whitehot | May 2007, WM Issue #3: Super bien! Greenhouse for contemporary art
Super bien! Gewächshaus für zeitgenössische kunst, is a project space instigated by the artists Anne Katrin Stork, Carlos Silva and David Keating in 2006. The site consists of a standard flat pack greenhouse situated the leafy courtyard of the Milchoff Studios in Scwedter Str, where the members of the group work. It provides a ready made and ultimately portable, exhibition venue showcasing the work of the artists and their colleagues.
To date artists exhibiting have included, Charlotte McGowan-Griffin, David Keating, Dean Kenning, Gustavo Ramirez, Anne Katrin Stork as well as a curated show, Groupwedding. The intention is for Super bien to travel but it will remain in situ till mid 2007 hosting both exhibitions and performance. The project is one of a growing number of innovative artist iniated strategies to subvert and supplant the homogeneity of the white cube/black space models which continue to dominate the presentation of contemporary art and performance.
Super bien’s recently staged The Ecstatic Truth, an exhibition by two British artists, Charlotte McGowan-Griffin and Dean Kenning, the former based in Berlin and the latter in London, both are graduates of Goldsmiths.
Commemorating the 70th anniversary of the death of the American writer H.P Lovecraft, the works exhibited responded to the writer’s queasy relationship with nature, the title referring to filmmaker Werner Herzog’s conception of “The Ecstatic Truth”, his notion of a more intuitive understanding of the world in which empirical observation is intermingled with the subjective.
McGowan-Griffin displayed a neatly stacked pile of slick black cardboard tubes, resembling Liquorice Allsorts, titled Illuminated Forest, each fronted with a delicately realized image. The scenes depicted were deliberately vague, the technique alluding to Nineteenth century magic lantern shows, the Indonesian Waywang and childhood book illustrations.
The gently flickering light which illuminated these intricate paper cuts cast an eldritch glow throughout the greenhouse, occasional shifts in colour hypnotizing the visitors with its resemblance to an uncanny artificial coal fire. The unheimlich mood was further emphasized by Kenning’s untitled gummi-trees, discarded offcuts of spooky grey rubber that gyrated on polystyrene plinths. Cunningly motorized by a concealed turntable they popped and creaked as they rotated, shaking their limbs in small spasms. These strange objects seemed a perfect correlative to Lovecraft’s own febrile relationship with the natural (and supernatural) world.
At the finnisage of the exhibition guests were treated to the debut of Darren Robert Smith’s, The Remnants of Ammi Pierce (adapted by Guenther Primig from Lovecraft’s The Colour out of Space,with music by Irene Vannucci and sound design by Martin Spange). The actor/director channeled Lovecraft, grey and sweating, as he recalled the dismemberment of a friend and the terror that crawled out of the well. As dusk fell the tale darkened further as Smith’s voice (manipulated by Spange) began to contradict his account, developing its own sinister agenda.
The current exhibition at Super bien!, running until June 2nd, is Einsatzort by the German artist Ines Tartler. Tartler, plays with ideas of transparency and self referentiality, presenting a large black and white photograph of the greenhouse suspended in the space and lit by a fierce halogen lamp with a silver cowl. Above the space the sentence ‘ich durchschaue dich’ (I see through you) is cut from white card and strung between the trees.
Super bien’s projects are, by virtue of the greenhouse’s transparency, visible 24hrs a day, seven days a week however for a chance to speak with the artist or view the interior of the space visit on Fridays and Saturdays between 3 and 7pm.
Super bien! Scwedter Str 232-234
Noah Becker: Editor-in-Chief