Few songs have managed to capture the lightheartedness and exuberance of summer in the way that the German hit song “Pack die Badehose ein” (“Pack Your Swimsuit”) did in the early 1950s. The teen star Conny sings about the small burdens of everyday life, which can be removed simply by jumping into the cold water of the Wannsee lake.
The gallery is pleased to present the exhibition “Pack den Badeanzug ein” , a refreshing look at both emerging and established positions in contemporary painting. Featuring a broad selection of artistic methods, we push the boundaries of what painting can be in the 21st century. What is the state of arts oldest medium in today's hyper-digitized world? What can the analogue image do that the digital cannot, and how do the two media influence each other?
Christian Perdix (*1987 Berlin, DE) explores how our online behavior effects life beyond the web. In the hybrid space of his images one finds fantasy and reality sitting side by side, teetering towards a dangerous liaison.
Kat Lyons’ (*1991 Louisville, US) paintings deal with the effects of the omnipresence of the media. Her works are rich in metaphor, exploring the desires of wanting to please others. Society’s demands on womanhood in the 21st century often seem insoluble. Within the works she explores the utopia of gender equality and the frustration of existing inequality between women and men. Figures often appear in her work as animals, as a demonstration that many women still feel like show horses in a circus ring of vanities. Lyons offers a way out of this misery, a way to rise from the ashes. In her practice, identifying the problem becomes the first step towards finding a solution. She thereby deconstructs fixed behavioral patterns, birthing her own phoenix from these fragments.
Similar surrealistic moments dominate the works of Alicia Adamerovich (1989 New York, US), Stefanie Gutheil (1980 Ravensburg, DE) and Tamara Kvesitadze (*1968 Tbilisi, GA). Through abstraction, they deconstruct existing gender roles to create a theoretical blank canvas for reflection and discussion. As Kvesitadze presents her figures stripped of all cover in their rawest state, Adamerovich blends her women to the objects they are surrounded by as they relax literally into the couch they lie on, and Gutheil's balloon like female breasts that remind us of a cartoonish object more so than the female form.
Monica Kim Garza’s (*1988 New Mexico, US) bathers invite us to take an imaginary journey to the beach on a hot summer’s day. Shameless in their self-confidence, her women celebrate the sweetness of idling in the summer sun, surrounded by cold drinks, sun lotion and the cool water. Her sunbathers seem to be both far away from the world and completely at one with themselves.
For the protagonists of Carlo D'Anselmi's (1991 New York, US) paintings, the presence of water becomes a stage for drama—a place to plunge in, float, or to turn inward. The relationships between the figures are revealed through quiet gesture—reaching hands and averted gazes.With delicate gestures, D'Anselmi looks at the fragility of interpersonal relationships and, before our eyes, creates a diorama of all the different ways of being together. Whether the figures are looking for salvation in the water or whether they are experiencing pain is left open. Kimia Ferdowsi Kline's (1984 Tennessee, US) compositions seem like snapshots of long-gone summer holidays. The faces of her holidaymakers and the details of their surroundings are only reproduced schematically, thus resembling the fragmentary memories in our heads. Months later, we look in amazement at the pictures of past experiences, almost feeling the sand in our shoes and a light breeze on our skin.
Ella Kruglyanskaya’s (*1978 Riga, LV) drawings have a similar effect, reproducing all the opulence of summertime with precise and minimalist strokes. Looking at her works, one is instantly reminded of overcrowded swimming pools. Her focus is on sunbathing women, whose environment only appears in abstract form. We nonetheless have the impression of smelling the sun lotion and of hearing the cheerful cries of excited children at diving board.
The immanent visualization of sounds can also be found in the works of the American artist Erik Hanson (*1969 Tokyo, JP). Over the past two years he has devoted himself time and again to the character of Bluto, Popeye the Sailor’s nemesis in the eponymous cartoon. Bluto is a stereotypical “bad boy”, reflecting a traditional alpha male understanding of gender roles and yet in the exploration of Bluto's dual nature as good and bad the artist challenges himself and others to consider forgiveness. His intensive exploration of Bluto’s character, who endlessly repeats this cliché of masculinity, becomes a meditation on traditional gender roles.
The men in Logan T. Sibrel’s (*1986 New York, US) works also seem to be in a state of meditative calmness. His compositions combine personal experiences and observations with images from the internet, simultaneously exploring his own feelings of nostalgia and a more collective, engineered, sense of longing for someone or somewhere else.
But before this moment comes, the focus is on one piece of clothing, which embodies the promise of summer like no other – the swimsuit. Not only does it invite us on imaginary journeys of carefree summer evenings, it is also, possibly more so than any other piece of clothing, always a political symbol, revealing the current zeitgeist and giving expression to women's emancipation.
Clemencia Labin (1946 in Maracaibo, VE) also fixes her gaze on the swimsuit, using them to create seemingly organic sculptures in her series "PULPA". The colours and textures are delicate and alluring like the tropical creations seen in the vitrines of exquisite ice cream parlours. They promise joy, pleasure and desire, warmth, wellbeing and optimism; they are opulent, vital and strong. In her colorful works, the German artist Elvira Bach (1951 Neuenhain, DE) has been paying homage to bathing women since the 1970s. With expressive brushstrokes, the artist creates dazzling images of emancipated, self-confident women. Common to all her figures is pride, grace, and the knowledge of a secret: if only a small piece of fabric lies between the sky and your skin, you do not necessarily need a strong posture but definitely a strong position.