Jessica Müller, Tanneh Gattinger und Yasmine Sophie Adam

We realized two artistic projects in public space during a one-week workshop in the Lichtenbergstudios. In the period from 23.09. – 27.09. we got to know the district of Lichtenberg as well as various works by Uwe Jonas and Ella Ziegler.
At the Nöldnerplatz we noticed an old chewing gum machine, which had already left its best times behind and now served as a garbage can. Relatively quickly we decided to give the old chewing gum vending machine a “new coat of paint”. The tripartition of the windows as a triptych and the shop-window-like character of the box gave us the idea to use the interior as exhibition space. To do this, the vending machine had to be carefully emptied first.

The result is an interior covered with golden paper with a horizontally inserted plate on which three different objects are presented. The holes below are also covered with gold. In the window on the left, there is an Asian anlock cat, which, with the help of movement, draws the attention of passers-by to the automaton. Here the gold of the disguise is picked up again. A large lollipop – surrounded by some sweets – has been placed centrally. This refers to the original function of the chewing gum machine. To the right of it is a burning red grave light. Perhaps recipients think of an ironic mourning for an old former vending machine or it reminds them of an altar-like arrangement. We would have loved to know what was going on in the minds of the passers-by when they discovered our work by chance as they passed by. Some stopped for a moment, wondered or smiled.

The idea for the second of our projects was born while strolling together through the high-rise housing estate on Schulze-Boysen-Straße. Here we literally stumbled over a root. This not exactly small root had made its way over the concrete lawn edges. On the one hand, it caught our eye by breaking through the straight-line beds and on the other hand, it was a clear stumbling block for all passers-by. For this reason, we decided to change this given object as spontaneously as in the first project. We decided to emphasize the root with a kind of lighting. Since we did not want to use electronic illuminants for environmental reasons, we sprayed the object in fluorescent paint.

The result is a root that has a strange green and white shimmer in daylight. At nightfall it transforms into a neon green shining object that invites you to stop. Intentionally we wanted to make an intervention in public space by picking up the existing root, which creates a short moment of irritation and disturbs the daily visual routine of the people living there. The intention was to create a moment of attention which, in interaction with natural energy absorption by sunlight, smoothes a transition from the natural to the unnatural. The natural material root was manipulated in this sense to create an unspecific – contrary and therefore artificial light irritation. We were able to catch some astonished glances at this project as well.

February, 2020

Berit Myrebøe

Storyed slides

The Berlin-based Norwegian artist Berit Myrebøe worked for a month at DIEresidenz in Die, France, on two new series on paper. The final exhibition “Super position” showed a selection of these amalgams of superimposed photographs, drawing and painting on different types of paper.

Berit Myrebøe creates imaginary landscapes on aluminium or – as in DIEresidenz – on paper by layering images and materials. The technique is reminiscent of avant-garde photography of the 1920s and 1930s, when the photographic superimposition initially resulted from an accident and artists subsequently printed the photographic paper several times or combined several negatives in the development process.

But Myrebøe does more than “just” photography. Rather, she fights against photography by changing this layer by layer. Her works thus begin with a photograph – that of a landscape or a human body. In selecting these “photo-sketches” (according to the artist), she prefers photographs that capture a movement, a moment of transition, that are somewhat indistinct and already have a painterly aspect. “Transition” is a key word in Myrebøe’s working method, because the motif never remains the same.

The artist transfers her photographic sketches onto aluminium plate, using the transfer printing process, a printing technique used in lithography, for example, to turn the mirror-inverted image around. Once on metal, Myrebøe removes the context of her main motif using various solvents and adds layers or elements of oil paint. From this intervention she takes a photograph again, which can be treated in the same way over several cycles.

In Die Myrebøe works on paper, superimposing sheets of different textures, shades of white and transparency. She scratches and rubs away parts of the previously printed, transferred picture base, draws and paints on it with charcoal, chalk, oil paint and paint sprays. By applying varnish or linseed oil, she gains transparent or shiny parts of the picture, thus highlighting or hiding details of the “original” picture – from which she is moving away more and more. In this way, the initial photograph is increasingly transformed into a drawing, collage or painting.

The artist often works serially with the same motif, which she then overlays with different layers and reworks in different ways, each time emphasizing certain elements. The repetition of the motif is reminiscent of film sequences – even though Myrebøe does not tell a story. Rather, they are juxtaposed snapshots, shreds of dreams or memories.

Finally, the repetition appeals to comparative vision. The portraits of women, for example, are only identical at first glance. Then one discovers the different backgrounds and the different techniques of processing the printed image, which is almost destroyed to let light or a hidden motif shine through the paper. Myrebøe calls her works “light pictures” and thus, despite or perhaps because of her interventions, ultimately finds herself back at her starting point: photography. (Conny Becker, DIEresidenz, 2019)

*** Translated with (free version) ***

February, 2020