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Bettina Carl Gürtellinie-Baumgrenze,                                

mixes media/paper 150 cm x 220 cm,


Ina Bierstedt untitled (yet) paintings,

acrylic and oil on canvas),

2005 - 2006

Jörgen Erkius, Black Flag video loop,


Sofia Hultén, Points in a Room Condensing,



Alena Meier and Wladimir Winter,

stills from Elektre 1001, video, 2005

L’Apparence et l’abîme

UNITED ISLANDS TOUR 2006 (Amsterdam - Paris - Berlin)

opening:thursday, May 18th, 2006, 18.00 h

exhibition:May 19th – June 3rd, 2006

opening hours:Thursday – Saturday; 14 h – 19 h

artists exhibited:Sofia Hultén (Berlin): photography

Wladimir Winter (Moskau) + Alena Meier (Berlin): video projection

Ina Bierstedt (Berlin): painting

Bettina Carl (Berlin): drawings

Jörgen Erkius (Berlin): video

curated by: CAPRI Projektraum für zeitgenössische Kunst Berlin

Brunnenstraße 149, D-10115 Berlin



L’Apparence et l’abîme (Abyss and Surface) is one of several exhibition projects in the frame work of UNITED ISLANDS TOUR 2006, a cooperation by P////AKT Amsterdam, Immanence Espace d'Art Paris and CAPRI Berlin.

L’Apparence et l’abîme considers itself to be a Berlin art show on tour. The Berlin character of this exhibition precisely derives from the fact that the artists included here have a very varied, international background and work with different media. They share their generation's experience of dissolving political systems, although the individuals witnessed those in contexts as distinct as East/West Germany and Berlin, Birmingham, Stockholm or Saratow (Russia).

There are no obvious depictions of historical events in L’Apparence et l’abîme, however, these experiences are present in all the pieces comprising the exhibition; A common feature is their profound scepticism, and an obsession to search for connections of signs and meanings: an endeavor whose direction and discoveries remain as unpredictable — as much as its failure is always anticipated.

L’Apparence et l’abîme shows works that share a fascination for the fragmentary and its allegorical potential. While certainly their art works will provide for no information at all, Sofia Hultén, Bettina Carl, Alena Meier, Wladimir Winter, Ina Bierstedt and Joergen Erkius focus on the process of translation, decoding and re-codifying, i.e.: on the instrumental character of signs.

The exhibition comprises objects, drawings, photographs and paintings. These art works' surfaces are materially simple and rather brittle, many of them, however, assume an ironic evocation of beauty. One might argue that this physical modesty is the only appropriate form of reflecting on a world full of pictorial drama, where intense conflicts of forces abound in pre-fabricated portions. If one considers the stipulation to maintain the overview an undue presumption, chosing the provisonal will be the adequate move. The primary message seems to be that what we perceive could be different from what we see.




Elektra 1001, video projection, 10 min.s, 2005

The main character of this video is the stove "Elektra 1001". In August 2005, "Elektra 1001" shared a one-room-flat with the artist Wladimir Winter, his wife, and Alena Meier in Moscow. For a couple of days, Winter and Meier worked on a video about the classical drama Electra, whose plot could be paraphrased (superficially) as the female version of the Oedipus story. Based on the photographs Meier and Winter took in Moscow, and on the many email conversations held afterwards, the actual film consists of single digital stills. The interjections quote from Aeschylus' and Hugo von Hoffmannsthal's Electras.

According to the Aristotelian rules, the pictorial part of ELEKTRA 1001 maintains the unity of action, time and space: Within one day, the entire tragedy unfolds in Winter's kitchen, on his stove. Electra, Orest (her brother) and Klytaimnestra (their mother) appear as little match- and apple-figures, while the audience, i.e. the wall paper's pattern, never ever leave the room. A thunderstorm rises, the sun goes down, and the stove finally burns itself. (B.C.)

"ELEKTRA 1001 is an attempt to peer into the history of mankind from the vantage point of my kitchen in Moscow. Alena Meier and I were analyzing Sophocles' tragedy "Electra", when we decided, for want of a time machine to use the electric stove "Electra" and a camera named "OLYMPUS".

I think it is especially interesting to unify two very different artists' views (woman and man, German and Russian) on one subject. For me, the theme of Sophocles' ancient Greek tragedy "Electra" has a matter-of-fact meaning. My daily life is a grotesque struggle against injustice, cruelty and falseness, as I try to defend my right to be engaged in the profession I have chosen. In my opinion, Mother Russia does not love her children." (Wladimir Winter)


Black Flag video loop, 2003

Working with performance, video and installation, the artist attempts to reach beyond the visual meanings and qualities of the image.

Black Flag is one of his pieces applying the obvious in order to question what seems to be self-evident. In a setting that is reduced and theatrical at the same time, Jörgen Erkius' evokes a wide range of symbolic features: there is a flag, the noise and the violence of a machine and the simple purity of snow.



(from left to right) Pullover des höheren W.  mixed media/paper, 4 parts, 100 x 70 cm each, 2006

   Nice Love 2, charcoal, pencil/paper, 60 x 68 cm, 2006

   Ein Bein, 2 parts, 143 x 100 cm, charcoal/paper; 2006


    fromBilder über die Kultur: Den alten Bekannten, size variable, 2004-2006

   (Pictures About Culture: To the Old Acquaintances)

Among other sources of inspiration, the drawings exhibited in "L’Apparence et l’abîme” feed on actual German advertising campaigns that are aligned to sport apparently, and contribute to a re-establishment of a national identity. I think this fits quite well with allusions to the GDR cliché of the worker-scientist in action, as well as with people seriously engaged in exercise (or in gestures of prayer or longing or loss): the scale of normal life.

These recent drawings are part of Bilder über die Kultur: Den alten Bekannten / Pictures About Culture: To the Old Acquaintances, 2004-2006. In this work-in-progress, I aim to explore the process of identifying: how do we relate to the pictorial and verbal slogans informing our culture? Which imagined form, which position does the Self assume — incorporating the subjectivity of a participant-observer within realities that are chiefly delineated by television?. Bilder über die Kultur attempts a subjective, playful revision of cultural agreements on values - hegemonial and antagonistic ones, or rather what was once considered to delineate this dichotomy.

(Besides: drawings are dirty sheets of paper.)


Points in a Room Condensing photography, 2006

(...) Presented in video and photography, Hultén's works reflect the strange realm of objects that lie somewhere between the commodity and the trash can, sometime after use and yet before complete extinction. (...) While condemning the objects to another form of invisibility, Hultén redeems their value by transforming them into memory.

Hultén's interventions, far from being ecologically-oriented, belong to an economy of excess where commodities are unlimited and superfluous. Like Georges Bataille, Hultén addresses the expenditure of wealth instead of its production. (...) In a unique way, Hultén's project reflects the Marxist desire to recover the narratives of labour behind production - albeit in the realm of idleness, superfluity, excess, degradation, destruction. (...)

Hultén's closed economy realises the dream of both the miser and the millionaire: to keep everything and to spend it.

Hultén's world - a world devoid of loss and filled with futility - underscores the absurdity of our daily activities, with or without objects. "There are things you do because you are powerless to do anything about the real problems," says the artist. "You do small things with the full knowledge that they won't make the least bit of difference."(...).

(Jennifer Allen)


untitled (yet) paintings (acrylic and oil on canvas), 2005 - 2006

INBETWEEN: To open one's eyes, to shut one's eyes, to drink a glass of water. Then the lights turn red: Look to the left, walk to the right, sleep.
It has to be said that there are no eyes nor traffic lights or glasses in Ina Bierstedt's paintings. But there seem to be certain speeds of looking/seeing/vision developing behind the view as such. Her painted spaces can function as side paths with sightseeing platforms along the way moving from thinking to the body and back. Through layers of paint with various densities, inbetween architectural and more organic textures, solitary figurative elements appear, too. Yet they do not work as depictions, they are rather effective as quotes. The landscapes in Ina Bierstedt's paintings seem to shift, to hesitate on a point that might be located either closely in front or behind an imaginary space. So, we'll wait a little and then see what happens?

Ina Bierstedts paintings are characterized by complex surface textures and rather unobstrusive couloring. Her work feeds of traditions of landscape painting as much as of found images from magazines for toy models.