Marlene Zoë Burz
David Reiber Otálora
Our entire living reality is determined by a large number of economic, ecological, political, and social structures. When we order these often irrefutable-seeming givens and the objects surrounding us, we construct systems of interpretation to organize and make intelligible the complex conditions in which we live. These systems are thus both orientation and security, in that resorting to familiar patterns of thought and perception is always an act of self-reassurance.
But what happens when this familiarity with the seemingly everyday things surrounding us suddenly eludes us, when semantics shift, overlap, and create new orders, when we begin to doubt our customary mechanisms of interpretation and classification?
The exhibition »Intimate Matter« with the artists Marlene Zoë Burz, Lisa Premke, and David Reiber Otálora hovers imperceptibly on the borders of perception, creates intimate moments of discomfiture, and seeks to make visible the delicate boundary between what we know and don’t know. The exhibited works play with the destabilization and recontextualization of objects and materials.
The mutability and negotiability of the meanings we create becomes apparent when matter – the objects in space – cast off their intended mode of functioning and lay claim to a new, individual form of reality. Familiar relationships between individual objects and their viewers are reconsidered and brought into a different context. And if we allow it, this harbors the potential to rethink our relationship to our surroundings and our supposed certainty over what we believe we know – and to see it in a new way.
Exhibition & events curated by
Ulrike Riebel and Nandita Vasanta
Jan Tappe and Hauke Zießler
Graphic Design: Viktor Schmidt
Translation: Andrea Scrima
Production: Carolina Redondo
Production Assistance: Felipe Monroy
Marlene Zoë Burz, born 1990 in Stuttgart, studied at the Kunsthochschule Berlin Weissensee from 2010 to 2015 under Prof. Hanns Schimansky. In 2016, she received her Meisterschülerin degree with Prof. Friederike Feldmann. Since 2016, she has been organizing and curating the project space SOX at Oranienstrasse 175 in Berlin together with Manuel Kirsch and Björn Streeck. Her works have been shown i.a. in Toronto, Bregenz, Bern, Bonn, and Berlin. She lives and works in Berlin.
The forms in artist Marlene Zoë Burz drawn on a banner wrapping around the main room of the Bärenzwinger, resemble writing that is both familiar and alien. But try as we may to bend these signs toward legibility in accordance with our visual expectations, they remain largely inaccessible. It’s only at second glance that these randomly arranged forms begin to evoke formulaic abstractions of bones. Bones are a fundamental part of every vertebrate animal and every human body, and yet they’re always hidden beneath the surface – in an invisible, intimate zone that only becomes visible when major interventions into the body occur. And yet their function is protective; they offer support and structure. This ambivalence is recontextualized in the hood-like objects in the space, and when they interact with the formal language of the drawing, it’s practically surreal. While the bones are transferred onto paper as form, the plastic hood objects are based on two-dimensional sewing patterns. The ambiguous relationship between form and surface, inside and out is also mirrored in the hoods themselves, which are first and foremost everyday items of clothing. In their enlargement, they evoke an impression of a protective shell and at the same time inevitably pose the question of what’s inside, of a hidden corporeality.
Lisa Premke, born 1981, first studied architecture and subsequently fine arts at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam before completing her Master of Sound for the Moving Image at Glasgow School of Art. In her works, Premke searches out clues for collective systems in objects and materials and then lends them their own voice and narration. She has been invited several times to realize site-specific projects in international residency programs, such as the Bangalore Goethe Residency Kochi in India, the Košice Artist in Residence (Slovakia), and the Binaural Nodar in Portugal. Her works have been shown in numerous exhibitions, including the Kochi Muziris Biennale Pepperhouse Residency in India, the Berlin gallery weisser elefant, Studio 1 at Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, and the Arti et Amicitiae in Amsterdam. Lisa Premke has been working as a sound and interior designer for years in cooperation with various artists, filmmakers, and choreographers. In 2019, the artist is this year’s prizewinner of the Neukölln Art Prize and grantee of the Global cultural exchange program of the Berlin Senate.
On the other hand, Lisa Premke’s clearly visible and audible sound installation extends across the pool of Bärenzwinger’s right-hand outdoor terrace in the form of a symmetrically arranged pattern. A large number of different chains as well as the frame of the pool itself are set in motion by a motor and move back and forth in irregular rhythms, generating various sounds as they touch one another and the ground and the water partially covering it. In an alternation between tension and relaxation, the chains change their state and dynamics and become moving bodies. In the process, the various materials and strengths of the chains generate a plurality of voices, each of them its own narration that changes over the course of time through friction and corrosion. The acoustic irregularities and variations in sound convey an impression of an intentional and deliberate act, the capacity to act autonomously. It almost seems as though the audible sounds were an act of self-empowerment, individual voices that form to shake off once and for all the object status ascribed to them. The chains interact with their surroundings and the materials touching them, and become an active part in this interaction in which they are both changed and themselves change the surrounding substance.
David Reiber Otálora, born 1992 in Münster (Westfalen), grew up in Colombia and studied fine arts with a major in film and time-based media at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg. He completed his bachelor degree there in July of 2016 and in October of the same year began his graduate work in the classes of Robert Bramkamp, Matt Mullican, and Angela Schanelec. In his films and sculptural works (and occasionally stage sets), David Reiber Otálora explores exoticisms and colonial representations of the other and investigates possibilities to affirm these as a basis for fantastic and ambiguous narration. His works have already been shown in various national and international institutions, exhibition spaces, and festivals (i.a. in Frankfurt, London, Paris, Bogota, and Shanghai).
At first glance, David Reiber Otálora’s installations bring to mind ubiquitous, and for this very reason frequently overlooked elements in nearly every interior space. The folded metal objects are painted with the black, shadow-like shapes of radiators and augment the rooms of the Bärenzwinger as apparently ordinary heating sources. Here, however, it’s not only our habitual ways of seeing that are led through a translation of three-dimensional object into two dimensions ad absurdum; the familiar functions of objects are also inverted, as the works themselves do not produce heat, but are instead heated by external sources of light and warmth. At the same time, it almost seems as though the drawn silhouettes take on a kind of fictional three-dimensional corporeality through their sensitivity to temperature. Their periodic heating leads to a change in surface, rendering the contours of the radiators invisible. Hidden drawings emerge that are reminiscent of cave painting. Like in the Chauvet caves, whose famous paintings can only be seen for a few seconds by flashlight due to their sensitivity to light, the visibility here is also a temporary one that vanishes when the installation cools back down.
08/17/2019 7 – 10 pm
with Julia Pomeranzewa und Christa Junge
On 17 August 1939, the Bear pit opened its doors in the Köllnischer Park to present to the Berliners the living heraldic animal of their city. After the Second World War, at least 2 bears lived in the kennel for many years since 1949, until the last city bear Schnute died in 2015. Since September 2017, the former bear enclosure of the Berlin City Bears has been open as a cultural venue for site-specific contemporary art in Berlin-Mitte and, in addition to the changing exhibition programme, also offers visitors a fundamental opportunity to visit the former home of the bears.
On the occasion of the eightieth anniversary of the enclosure, the Bärenzwinger is organising an evening programme that presents and discusses the history, present and future of the bears. Together with cultural scientist Julia Pomeranzewa and Christa Junge from the Berliner Bärenfreunde e.V., the Bärenzwinger team will provide an insight into the current use of the Bärenzwinger, personal perspectives on and memories of the bears and the significance of the Bärenzwinger within the history of Berlin.
09/06/2019 7 – 10 pm
Presentation by Hopscotch Reading Room
HOPSCOTCH a non-profit bookstore, reading room and event space in Berlin will be our guest for one evening. A day dedicated to connections between books and books, books and people and people and people.
10/06 + 10/12/2019 2 – 4 pm
eWalks with Karl Heinz Jeron
10/23/2019 7 – 10 pm
Tuesday – Sunday
11am – 7pm
U8 Heinrich-Heine Straße
U2 Märkisches Museum
Bus 165, 265, 248