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Edouard Vuillard

What's On in Berlin: Dennis Adam's image constructions, Johannes Geccelli's fragmented colour blocks and another location for Bremen Galerie Wolfgang Werner

The Werner will give visitors a taste of Vuillard in anticipation of the Washington show

A forum for major contributions to modern, internationally recognised art is the objective of the Galerie Franck & Schulte, which opened in 1991. Its one-man show for the American artist Dennis Adams and his installations of photo sculptures enters the border area between three-dimensional object and two-dimensional image. Adams made a name with his bus shelters with light boxes attached. His way of combining photo material from the media with mirrors, wire and multi-imaged boxes to create new images makes things previously overlooked visible. Lynne Cooke describes the dual character of Adam’s best pieces as having “a topical urgency and a larger resonance”. Adams designed one installation, “Trans/Actions”, specially for Berlin. The changed political situation in Germany and the flow of capital to eastern Germany form the background for the piece (19 March-2 May).

The decision by the Bremen Galerie Wolfgang Werner to open a branch in Berlin will also benefit the art trade on the Spree. Wolfgang Werner’s arrival will lend substantial support to the small group of dealers who handle art from before the Classical Modern movement. In March he will be showing aspects of the work of Edouard Vuillard—fruits of a concern lasting two decades. Two years before the great retrospective that will begin in 1994/95 in Washington, Werner aims to bring Vuillard out of the shadow of Pierre Bonnard and offer a new insight into his late works, from the post-Nabis period. Over the years Werner has acquired a number of major works, including post-1900 Paris city impressions. These large works are peinture à la colle, pastel or mixed media, so that the texture of the surface gives them a particular attraction in addition to their motifs and treatment of the subject. Some early self-portraits are grouped around this core of late paintings, which are of museum quality, and the exhibition also includes at least fifty drawings, some of which have a very free handling of the subject. Women artists receive far less attention in the gallery programmes in Berlin than their male colleagues and so the notices of shows by Annette Schultze and Claudia Hart are worth attention, if only because they are women with exhibitions. Annette Schultze is a painter and for years she has been one of the discoveries encouraged by the Galerie Jahnhorst & Preuß. The latest phase of her work is now to be seen under the title “Die Welt ohne Zucker” (The World without Tremor). Characteristic is a formal vocabulary that she takes from sublimely tinted colour fields, with traces of such banal objects as iron nails and charcoal or gestural painting. Using birdsand, Assam tea concentrate, rust, wax crayon and acrylic, Schultze sets sign after sign upon the transparent paper which will later say much about this process of creation (until 21 March).

The young American artist Claudia Hart attacks good taste and bourgeous decency with paintings that look like smoothly polished gravestones. In “Evil” she places in the centre the comment “Children are like pancakes. You should throw first ones out. Shirley Hart, Mother”. This artist has attracted attention with puns and the use of woodcuts from the early modern age showing death with the scythe, and she has already exhibited with Pat Hearn in New York, Barbara Krakow in Boston and Thaddaeus Rocap in Paris. Nine months before moving permanently from Paris to Berlin Claudia Hart has her first one-woman show in Berlin in the Galerie Volker Diehl. Founded more than twenty years ago, the gallery run by Georg Nothelfer rapidly became the mecca for friends of Informel, Tachisme and scriptural painting. Works by Emil Schumacher, K.O. Götz, K.H. Sonderborg and Fred Thieler could have been bought here long before the market discovered them. In March Nothelfer will be showing new paintings and drawings by Adochi, a Romanian artist who has lived and worked in Berlin for many years. His works are still layered and impasto but lighter in colour and more relaxed in accentuation.

Anyone looking for artists whose names are more closely linked with Berlin, in March, should go to Karoline Müller’s gallery. She is showing new works by Johannes Grützke, who takes a grotesquely realistic view of people. The Galerie Eremitage is showing works by Johannes Geccelli until 9 April under the title “Das Bild als Weg” (“The Picture as Path”). Geccelli has been teaching at the Berlin Hochschule der Künste for decades and at first glance his paintings look monochrome. Only a closer look will reveal that the canvas is divided into colour strips calculated in modules. With extreme care Geccelli traces the tiniest optical changes, working to counter fast consumerism. Karl Horst Hödicke is also a painter in Berlin and Professor at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. As the “Father of the Young Wild” movement, he helped to form the specific approach and vision in painting that were characteristic of Berlin in the late Seventies and early Eighties. The Galerie Raab is showing a cycle for the first time (until 28 March) which occupied Hödicke longer than any other work. It is a series of twenty-four vertical formats, entitled “Hödicke paints Elvira”, and it evolved over the last fifteen years. Hödicke does not otherwise paint portraits, but he has taken his wife as model and depicts her in everyday situations with her child or cat, as a nude or in “Spanish Blouse”. But familiarity does not become intimacy in these works, as Hermann Wiesler says in the foreword to the catalogue. The intense luminosity of the paint does not depict the person Elvira, it is a creation in colour. Thomas Florschuetz, aged thirty-four, lives and works in Berlin. His medium is photography, his language that of painting. In his latest works Florschuetz is still exploiting the potential size of his images by building up the framed photos in the form of crosses or pyramids. Entitled “Belvedere”, these polyptchs are to be seen in the Galerie Vier in East Berlin and the Galerie Nikolaus Söhne in West Berlin with a joint catalogue. The exhibition is the opening show for the Galerie Vier in its new premises on a factory floor, Schwedter Strasse 263 in Prenzlauer Berg.

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 16 March 1992