Monthly Archives: August 2019

Artist spotlight: Clement Bedel

French artist Clement Bedel transports us into an oneiric space and time. He does it through the vivid realism of his enormous painted canvases. The environments, in which spectators feel immersed, oscillate between the real and the fantastic.

The world he represents is a sort of hybrid. These places invites us to reflect on the direction the earth is going: from the indifference to war refugees, to the carelessness towards the overconsumption, the environmental disasters and the consequent climate change.

Clement began his artistic career making videos and installations. Only in recent years, after moving to Serbia, he began to paint. His interest was born with the admiration for Max Ernst’s surrealism.

As in a dream in which we can’t run, his figures seem trapped in a melancholy context. He explained: “The occupants of these landscapes are, in their German romantic passivity, the recipient of the Weltschmertz, the word used to express the feeling of one carrying on himself the weight of the world”. The figures are often lonely; they are impersonal, faceless and could be identified with anyone.

The architecture he paints does not have a logical, structural sense. The environments are upside down and also work if we look at the painting in reverse. The water gushes from undefined sides and it is not clear where we are. There is not a central point of attention, but our gaze runs from one side to the other because of the peculiar perspective.

For the series of paintings he started visiting and taking pictures of abandoned factories. From this material he developed his imagination in compositions of various elements. Today he is excited about working in the space of Pilotenkueche, which was also a factory in the past.

His first painting was darker and gloomy, people were dying. While the last series called Shimmering through reality is more ironic and cynical, there are bright, strong colors and fluid movements, as in the painting with the multicolor swirl symbolize the amount of plastic in the ocean.

The abundance of nature is the personification of light in constant fight with destruction. The nature in his paintings is the metaphor of an anchor of survival. Will the human be able to take care of its precious resources?

Clement does not want to do something dramatic or depressing; this is not a dystopian view of the world. It is certainly the end of an era, but with nature constantly reborn. Nature remains alive as well as human constructions: he considered both strong elements.

This project of painting is constantly evolving and changing according to what he sees and the news he is reading. In his new series, started at Pilotenkueche, he paints the new symbolic element of the agave: it grows strong and resistant without the need for excessive water and invests all the energy in its flower, but after two months it dies. This flower is the metaphor of the point where humanity arrived today. We have grown very quickly, taking all nature’s energy, but we are running out of resources. We are destroying what gives us life.

written by Silvia Zandomeneghi


See Clement’s work in the upcoming exhibitions

HUNGRY DUNGEON FRIENDS

vernissage: 
Saturday 17 August 
7PM-10PM

open: 
Sunday 18 August – Sunday 1 September 
10AM-6PM (closed Mondays)
location:
Kunstkraftwerk
Saalfelder Str. 8
04179 Leipzig

GRATEFUL PARK

vernissage: 
Friday 20 September
7PM-11PM
open: 
Saturday 21 September – Monday 23 September
1PM-5PM 
location:
PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program
Franz-Flemming-Straße 9


Artist spotlight: Zheng Wenxin

Zheng Wenxin’s work is comparable to an archaeologist who rediscovers, documents and studies the moments shared by her friends on social media. The action of painting is useful for her to interpret and convey the feelings she has with the virtual space: too flat and vast. In fact, this ‘reality’ very often gives us a wrong and hasty perception, a lot of information is veiled or completely obscured.

She transfers the rapid flow of events on scroll with an abstract style as if to capture that moment. Her long carpet of colors is a concentration of emotions perhaps already forgotten by those who have made them public on the Chinese platform WeChat.

She has always focused on the psychology of the individual throughout the years of her artistic practice. What interests her today is the extraordinary speed with which technology in China is growing from year to year. The quantity of images available to us has made this instrument the new source of inspiration; as she says: “This is another kind of painting still life”. This is the contemporaneity that she is living and she is conscious that all this can change within a few years.

The artist chooses one single day, takes only the date and place of the post and paints everything she sees without preferences: most of the photos she encounters are selfies. And it is through this randomness that she realizes the labile distinction between what is private and public in the life of her friends. Sometimes the images she paints are very intimate scenes of the individual. On the artist’s part there is a suspension of judgment. She does not deliver a criticism but a desire to restore that tension between what we see and what we think we see.

Her brushstrokes do not want to faithfully represent all she sees; it is almost impossible for the viewers to reconstruct a direct connection with the photos or to trace the source because she only captures the sensations, the words, the perception of the colors. The figures in the paintings look like silhouettes. They are distorted. They are like masks.

It is a combination of fields of colors and geometric lines, almost cubist, that create a continuous flow. This is effective for returning the typical noise and fragments of social media. The two-dimensionality is also an aspect that she takes back from the mobile screen, and for this paradoxically she can be considered a realistic artist. The titles of her art work, which are coordinates of the place where the posts are published, can be cryptically a key to enter works.

The pictorial composition is a set of images apparently disconnected but must be grasped as a film of confused memories, like a dreamlike video of images.

With the Pilotenkueche project she has adopted – not only the scroll – but also a new experiment in materials: a series of small square alluminum plates portraying the rapid life stories.

The difficult challenge for Zheng Wenxin is to transmit these new social relationships with the ‘old’ artistic medium of painting.

written by Silvia Zandomeneghi


See Wenxin’s work in the upcoming exhibitions

HUNGRY DUNGEON FRIENDS

vernissage: 
Saturday 17 August 
7PM-10PM

open: 
Sunday 18 August – Sunday 1 September 
10AM-6PM (closed Mondays)
location:
Kunstkraftwerk
Saalfelder Str. 8
04179 Leipzig

GRATEFUL PARK

vernissage: 
Friday 20 September
7PM-11PM
open: 
Saturday 21 September – Monday 23 September
1PM-5PM 
location:
PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program
Franz-Flemming-Straße 9

Curator Spotlight: Colette Patterson

Colette is interested in exploring spaces and ecologies of care as curatorial methodologies. Halfway through her Master’s degree in Curating at Goldsmiths University, she has worked in the Arts and has been working in galleries, art spaces and artist-led initiatives.

Colette’s main interest lies in the exploration of radical space and ecology of care as curatorial methodologies. Her practice works as a social and political actor for reimagining and cultural questioning, political and social dichotomies. As an emerging curator, she is gravitating towards art in London that allows her to understand the artistic environment. 

Colette is co-founder of DICE festival, an artist- led festival of chance opportunities in London, where with her team she curates 3 nights of performances with 7 artists per night. She crosses a range of mediums, body based work, live art, comedy, sketches, “adembra”. With all that background and experiences, she believes that adding more substance to her practice work, which was missing before. 

Colette’s previous project was about exploring the universe of tenderness, exploring intimacies and edges of collapse, dialogues about process, stages of unconscious/ conscious action, how and what inhabits these places of exchange. The project was about exploring the perceptions, asking what is urgent in a strategy of tenderness. 

“I would like to see artists interact with space more and more, and it is one of the things that I am focusing on. My approach of curating is also to foster more dialogue. For this reason, I’m happy to see that today’s art gallery’s programmes are more a mix of established artists, new artists and spaces as well. I think universities should take more time to consider that kind of approach and topic because it is relevant”. 

With this Pilotenkueche, Colette is working in very close connection to the artists. She listens to their ideas and looks at their concepts, and then tries to join all their work into a curatorial concept

I am trying to expand the notion of curating regarding my methodology. Whether with the way of apprehending the artistic approaches but also with the kind of argumentation and the reflection on the works of artists. In this same logic of dialogue, consultation with them, I would like to make a good contribution not only to the artists but to art in general.

“I think there’s a deep truth in all human life that when we share our stories with others, we learn about ourselves in the act of sharing with others,”

Spaces, art, artists, communities, it’s time to evoke not only emotions but strong relationships.


Hungry Dungeon Friends

Saturday 24 August
Curatorial Tour by Colette Patterson
performance by 
Tom Alexander Austin

open 
Sunday 18 August – Sunday 1 September 
10AM-6PM (closed Mondays)
location:
Kunstkraftwerk
Saalfelder Str. 8
04179 Leipzig


Hungry Dungeon Friends Curatorial Tour

First and foremost, we’d like to thank everyone who packed the house for our Hungry Dungeon Friends vernissage at Kunstkraftwerk. The evening was one that still has people thinking nearly a week after. For those who missed it, the show is on until Sunday 1 September.

This Saturday at 3PM, our curator in residence, Colette Patterson will be giving a tour. Come find out what is behind the high quality works created by our International artists. We will also be gifted with a performance by Tom Austin.

Meanwhile, here are some images from the install and the vernissage shot by Stanley Louis, one of this round’s interns.

Hungry exchanges are often communicated through the affective fields of our bodies. The body-organism is linked to the world through a network of primal signifiers. An underworld of currents, there are some conversations that can only take place on the borders, on the edge of ourselves, of our contact with the other. The exhibition tries to circulate these borders, these textures, these interiorities, that are viscous, unformed, multiple and many times. We morph between states of consciousness, mapping unknown desires. This exhibition is the interim show of the Pilotenkeuche residents, and explores the possibility to traverse these spaces, inviting a tactile sensibility, and begs to ask what happens in a dungeon with friends? 

text by curator Colette Patterson


Hungry Dungeon Friends

Saturday 24 August
Curatorial Tour by Colette Patterson
performance by 
Tom Alexander Austin

open 
Sunday 18 August – Sunday 1 September 
10AM-6PM (closed Mondays)
location:
Kunstkraftwerk
Saalfelder Str. 8
04179 Leipzig


PK RD40 

International residents

Adam Tuch (sound, digital art, installation/US)
Agathe Barre (film/FR) 
Antonia Wetzel (performance, painting/DE)
Ariel Taylor (painting/US)
Clément Bedel (painting/FR) 
Christopher Sperandio (comics/US) 
Darien Crossley (performance, painting/US)
Helene Planquelle (painting, drawing/FR)
Isaac Magner (sound design, video/UK) 
Michella Perera (sculpture/UK)
Tom Alexander Austin (performance/UK)
Vernon O´Meally (painting/US)
Zara June Williams (painting/AU)
Zheng Wenxin (painting/CH)

Local Participants
Matthias Geisler (painting, printmaking/DE) 
Simon Schäfer (sculpture, film, sound, installation, digital/DE)

Curator
Colette Patterson (UK)

Assistants
Fiona Irene Graf (DE/UK) 
Huai-ya Lin (TW) 
Silvia Zandomeneghi (IT)
milkafterfish (instagram)
Stanley Louis (HA/FR) 
iam_stanlouis (instagram)– 

Artist Spotlight: Zara June Williams

Life is like a game. The Australian artist Zara June Williams explores the unexpected and the intuitive of the creative process. Approaches such as combining different individual paintings and interacting with remain marks and droplets of the paint allow her to view the familiarity with a new lens. She invents rules for her art-making and stays playful with the colours and forms. Her art practice seemingly parallels to the nature of life as a game, where we developed regulations and strategies, and laboriously invest ourselves into it.

“Sometimes I get so caught up in the complexity of it all that it ends up seeming like nothing. That’s how I feel about being alive in general. It’s everything, but it’s meaningless.”

Zara’s paintings come across as a game of vertigo and chance. Roger Caillois introduced the four elements of game in his 1958 Man, Play and Games (Les Jeux et Les Hommes): Agon, Alea, Mimicry and Ilinx, which means competition, chance, simulation and vertigo respectively. Intrigued by the remains of the process, she lies down papers beneath her paintings to catch the drops. “I guess I speak a lot about chance.” Often she wonders whether it is the unintended trace or her paintings are the actual work. “I think the interest came from questioning the ego and control. I found I was no longer satisfied with outcomes that I could easily anticipate.” 

To add the unpredictable quality into her work, she sets up certain parameters and games. For example, she took a cluster of wooden frames found on street which resonance Jose Dávila’s “Homage to the Square,” and lands it randomly on the surface. She then paints between the edges of the frames and repeats the process of interacting with the unintended composition of structures.”It is like I allow someone else to do something that I have to respond to.” Zara is meanwhile interested in working with found materials which already come with a character she can react to.

Her captivation of inviting chance to interfere with the work rises from the desire for the sense of an instant novelty. Ilinx,the Greek word for “whirlpool,” means the alteration of recognition, which Caillois defined as “an attempt to momentarily destroy the stability of perception.” “Assemblages is another way I can surprise myself from the outcome.” She cuts her paintings into half and plays around by putting different pieces together. “Cutting and reassembling works allows new and complete images to form instantaneously. There is a freshness to this method that I enjoy.” 

During the residency, Zara has started to experiment with integrating photography and painting. She takes pictures of her works, collages them in photoshop, and then transfers the resulting image on another painting. “Photography is potentially another tool I can use to accumulate information to the point of collapse. Finding ways to digest chaos created by my own doing is an ongoing challenge.” 

Written by Huai-ya Lin


See Zara’s work in the upcoming exhibitions

HUNGRY DUNGEON FRIENDS

vernissage: 
Saturday 17 August 
7PM-10PM

open: 
Sunday 18 August – Sunday 1 September 
10AM-6PM (closed Mondays)
location:
Kunstkraftwerk
Saalfelder Str. 8
04179 Leipzig

GRATEFUL PARK

vernissage: 
Friday 20 September
7PM-11PM
open: 
Saturday 21 September – Monday 23 September
1PM-5PM 
location:
PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program
Franz-Flemming-Straße 9


Artist Spotlight: Antonia Wetzel

Antonia Wetzel is a storyteller. The floor of her Pilotenkueche studio is covered with huge sheets of paper, and each of them bears a narrative. Some of them are written statements with bold, black letters covering a whole page, while the others are mainly large scale comics. Although they are all separate and conclusive in themselves, as a whole they build a cohesive braiding of sentiments and stories. 

‘Comics are a way for me to bring the most important information of a whole storyline into just one painting’, Antonia says. Constantly adding new paintings to the paper stacks, she has created an ever expanding sketchbook on concrete floor. The existing parts being perpetually and haphazardly juxtaposed with more recent material, and thus constantly gain new meaning.

‘Sexuality plays a huge role in each of my works –  and obviously shame’, Antonia explains. This involvement with sexuality and shame is almost abidingly present throughout her practice: Often based on Antonia’s own experience, her works exhibit situations associated with the emergence of shame and the feeling of being exposed in a sexual context. The chosen role as the exhibitionist is a liberating one, offering the protagonists the opportunity to escape vulnerability and to retrieve their dignity through regaining a position of power. 

There is an aggression in the act of the unmasking, a brutality in the bluntness of her words, yet there is wit. One of the paintings on the floor depicts the artist as an old woman in a chair, holding a young man in her lap. Both of them are naked. It is Antonia’s cynical answer to the sexist lifestyle promoted in many of Charles Bukowski’s pieces. The artist’s humorous approach makes the said appear even more incisive, simultaneously it acts as a medicine soothing the wounds of both beholder and originator.


For the Pilotenkueche exhibition at Kunstkraftwerk, Antonia embraces a new medium: performance. Her interactive piece, ‘Fuck an Artist’. urges the spectator to actively engage with the theme through writing their fantasies on postcards inscribed with the question ‘What do you want to do to me?’. These will then be put in a glass box, exposed to everyone. The content of the notes will eventually be reflected upon in a performance by the artist herself, who will be present during the entire process. Deliberately objectivising herself whilst maintaining ascendancy through the exposure of her subject, she generates an ambiguous mechanism, a power dynamic run by mutual dependence. 

As part of the exhibition, Antonia will also hand out ‘Hurenpaesse’ to visitors. ‘Whore passports’ are issued to sex workers by the German government. They are a crass example of the stigmatisation sex workers have to face in a hypocritical system that protects the industry’s customers, but leaves the providers exposed. The passports will feature a real phone number which can be used to make an appointment with the artist. 

‘I can get away with calling it art, but a real sex worker does not have the same freedom. In this space of it being a performance and me being an artist I can sell sex if I want to, but a real sex worker will face a lot more difficulties and that is the point I want to make. Certain people get a lot of freedom because of the circles they are living in and in what context they are doing things, and then others live other stigmas and labels and don’t have the same freedom.’

There are many myths evolving around sex work, though the narratives have largely been woven by men. With contemporary society stagnating on a platform of ‘acceptable disparity’ whilst cherishing the illusion of gender equality, Antonia’s work is now as relevant as ever.

written by Fiona Irene Graf


See Antonia’s work in the upcoming exhibitions

HUNGRY DUNGEON FRIENDS

vernissage: 
Saturday 17 August 
7PM-10PM

Performances: 
Isaac Magner and Agathe Barre
Antonia Wetzel
Tom Austin 
Simon Schäfer

Saturday 24 August
Performances: 
Isaac Magner and Agathe Barre
Antonia Wetzel
Tom Austin 

open: 
Sunday 18 August – Sunday 1 September 
10AM-6PM (closed Mondays)
location:
Kunstkraftwerk
Saalfelder Str. 8
04179 Leipzig

GRATEFUL PARK

vernissage: 
Friday 20 September
7PM-11PM
open: 
Saturday 21 September – Monday 23 September
1PM-5PM 
location:
PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program
Franz-Flemming-Straße 9