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Archive Scherben Edition
upcoming:

John Neff – Survival On Land & Sea

John Neff & Thomas Love
Survival On Land & Sea

October 28 – December 3, 2023

Survival On Land & Sea

The title of the show, Survival On Land & Sea, is also the title of a survival manual the U.S. Navy issued to John Neff’s grandfather during his service on the Pacific Theater during World War II.

In the exhibition, a wood-frame wall runs two thirds of the length of the gallery. Positioned across from the gallery’s entrance is an opening in the stud wall. In that opening hangs a mink coat belonging to Neff’s grandmother – also worn by his mother. His grandfather’s U.S. Navy knife hangs from the ceiling. A set of photographs in clip frames depicting rat holes is installed on the long wall of the exhibition space. They are photographed using a iphone. The photos have an unreal, landscape-like quality. Chicago, where the artist lives, is a city of alleys. It’s also a city with lots of rats. The rats chew through garbage cans left out in the alleys. Neff has been photographing these rat holes since 2022.

Affixed to the the shorter wall is John Neff’s contribution to the ninth issue of the journal Portable Gray, published in October 2022. The special issue was titled “Arts of Psychoanalysis” and edited by Seth Brodsky. In this piece, Neff documents his mother’s open heart surgery and the infestation of her childhood dollhouse by mice. The dollhouse, a replica of the house his mother grew up in, was designed and built by her father.

The exhibition also includes a set of sculptural objects by Thomas Love collectively titled Cock-of-the-Rock, all from 2023. These include “Lek,” a bird carved out of limestone, and a series of stacks of fake rocks cast out of resin, titled “Cairns.” Such resin rocks are typically used to hide a key around the exterior of a house. An additional text is available in the gallery to accompany Cock-of-the-Rock

Lorenz Liebig

Thomas Love – Monument to an intrusive thought
Room Plan

Jasia Rabiej – Nighttime Time

Jasia Rabiej
Nighttime Time

September 14, 2023 – October 6, 2023

In Jasia’s pieces people and objects constantly merge into other things but also into themselves. A girl becomes a girl, a woman turns into a woman, she may change from a blonde to dark-haired, her face can shrink a little. But it’s not an ‘A rose is a rose is a rose’ type of ontology ̶ a chair can also become your leg, or someone else’s, I’m not sure.
It’s a world of eternal morphing which reminds me of what Bruno Schulz wrote of his book Cinnamon Shops: ‘The substance of that reality exists in a state of constant fermentation, germination, hidden life. It contains no dead, hard, limited objects. Everything diffuses beyond its borders, remains in its given shape only momentarily, leaving its shape behind at the first opportunity’.
Scenes in Jasia’s digital collages may appear at first as glitched Al products but the technique she uses is quite different. She gathers pictures from photoblog.pl (a social media website popular among Polish teens in the 00s) and other mostly abandoned blogging platforms, then blends them with her own, using free iPhone photo editing apps. If we were to ask Al to mimic Jasia’s visual style, describing faces would be crucial. The faces of the actresses in Jasia’s works do not seem to belong to them – they don’t look like masks either, they appear like botched face transplants. This uncanny feeling is vital here.
Situations occurring in her pieces did not occur. Not memories nor dreams, they are a secret third thing (called art; maybe a made up dream or memory could work as one of the definitions of an art piece).
The feeling that Jasia’s works give me is also contrary to uncanniness, they fill me with some kind of assurance. This oneiric life is not mine, not theirs also. And even if some of the actresses seem to suffer, I imagine them humming little lullabies to themselves. A blissful and nostalgic feeling of unattachment everyone needs during a nighttime time.

Zuzanna Bartoszek

Captions, Nighttime
Room plan

Mika Schwarz – A Knight’s Willing Suspension of Disbelief

Mika Schwarz
A Knight’s Willing Suspension of Disbelief

August 11, 2023 — September 3, 2023

When I look at the image of Hans Holbein* I think of two different literary characters: the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, who wants nothing more than a heart. The other is the Steadfast Tin Soldier who braves all dangers to reach his coveted love and yet is ultimately thrown into the fire where he melts into a heart-shaped lump.

To defend oneself against the symbolic figure of death that seizes one, is on the threshold of no longer completely giving in to this idea of an image, resisting its destined path. The figure defends itself against the attacker, who only thereby becomes real. In the intertwining of the two armored figures, a twisted form is created that results in a stalemate. As both simultaneously strike each other down, they appear frozen (as if in a pillar of salt), crystallized in the moment of complete physical entanglement. As they kill each other, they also seem to give each other support. Perhaps this is how they find comfort in their togetherness, frozen in the moment, outlasting place and time.

*Drawing after „Bilder des Todes“, Hans Holbein d. J., woodcut, The Knight, 1512

Exhibition text
Room plan

Onur Gökmen – Possession

Possession at Scherben is Onur Gökmen‘s first solo exhibition in Berlin. Born in 1985 in Ankara, the artist studied at Bard College in New York and at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main. Today, he lives in between Berlin, and Istanbul. In Onur Gökmen‘s works seeks to question the relationship between westernization and modernization, challenging established narratives and exploring the subjective nature of history itself.

Exhibition text and room plan

The exhibition is kindly supported by the Bezirksamt Mitte. 
The movie “Bob” was made with the kindly support of the Hans and Charlotte Krull Stiftung.

Desire – Kings Leap

Desire
Claudia Lemke, John Neff and Evelyn Plaschg

July 14th at King’s Leap 105 Henry Street, New York, NY

Curated by Scherben (Berlin, DE), the exhibition presents the work of Claudia Lemke, John Neff and Evelyn Plaschg. It brings together painting, photographs, and sculptures emphasizing the imaginative quality of psychic deformation. Gaston Bachelard, in his analysis of the imaginable, reminds us that our perception, memories, and even the products of our art are never in stable states. The exhibition is accompanied by a text, CRITICAL FANTASY, CONVEX DESIRE, by Mark von Schlegell.

Exhibition handout

The exhibition is kindly supported by the Checkpoint Charlie Stiftung.

Checkpoint Charlie

Eavesdropping

Scherben is pleased to invite you to the exhibition Eavesdropping with Sophia Eisenhut, Adrienne Herr, Lukas Meßner, Sophie Podolski & Anna R. Winder, curated by Inga Charlotte Thiele. The exhibition will run from March 11 until April 30, 2023. Please join us for the opening on March 10 at 5 pm. 

Exhibition Text

The book Glancing To The Right of Antares In Medium Blue, I Intuit Cosmic Allurement, was published in the context of the exhibition Eavesdropping, curated by Inga Charlotte Thiele at Scherben in 2023 and takes up the themes negotiated therein and thinks them further, mixes, and restructures them within the space of the book. It’s not conceived as a catalog documenting the exhibition but as a companion, a second half, that is in conversation with it but functions beyond and independently of it. With contributions by Ethan Assouline, Sophia Eisenhut & Monika Rinck, Susan Finlay, Jackie Grassmann, Elijah Jackson, Alice Notley, Lukas Meßner, Sophie Podolski, Nat Raha, Inga Charlotte Thiele and Anna R. Winder. The book was edited by Thiele and Winder and appeared with Fat Vampire Press, Berlin and Prosopopoeia, Vienna. It can be purchased at Scherben or here

Connor Crawford – Life in the big city

Connor Crawford – Life in the big city

I go up high. I see the city. It’s big. Lots of places for me to land and be almost perfectly still on. Being still makes me feel like I am a part of this great structure. Something bigger. I see myself reflected in the window. That’s me.

exhibition text by Juan Camilo Velasquez & Shahan Assadourian

Flat Errth

Flat Errth

Sophia Eisenhut, Felix Krapp-Raczek, Max Eulitz, Kira Scerbin
at Rhythmus Messi Cambio (Basel), initiated by Scherben

“The Dadaist is a realist (Wirklichkeitsmensch) who loves wine, women, and advertising,” wrote Richard Huelsenbeck, known as the “Reklame-Dada,” in 1920. By subsuming advertisement to the category of realism, Huelsenbeck sought to counter other poets and artists, mostly expressionists, who held a sentimental resistance to modern life, that, in the 1920s was one of increasing semioticization: ads, signs, postered walls, advertising pillars, newspaper stands, “Heuschreckenschwärme von Schrift” (Walter Benjamin). The Dadaists understood the expressionists’ hatred of press and advertising as typical of “people who prefer their armchair to the noise of the street.” Hans Arp echoed this view in a retrospective account of his chance-based writings for which he incorporated text selected at random from newspapers: “Wir meinten durch die Dinge hindurch in das Wesen des Lebens zu sehen, und darum ergriff uns ein Satz aus einer Tageszeitung mindestens ebenso sehr wie der eines Dichterfürsten.” 

Updating Dadaism’s remix of the language of commodity promotion and that of poetic imagery, artists Sophia Eisenhut, Max Eulitz, Felix Krapp-Raczek, and Kira Scerbin —on invitation of the independent Berlin-based art space Scherben—placed different advertisement artworks, collages of found and self-created images and text fragments, in the summer issues of Artforum, Frieze, Monopol, Mousse, Passe Avant, Provence, Spike, and Texte zur Kunst, using Dada techniques for a critical evaluation of the current state of the art magazine world, a rather flat earth.

Somewhere between critique, nonsense and self-referentiality, the ads appropriate the Dada approach to advertising, often dismissed as a provocative self-promotional gambit or reduced to a simple satire of bourgeois consumer culture, to attack the intersection of art and commerce, both in the flat space of the art magazine and the blown up materiality of the financial art market. During Art Basel, the ripped out magazine pages were presented as framed editions in the independent art space Rhythmus Messy Cambio, turning relatively valueless flat prints into three-dimensional, buyable wall objects. As a self-declared “meta exhibition,” the exhibition “Flat Errth” not only aims at a critical investigation of the medium of the ad, but also of the sites of its circulation, magazine pages and art fairs.

For the Provence issue on real estate, Max Eulitz and Felix Krapp-Razcek placed the logo of the Berlin real estate company Gewobag (“Die ganze Vielfalt Berlins”) next to a cool guy in a denim jacket, lasciviously smoking and saying “waiting for you.” The slogan, ornamented with emo stars, reads less like a sexy cheesy pick-up line than a real threat posed by the cruelty of the Berlin housing market. Advertising as storytelling, a fiction realizing itself through the promises of commodities and the cruel optimism of the good life. In Artforum, the art magazine gets caught up in its own hyperstition. Here, Sophia Eisenhut and Kira Scerbin placed an ex-voto-drawing of an alien version of S. Caterina de Manresa, the (anti-)protagonist of Eisenhut’s book EXERCITIA S. Catarinae de Manresa. Anorexie und Gottesstaatlichkeit inside a depressed, apocalyptic landscape left with only some power poles, perhaps an allegory for the contemporary art scenery itself. The advertisement is figured as a votive image, the commodity (offered by advertising and criticism) a promise of salvation. As motif of the votive, votary, symbolic sacrifice and saint, Catarina seems to embody the ambiguous role of contemporary art criticism: friendship service or distant outside perspective, advertisement or damning review, criticism as its own art form or criticism in service of art’s salvation?

For an ad in Spike Magazine’s issue on art and crime, an illustration from Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom, or the School of Libertinage, written while he was imprisoned in the Bastille, serves as the backdrop for a mirrored version of the Nestlé logo birds (reminiscent of the Situationists’ détournement ads) that reads, “mimesis is murder / diegesis is innocent.” All adorned with human blood, perhaps from cutting and tearing apart art magazines. Given the exhibition title “Flat Errth,” an appropriation of a right-leaning, anti-science conspiracy theory insisting on the ​​disc shape of the Earth, this take on violence, sadism and morality might be read as a commentary on Ana Teixeira Pinto and Kerstin Stakemeier’s controversial “Glossary of Social Sadism” published in Texte zur Kunst’s 2019 “Evil” issue. The text surveys the pathology of an art milieu that rejects the repoliticization of contemporary art or any form of social responsibility, flirting instead with the language and symbols of the alt-right. The art sadist’s “categorical rejection of any scrutiny over one’s own implications in the perpetual oscillation between subjectivization and subjection under the cloak of ‘artistic freedom’ or ‘freedom of speech,’” is, according to Teixeira Pinto and Stakemeier, symptomatic of a “wounded narcissism, unable to divest from the pleasurable investment in the (increasingly besieged) notion of its own universality. Nursing its injury, it sets out to injure.” Spike Magazine, perhaps feeling provoked and offended by the text, responded with an issue on “Immorality” (which, funnily enough, is misspelled as “immortality” on their website: “Immortality is a response to the widely held idea that art needs to be moral. The world’s fucked up, and the art world is guilty too, so in some ways that makes sense”)—and a round table on “Cancel Culture” including edgelords Mathieu Malouf and Nina Power. Despite or because of the polemics on both sides, this was one of the more interesting art critical debates of recent years, playing out between two of the most influential art magazines and serving real antagonist positions rather than the usual IAE and polite reviews symptomatic of a criticism in crisis. 

Today, the art critic functions both as a “citizen of a thoroughly financialised present” (Stakemeier) and, as cultural critic and lesbian icon Jill Johnston described it when calling for the disintegration of criticism, as “an unpaid publicity agent.” In the press release of the panel discussion “The Disintegration of A Critic—An Analysis of Jill Johnston,” she writes: “My purpose […] was to offer my name as a sort of sacrifice if you like for the idea of a disintegration of criticism, which I view as an outmoded form of communication. Reportage may be necessary and interesting. I like it myself. Poetry and all forms of fiction, history, autobiog., etc., I accept as forms of speech and writing not coercive as to the salesmanship of immediate artistic events, i.e., reviews in the newspapers and the magazines.” In “Flat Errth,” it is the form of fictional advertising rather than sell-out art criticism that takes on the role of critique. While art criticsm is confronted with an unsolvable dilemma—“that critique must insist on the fiction of another world and standard of value while remaining embedded in capitalist relation”—as Isabelle Graw and Sabeth Buchmann write in a 2019 essay on art criticism and discrimination published in Texte zur Kunst, advertisement can easily circumvent the question of complicity, as its economic embeddedness and compulsion to sale are its very conditions of existence. 

Graw and Buchmann argue not to cling to “romantic stock fantasies of subversion” but to focus on the counter values immanent to the system, a position also held by art theorist Marina Vishmidt who propagates a critique that moves beyond the comfort zone of reflexivity, a critique that makes cuts and takes it upon itself to find or make the gaps and voids through which the infrastructure of art comes into view and which, in the undiminished awareness of negativity, holds the possibility of the better.

The presentation of the ads at Rhythmus Messy Cambio in the enigmatic building K-102, shared by a Jungle Yoga community and a local padel club, during Art Basel in the eponymous Swiss city, the annual proof of the possibility or even necessity of a smooth simultaneity of a “radical” critique of the capitalist value form of the artwork and a fetishization of the same, was accompanied by an enduring twenty-four-hour performance during which the artist quartet produced an album. It’s a mix of music, sound poems, spoken word (based on and sampled from texts in the art magazines in which Eisenhut & Co placed their ads), and often silence. The record is loosely based on scores consisting of attitudes and structures of feeling rather than strict musical instructions: verses without words, audience insults, nihilism, chance, low key, slow pace, improv, fun, humble, casual, modest punk, life in papers, friendship, unpretentious, drugs, comfortability. This remix of punk and coziness describes well what went on at Rhythmus Messy Cambio. While someone played the guitar gently, perhaps weeping, others cut and tore out magazine pages, bleeding, reading out single words from the art magazines, “propaganda” or “propagandada” (all in socks on a carpeted floor). A rock’n’roll and chill performance, a concert, recording, rehearsal, a hang-out spot, an after party, a lasting insignificance. 

Creeping into the pages of the world’s leading art publications and thus inscribing themselves into the canon of art criticism, “Flat Errth” dodges the pretense of performing critique from a place outside economic and institutional structures, claiming and insisting instead on a place inside, while simultaneously looking at it from above (meta), being against it (anti) and not caring at all (exhaustion). “Flat Errth” performs a critique that is critical of critical distancing, understanding it, like Andrea Fraser, as “a form of negation in the psychoanalytic sense: a defensive maneuver that serves to disown the emotional investment in the object of critique and especially desire for that object, including identificatory or narcissistic desire.” But rather than dramatically acting out these affective investments in the object of critique (the art space, the magazine, the fair), here, in a punk anti-attitude, a fake-meta position and in the style of hot but exhausted millennials, they are reduced to a bare minimum, a calm, relaxed attitude in the face of one’s own entrapment, throwing themselves, quite comfortably, in the container that contains them.

by Sophia Roxane Rohwetter

Plasma – Irina Lotarevich, Juliana Halpert and Joachim Bandau

Plasma shows works that underscore the proximity of art to the everyday life of the artist, in order to interrogate the effects of varying social conditions on the development of subject hood. Contend enters and exits the legitimizing framework of art. The liquid aspects of the work are emphasized. Context plays its own role. What happened to Duchamp’s Bottle Rack once his sister placed it in front of his house after he left for New York? It probably drifted away, down Rue Saint Hippolyte. 

exhibition text by Tarik Kentouche

Klimax

Sculpture Show & Album Release

From the printed to the spoken word, from the acoustic realm to the material world, from Basel to Berlin: This is the last chapter. The absence of text will be the centerpiece, the release of our album merely a muted voice from the past.

Sophia Eisenhut, Max Eulitz, Felix Krapp-Raczek, Kira Scerbin

with

Anna-Sophie Berger, Burkhard Beschow, Zoë Field, Kolja Gollub, Frieder Haller, Mara Jenny, Katharina Keller, Nina Kettiger, Evelyn Kliesch, Salome Lübke, Philip Markert, Tomás Nervi, Paul Niedermayer, Brigita Noreikaitė, Ella Pechechian, Eliza Penth, Gunter Reski, Carla-Luisa Reuter, Jonas Roßmeißl, Micah Schippa, Anne Schmidt, Phillip Simon, Michael Sullivan, Luise Thile, Raphaela Vogel, Michel Wagenschütz, Eugen Wist