Under the title ‘CHARTA #2 – Identity and Narration,’ Frontviews brings together five Berlin-based artists, each of whom has developed very individual and distinctive drawing idioms. This is the second exhibition in the series of four surveys of the medium.
Over the years, each artist has repeatedly dealt with questions of identity and origin, as well as with the diverse—often overlapping and also mutually contradictory—preconditions and contexts of the artistic creation.
Anyone who moves as an artist in a (largely) figurative field cannot avoid reflecting on these issues. What is it that defines us as human beings? What are the boundaries between subject and object? Between “I” and the world?
Where are the quasi-universal and wholly specific parameters that shape identity and accompany us on our journey through life? These are geographical, historical, political, postcolonial, biographical, sexual, political, and generally cultural elements that interact in this forcefield and create new narratives in which the artists formulate these questions.
Especially in recent years, these issues have found a particular urgency; the composition of the protagonists of the discourse has shifted from the margins to the center. Who speaks about what? How about justification? In the history of the medium of drawing—analogous to all other discourses and debates in all disciplines—an intensification of interest in both questions of identity and presentation of narrative content can be observed.
Beyond questions of new dramaturgy or storytelling, new patterns and types of narrative art have developed in pop-cultural, time-based media, often with recourse to historical forms, without language, always having to be a means of clarification.
Marc Brandenburg, whose protagonists are mostly based in urban spaces and presented in inverted graffiti drawings illuminated by black light as if on an X-ray, plays with an aesthetic of fragmented narration. On one hand, identity can be lived as a concept that is self-chosen, fluid, and misses and expands the social framework, but also as an ironic response to standardization and violent attributions.
Stella Geppert, on the other hand, is dedicated to questions of communication and the deeply human need to overcome the boundaries of the self and to make contact with the other through empathetic gestures.
Marianna Ignataki also seems to find inspiration in myth. Her heroines and heroes are melancholic hybrid beings from the zones of the subconscious and the world of out-of-time glamour who lure us in with their bitter-sweet charm.
Tim Plamper’s photographically precise sheets in graphite stem from a deep interest in re-interrogating buried mythical remnants in our modern lives. In his collage-like drawings, Plamper peels out a hidden core of atavist primordial energy while presenting us with existential questions beyond logos and ratio.
Sandra Vásquez de la Horra’s new Leporello works are drawings on the threshold of the object; they occupy the space and demand a new form of observation. Silhouettes of reclining bodies rising like mountain peaks in the landscape and multi-viewed heads do not allow clear attributions of the figures; they challenge the gaze again and again.