and she knows when to stop.

Dominga was born in Chile in 1984. She attained an art degree at the University Finis Terra and later became an art professor at the Universidad del Desarrollo. After moving to Berlin in 2015, she exhibited ‘Das Mikro Makro Leben’ at the Berlin Chilean embassy, and collaborated on the project ‘Go Girl’ during Berlin Fashion week 2017.  Soon after, she was invited to represent Chile as part of a collective of South-American artists at ArtNord; one of the most foremost contemporary art fairs in Europe. Like much of her work which forges a visual dialogue with her surroundings, she tells me that the paintings she produced in Berlin reflected the movement and dynamism of the city.

She’s currently in residence at Pilolentuche in Leipzig. For the group’s ongoing exhibition at Kunskraftwerk, Dominga created a wapping four meter long painting in her signature style. In the basement of the old industrial power plant, Dominga wanted to forge a dialogue between her work and the space. Wrapping one side of the work around a rusted metal cylinder, the other was suspended by transparent fish wire. The resulting effect seemed as though part of the painting was floating in mid air. For her next project, which will be exhibited at the group’s final show, Dominga wants to paint onto an old map acquired from a flea market earlier in the residency. She is also working on two large format canvases. We’re excited to see what she brings to the table.

Written by: Ellisha Walkden

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You can see Dominga’s work in the following Pilotenkueche International Art Program shows:

Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig

Wrestling with Impermanence 

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Performance: To be announced

Artist Spotlight: Karine Fréchette

Wide spectrum of bright colors, illusion of movement, complex composition with psychedelic elements – that what defines Karine’s Fréchette art work. Her art can be described as a blend of Op art from the 70s and abstract art, especially when it comes to the composition. Karine’s art practice is inspired by other artists such as Bridget Riley, Claude Monet or Frank Stella. One of her biggest inspirations is Czech abstract painter Frank Kupka and his visionary and mystic composition. When one comes closer to Karine’s paintings, they are almost hypnotized by the entrancing wave-like patterns.

I have a feeling I found my artist style by accident. It just happened. Somewhen during my masters I start to do those trippy, almost hallucinating imagines and then I just lost control”.


Karine is a Canadian painter, based in Montreal. The city itself had a big impact on her art work. Montreal has not only a long-time history of an abstract painting, but it is also full of contemporary art and blooming cultural scene. At the same time, while living there, you don’t see big names that often. Most of the famous paintings can be seen only on the internet. That’s where Karine’s interest in digital word, 3D modeling and scientific imagery comes from.


She chose Visual and Media Arts as a major for her Bachelors, which she studied at Université du Québec à Montréal. It was a multidisciplinary program, that combined video art, glass, painting, ceramic and other art techniques. “I got completely lost there. I didn’t know what I actually want to do. For a long time, I was really into video art and you actually can see a big impact of that on my current art. But then I decided to focus on painting”. Karine obtained her Master’s degree in Painting and Drawing at Concordia University.

Her artist path was pretty straight forward, as Karine never did anything else but art. She always felt that the most meaningful thing she could do is to paint. “To be honest first I thought it is impossible or even too ambitious to have pretensions to become a professional artist. But I just kept doing what I enjoyed. It took me some time to get the confident to say: yes, I am an artist and that what I do in my life”. In 2018 Karine won a Joseph Plaskett Award in Painting, which helps fund emerging Canadian painters who will live, create artwork and travel in Europe for 9 months. That’s how she found herself at Pilotenkueche residency in Leipzig.

Here Karine is trying to work with new materials and apply new techniques. Instead of traditional canvas, for the current exhibition she used slightly transparent fabric and neon colors to create an illusion of flowing waves which represent circles of life. As much as she likes Op art, she doesn’t really like to follow regular shapes. To achieve more organic lines, she just tore a piece of paper and used it as her shape. “Usually there is no plan or even a sketch beforehand. It is a pure improvisation. I like that these is always something between control and working blind. I think it is important to have a feeling that you are working a little bit blind even if its controlled”.

Despite the fact, that it has been almost 10 years since Karine started her artist career, she still keeps experimenting with her style and trying out new things. “Even though I know that my style is not going to change radically, I am really scared to stuck in one way of doing things, that’s why I always want to move forward”. After the residency at Pilotenkueche, Karin is planning on joining a long-term residency back in Montreal. One of her future plans is also to do a project in which she wants to interact more with the space and light and try to involve audience to discover her painting in a new way. Depending on where a visitor stands, he or she can see different dimensions and the drawing become something different.

written by Kristina Nizamova

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You can see Karine’s work in the following Pilotenkueche International Art Program shows:

Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig

Wrestling with Impermanence 

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Performance: To be announced

Artist Spotlight: Elisabeth Kraus

Sometimes the moral duty of the artist, whether conscious or not, is to wrestle with the soul of society and the pitfalls of human nature. Often we deal with larger issues by turning inward and examining our inner worlds. In this case, the inner world of current Pilotenkueche resident Elisabeth Kraus is rich with analysis, emotion and playful exploration. In the last few years she has been on a winding path led by intuition, pursuing art inspired adventures across the globe. Most recently this path has landed her in Leipzig, a burgeoning cultural hub.

Elisabeth’s inquisitive spirit seeps into her practice through the themes and motifs she engages in as well as through the mediums she experiments with. This means she is constantly analyzing and searching, always observing and at times simply waiting. Her works encompass themes of societal responsibility, nature and humanity, and human nature in some of its most extreme forms. The common thread that keeps her engaged is the power of empathy as a catalyst for change. The result of this mixture of inspiration and analysis is a broad spectrum ranging from sculpture and sound installation to conceptual pieces and performance, and, more recently, a return to painting. This all amounts to ‘creating a playground for all the senses’. This playground becomes the sensorial vocabulary through which Elisabeth communicates.

This kind of ‘playground’ also translates into a way of being. Through her extensive travels with an openness to surprise and a flexible sense of the meaning of home she has exhibited throughout Germany and has found a nurturing creative and social network in Beirut, where she connected with the Haven for Artists – a non-profit arts organization bolstering the underground art scene in Lebanon and the Middle East. At this safe space and residency she was able to settle a bit and create a meaningful network through which her art practice could thrive.

photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Several of the works that arise from Elisabeth’s idiosyncratic sensorial vocabulary take the form of interactive sculptural pieces. Most notably, a recurring project, are the small spheres she makes cast with an image of her face on them that fit snugly in the palm of one’s hand. They are meant to bounce around, move from hand to hand, and occasionally gaze into the participants eyes. The literal bouncing and transient nature of these balls becomes a direct metaphor for the nomadic lifestyle that Elisabeth has been living and all of the ups and downs that it entails. Many more of her works deal with more outward societal concerns. With the ways in which humans transmit knowledge and culture and how this is filtered, understood and absorbed.

During Elisabeth’s time with Pilotenkueche she will keep her spirit open to inspiration and continue investigating these recurring themes through her work while also experimenting with different media and processes. Upcoming, as well, is a collaborative sound installation piece on-site at Kunstraum Kesselhaus, in the artist’s hometown of Bamberg where she will be working with past collaborator and sound designer Paul Hauptmeier.

The expanse and depth of Elisabeth’s experimentation comes from a passion for knowledge, an openness of spirit and an inclination towards play. It is all of these traits that, when considered, become the portrait of a person looking for answers. Although certain questions may not be answered in the process, the right questions are being asked.

You can see Elisabeth’s work in the following Pilotenkueche International Art Program shows:

Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Vernissage: Sat 18 May 2019, 7PM
Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig

Wrestling with Impermanence 

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Performance: To be announced

Artist Spotlight: Louis Bouvier

Louis Bouvier has been steadily building a world all his own. Based in Montreal, he takes influence from traditional culture, the natural world and design elements. He, then, matches and layers form as well as aesthetic preference from different time periods in a collage based process to see what emerges. The end result is an anachronistic harmony, a harmony achieved not only by fitting the right forms and concepts together, but through technical execution. His graphite and colored pencil renderings shine in a muted texture, pulling the eye in and keeping it wandering within the frame of the paper. This pushing forward of ideas and connecting of seemingly disparate elements from nature and culture creates a sort of time capsule within his works and, ultimately, a search for a common thread.

This all comes from a curiosity about the human experience, how can we distill so much input, inspiration, and sensorial stimulation into something that makes sense? Does the human experience have to make sense? Bombardment of visual language, advertisements, and screen time is what influences Louis’ curiosity. We can bend genres of music just as we can mix and match visual cultures and differing aesthetics. It is this playfulness that keeps Louis exploring.

This exploration began while attending the University of Quebec in Montreal, where he received his master’s degree in visual arts and media. Louis found time inbetween silkscreen printing and drawing to experiment with plaster, thinking more about sculpture and installation and how they fit into his fine illustrative style. This focus on form mixed with the concept of layering inherent to screen printing became a perfect conceptual starting point for the way Louis’ work has developed throughout the years.

photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

While Louis struggles, at times, with juggling different styles and an impulse towards change, he fits visual elements into his pieces in a fixed way that beautifully encapsulates his philosophy on art making in general – let things flow in an open manner and see what gravitates together, then allow them to create their own meaning.

During his residency at Pilotenkueche he will be expanding his visual vocabulary by sourcing images and forms not only from photographs that he has taken, but from sculptures and installations that he creates. In this way he can both make more focused and nuanced connections between his work and the outside world but between the works themselves. This also allows him to open up the spaces in which his works are displayed – by mixing sculptural and installation elements with more traditional feeling works on paper he allows space for the viewer to not be guided by circumnavigating the space but to let the eye wander and allowing the mind and body to follow. In this self-described ‘research mode’ he will be finding new ways of producing while using the techniques he has so adeptly honed in new and challenging ways. There are surprises within Louis’ work, and he wants you to find them, one need only look – with a little bit of curiosity.

written by Adrian Klaus Rotzscher

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See Louis’s work in his solo exhibition:

Stepping out of the Echo Chamber

Vernissage 31 May 2019 8PM
Open: Wednesdays til 19 June
Location: Helmut, Kohlgartenstr 51, Leipzig

and in the following Pilotenkueche International Art Program shows: 

Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Vernissage: Sat 18 May 2019, 7PM
Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig

Wrestling with Impermanence 

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Performance: To be announced

Artist Spotlight: Daniel Long

Daniel is a master of cognitive illusions and high-tech wizardry. While in some works he combines technology with the art of deception, in others, he unveils the material apparatus of the medium and its ideological constructs. Using the technique of projection mapping, a skill he has refined over the course of eight years, his current project focuses on providing a critique of man’s dependence on machine learning and artificial intelligence .

What exactly is projection mapping? Projection mapping is the process of transforming regular facades, such as industrial landscapes, into surfaces for the projection of imagery. Using light as his paintbrush, brick walls, glass and other surfaces become his canvas. Daniel uses live animation and programming software in order to create complex visual forms, altering various parameters in order to portray the illusion of movement in space.

Daniel was born in New York City to a family of second generation refugees of Vietnamese and Cambodian descent. Decisively, it was when he began to travel that his creative pursuits really took off. He lived in Spain, Denmark and traveled around Southeast Asia before settling in Vietnam in 2011. It was there that he became involved with a close knit artistic community which gave him the momentum to start creating.

He began experimenting with convergences of art and technology and various inter-media practices. While projection mapping usually involves the projection of pre-digitally rendered imagery, Daniel became interested in the ‘live’ aspect of real-time animation. This places the work on another ontological plane. It exists only in that moment, thus introducing an element of performativity to his practice. An example of such work involved painting with dyes onto the surface of an overhead projector; this would then be transposed into live visuals on a screen.

He was also interested in exploring the interplay of audio-visual narratives via the creation of immersive experiences which combined multi-sensory elements. In 2013, he co-founded the company Live Audio Visual (LAV). LAV collaborated with local events and electronic musicians through creating live visual effects. In the electronic dance music community, it has become increasingly common for DJ’s to accompany their music with synced visuals, paving the way for more compelling live performances. However, when Daniel began collaborating on these projects, the idea was relatively new.

But it was the ability of illusion augmented technology to play on his surrealist fascination with magic which intrigued Daniel the most. Perhaps the most apt example of this was his Infinity Box. It was an immersive sculptural installation involving moving LED lights and multiple mirrors, creating the optical illusion of cosmic space. In past events, he has also mapped a series of moving images onto a glass window, as well as constructed 3D geometry such as cylinders and cubes. This involved the technical precision of aligning the parameters of the projector with the object. Laughingly, he says the resulting effect, “really freaked people out.”

Daniel also experimented with the art of anti-illusion. He began manipulating video tapes through bending and breaking the film while it was playing, creating static and rollover effects. This filmic reflexivity, similar to structuralist and avant-garde cinema practices of the 1920s and 1930s, worked to demystify the viewing process, exposing the material apparatus which underpins its production.

In 2016 Daniel moved back to New York, where a talented painter named Cruz was to become his mentor. This was to have a significant impact on the conceptual trajectory of his art. He began to focus more closely on ideas and what lies beyond the aesthetic.

So what now? His on-going projects with Pilotenkueche will take a decisive step away from animation through the creation of a short film. This film intends to explore modern ramifications of technology, while continuing to experiment with the art of illusion through projection mapping techniques. 

Written by: Ellisha Walkden

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You can see Daniel’s work in the following Pilotenkueche International Art Program shows:

Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Vernissage: Sat 18 May 2019, 7PM
Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig

Wrestling with Impermanence 

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Performance: To be announced

Artist Spotlight: Anabel Nájera-López


“I struggle to communicate properly with words. I keep to myself many thoughts and feelings. By creating sculptures, I am able to open a dialogue and be aware of my own subconscious. When the sculpture is finished or sometimes during the process, I feel the release of thoughts and feelings and find parts of me that I did not know before. I am not aware of my actions the whole time during the time of creating, but that is something even more exciting, to reach that point where I stop and everything makes sense for a few moments, and then the questions and curiosity emerge again.”

Mexican-American born artist Anabel Nájera-López was academically trained in painting and ceramics at the University of Texas, El Paso. Working predominantly with sculpture and in a figurative format, Anabel frequently uses materials traditional conflated with the traditional art of craft-making, notably clay. Her often fragmented portrayals of the human body undercut reality, without completely taking it away. Materials morph into flesh, the familiar regresses into the unknown. Through a continued exploration of material properties and modes of production, her work articulates a running commentary of the universal human condition, which conveys an on-going fascination with form and expression.

Her choice of ceramics; a medium historically confined to its utilitarian function, has long sparked debates regarding the status of craft in the world of contemporary art. Her work conveys temporality and duration implicit to the technical precision of making. She says “I like to show the process… marks, texture, fingerprints, brush strokes.” The finished product is inextricably bound with the process of fabrication and materials of production, often leaving tangible traces of its own evolution…

Always pushing the boundaries of her chosen medium, Anabel became fascinated by processes of construction and deconstruction. She describes her approach to ceramics as subtractive, starting with a block of clay and chiselling away in order to achieve her desired result. This led her to begin experimenting with deliberate kiln explosions, before piecing the fragments together again like a puzzle. 

photos by PILOTENKUECHE or courtesy of artist

Fiberglass proved much more difficult to control. She said that she was initially drawn to the material because of its aesthetic similarities with the pigments and texture of skin. She would use darker pinks to create shadows and stitch into the fabric in order to recall lumps and muscles; exploiting the visual properties of the medium in order to map out a fleshy, visceral materiality. 

Sculpture is inextricably tied to matter; through its physical production, its tactile nature and its historical conflations with figural representation. The very act of making in itself is a bodily process. Despite arming herself with protecting clothing, exposure to fiberglass can be incredibly toxic. The silvers would cut into her skin leaving her covered in splinters. The sculpture took over  one year to create. She tells me what is most interesting about the material is that it’s conventionally used to protect buildings in construction. Anabel uses this as a metaphor for the protection of the body; an intrinsic paradox given its harmful nature. 

Violence towards the body also becomes implicit in her treatment of the material, intending to represent unpleasant events that have transpired in her life. Fragmented body parts hang limply by a string, pieces put together again to make an artistic whole. Underlying psychoanalytic impulses in her practice become evident through processes of disfigurement and reconfiguration, beautifully symbolising subliminal trauma and psychological repair. 

Lastly, Anabel invites the viewer to reflect upon their own conceptions of the body, and draws light on the crises in pictorial representation. Aristotle viewed form and matter in gendered terms. While form was considered feminine, matter – on the other hand, was characteristically feminine.  Anabel’s sculptures are non-binary and work to transgress gendered hierarchies. When asked whether or not the ‘grotesque’ is a figure she endeavours to invoke in her work, she simply replies,

“I don’t think they are grotesque at all. I see them as normal bodies.”

What next? While in other countries people take their old clothes to Oxfam, in Leipzig people’s second hand goods can be found in abundance on the street. Anabel wants to work with found material and is currently sourcing unwanted fabrics to create her next sculpture. In doing so, she hopes to create something which is site-specific, while continuing in her on-going exploration of material forms.

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See Anabel’s work in the following Pilotenkueche International Art Program shows:

Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Vernissage: Sat 18 May 2019, 7PM
Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig

Wrestling with Impermanence 

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany
Performance: To be announced

Artist spotlight: Tomás Orrego Gianella

What is love?” is the question Tomás Orrego poses in his video installations, welcoming us to violence. His works draw you in and then knock you over the head, but you can’t turn away.

Love is a fist that smashes every tooth in your face.

Occasionally joking about being a professional disturber of people, this pleasant Peruvian averts calling himself an artist and prefers a simple description: making films. Academically educated in architecture, Tomás decided to abandon it as it became clear it was not the language he needed to express himself fully. From the very beginning of his work with collage and video, the themes stayed consistent: society’s domination of the female (body), violence and love as possessiveness.

This notion of love is exposed in Tomás’s work from different angles of pop culture, rendering the differences between pornography, horror movies, pop music and children’s cartoons, indiscernible. Tomás sees slasher films and pornography as equals in context of their role in exploiting the female body, used only as an object to be retained. The same patterns are exposed in songs and cartoons, confirming how the social construct of love is being forced on us from early age; it shapes and exercises our expectations in adult life.

all photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Using repetition, the videos take out the notion of the original, so does his overall working method; the found footage builds an archive for him to subject to various changes. The flesh becomes pixel, the gonzo porn perspective a glitched animation, the pop in the pop song is not there. When persistent work is in question like with Tomás, it makes sense that appealing results are sometimes found by accident too.

In repetitive expressions of simulated fear and lust, the film becomes more tense but also slows down in order to forensically expose itself. It functions as something happening over and over again, commenting on the ubiquity of these images in our society. With remixing the films that have a strong defined formula, he is pursuing authorial narrative. In this deconstruction through repetition, Tomás creates a story that never truly ends.

Noticeable too is the sound and image correspondence. Not only by reusing songs or creating noise, but the visual repetitions alter the sound. Being equally attentive to the audio recalls Tomás’s interest in music. Back in Peru, he is a part of two bands: Los Hijos del Culto and Lorena y Laura, from which the latter one focuses on noise improvisations.

The difficult part for him is to explain his work without looking bad. He considers appropriation of violence having potential to be beautiful. The act of cinema montage is by itself violent, if one thinks about what is actually done in the process. The images he takes are mostly acted and simulated, but real in the situation in front of the camera and its conditions. Re-contextualizing them, a little distance between the real and fictive provides room for the beautiful. Together with the text and repulsiveness, it certainly implies reactions. What is shown on the screens is the reality, and is all about the real people.

After some time, Tomás will put his own videos back to the editing program. In this way none of his works are coined as final absolute version, but become a resource in his archive and will repeat again.

Shock Corridor is the video installation on show at our final exhibition Fast Kotzen. On Saturday, Tomás invites you into a living room with multiple TVs to watch his pirate TV channel. The setting itself is an interesting one if we recall Richard Schickel blaming television for having “reduced the audiences’ expectations of coherence in the development of a plot, as well as its capacity to deal with the more subtle layerings of a more sophisticated kind of storytelling’’. In this room you are able to follow his characters through a cord of situations taken from aforementioned footage, merging with text written by him and remixed pop songs giving more insight to the overall narrative. With inserted trailers for his animated movies and created commercials, the installation gets some light undertones. This eases the viewer’s experience but also reminds us of the living room backdrop and its own connotations.

“Pleasure knows no limit when the hand vibrates. Laugh, cry, vomit, repent or masturbate. Hopefully you’ll do all of this at the same time while watching this pirate TV channel we got just for you, sick fuck. Cheap shock is all you’ll get so turn off your mind. This signal is a vomit of slasher films, gonzo porn, shit stained poetry and mangled pop music. Your fantasies will never be the same again. Pleasure has never been this good. You’ll definitely stay up all night watching Justine, our main star. Watch her body vibrate. Watch her contort. Watch her weep in fear at the lack of control. Watch her digital flesh be enslaved by our device. Welcome to violence. “


written by Samra Šabanović

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Unfinished Hase

15 Feb – 23 Feb 2019
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany

Artist spotlight:Valentine Emilia Bossert

“I don’t understand why I exist. I find it very confusing”. Valentine expresses how her artistic output is her way of making sense of stuff. Though, she also interrogates the idea of ‘sense’. How can there be sense when there is so much chaos and so many ideas and so many memories. She is an advocate of the concept of collective consciousness. If we were all to share common beliefs, common ideas and moral attitudes, could this lead us to a state of sense? Though not explicit, there are underlying suggestions to utopia and dystopia in Valentines work – always questioning the encounters of humanity and to where we are heading.

Existentialism. (/ɛɡzɪˈstɛnʃ(ə)lɪz(ə)m/)

noun

  1. a philosophical theory or approach which emphasises the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will.

Her own stories, observations, experiences; these are the roots of Valentines creations. Her most recent installation at Pilotenkueche round 38’s first exhibition (Unfinished Hase) responded to her feelings of displacement caused by a constant turn-over of location. The wall hanging was a series of floor plans drawn on thin sheets of resin, all depictions of the homes in which Valentine has lived over the past ten years. Her own journey led her to the question; what is the meaning of a home? Where do I feel at home in my life? The drawings were hung in chronological order on a structure standing adjacent from the wall, allowing the spectator to follow her journey and lack of settlement.


all photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Valentine began studying Medical Science in Geneva. It was there she began life drawing classes, “it was the only time of the week I was happy”. The medical sciences became boring and meaningless to her. At the age of 20, having decided that she was not feeling any sense of achievement and was worried about a linear future, Valentine decided to leave Medicine behind and unpick the layers of humanity via an artistic practice. She underwent a BA in Drawing at Camberwell College, UAL then an MA in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University.

When asked about her most successful piece, Valentine refers to her photo booth, first created and installed at a festival in Luxemburg. This piece was designed with accessibility to art in mind. By creating a photo booth, she inserted elements of playfulness and recognition. However, the “photographs” which were produced were not typical photographs. Instead of a camera, inside the booth was a variety of artists, one at a time. Each artist depicted the visitor in their own interpretation and delivered the response to the visitor as a work of art. Valentine’s photo booth project is ongoing. For the Fast Kotzen exhibition Valentine plans to recreate the installation. Currently she is searching for funding to develop a way in which it can be recreated as a portable object to be installed in different locations.

After Pilotenkueche, Valentines next step is to move into her studio space in Berlin – shared with other artists and musicians. Here she will continue to explore the variations of her existence. Creating. Tailoring method to her ideas. Using different methods to deliver understandings of her presence. Oh, and a flat of her own: a temporary permanent residence.

written by Ciara Brown

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Unfinished Hase

15 Feb – 23 Feb 2019
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany

Artist spotlight: Paul Altmann

When walking in the Oststrasse one can stumble upon a store with a charming interior accommodating a range of vintage objects carefully curated by the owners. This new space, formerly a butcher store dating from 1900 whose history is visible on the bluish ceramic tiles, was founded in 2017 by PK local artist Paul Altmann and his partner Antje Schaper. FANG studio works not only as a store for collected rarities, graphics and artworks, but is mutually a studio for two of them and an exhibition space. When visiting, one can also have a cup of coffee or chai and have a chat with Paul. He tells me how this multi-purpose space is their attempt to live a dream of free and open minded work, but is a hard job.

Along with running the gallery, within his art practice this Leipziger chooses political themes to address as a way to handle complexity of the world and times we are in. With photography and video as his main mediums, Paul dwells into wide range of practices; (de)constructing small models for the camera, appropriating found archival photographs, creating video loops, constructing installations in gallery space, text installations on the streets, and much more.

With a strong graphic appearance his images showcase the suggestive power of metaphorically peeling off, but also literally- melting, what we will see later, the real and concrete into a symbol. These symbols in becoming are in a certain way already symbols or simulations constructed by the media and society; toys exercising violence, small models apparently disarmed of previous power, print screens of videos questioning the real in the digital world, revealed conditions and provenance of social games such as Monopoly.

photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program or supplied by Paul

Act of deducement happens. What is photographed is transited into something else. Here we encounter a ‘quasi identity’ in R.Barthes’ term. In his early work DAVID & NELSON, a simple model is built for the camera that becomes surely recognizable only when slowly deconstructed in a video loop, behaving as a destruction. Now, we certainly know that this is an abstraction of the smoldering of World Trade Center. Here again, an interpretation of a media image is encountered. If one agrees with W.J.Mitchell’s observation that this terrorist act was staged for the camera, we can notice range of Paul’s work sharing similar approach.

To recognize and not take it for granted that photography is always engaged with other media is what we call photo mediation. Paul recognizes this, and questions the pictures that are becoming future history. In this way he is positioning himself among artists that are challenging the uncritical and lazy piling up of the visual. Mostly news are his starting points; news to be thought as already existing images and news echoing those that are yet to come. Paul (re)depicts these with an ambivalent approach since his tendency to illustrate is without ambition to blame or polarize, but possibly to start debates.

In the past few months, Paul returned back to the models and toys as a main referent for addressing their relation to violence. He has been collecting toy guns in order to melt them down and photograph their transition. The toy shifts to an object stripped from its purpose which is a simulation itself; to allow children to mimic attack, and eventually war. Nowadays, they remind us on the presence of violence and are charged with agony of contemporary events.

Overall, much of his work engages with violence in an aesthetic and not directly disturbing way. His ‘transitions’ cause an odd feeling; revealing the media they are engaging with. Going through them with accompanied texts, we gain new knowledge. In The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography, writer Lyle Rexel points out that it is in the condition of contemporary photographs to ‘arrive now within a set of quotation marks’. Here again we return to photo mediation, when images influence others, even the most banal ones. In future encounters with similar referents, Paul’s work will inevitably be one of the quotes.

written by Samra Šabanović 

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Unfinished Hase

15 Feb – 23 Feb 2019
Alte Handelsschule, Gießerstraße 75, 04229 Leipzig, Germany

Fast Kotzen 

Vernissage:  23.03.19, 19h
Open:  24 – 27.03.19 17h-20h
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany