Photographer: Eric Bell
Omer Halperin

Internal Curl

Opening: 11.09.2020, 19:00
11.09. – 01.11.2020, 24 / 7

Free Figuration – On Omer Halperin
Pablo Larios

1. In linguistics, ‘grammar’ can be defined as a set of rules that govern the forms of possible verbal expression. Is there a grammar to a picture?

2. Of the many ways of reading an image – symbolic, iconological, historical, affective, contextual – very few describe themselves as grammatological. Yet, an observer of 19th century bookshelves might find publications such as Owen Jones’s The Grammar of Ornament (1856), or the work of Aloïs Riegl, who gave lectures in 1897 and 1899 compiled as the Historical Grammar of the Visual Arts. Such authors attempted to discern iconographic rules and laws as they applied to architecture, ornaments and the visual arts. These aesthetic formalisms have come and gone, but their core question remains valid: what is the grammar of a picture?

3. In 1912, a Geneva-based philologist named Charles Bally was among the first to identify an unusual characteristic within certain narrative texts. Rhetoricians have long distinguished between oratio obliqua and oratio recta (oblique and direct narration): grammatical forms whether or not the speaker was actually present at the site and place (for instance, Lucan’s ‘indirect’ characterizations of Curio in his Bellum Civile.) But Bally noted a third form of recorded narration that did not fit either category. Terming this ‘free indirect speech’, the notion has since gained currency as a way of understanding the stylistics of literary texts – especially those of Jane Austen or Gustave Flaubert – in which a third-person narrator slips out of his or her perspective and actually adopts the psychological perspective of the character described. Whenever the narration of Madame Bovary (1856) undergoes an inflection such that Emma Bovary’s most intimate thoughts, emotions, confusions, etc., take over the register of the text, revealing information the narrator could not have known otherwise, we have experienced this ‘free indirect speech’.

4. When we tell a story, we impute motivation, beliefs, feelings to individuals who are not us. There is always a depiction not only of surface but of interiority. It’s obvious enough, but remarkable still: storytelling and portraiture share an oscillation between subject and object. In a grammatological method of free indirect depiction, however, it is not the subject’s perspective on an object that governs the depiction of that object; rather, the object itself governs its depiction. One way we can think of it is that, instead of someone telling us what two characters in another room are saying, we actually begin to hear, through the room, what they speak. The effect, paradoxically, is not of exteriority, but rather of a heightened intimacy and interiority.

5. The idea of a ‘free indirect speech’ was so compelling to Pier Paolo Pasolini that, in his article ‘The Cinema of Poetry’ (1965), the writer and filmmaker considered the possibility of a ‘free indirect camera’. In this lecture, Pasolini characterizes this method as such: ‘the author penetrates entirely into the spirit of his character, of whom he thus adopts not only the psychology but also the language.’ He identifies examples from Dante, onward through contemporary film, in which the image is saturated or overtaken with the language of the depicted individual.

6. The acute psychologization of Omer Halperin’s charcoals – black and white depictions of individuals – stems from their achieving something that can be described as a free indirect figuration. Hers are not portraits in a conventional sense which maintains a clear delineation between figure and ground, subject and object. Of course there is a playing of faces and hands, of hair and of the cloudlike stroke of charcoal, with its intimations of moodiness and vaporousness. Yet in her works, she achieves a sense of intimacy and estrangement that is irreducible to voyeurism. It is tempting to characterize this as a depiction of interiority, but – as in free indirect speech – a depicted interiority is also a ruptured one. By contrast, she sustains the interiority and mystery of her depicted subjects. I propose that what she is expressing is, with remarkably clarity, a kind of grammar of the visual. A grammar that allows for the chance and determinate encounter with individual character, which sets up the conditions for its own depiction. Here it is: a free indirect figuration.

Omer Halperin (*1984, Raanana, IL) lives and works in Jaffa. Internal Curl is her first exhibition in Germany. Previous shows include: Eardrum, Ventilator Gallery Tel Aviv, IL; Tiny Hands, Sommer Gallery Tel Aviv, IL; New Age, Moby Museum Of Bat Yam, Bat Yam, IL; In Restless Dreams I Walk Alone, Sommer Gallery Tel Aviv, IL; Arad Contemporary Art Center, Arad, IL.

Curated by Elodie Evers
The exhibition is funded by Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa
Photographer: Eric Bell

Aude Pariset
Émissions nocturnes

Opening: 18.06.2020, 19:00
19.06.-23.08.2020, 24 / 7

Aude Pariset has hung two duvets of different sizes in the pavilion. They frame several images of cars in traffic jams: the image sections depict snaking lines of heavy traffic, blurrily and dully printed onto these fluffy surfaces that would normally envelop bodies and lull them to sleep. The cars are driving towards the horizon, perhaps toward the next summer holiday, I imagine, and so the reality of air particles and frustration promptly gives way to sentimental memories of long journeys.
The traffic jam as a place of longing? Not surprising, when Pariset presents it here as if it were on an advertising banner. The desire to move forward coupled with simultaneous stagnation: all passengers separated into their own small sheet metal cells, but en route to a polluted future together. And on this subject: Did you know that nocturnal ejaculation is also referred to as pollution, as contamination?In English it is also called a “nocturnal emission,” while in French it is referred to as “pollution nocturne.” When I think of emissions, I immediately think of pollution. Of the diesel scandal and greenhouse gases. This corresponds with the fact that the quality and quantity of sperm has drastically decreased in the last fifty years, not least because of the increase in harmful environmental influences. The rate of reproduction and climate change are therefore both, in a sense, direct consequences of particle emissions into the environment. The human species is heading toward its demise, but not much else is on the move right now…

Aude Pariset (*1983, France) lives and works in Berlin.
Solo exhibitions: Cell Project Space, London; Kunstverein Nürnberg and Sandy Brown, Berlin. Group exhibitions: Futur, ancien, fugitif, Palais de Tokyo; Crash Test, La Panacée; A Good Neighbour, 15th Istanbul Biennial and ARS17, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma.

Curated by Elodie Evers
The exhibition is funded by Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa

Photographer: Eric Bell

Klaus Weber

Opening: 30.11.19, 19:00
01.12.19 – 16.02.20, 24 / 7


Berlin-based artist Klaus Weber works in a variety of media, and channels many disciplines of specialist knowledge: from engineer to anthropologist, from bee-keeper to anatomist. His ongoing explorations of natural, technological and socio-political forces, look to investigate our relationships with the environments we live in. By poking at the rational veneer of everyday life — sometimes subtly, sometimes with catastrophic metaphorical consequences — Weber delivers an untamable, anarchic humour.

In his exhibition at the Volksbühne pavillon, Weber critically engages with monuments and memorials to bring into question society’s deepest belief systems. Traditional monuments – typically bound to ideas of national identity – depict heroic narratives and glorious victories. Everyday human failings, doubts and imperfections hardly feature. NONUMENTS is the name Weber uses to describe his contrarian proposals for public monuments. They are contemporary memento mori that reflect on late capitalist culture with an edgy, uncomfortable wit.

The exhibition includes several sculptures, some are models for yet-to-be realised public monuments or temporary interventions. „Snowman“ for example: Atop an over-elaborate neoclassically styled pedestal, where one might expect to see an illustrious commander carved in stone, there is a snowman with a cigarette in its mouth and a bottle top for a hat, posed without pretence, like an irreverent anti-hero. This eternal snowman couldn’t care less about the threat of melting. The thick frost around the exterior of its copper body is maintained by the constant circulation of refrigerated spirits in its interior cavity. Weber’s sculptures often exhibit such cyclical processes.

„Burning Insurance“ is a small-scale model of an insurance company headquarters in Berlin Wittenbergplatz, perpetually and quietly burning without expansion. Adopting the format of the diorama – a miniature dramatic scene common in the nineteenth century – unsophisticated lighting and a smoke machine give the crude illusion of a raging fire. In similarly deadpan dramatic mode, „Fountain Bus“ depicts an ominously deserted roadside scene where a single storey commuter bus has apparently veered off the road, becoming stranded on top of an overturned fire hydrant. As it fills with a torrent of water, the bus is transformed into a farcical water feature, endlessly filling and tipping, filling and tipping. These two NONUMENTS are sculptural closed-circuits, maintaining states of endless, perilous, equilibrium.

„Brick Shoes“ is a pair of classic black leather slip-on shoes, evoking an „Old World gentleman“ or aspirational businessman, bound with cement to two bricks. As an image they recall a cliché comic book prank, or perhaps something more sinister — apparently the Italian mafia would set a murder victim’s feet in cement so that their body would sink to the bottom of a river. Whatever conclusions we draw, the owner of the shoes is nowhere to be seen.

Klaus Weber (Germany, 1967) lives and work in Berlin. Weber’s exhibitions include: Kugelmensch, Herald St Gallery, London, 2017, AGEMO (Hybrid Naples), Fondazione Mora Grecco, Naples, 2013, Sandfountain, Frieze Projects East, London, 2012, If you leave me I’m not coming, & Already There!, Nottingham Contemporary, 2011, bee paintings, Transmission, Glasgow, 2010, The Kaleidoscopic Eye: Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, 2009, Klaus Weber, Secession, Vienna, 2008, The Big Giving, Hayward Gallery, London 2007, Avenue of Wakefullness, Kunstverein in Hamburg, & Ecstasy, MOCA, Los Angeles, & The Imaginary Number, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, 2005, sick fox, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York & Unfolding cul-de-sac, Cubitt Gallery, London, 2004, Public Fountain LSD Hall, Frieze Projects, London, 2003

Curated by Elodie Evers
The exhibition is funded by Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa
Photographer: Eric Bell

Aviva Silverman
The Living Watch Over the Living ii

Opening: 13.9.2019, 19:00 – 22:00
14.9. – 10.11.2019, 24 / 7

On last year’s American independence day, activist Patricia Okoumou protested against the policy of child separation at the US-Mexico border with a heroic gesture. Putting her own life at risk, she climbed the base of the Statue of Liberty wearing a printed T-shirt calling to “Rise and Resist”. “Lady Liberty” has stood with her raised torch at the southern tip of Manhattan since 1886, waiting for the “tired” and the “poor,” the “wretched refuse” and the “homeless.” This promise, however, has become increasingly mocking under the presidency of Donald Trump. Ascending a statue that has always stood for democracy and freedom is akin to reclaiming that promise, and evokes Emma Lazarus’ poem*, inscribed on a bronze plaque at the statue’s feet.

In Aviva Silverman installation „The Living Watch Over the Living ii“, three marionette-like glass angels follow the footage from Okoumou’s action. They are doing what angels usually do: surveilling what happens on earth. According to holy scriptures, angels are non-gendered beings of a purely spiritual nature, who act as God’s envoys and deliver his messages. In Arabic, the term Shahid refers to both a witness and a martyr, an etymological connection between those who watch and keep score, and those who are ready to go all the way for what they believe in, regardless of the consequences. In that sense, four Angels meet at the Volksbühne Pavilion: three are made of glass, and Patricia Okoumou. And so we watch, as one mortal looks over the other mortals, all under the eyes of the immortal.

„The Living Watch Over the Living ii“ is Aviva Silverman’s first solo exhibition in Germany and combines the artist’s various interests: technologies and artifacts of moral and political surveillance, activism and human rights issues, and the embodiment and custodians of narrative and belief.

Aviva Silverman (born 1986, New York) works with sculpture, performance, photography, and theater. Solo exhibitions and performances include: „Protect Me From What I Am“ Swiss Institute, New York (2019) and „Twister“, MoMA PS1, New York (2016). Group exhibitions include Greater New York, MoMA PS1, New York (2015); „It Can Howl“, Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, Georgia (2016) and „I Surrender Dear“, Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, Austria (2016).

Curated by Elodie Evers
The exhibition is funded by Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa

Photo: Martin Ebner

The Near Future

Opening: 15.03.19
16.03. – 19.05.19, 24 / 7

An installation by Ariane Müller and Martin Ebner (Starship)
with works by Judith Hopf, Christoph Keller, Henrik Olesen, Gunter Reski, Nina Rhode, Nora Schultz, Till Sperrle, Tobias Spichtig, Suse Weber, Annette Wehrmann and Florian Zeyfang

The art magazine Starship was founded in 1998 in Berlin-Mitte and exists by now for more than twenty years. In its first issue, it used six key phrases to describe the environment in which it operated: “experienced self-organization”; “halfway drafted life models”; “passing economy”; “ exhibitable introspection”; “ample contacts” and “art?”

Twenty years later, Starship continues to produce the magazine, but also looks back on a long life-span as an exhibition organizer, publisher, and producer. Within the current editorial board — which includes Gerry Bibby, Nikola Dietrich, Martin Ebner, Ariane Müller, and Henrik Olesen — Ebner and Müller had originally founded the magazine, together with Hans-Christian Dany and Gunter Reski. For the exhibition at the Volksbühne Pavilion, they have visualized Starship and invited works by artists that have been in the memory or storage of the magazine for varying lengths of time. Seen in terms of theories of relativity, as material objects, they are potential kinetic energy, and therefore, together with their authors, they are the virtual operating power of Starship, which has always also consisted of publishing what it understood as the current and new within its time. The magazine Starship has existed in the near future for twenty years. In its exhibition at LVX, it takes the form of a barn. This is not only because the area around the Volksbühne is known as “Scheunenviertel” (Barn District), but also because this is the shape the Starship builders have developed for their spacecraft as the most economical and suitable for everydaylife. In this form, Starship can function as a ‘magazine’ in its meaning as storage, but its parallel function as a spaceship facilitates movements in various time-relative relations. Either way, the barn and the spaceship are a kind of shell for everything they transport; its builders are the Volksbühne workshops.

Curated by Elodie Evers
The exhibition is funded by Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa