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25 Jun 2014

Dirk Bell | Antonia Low | Kunstverein Braunschweig

Dirk Bell, Life is a joke, does not anchor
me to the ground
, 2013,
mixed media on canvas, 200
x 400 cm. Photo: Roman März, Berlin. Courtesy BQ,
Berlin; Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York; Sadie
Coles, London; The Modern Institute/Toby Webster
Ltd, Glasgow. Anke & Frank Delenschke Collection

DIRK BELL. NOWhere (Haus Salve Hospes) ANTONIA LOW. Pax und Concordia, wartend (Remise)
Kunstverein Braunschweig


OPENING: Friday, June 27, 7 pm Artist Talk / Performance DIRK BELL: Thursday, July 3, 6 pm Artist Talk ANTONIA LOW: Thursday, July 24, 7 pm

Nina Mende

Kunstverein Braunschweig
Lessingplatz 12
38100 Braunschweig

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Villa Salve Hospes

28 June – 24 August 2014

Dirk Bell (born 1969 in Munich, lives in Berlin) treats naturalistic or ornamental artistic clichés deriving from pop and sub cultures as well as diverse art historical epochs (Symbolism, Romanticism, Art Nouveau). Alongside drawings and paintings, his oeuvre encompasses minimalist or surrealist sculptures and installations in addition to video and sound pieces.

Bell's inspiration and references can be found, for example, in philosophical literature, fantasy and science fiction illustrations from the 1980s and 1990s or directly in the imagery of found oil paintings that he superimposes with new picture fragments. Diverse moments and realities become blurred in a new intermediate image. The great themes of mankind are at the centre of his work: The relationship between love and freedom, life, death and recurrence – constantly accompanied by the tangible yearning to bring the human aspiration for attachment and autonomy into balance. The pictorial worlds carried by iconographic subjects, and along with them also the memory of traditional values, home and innocence blend together in a dark melancholic atmosphere. Escaping – the forgetting and oozing away of the experienced, the loss of security and carefreeness as well as the tireless attempt to hold fast to it – is a central motif transversing the exhibition. Upon first glance, however, this sensual pictorial world contrasts the objective and ostensibly modern word sculptures and word pictures. The letters of the alphabet based on a basic quadratic form make up intricate patterns, the meanings of which unravel time and time again. The play with the meaning and spatiality of language that develops in this way is linked to the ideas of concrete poetry. The folding-screen Denkende (2013) consequently superimposes a large-format painting on the wall, charging the space between work and viewer with meanings that in turn enter into a dialogue with the painting. The result of this interleaving of meaning and overlapping of visual languages is that abstract conceptualities and their figurative attributions become subject to a new ambivalent interpretation.

Dirk Bell has enjoyed international recognition for many years and has already been presented in numerous solo exhibitions, most recently at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, the Modern Institute in Glasgow, the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, the Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin and the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden. He also participated in diverse group shows, for example at the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, the Prague Biennale, the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Arts in Rotterdam, the Drawing Room in London, the Bergen Kunsthall, the Museum für Gegenwartskunst in Basel, the ZKM Karlsruhe and the Chelsea Art Museum in New York.

Accompanying the exhibition comprehensive catalogue will be published by the Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König in collaboration with the Pinakothek der Moderne which not only documents both exhibitions but also provides an overview of Bell's previous work.

The exhibition is supported by: Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur, Stiftung Niedersachsen, Stiftung Braunschweigischer Kulturbesitz


28 June – 24 August 2014

The focus of Antonia Low's (born 1972 in Liverpool, lives in Berlin) artistic practice is placed on spaces and their potential as abstract stores of history and narratives. Hidden, forgotten and overlooked areas elude the customary lines of sight, permitting new possibilities as regards their use, purpose and charge. The functional, cultural, symbolic and architectonic characteristics of these 'other' spaces and how they can be altered or emphasised through strategies of displacement or revealment are central questions in her exhibition in Braunschweig.

Low does not show individual autonomous works but reacts instead to the purposes of the exhibition spaces that have been made available to her. Her installation in the Remise – mews converted into an exhibition space – is likewise site specific: The garbed sculptures of the four Roman deities Minerva, Vesta, Pax and Concordia – made around 1805 for the Villa Salve Hospes, where they are situated in the foyer – have been occasionally patched up over the past two centuries. They have now been transferred from the conches in the rotunda to the Remise, where they will be professionally restored over the course of the exhibition. Through the initial cleaning process, layers that have built up on these figures over time will be revealed. Sections that have perhaps been falsely added and the material residue removed in conjunction with the procedure will be displayed as found objects in a separate room. A large-format fabric-print of tilted architecture, laid out on the floor of the Remise that has now been turned into a conservation workshop, marks the new spatial planning. The artist removes temporal and material layers from their entire frame of reference, creating an intersection of symbolic and architectonic constants that, at the same time, exhaust their object – the space. The complexity and interrupted temporality of the reconstructed spatial structure can only be comprehended fragmentarily.

Antonia Low completed the two-year Dorothea Erxleben Grant at the HBK Braunschweig last year. The Städtische Galerie Nordhorn dedicated a solo exhibition to her work in 2011. She has been awarded the 2013 Bonner Kunstpreis followed by a solo presentation at the Kunstmuseum Bonn. A comprehensive publication will be published in October 2014 in a cooperation between the Kunstmuseum Bonn and the Kunstverein Braunschweig.

The exhibition is supported by: Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur, Stiftung Kunstfonds, Credit Suisse