press release

Opening: Friday September 26, 2008, 7:30 p.m. at Kuenstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral

The Kuenstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral presents works by its international resident scholarship holders of 2008 in a joint concluding exhibition.

The title of the exhibition, same same but different, alludes to the fact that, during their stay in Bad Ems, the Balmoral scholarship holders all have the same starting conditions, but all respond individually to the given constellations. Each scholarship holder experiences and uses the offerings of the Kuenstlerhaus in his or her own personal way. This year, the artists have worked primarily in the genres of drawing, sculpture, and installation.

The works of the French sculptress Hermine Anthoine are determined primarily by observation of nature. For example, she casts bales of straw, sunflowers, or balls of wool in bronze, true to nature. When the latter casting are each stuck onto four sticks and placed on a table covered with green fabric, they create the impression of grazing sheep. The properties of the material always play a major role: the gleaming of bronze or of ceramics and the light captured and reflected.

In Bad Ems, Hermine Anthoine uses the opportunity to work at the family business Baukeramik Ebinger GmbH to produce ceramics that are processed in installations. One refers to the found motif of the floor in the historical hall of the Kuenstlerhaus, the other takes up the motif of the reliquary: skulls are lined up in an architectonic framework that takes up the given structure of the room. The skulls themselves are decorated, which makes them seem thoroughly individual - and indeed alive.

Hermine Anthoine has also created an edition of small sculptures that will be offered for sale at the opening.

Born in Romania, Liliana Basarab works in a number of media: video art, installation, photography, and sculpture. She is concerned with developing concepts of value and with the institutionalization of such phenomena produced by humans themselves.

In her project for the Kuenstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral, she investigates the construction of individualism. Her instrument is a website developed for this purpose on which the residents of Bad Ems place a photograph of themselves and stand for election as Mr./Ms. Individualist. Visitors to the website vote by mouse click for their favorite. The winner of the competition will be eternalized in a bust placed on Balmoral's public grounds.

The work not only has a work-in-progress character, it also activates people to take part in a jointly determined project.

The concept thereby has a democratic and emancipatory effect, realized thanks to the World Wide Web. The community of participants thereby becomes a virtual commissioning party.

Of the six scholarship holders presented in the following, three work in the medium of drawing. A comparison of their works shows what different use this artistic form of expression can find and highlights the differences reflected in their respective ways in the chosen title.

The German artist Ins A Kromminga addresses and critically questions the thematic complex of gender and identity, inspired not least by his own experience as an intersexual person. Serving as raw material are magazines, comics, and legends, whereby the depicted persons mutate into intersexual figures. Mutants and heroes and winged hermaphroditic beings from Greek mythology are also part of the repertoire of drawings, which is often commentated with text quotations. Often many individual pictures are combined as an installation that finds a draftsmanlike extension directly on the wall. The combination of the individual pictorial depictions underscores the narrative character of her/his work, intensified by their comic-like quality. The drawing alternates between sketchiness and precise execution, even within the individual picture. As in the Marvel Comics of the 1960s, certain parts are composed with color; these contrast with the other parts and call upon the viewer to imaginarily supplement the latter with color.

Peter Pommerer works with a reduced form language that leaves much room for associative thinking, but which does not force the viewer to an interpretation. Smileys, schematic elephants, eyes, suns, moons, and stars, along with purely ornamental structures, are the basis of his pictorial composition. In accordance with Gilles Deleuze's and Félix Guattari's concept of the rhizome, the signs, of equal value, develop in the picture. The (wall) drawing thereby becomes an ornamental, all-over structure. Its playful, draftsmanlike style evokes a seeming lightness that is sometimes broken by the content.

At the Schloss Balmoral, Pommerer uses the walls of his studio as a monumental painting surface for his ornamental wall designs. His stencil-like wall drawings in cheerful, reserved colors are applied in colored pencil directly on the plaster. Consciously placed clear spaces in the pictorial structure make the wall part of the design, rather than merely its underlying surface.

Inspired by the literary genre, science fiction, all of Karen Scheper's work groups are concerned with the themes of artificial intelligence and of visualizing pluri-dimensionality. When she produces her works, she tries to shut off consciousness as far as possible and make use of the technique of écriture automatique. In her drawings, she plumbs the properties of space and time; in their structure, some of them recall architectonic designs, others have a manic character, condensing so much in some passages that unknown worlds are opened up.

Words often play an essential compositional role, for example in the works in which she copies and shapes Philip K. Dick's novel The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch.

In Balmoral, she developed a series of plastic drawings that she places in the room together with black plastic sheeting that mirror reality. In this way, the drawing itself intervenes in the room and seeks to depict alternative worlds or utopian and dystopian visions of the future.

At the opening, she will perform together with Spastic Dementia as The Automatic Ant.

Daniel Schuerer is a concept artist who creates playgrounds in the art world with his autonomous spaces. He regards his work as a site-specific discourse that he, as artist-curator, allows to grow by founding his own cultural sites. The headquarters of his activities is his Kunstverein Via 113 in Hildesheim, which was founded in 1992. Wherever he goes, more exhibition sites arise: for example the Kunstraum Schuerer in Berlin, Karoline Rieder in Locarno, and the Schuerer Cloister in Porto. These sites are never conceived as temporary; they aim to establish a network. The same is true in Balmoral, where he has founded a branch of the Kunstverein Via 113 as Galerie Via 113, thereby setting up a cultural room in a cultural institution. At regular intervals, ever-changing performances were staged that made it possible to experience the room in new ways: once in its purist variant as a cloister to which one makes a pilgrimage - thus the tents - and then, in its newest form, to be confronted with a kind of homemade ex voto panels, whose material he obtained from an old Bad Ems family of tradesmen and merchants. Part of the meetings is always conviviality, the common breaking of bread. He marks the festive character of the openings by raising flags at the buildings. In the newest variant, he created the International Art Hall Rhineland-Palatinate, the smallest institution in the world, whose permanent seat is to be in Balmoral, which will also assume the curatorial work. In this way, the work of Daniel Schuerer can be read as an examination of the framework conditions of the culture and art business.

same same but different
Exposition of the scholarship holders 2008

Künstler: Hermine Anthoine, Liliana Basarab, Ins A Kromminga, Peter Pommerer, Karen Scheper, Daniel Schürer