The „Run with us” exhibition at the Municipal Gallery bwa in Bydgoszcz will present works by 8 German artists from the Milchglaskino group (Ulrike Dornis, Magdalena Drebber, Jörg Ernert, Jens Hanke, Martin Kreim, Petra Ottkowski, Jürgen Strege, Klaus Walter) and their guests: Johanna Piesniewski and Jay Shinn. The aim of the exhibition is to introduce the art of the German group Milchglaskino to the inhabitants of Bydgoszcz and expand their knowledge of German contemporary art. This will be an opportunity to get acquainted with the artistic attitudes of foreign artists. We hope that through this exhibition contacts will be established, resulting in joint art projects by artists from several countries. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue, admission to the exhibition is free of charge.
The exhibition is co-sponsored by the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation (http://fwpn.org.pl//)
The Milchglaskino artistic group from Germany gives us the opportunity to experience the adventure with the art of our western neighbours and their guests. Increasingly, it is said that art is global. If that was indeed so, what is the point to present works by artists from other countries, from other cultural spaces? Why waste the time and effort? ;
But fortunately it is not like that. It is impossible that artists born and living in another cultural area think, feel, live and experience the world the same way as we do here, between the Vistula and the Oder. It is quite close to our western neighbours, yet sometimes so wildly far away. The complexities of life, mentality, local culture, education — all this causes volatility in the act of creation. It makes the created art shimmer with otherness and intimacy. We don’t always like distinctness when we look at it. But exactly this distinctness is something we can’t live without, otherwise we’ll become a degenerated specimen of reality. We need another puff of air, another states, so that we can breathe with awareness of responsibilities, joys and security of open communication of our art.;
I think — and probably am not the only one to do so — that we always look forward with great interest to that distinctness. The resulting artistic and cultural discourse is a breeding ground for the infinite act of life and creation. Sometimes, it’s enough to want in order to see and accept the difference to our emotional and intellectual well-being.
(Wacław Kuczma, March 21st, 2013)
Ten artists met in order to jointly present their works. Eight of them belong to the true elite formed in 2011, a group of artists working under the name Milchglaskino. Specially for the exhibition in Bydgoszcz, Jay Shinn and Johanna Piesniewski were invited. The other are united by their bond with the city of Leipzig, in which they were born and educated, or currently live and teach. The artists presenting their works in Bydgoszcz were born in the United States, the former Czechoslovakia, Poland, and in the former West Germany and East Germany. For some of them, this is the first contact with Poland, for others (those artists born in the territory of the former GDR, or born or growing up in Poland) — particularly before the German „breakthrough” — the country has been particularly emotionally close. Currently, similarities and common features of different nations interact strongly when looking back or at the time of discovery. First of all, they relate to the mentality or to urban structures — last but not least, also to the shape itself of the Municipal Gallery bwa.
Just as varied are the biographies of the artists, also their meeting is not of a homogeneous group or a specific art school. The members of Milchglaskino do not represent any single style or common artistic views. The motive for establishing the group was rather the foundation of Berlin Secession in 1898, whose founder was a painter born in Bydgoszcz, Walter Leistikow. The objective of the above-mentioned Secession was to find new opportunities for the presentation of art. Not only the similarities but also the pluralism of artistic signs, techniques, and ideas were and still are noticeable as consistent under Secession — which is documented in this exhibition and the catalogue for the exhibition.
Nevertheless, during the presentation we can see several central threads. The presented works are confronted using a variety of means, materials of broadly defined „painting”; at the same time, various techniques are used. These go from the classic forms of oil or acrylic paints on canvas, to the collages and paintings of plug beads or drawings and visual projections or coloured surfaces painted on the wall. Another similarities can be found in the subject of light and space. ;
Jay Shinn creates the clearest common play between colour, light and space. Using essentially simple, but very precise frescoes and wall projections, he creates striking three-dimensional images and in this way plays with the „disappointment” of the audience.
Using similar measures, Jens Hanke succeeds in his collages to achieve the effect the impact of a space in a smaller format and the effect of two-dimensionality. In the sketched tangle of lines he fits painted paper, thereby creating a tiring image at different levels of an image, so the continuation of the space is deliberately broken.;
The overexposed structures of hewn stone by Petra Ottkowski, bribed with painted three-dimensionality, emerge as amazingly realistic due to their shadows and transparency. In subsequent works, she transfers the aforementioned phenomenon of shining structures into the space of a traditionally painted landscape, thus creating a play of palpable planes of landscape.;
The classic images of interior painted by Martin Kreim are shaped by mysterious chiaroscuro. Other scenes show studio scenes without continuation, where the process of artistic work was treated in a similar manner as the references to earlier eras in art are revealed.;
In his works, Jürgen Strenge also presents cultural spaces, namely the hall of a painting gallery, but the historical paintings were partially replaced by presentation of postage stamps. Quotes and found motifs of images are placed in the often surreal context; besides, they gain the function of a commentary. In his series of images, Jörg Ernert reaches for the motifs from a climbing hall, and through the choice of colours and fragments of images gives them a mysterious dimension. They appear to be changing between the exterior and the interior, they cannot be attributed to an unambiguous form of nature or architectural context.
Ulrike Dornis’ images are dominated by arabesques that fill the space and create the space. She draped a patterned scarf from the Arabic cultural area, showing in this way the flowering of oriental splendour expressed as a play of colour and form. Moreover, the recent works are created through layered overlapping of perspectives and lead to make new interpretation of imaging space. Klaus Walter deals with discovering which constitutes painting impulse. Common neon signs are elevated from anonymous and seemingly replaceable city elements to the rank of luminous phenomena, thus providing an important aesthetic assessment. Johanna Pieśniewski invites you to get acquainted with its small-format drawings created with colour pencils, and get to know the area bounded between the urban and rural architecture. Buildings are shown having the form of foliage, which in their isolation speak of the fall and loneliness.;
And finally, the plug bead works of Magdalena Grebber and the associated drawings. The first of these present impressionistic pieces of rural ambient that work even when they move to surrealism. Those drawings also serve as commentaries, they point to metaphysical contexts.
In retrospect, these diverse works show an attitude of painting oriented and reacting to their subject, as well as constantly towards space. Clearly noticeable are excess or negation of space, as well as different interpretation of reality. The reaction to discovered contexts or to the fact of creating new ones and experimental spaces allows the audience to experience the highest degree of artistic interpretation.
(Dr Martin Steffens)
Dr. Martin Steffens — author and editor of numerous publications on the history of art, architecture and culture. Since 2006, he is the head of the „t27” gallery in Berlin and responsible for the program and the organisation of one of the largest festivals of Berlin’s contemporary art — „48 Hours Neukoelln”. Lives and works in Berlin’s multicultural Neukoelln district.
Coordinator – Tomasz Zieliński