About Us | KÖNIG GALERIE | Dessauerstrasse | 16.7.–7.8.2010
with Fikret Atay, Tom Burr, Andrea Faciu, Ryan Gander, Petrit Halilaj, Alex Hubbard, Emily Jacir, Alicja Kwade, Rodney McMillian, Michael Sailstorfer, Benjamin Saurer, Erinc Seymen, Josh Smith, Danh Vo, Johannes Wohnseifer, Jordan Wolfson
Press Release:


Fikret Atay

Rebels of the Dance, 2002, video, 10 min 57

In Rebels of the Dance, two boys sing and dance to traditional Kurdish songs in the cashpoint foyer of a bank. The title was derived from “Sultans of the Dance” – a folklore-derived TV show featuring ninety dancers, which was a smash hit in Turkey. Under grim lights, they break into a traditional song and turn the space into a stage. The songs follow one another ever faster, ever more rhythmically, and, of necessity, in their own invented language (Kurdish was outlawed in Turkey in the early 90s).

Born 1976 in Batman, Turkey, lives there – 2004 Time zones, Tate – 2005 Sonidos lejanos/Distant Sound, MUSAC, Spain – 2006 Hammer Projects, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles – 2007 Site Gallery, Sheffield – 2008 Bonner Kunstverein, Germany – 2009 Batman versus Batman, Outlet, Istanbul – 2010 Fikret Atay, Viafarini, Milano.

Tom Burr

Worn, 2005, plywood, zinc hinges, paint, straw hat, neck tie, straw fan, thumbtacks, 105 x 60 x 243 cm

The work “Worn” is part of a series of sculptures inspired by the personal life of the famous writer Truman Capote; the straw hat, neck tie and straw fan refer to the writer's personality and the vicissitudes through which he had to pass after the years of great popularity. The structure itself is used to assemble the objects and to impose a narrative aspect and suggest a sense of instability and possibility of collapse, that reflect the highs and lows of his personal and professional life.Tom Burr belongs to a generation of artists who have worked intently with the political and critical implications of art since the 1990's, extensively dealing with Minimal Art as well as using it as a starting point. Contrary to their predecessors and their institution-critical approaches, for artists like Burr, the museum or classical exhibition space is no longer the sole valid referential point. In fact, the frames of reference have expanded to quite diverse contexts. In his architectural and sculptural work, Burr intervenes and stages places pertaining to the everyday and to subcultures, such as public toilets, garden hedges, porn movie theaters, dire bars and video booths.

Born 1963 in New Haven, lives in New York - 2002 Deep Purple, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York - 2003 Gone, Gone, American Fine Arts, New York - 2005 Complete Breakdown, Galerie Neu, Berlin – 2008 Addict – Love, Sculpture Center, New York – 2009 Bonvicini/Burr Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich.

Andrea Faciu

Le Luneux, 2003, video, 3 min 34

In her video “Le Luneux”, the artist presents us a song unknown to her, up until the time when she found it on a record and proceeded to learn it by heart. Faciu thus reproduces the story of a blind person. The narrator in first person describes in simple words her life, thoughts, impressions, dreams as well as her surroundings, challenging the question of the ideal friendship and life within society. By means of the strict camera shots of the mouth, the singing is visualized in a certain way - the entity facing its impersonality in order to become monumental. At the same time the content is also brought forward through the juxtaposition of the recorded sound of Faciu's own voice and her memory of the song, bestowing it with an entirely new interpretation.

Born 1977 in Bukarest, lives in Munich - 2004 Manifesta 5, San-Sebastian  - 2005 Galerie Christine Mayer, München - 2007 Villa Romana, Florenz – 2006/2007 Ars viva Preisträgerin des BDI – 2007 Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Düren - 2009 Lothringer13 Kunsthalle, München – 2010 Junge Kunst e.V. Wolfsburg.

Ryan Gander

Potrait of Mary Auroré Somewhere between 1970 – 1973, 2003, black and white photography, 20 x 15 cm

Portrait of Spencer Anthony Somewhere between 1970 – 1973, 2003, black and white photography, 15 x 20 cm

The images are portraits of two fictional characters Spencer and Mary; these characters have appeared as many different manifestations in various works over the past 10 years of the artist’s practice. Spencer and Mary weave a narrative through out his works, providing us with snippets of stories and narratives of their lives and encounters with each other and different characters invented by he artist. By examining Ganders practice closely we learn that Spencer and Mary are described as illicit lovers, who lose each other on several occasions. The images in reality are photographs of the artist’s parents taken from a family album. Photographed in the 1970's, his parents were at the exact same age as Ryan Gander was when he executed this work.

Born in Chester, UK, lives in London – studied at Rijksakademie – 2004 But it was all green, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam – 2005 T1 Triennial, Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Turin – Is this guilt in you too - (Cinema Verso), Whitechapel, London – 2007 Passengers, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, Sand Francisco -  2008 Revolutions – forms that turn, 16th Biennale of Sydney – 2009 It’s a right Heath Robinson affair (a stuttering exhibition in two parts), Kadist Art Foundation, Paris. 

Petrit Halilaj

Un gallo borghese che voleva essere un pappagallo fino a quando ha potuto capire che poteva essere un gallo. E la sua moglie. (A bourgeois cock who wanted to be a parrot until he could understand that he could be a cock. And his wife), 2009, drawings on paper, wooden frame, 28,5 x 20,5 cm

Petrit Halilaj develops his research from a deep necessity; one that is rooted in a constant questioning of what reality is, and its relation to people inside of it. Many of his pieces are dedicated to his memories, his family or other people close to him. However, his work can be considered everything but an intimate practice, since it essentially involves the invisible presence of a third spectator, hence touching the audience from an inner, personal level. Petrit Halilaj grew up in Kosovo; where he witnessed the whole war period during his early years. This conflict was the starting point of an astounding reflection.

Born 1986 in Skenderaj (Kosovo). Lives in Berlin – 2006 Mediterraneo Contemporaneo, Castello Aragonese, Taranto – 2009 Chert, Berlin – 2009 “Time Machine”, curated by Vlado Velkov, Kunstverein Arnsberg – 2010 6th Berlin Biennial. Petrit Halilaj is represented by CHERT, Berlin.

Alex Hubbard

Dos Nacionales, 2008, video, 3 min 30 

The video presents itself as the artist's typical table top video, restaging his various performative actions carried out on objects. As with his other video works, Hubbard restages the process of doing and making, with a focus on gesture, central to his practice. Handling, manoeuvring, placing, destroying, rearranging the colourful and playful compositions, build on shift and fail. In this specific piece, the viewer witnesses the artist's hands moving hats, dices, bricks, and other found objects, until the whole arrangement is comically and brusquely cleared away with a stick.

Born 1975 in Toledo, Oregon, lives in New York - 2002-2003 Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program – 2004 Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York - 2008 St Louis Museum of Contemporary Art – 2009 Standard Galerie Oslo – 2010 Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Emily Jacir

Zina (from the series Where we come from), 2002-2003, text and c-print, 39 x 24,5; 22,5 x 30 cm

Osama (from the series Where we come from), 2002-2003, text and c-print 22,5 x 30 cm

Confinement and the status of stateless refugee or fugitive are frequently insuperable obstacles for Palestinians when traveling. With her US passport, 
Emily Jacir is able to move freely and at large in Israel as well as in the occupied territories. This situation enables her to do things for other Palestinians such as taking care of errands or bringing over messages. The series ‘Where We Come From’ begins with her question to her fellow compatriots: “What can I do for you in Palestina, in which you cannot travel, but I can travel?” A sketch in the Egyptian Museum April 24, 2003, 2003, video, 1 min 15 In this video, an ironic way of working stands in the background. During the one and a half minute long and frontally arranged shot, a museum guard inexpertly cleans a stone containing a 5000-year-old hieroglyphic scripture. Visitors pass by unperturbed. From Paris to Riyadh (drawings for my mother), 1999-2001, marker on glassine, 21 x 29,7 cm. White sheets of transparent paper with stains of black ink. When having a closer look at them, the stains turn out to be silhouettes of female bodyparts. Each work-group corresponds to an issue of the french "Vogue", on which Emily Jacir worked page for page. A memory of the artist's childhood, when her mother had to blacken the naked parts of women's bodies in fashion-magazins, in order to take them with her from France to Saudi Arabia.- Stella Rollig

Born 1970, lives and works in New York – 2002 Project Room, New York, 2003 Belongings, O.K. Center for Contemporary Art, Linz, Austria – 2004 Emily Jacir: Where We Come From, Moderna Museet, Stockholm – 2005 accumlations, Alexander and Bonin, New York; Emily Jacir, Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London – 2007-2008 Emily Jacir, Kunstmuseum, St. Gallen – 2009  dispatch, Alexander and Bonin, New York; Hugo Boss Prize, Guggenheim Museum, New York – 2010 stazione, Alberto Peola Arte Contemporanea, Torino; affiliations, Beirut Art Center.

Rashid Johnson

Me, Tavis Smiley and Shea Butter, 2004, video, 1 min 45In 

Rashid Johnson's 2004 video "Me, Tavis Smiley & Shea Butter," the artist sits in his bathroom wearing only a towel around his waist rubbing shea butter lotion onto his chest and arms listening to ‘The Tavis Smiley radio talk show’. Tavis Smiley, a highly visible African-American radio and TV talk show host, political commentator, author, entrepreneur, advocate and philanthropist, discusses here the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision from 1954, which declared segregation unconstitutional. Shea butter, an extract from a fruit tree that grows in western Africa, is a moisturizing salve commonly used by the African American community to prevent "ashy" skin and is a material frequently used in Johnson’s work. Johnson, an African American artist himself, combines these racially loaded subjects that could scream out “Blackness” but instead are presented as his simple daily morning routine.

Born 1977 in Chicago, lives and works in New York – 2002 12x12: New Artist, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago – 2003 The Rise and Fall of the Proper Negro, moniquemeloche gallery, Chicago- 2005 the Production of Escapism, Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art – 2007 Dark Matters, James Harris Gallery, Seattle – 2008 Sharpening My Oyster Knife, Kunstmuseum Magdeburg, Germany – 2009 Rashid Johnson: Smoke and Mirrors, Sculpture Center, New York.

Annette Kelm

Untitled, 2009, c-print, mounted on aludibond, 70 x 58 cm
"Untitled" pictures Dirk von Lowtzow, the singer of the band Tocotronic. 

Kelm has re-photographed a Polaroid original, sandwiching together two exposures, two chemical processes, two time-scales and two points of creation. Looking to the side, turned toward something outside the limits of the image, sits the man on the top rung of a stepladder. His emphatically casual posture - arms folded in front of crossed knees and head turned away - cannot conceal a certain intension. The motif and composition feature strong reference to classical portrait, advertising, and fashion photography, which Annette Kelm likes to employ in her works. The fact that the context is not predetermined but the situation depicted is not spontaneous but rather looks consciously staged suggests to the viewer a whole series of ideas for interpretation.

Born 1975 in Stuttgart, lives in Berlin – 2003 Als Kriechtier ist das Pferd edler als der Esel, HfBK, Hamburg – 2004 To a Snail, Galerie Crone, Berlin – 2006 Errors in English, Art cologne – Award of Young Art, Artothek, Cologne – 2007 Vier Jahreszeiten, Johann König, Berlin – 2008 CCA Wattis, Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco – 2009 Kunsthalle, Zürich; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Camera Austria, Graz; Herald Street, London – 2010 Gio Marconi, Milano; Andrew Kreps, New York.

Alicja Kwade

Alice, 2001, video, 3 min 29

“Alice” consists of 22 clips (the number corresponds to the age of the artist at the time when the work was done) from different movies between the years 1929 and 2000, in which the female protagonist “Alice” is sought after or called. In her work, it is possible to recognize a narrative approach despite of the continuous interruptions. The diverse characters are solely connected to each other through their name, however they loose their identity by fading into each other; an identity they do not recover in Kwade's work.

Born 1979 in Kattowice, Poland, lives in Berlin – 2006 B-IF 134, with Gregor Hildebrandt, UBERBAU, Düsseldorf – 2008 Von Explosionen zu ikonen, Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum for contemporary Art, Berlin – 2009 Grenzfälle fundamentaler Theorien, Johann König, Berlin – 2010 Probleme massereicher Körper, Westfählischer Kunstverein, Münster; Ereignishorizont, Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover; Broken away from Common Standpoints, Museion at Peep-Hole, Milan.

Rodney McMillian

Untitled (The Michael Jackson Project), 2004, video, 3 min 28 The famous ballad “Memories”, sung by Gladys Knight, is mimed in a performance by Rodney McMillian. 

Singing, “Can it be that it was all so simple then or has time erased every line?  If we had the chance to do it all again. Would we, could we?”. Searching for the root causes of how Michael Jackson became what he is, McMillian collaborates with Edgar Arceneaux on a project that traces the trajectory of cultural influences of a pop icon. Probing the formation of the star's persona through the different forces in his life, the artists prepared for this project by traveling to Gary, Indiana, the birthplace of Michael Jackson. The work investigates the construction of Jackson's subjectivity as a vehicle to understand the function of the icon in post-industrial America.

Born 1969 in Comlumbia, South Carolina – 2004 on comfort, Gallery Adamski, Aachen – 2007 Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, NAK, Aachen – 2008 The Kitchen, New York, curated by Rashida Bumbray – 2009 Sentimental Disappointment, Momentum 14: Rodney McMillian, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston – 2010 Succulent, Susanne Vielmetter, Los Angeles.

Michaela Meise

o.T. (Poster), 2008, 84 x 59,5 cm

The photograph is linked through its motif to the old-fashioned genre of depicting the artist beside his/her art work. By using a roll of paper as a background as done commonly in photo studios, an empty space without horizon results, the artist perched next to her works “Satztische” and “halbe Matrjoschka”, much like a child in a family portrait. The image was originally made by the artist Sabine Reitmeier.

Born 1976 in Hanau, Germany, lives in Berlin, studied at Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main (Prof. Ayse Erkmen) - 2002 Opening Show, Johann König, Berlin – 2004 Finding my balance. Mariel Hemingway, Kunstverein Braunschweig – 2005 Momentum Minor, Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolos – 2006 Ceremony of Carols, Greene Naftali, New York – 2008 Blende, Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles; Das schwache Haus, Basis e.V., Frankfurt a.M. – 2009 Ding und Körper, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe – 2010 Michael, Almine Rech, Brussels – 2011 Grazer Kunstverein, Graz.

Michael Sailstorfer

Anna, 2004, hair dryer, microphone, speakers, 65 x 47,2 x 59,1 cm

‘Anna’ plays with the image of pop culture. A hairdryer installed on a microphone stand represents a "background singer" performing a song. As soon as the blower is turned on, the sound is recorded by a filigree headset singing microphone. A lateral amplifier strengthens the sound made by the air current, filling up the exhibition space with a noise evocative of a rushing storm. The arrangement of the dryer in 50's style with his headset microphone remind of pop standards as they are usually depicted in revivals today, for example in the music and videos of soul-icon Amy Winehouse. As in many of his works, Sailstorfer experiments in 'Anna' with the possibility of expanding sculpture in space by means of the intangible: sounds, smell or light become defining aspects of the work.

Born 1979 in Velden, lives in Berlin – 2002 Und sie bewegt sich doch!, Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich – 2005 Michael Sailstorfer – Skulptur, Ursula blickle Stiftung, Kraichtal; Zeit ist keine Autobahn, Zero, Milan – 2006 Michael Sailstorfer, Johann König, Berlin – 2007 U6, 14 Grad 34, 790N / 60 grad 50, 969W, Kasseler Kunstverein, Kassel – 2008 10 000 Steine, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt a.M – 2009 Michael Sailstorfer, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris – 2010 Wiedereröffnung K20, K20, Düsseldorf; Kunstverein Bremerhaven; Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover.

Benjamin Saurer

o.T., 2010, hand-coloured offset print, 21 x 29,7 cm

“Interpretationshilfe” The “Künstler” here would be the contemporary artist disguised, as a wandering tinker for whom doubting established certainties of any nature has become a handcraft. He finds his identity in the life form of an uninterrupted self as well as in all other questioning or nomadic forms of Dasein or being-there. This form of existence opens up an access into unfamiliar ways of seeing as well as new insights, thus becoming an agreeable guest who is always welcome.- Benjamin Saurer

Born 1977 in Offenbach, Germany, studied at Städelschule Frankfurt a.M. – 2005 Pure Formalism, Weser 5, Frankfurt – 2006 Kunstverein Rüsselsheim – 2008 ParsViva Schnittraum, Cologne – 2008 Körnhäuschen Aschaffenburg; Sammlung Rausch, KW Hotel Marienbad, Berlin – 2009 Pilar Corrias Gallery, London – 2010 Stanley kuhblicks Odyssee im Weltraum, dépendance, Brussels; Solo project, Art Basel, Art Basel Statements.

Erinc Seymen

Daniel, 2002, oil on canvas 110 x 80 cm

In Seymen’s works, the viewer is mistreated by the implied World as much as the work itself. In this sense, the roles may be reversed at any second. In a way, the dependency of the artist on his viewer places the viewer and the presenter in a different position in the “sadistic-masochistic” relationship. The character of the work is served by the repulsiveness of the figures he chooses combined with the voluntary dissonance Seymen’s colours possess. Whether pornography or calligraphy, there is a melancholic concern for detail in the criticism of representation Seymen seeks in almost all of his works.

Born 1980 in Istanbul – 2003 Tekinsiz Mesafe Galerist, Istanbul – 2005 İhlal Alıştırmaları Galerist, Istanbul – 2006 Untitled Masa, Istanbul – 2007 Av Mevsimi Galerist, Istanbul; Plug-In Series Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands;  Hiap Project Space, Helsinki.

Josh Smith

Untitled (JSP07413), 2006, oil on canvas, 152 x 122 cm

Using the letters of his own name as a motif template, Josh Smith’s paintings eschew subject matter for a barrage of ironic and shameless autographs. Through this unorthodox approach, Smith deprives his canvases of both representational and abstract tradition to directly confront the function of painting itself. Working on stretched fabric, Smith convenes with concepts of authenticity, critical hierarchy and the mythology of the artists. Addressing painting through a variety of historical references from Expressionism to Pop, Smith subverts the aura of the object through his quirky and casual aesthetics. Endlessly replicated both by hand and mechanised copy, the vacant and generic quality of his name gains momentum.

Born 1978 in Tennessee, lives in New York – 2003 Galerie Catherine Bastide, Brussels – 2004 Rena Spaulings Fine Art, New York – 2005 Sculpture Center, Long Island, New York – 2006 Air de Paris, Paris – 2007 Abstractions, Luhring Augustine, New York – 2008 Hidden darts, MUMOK, Vienna; Unstable ideas, Standard, Oslo – 2009 Josh Smith Centre D’art Contemporain de Genève, Geneva; Who Am I, De hallen Haarlem, Netherlands.

Danh Vo

Untitled (coin), 2008, 4 parts, sword, cardboard box, bow, 14 documents framed, format variable

Like an archaeologist or collector, Danh Vo creates enigmatic settings by assembling together objects, documents and artefacts pertaining to his own biography while referring to the Vietnamese history as a background. In his work, he investigates the diverse meanings of personal and collective memory. The exhibited objects for instance, were bought by Vo on eBay from an American soldier named Jay, who had originally acquired the ethnic items from the native Vietnamese Montagnards. His letter exchange completes the installation.

Born 1975, lives in Berlin – 2001 illegal housing, Royal Academy, Copenhagen – 2005 Not a drop but the fall, Klosterfelde, Berlin – 2006 Dreams and Expectations, Bergens Kunsthal, Bergen – 2007 Good Life, Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin; Untitled, Brandenburgischer Kunstverein, Potsdam – 2008 Statement, Art Basel, Basel; Package Tour, Stedjdelik Museum, Amsterdam – 2009 Last fuck, Zero, Milan; Daniel Buchholz, Cologne; Kunsthalle Basel, Basel; Preis der neuen National Galerie, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin – 2010 Artist Space, New York. 

Johannes Wohnseifer

Körperschemastörung IV, 2003, Plexiglas, carbon fibre, speed, rescue foil, wax, felt, aluminium, priming coat, 45 x 45 x 180 cm

Wie heißt dein Freund?, 2007, acrylic, lacquer on aluminium, 140 x 100 cmIn his paintings and installations he gives poignant commentaries on current political issues, often mixing fact and fiction, precise references and arcane allusions, irony and analysis – with a healthy bit of conspiracy theory thrown in for good measure. - Frieze Art Fair Yearbook

Born 1967 in Cologne, lives there – 1996 MOMAS, Guard Museum of Modern Art, Syros – 1997 Psylocibyn Experience, Musée des Beaux Arts, Nice - 1999 Museum, Projektraum, Museum Ludwig, Cologne – 2000 Der Stadtstreicher, 2 Centre d’Art Contemporain, Genf – 2002 Elimination of dialogue, Johann König, Berlin – 2003 Intervention, Sprengel Museum, Hannover; Into the Light, Ludwig Forum, Aachen – 2004 Art Scope: Cityscape into Art, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo – 2008 The Hole World, Gisela Capitain – 2010 backyardoutdoorsculptureseries#4, Johann König, Berlin.

Jordan Wolfson

The Crisis, 2004, video, 4 min 50

The film shows the artist in an ancient Roman cathedral discussing what are in his opinion the greatest works of art and his desire to find in himself the power to make them. The work is both a satire and testimonial of what an artist wishes or desires in relationship to universal themes such as mortality, purpose, intention, and authenticity.

Born 1980 in New York, lives and works there – 2004 Jordan Wolfson, Kunsthalle Zürich – 2005 Neverland, Jordan Wolfson, Yvon Lambert, Paris; Jiem-no-Pedti, T293, Naples – 2006 Jordan Wolfson, Wako works of Art, Tokyo – 2007 Jordan Wolfson, Rowley Kennerk Gallery, Chicago; Johann König, Berlin; Art Statements, Art 38 Basel – 2008 untitled false document, Swiss Institute, New York – 2009 The Exhibition Formerly Knows as Passengers, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; Con Leche, Johann König, Berlin – 2010 Jordan Wolfson, Prospectif Cinéma, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris – 2011 KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin