Bela Kolarova, Lucie Stahl and Claus Richter

Bela Kolarova, Lucie Stahl and Claus Richter

Kölnischer Kunstverein

Poster of the exhibition by Běla Kolářová and Lucie Stahl at Kölnischer Kunstverein, 2011.
Design: Manuel Raeder.

April 13, 2011

Bela Kolarova, Lucie Stahl and Claus Richter

Die Brücke
Hahnenstraße 6
D – 50667 Cologne


Běla Kolářová and Lucie Stahl
14 April–29 May 2011

Prague-based artist Běla Kolářová (1923–2010) began experimenting with photographic techniques in the early 1960s, creating photograms and X-ray photographs that continued the Bauhaus tradition of photography as an abstract medium. Thus, for a series of photograms she called vegetages, she produced miniature “artificial negatives” by pressing natural materials into soft paraffin and using them for the exposure of the photographic paper instantaneously as “negatives.” In the late sixties Kolářová increasingly began creating assemblages out of found objects including household items such as snap fasteners, needles and safety pins. Kolářová arranged these objects according to conceptual grids, and thus they are somewhat akin to the work of Nouveaux Realistes as well as to various conceptual practices. The work she produced in this way defied the aesthetic canon of Socialist Realism, and Kolářová developed a remarkable conceptual feminist style that was all her own.

In recent years, Kolářová’s work was shown at the documenta 12 (2007), at the Raven Row gallery in London (2010) and in solo shows at the Museum Kampa in Prague (2008) and Muzeum Umění in Olomouc (2007).

The Kölnischer Kunstverein is showing Běla Kolářová’s works together with those of Lucie Stahl, which possess certain formal similarities despite the fact that they were produced much later and under very different conditions.

Lucie Stahl uses a contemporary photographic technique for her poster-like works, arranging everyday objects such on a scanner in seemingly random fashion and then encases the resulting inkjet prints in polyurethane like distant objects. The works are annotated with brief text fragments in which Stahl humorously provides her subjective perspective on social and political events. Her aphoristic commentary is reminiscent of the language of American stand-up comedy, with short anecdotes in rapid succession and witticisms, recounted as if in a soliloquy, that relate awkward or embarrassing situations, pointed observations on society and her own and others’ comments. The poster series is juxtaposed with two sculptures by Stahl that look like oversized household items: a glossy white egg beater and a surreal-looking pepper grinder complete with a vacuum cleaner attachment. The juxtaposition of the sculptures with the posters—crystal-clear scanned images of objects resulting from a similar magnification process—makes the sculptures seem almost like fetishes, grotesque trophies of consumer culture.

Lucie Stahl lives and works in Vienna. She is represented by the Dépendance gallery in Brussels and Galerie Meyer Kainer in Vienna. Her work has been featured in solo shows at the Kunstverein Nürnberg (2009), the Dépendance gallery in Brussels (2005 and 2008), the Michael Neff gallery in Frankfurt (2007), and at the Flaca in London (2005). Together with Will Benedict she also manages the Pro Choice gallery space in Vienna.

This exhibition is a cooperation with Stadtgalerie Schwaz.


Claus Richter, Millions of Lights
in the archive series The crucial point/ Der springende Punkt
14 April–20 May 2011

Miniature pink Walt Disney Cinderella castles, whole villages of tiny Polly Pocket houses, layered cream cakes made of plastic, masks and laser swords, photographs of adventure and fantasy worlds in theme parks—for this year’s archive project Millions of Lights, Claus Richter will trawl through his own archives of toys, novelty items and photographs to build a small theme park revealing his own, very personal take on the seductive dream worlds of Disneyland, Phantasialand and Hollywood studios.

In the project The crucial point/Der springende Punkt, artists and curators work with archives of individuals and institutions pertaining to contemporary artistic and curatorial positions. In each instalment of the series, a single artist or curator chooses aspects of the archive they are working with to focus on and emphasize.

Claus Richter (*1971) holds a studio grant at Kölnischer Kunstverein since 2008.

Kölnischer Kunstevreins likes to thank Imhoff Stiftung, Czech-German Fund For The Future, Schroubek Fonds, Munich, Karin Abt-Straubinger Foundation, Seilern Collection in Vienna, Werkladen, Cologne, Artex Art Services, Ulrike Remde, Kurt and Claudia von Storch, Koellefolien, Filmclub 813, Print und Copy Center in Cologne for their support.

Bela Kolarova, Lucie Stahl and Claus Richter
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Kölnischer Kunstverein
April 13, 2011

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