Monthly Archives: March 2011

Michelle Jezierski and Jan von Holleben: photos, collages, paint….

I recently discovered the work of Michelle Jezierski and Jan von Holleben and the excellent selection of Berlin-based artists-run gallery Pool Gallery. By combining photography with painting and flirting with abstraction, Michelle Jezierski manages a very interesting and creative result. I love the combination of Jan’s graphic and minimalistic photography with Michelle’s painterly intervention to give them abstraction. Discover a few works from the exhibition last summer at Pool Gallery White lakes.

Michelle Jezierski and Jan von Holleben- Primary Prism (2010) Mixed Media on C-Print 105 x 70 cm

Schloss (2010) Mixed Media on C-Print 31 x 46 cm

Visit Pool Gallery website:


Wouter van de Koot – Portraying absence

Dutch painter Wouter van de Koot has joined Ponyhof Gallery’s stable a few months ago and it was about time that we present some of his work on our blog. Wouter’s work is figurative and is based on very explicit images. However his way of “cutting out” elements of the initial picture renders the result very evasive and leaves the viewer puzzled with the narratives to grasp. And it’s not Wouter who will give its audience the keys to understand his work. Here is what we gathered from our conversations with him.

Untitled, oil on linen, 2010, 95x70 cm

Back in 2006, Wouter van de Koot  would work from very explicit images depicting violent scenes of the medical world, conflict areas, sexual mutilation or horror films. By cutting the representation out of the context, he managed to create a tension between the violence of the scenes and the aesthetics of the technique he used.  Later  he used to cut-out objects, mostly human figures, in MDF wood that he then painted. This has taught him to use negative space and to stage his work.

The Quiet #2, watercolour on paper, 2010, 76x56cm.

However, he slowly moved back to traditional canvases and paper formats while moving away from pure representation of collected images, to arrange his own performances. He or his friends will act to create characters bearing his fantasies or fears that will then be photographed. The subject-matter of his paintings became experiences of his own life and images he has in his head. He will then work from those pictures, cutting out some elements from the representation and bringing them therefore completely out of context, setting a distance with the subject-matter.

Wouter van de Koot’s work functions usually in series. He declines the same image in a series making a dexterous use of colours with different media such as oil, watercolours or ink.  He does not simply copy the same image again and again, but applies slight variations from one work to the other. The same images  can then result in different series, opposing each other within his body of work.  This  enables him to place his own work in a larger context and opens up new ways to read the image.

The Quiet #5, 76x56 cm., watercolour on paper, 2010

He generally overuses light in his staged performances to shape the images so he can reuse the strong contrasts appearing on the photographs to cut-out some elements and highlight others. However the pieces that are left out are not random, they are part of the narrative. The viewer is left faced with a narrative but struggle to make sense of it, and Wouter is not there to help him making sense of it. He wants his audience to be able to find their own interpretation of the narratives he created.

Disappearing act #2, indian ink on paper, 2009, 29.5 x 21cm

“I don’t try to fit in, I just do it my own way” was Wouter’s answer to the usual question: how do you place yourself on the contemporary art scene? And this is what Wouter does, he follows his own self-inspired evolution, but reveals a work that is really complete and mature.

To discover more of Wouter van de Koot’s work, visit his page on Ponyhof gallery’s website.

Sarkis – The speed of colours

So, Saturday I was in Berlin checking heidenstrasse out and after visiting the great tribute exhibition ‘Grafik des Kapitalistischen Realismus’ at Edition block, I ended up stuck at Tanas art space for quite a little while, completely  absorbed by all the films from great Turkish artist Sarkis, who lives and works in Paris since 1964. I wish I could show you the films but I can only show you some pictures of them and recommend you to go and see for yourself if you are in the neighborhood before 14 Mai 2011.


Sarkis - Film n° 017 - "Au commencement, la chambre" 25.12.1997 : 3 minutes 7 seconds.

The left hand enter the picture and shows on its palm the drawing in watercolour of “the room of Krutenau street”. The right hand enters then the picture to paint red flames on the room, which slowly vanishes under the flames.

Film n° 019 « au commencement, l'aura », 28.12.1997 : 3 minutes 53 seconds.

A white bowl full of water lays next a reproduction of the “Resurrection of Jesus Christ” by Mantegna. The left hand enters the picture with a paintbrush and attempts to draw in the water the aura that surrounds Jesus on the reproduction.

Film n° 022 « au commencement, le trésor », 14.1.1998 : 4 minutes 30 seconds

The twelve letters of the word KRIEGSSCHATZ  are written down on a white piece of paper. A left hand painted in red enters the image. A right hand holding a paintbrush follows and dip it on the paint on the left hand to draw flames on each letter of KRIEGSSCHATZ so that the word becomes virtually unreadable.

The art space Tanas explains the importance of the word KRIEGSSCHATZ for Sarkis work:

His works generate a rich fund of visual impressions that Sarkis describes as “Kriegsschatz”, cultural-historical spoils of war, but also – with a nod to the German art and cultural historian Aby Warburg (1866 – 1929) – as “Leidschatz”, a storehouse of images where emotions from past and present are stored. Sarkis consequently understands his role as artist as that of a seismograph whose task it is to register the mnemonic waves of an emotionally turbulent world and keep them vividly alive in memory.