Badischer Kunstverein Presents A Different Person

Badischer Kunstverein presents A Different Person with Enrico David, Nick Mauss, Birgit Megerle, Michele Di Menna, Josef Strau, Emily Wardill.On view 21 April–19 June 2011. Opening: Wednesday, 20 April 2011, 7 pm.

The exhibition ‘A Different Person’ follows the idea of a group exhibition as a dynamic process. The artworks thus function less as an argument for a thesis, but instead develop the dramaturgy of the exhibition intrinsically and in dialogue with each of the other positions. The title of the exhibition is taken from the memoirs of the American author James Ingram Merrill. By writing his memoirs under the heading of ‘a different person’, Merrill refers to the draft character of subjectivity: the ‘I’ is always someone else. It carries the projection or potentiality of the other within itself and always remains a fragment or something provisional. This probing of subjectivity as a precarious and temporary construct forms a central moment of the exhibition.

Birgit Megerle’s figurative paintings, for instance, are based on photographs she has taken of models and then newly arranged. Her figures evoke memories of everyday poses and fashions, but they are in their own social reality. The subjects remain strangely enigmatic, their portraits beautiful, but too distant to let us really come close. Enrico David’s images and sculptures also materialise on the boundary between beautiful appearance and the strangeness of the subconscious. His works are populated by figures of a surreal world, in which the whole discontent of civilisation is expressed. In her film ‘Ben’, the British artist Emily Wardill outlines a filmic space of the subconscious, in which eccentrically costumed persons take part in a hypnosis. Voices and setting are the unsteady components of a plot that could tip at any moment. Text and language are important components in Josef Strau’s artistic practice. His texts treat the conditions of his work and experiment with forms of cultural expression, bringing the figure of the author into play as subject. Staging and testing oneself in artistic practice is also evident in Michele Di Menna’s work in perfect consistency. Performances, texts, collages, costumes, objects, videos and sound form the processual space, in which the artist acts. The moment of the ephemeral and the transformative is present in Nick Mauss’ works in a different form. His drawings and sculptures seem sketchy and fragile. They seem to be in an ongoing process, in which lacunae indicate something that has been taken out or is yet to be set into the picture.

Image: Birgit Megerle, “Antimony,” 2011

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