Künstlerhaus Dortmund
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The ornamental gesture

February 18 - March 27, 2011

The exhibition shows 10 international artist’s positions. Architecture oriented and conceptual work, installation work and digital media, painting and drawing as well as a participatory approach.
The curators (Anett Frontzek, Maria Schleiner und An Seebach) are interested in works of art, that feature the implementation of ornamental structures in the wider sense (series, stereotype, refinement, pattern e.g.). Main focus is neither the ornament as decoration nor the ornament as a superficial recognizable system of repetition on a mathematical or constructive level. Of major interest within the chosen artistic standpoints are works examining ornamental structures or conceptual postures, that in particular by the use of ornamental design enter a political and socially critical dimension.
Every chosen position constitutes a characteristic point of view: It uses an ornamental structure to empazise an individual content. All works shown in the exhibition correspond with each other. So to speak they talk sign language, they communicate with their ornamental gesture.

Opening on 02/18/2011

Participating artists:

Nicole Andrijevic, Perth (AUS)
Martina Becker, Berlin
Parastou Forouhar, Frankfurt a.M
Gunilla Klingberg, Stockholm (S)
Tom Korn, Potsdam
Pauline Kraneis, Berlin
Regula Michell, Zurich (CH)
Karl Moellers, Springe
Tanya Schultz, Perth (AUS)
Barbara Wille, Berlin
Achim Zeman, Cologne

 pip & pop (
Nicole Andrijevic & Tanya Schultz)

Nicole Andrijevic, Paradise is Elsewhere (detail), 2009. Mixed Media, size variable

Under the name of <pip & pop> the Australien artist Nicole Andrijevic collaborates with her colleague Tanya Schultz and realizes spectacular installations from coloured sugar and sand. Since 2007 spacious sugar landscapes and huge miniature universes are arising from this exceptional material. 
The installation in the big exhibition space of the Kuenstlerhaus links up to the acient tradition of sand paintings, especially to the ritualised form of sand mandalas by Tibetan Buddhism. The artists see it as a reference to the Buddhist concept of  the world's vicissitude. 
Within the duo's art work  the Buddhist meditation, what was originally meant to achieve the Nirwana state where you are freed of any longings, comes to a crisis among our comtenporary consumer society - using quotes from pop culture. 
www.pipandpop.org, www.noise.net/nicoleandrijevic

Martina Becker

G.O.L.D.(Detail), participatory project, Bremen, 2005

The Berlin based artist Martina Becker contributes a very special art work to the exhibition's subject: With her participatory project G.O.L.D. she directly involves the Kuenstlerhaus' neighbourhood. In a nearby vacancy Becker starts working on a social scuplture.
The North of Dortmund, where mainly poor and often turkish people live, is going to discuss and exchange cultural values while revaluating everyday items together with the artist. First a call for donations in kind and for co-operation will be distributed among the residents. G.O.L.D. is collecting their no-longer-needed objects - most of them would normally end in the garbage can. During a period of 14 days and through the big shop window the North-town-people will watch a change in values: Slowly the artist transforms the banal site into a bright grail - a golden treasury. The residents hardly recognize their donation and become curious to participate this revaluation and learn gilding objects under the instruction of the artist.
> separate project page

Parastou Forouhar

Eslimi, digitally designed pattern of cloth, pattern book, 2003

The ornaments of Iranian artist Parastou Forouhar are pure brutality, they consist of knifes and male genitals, then turn out to be torture scenes and lust to kill.
The illusion of the ornament's surface, that apparently harmonizes all differences, is the center subject of Forouhar's art.
On pattern of cloth in old rose within the series „Eslimi“, what means ornament, you find very fleshly symbols: the fine design proves as stylized genitals, that alternate with sharp items as knifes and claws. With these textile designs, that the spectator can choose from a pattern book as usually used in furniture stores, you cannot make your home convenient. The Tales of the Thousand and One Nights within a wallpaper are torn to the blinding light of the museum: thousand and one day. Not innocent and beautiful ornament, but the imagery of torture you can find here. The comic like faceless computer generated figures on the wallpaper transform by stylization to an ornamental language of their own, to characters of violence. They are constantly repeated and in that fit to the design principle of wallpaper pattern. The series of cruelty reproduces evermore. (All quotes: Alexandra Karentzos - Positionings of Art, 2003)

Gunilla Klingberg

Repeat Pattern Tape, Vinyl adhesive tape, Unlimited edition €30, 2007

Basic material of the works by the Swedish artist Gunilla Klingberg are the company logos of major food discount shops. By manipulating and combining the exchangeable logos of Aldi, Lidl and Spar e.g. the artist creates new ornaments on adhesive tape or foil, that she uses within installations kaleidoscope-like in spaces, on walls or in video works. During the Kuenstlerhaus exhibition the visitors can buy “Repeat Pattern Tape” (2007) for their private use.

Tom Korn

Warszawa PKS, carpet, cutted and mounted,125 x 125 cm, 2007

„No matter where you are, the standardization of the enviroment forges ahead. You move, but it still looks like home.“
But in Tom Korns works the facades transform to real beauties - for fondling. A detail of an architecture presents as interesting pattern of the softest colour fields. He decodes the storefronts of the commerce aesthetic, interprets the city furnituring into inlays from velours. Roughly 300 different colours of carpet are available (...) Especially between grey and blue a broad variety is offered - the colours of exposed concrete and Baltic Sea sky.“ (All quotes: Tom Korn, Fleecy Realism, 2010)

Pauline Kraneis

Gashgai (detail), pencil on paper 173 x 310 cm, 2005

The public space drawn by Pauline Kraneis consists of motorway intersections, traffic islands and escalators. The private space she pictures is characterized by parquet floors, carpets and curtains, that apperently never covers private floors waveless or hide the view into the private and into the public. Within the exhibiton she take the classical position of drawing, but especially the cycle of works, where she works on carpets is of interest.Within the sujet of the Oriental carpet the ornamental play with forms is picked up and referred to a society, where the ornament is traditionally domiciled.

Regula Michell

Video-Loop DV PAL, 59 min, projection across corner, each 2,6 x 3,25 m, still, 2007

Regula Michell's ornaments are in slow but continuous motion. The ornaments consist of carefully composed pictures or video frames  and are developed in context at site. In this sense her ornaments are site-specific and obtain certain situations. Regula Michell differenciates two types of moving ornaments. "Moving Ornaments (MO)" are images and are projected as squares or circles. The "Allovers“,"Wallpapervideos (WPV)" are installation works, where projections cover walls completely. The specious order of the ornaments is deconstructed by motion. The at first recognized grammar of structure, colour and rhythm transforms continuously and kaleidoscope like in endless metamorphosis. Regula Michell's interest applies to the crossing points of order and disorganization.

Karl Möllers

hands and vases, acryl on canvas, 52x42 cm each, 2001/02

Karl Möllers uses ornamental structures since 1999 in his art work, that is mainly painting and drawing - sometimes he adds objects as media.  that almost all paintings covering system of ornamental molluscs is  not "the product  of a pictorial  idea, but the result of a form duplication, that arises from cutted and folded paper and the painter then uses the surprising effect and the startling perfection of a infantine play."(quote: Beatrix Nobis, Inbetween - works by Karl Möllers, 2003)
At the begining of the image invention there is this raw cutted ornament. The artists takes it as the start for a pictorial and sculptural problem definitions, that obviously reproduce and where solutions include humor - especially because the artist often brushes the concept aside.
For the exhibition  „The ornamental gesture“  Karl Möllers works out a new site-specific installation consisting of paintings and objects.

Barbara Wille

riesling, perforated wall, grapes, 1995

Within the exhibition Barbara Wille installs an art work from the cycle of works "fruit and  ruins“. Grapes will be positioned into small wall openings, fitting to their individual scale. The spectator will discover small, round forms in smooth varying colours and with a soft glossy surface, some lose volume, some coming out of the wall, some already dropped on the floor, even possibly tread down by accident, - and then he will recognize the wall inlay as the strong ornamental composition of a rosette. A surprising beauty that evokes for example Gothic glass windows. The ornament will inevitably change as the fruit rottens during the exhibition. 
The work of Barbara Wille is a significant contribution to the exhibition, as it shows the process of transitoriness, shows ornamental orders, structures and rhythm that looses control and might even disappear at the end.

Achim Zeman

Fully booked, Hotel Beethoven / moving locations e.V., Bonn, 2009

In none of the exhibited works the visitor will be as much inside the ornament, almost physically involved in the picture. Achim Zeman works with the surrounding space, changes it from his perspective of a painter with adequate tools: colour and form. The found architecture receives an all over. The radical approach changes everthing - it appears light, it is in fact complex. Nothing three dimensional will be added to the space, only flat, bodiless coloured foil. No decor, no ornament, in the sense of decorations will be added, but the use of pictoral instrumentswill provoke an aesthetic suction.
„when we are gravitated by something, space seems to load up around us.Our sense starts to focuse, and with roaming view we search for the reason for this diffuse suction. Attraction can come from human beings, spaces or events. In Achim Zeman's installations it is no specific object, that attracts us, but we will experience something of the form ourselves: the movement of seeing, about space and distance, relations and perspectives, about spaces and borders. [...]“ (quote: Karin Wendt)

Organization: Anett Frontzek, Maria Schleiner, An Seebach

images ©: the artists
photos opening ©: Jens Sundheim
English by: An Seebach

kindly supported by:
Sparkasse Dortmund, Cultural Department of the City of Dortmund as well as LAG Soziokultureller Zentren NW e.V. and Fonds Soziokultur (for the project G.O.L.D.)