ZAK Center for Contemporary Art

19 January  – 24 March 2019


Jaakov Blumas  –  Blindsehen (Gallery, upper floor)

Within the coordinates of constructive-concrete contemporary art, the works of the painter Jaakov Blumas (*1953 in Vilnius/Lithuania) are an impressive unique position. Contrary to the frequently flat and monochrome painting style of many artists in this artistic field, Blumas develops on the basis of geometric shapes a moving surface texture that is tactile. The reason for this is his sensitive handling of the color, which articulates itself beyond the primary colors in the finest valeurs and nuances. Jaakov Blumas combines circle segments, squares, and rectangles into systemic constellations, which often push three dimensionally into the room.

He subjects many of his compositions to a constant change through variations and new arrangements or invites active participation. Color is usually applied in the finest lines and stripes, which allow the juxtaposition of many shades in a confined space. In some works, subtle patterns and shades recall of those experimental works of Op-Art. A characteristic of Jaakov Blumas, however, is the colorfulness, which alternates between dark earthy and radiantly monochrome tones. Thus, it is less reminiscent of the origins of the Concrete- Constructive Art in modern times than of the coloring of French landscape painting. It is precisely this virtuoso play that results in the fascinating presence that Jaakov Blumas’ works develop in the spacious rooms of the Old Barracks.

ill.: Jaakov Blumas, Ohne Titel, 2017, mixed media


Frauke Wilken – Auf Armeslänge (Gallery, ground floor 1)

For about two decades, the Cologne-based artist Frauke Wilken negotiates in her sculptural oeuvre aspects of the physical. The sculptures, which are predominantly made of textile materials are reminiscent of living organisms with their sensitive surface design. In their fragmented form, they call questions about the manipulation of all life. Background of the works is the exploration of the artist with the processes of progressive deconstruction and manipulation of the physical through medial overmodulation and biomedical research. Most of the works suggest mythical chimeras and hybrid creatures. It is such chimeric distorted images that decisively determine the early painting of the artist from the 1990’s. In wild and gestural style, Frauke Wilken develops a picturesque cosmos on large-format canvases of an equally disturbing and frightening aggressiveness. For the first time, the exhibition shows current sculptures and drawings by Frauke Wilken in a dialogue with her impressive and expressive paintings from the years between 1990 and 2000.

ill.: Frauke Wilken, Große Turbulenz I, 2018, oil on canvas


Ingo Ronkholz – Der tatsächliche Raum (Gallery, ground floor 2)

The exhibition, Der tatsächliche Raum, exemplary brings together sculptures and drawings by the sculptor, Ingo Ronkholz, who was born in 1953 in Krefeld and died in the summer of 2018. In 1998, he exhibited his works for the first time in Berlin on a larger scale. A selection of the works that have been created since 2002 will give a deeper insight into the artist’s fascinating ways of working and thinking and can now be seen in the posthumous solo exhibition at the ZAK. Ingo Ronkholz first studied art from 1970-74 at the Werkkunstschule Krefeld, and then from 1974-78 he studied art at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. His artistic work moves within the coordinates of a geometric-constructive canon. The preferred sculptural materials are bronze and iron, in the drawing the preferred materials are oil-impregnated and collaged paper. Thus, in addition to numerous sculptures and wall works, a parallel and extremely independent graphic work is created, which goes far beyond the classical sculptor’s drawings. Both in the three-dimensional form as well as in his works on paper, Ingo Ronkholz has consistently devoted himself to questions of spatial setups and image-finding. In the process, he dissolves the volumes in favor of the internal qualities. From the masterly interplay between line, volume and space arise highly complex forms. The exhibition remembers with numerous loans from the Kunstmuseum Bochum and the estate of the artist an important German sculptor of the present time.

We thank Ms. Jona Koenen-Ronkholz and the Kunstmuseum Bochum for their generous support during the preparations and the realization of the exhibition.
ill.: Ingo Ronkholz, Ohne Titel, 2014, bronze from lost form


Bernd Hiepe – Zug nach Berlin (Lounge)

For the last twenty years, photographer Bernd Hiepe has been portraying fellows from the Swiss Canton of Zug, who are staying in Berlin for a few months. Some Swiss cities and cantons now have over 17 studio locations in the city. From 1998 to 2018 alone, more than 60 fellows from the Canton of Zug visited Berlin, who appreciated the stimulating atmosphere and the internationality of the cultural landscape. The portrait appointments are usually preceded by an intensive get-together. Together with his models, Bernd Hiepe develops a concept for the portraits and tries to work out the specific relationship between each individual person and Berlin, their own work and the culture of the city. The writer Jürgen K. Hultenreich has also provided a literary portrait of the artists. In that way, for the past twenty years, portraits of both – image and text – have been created that are as sharp as they are sensitive and they are always telling a story of urban and cultural history. Many of the places where the scholarship holders were portrayed have changed over time: bars and clubs have closed, urban wasteland has been built up, architectures of the GDR era have disappeared, and Mitte – where the artist in residence studio is located – has become a stylish hipster neighbourhood. The exhibition, Zug nach Berlin, becomes a time travel through the cultural atmosphere of the post-reunification period.

ill.: Bernd Hiepe, Herwig Urin, Schauspieler, 2006


Ricoh Gerbl – It’s Your Turn (Projectroom)

Ricoh Gerbl is a visual artist and author. In her new project, she brings pictures and texts into a dialogue. She creates unusual contextualization of visual and literary information, parallels different temporal levels and thus, helps the invisible to new visibility: It’s Your Turn uses only images of female artists of past centuries and relates them to significant passages from Gerbl’s current novel Fast. Eine Regung.

The reading of a novel and the consideration of artistic works are brought together in the exhibition: From temporally separate actions, which take place one after the other, simultaneity arises and thus, a natural juxtaposition. At the same time, the artist sets strategic considerations in this series in which she gives a new context to existing pictorial material and explores the limits of common viewing habits. At the same time, with her selection of images, which exclusively draws on the production of female artists, she questions the usual market structures in which the art of men still dominates. Not only is there a demand for greater attention to female artists, but also a desire for a more respectful view of female production.

ill.: Ricoh Gerbl, detail from It’s Your Turn, 2018, graphic print

ZAK – Zitadellenhof

Rainer W. Gottemeier – Blinken – Blitzen – Blicken

A light installation at the ZAK – Centre for Contemporary Art

7 March – 12 May 2019, daily from dusk onwards

In the coming months, the winter courtyard of the Spandau Citadel will become the setting for an impressive light art in public spaces: in the slit-like mezzanine windows of the Old Barracks, light artist Rainer W. Gottemeier will create a rhythmically illuminated light installation consisting of 74 sea rescue lamps. After dusk, they emit a flash of light every two seconds. Over a length of more than 80 metres, a moving line of light points is created. Since the lamps are not calibrated, they develop an irregular and random rhythm. Thus, new constellations and visual events are constantly formed: “The light itself is a short foretelling that shines as something real, it is something spatial in time. They are gestures into the open, into the free world of the Citadel Square.” (Rainer W. Gottemeier)

ill.: Rainer W. Gottemeier, Untitled, 2019