Dear friends of Raabestraße, what about Indonesia and the Netherlands?
How did the tension get into the works of Karl Menzen?
And what would he have created in Tierra del Fuego in 2020?
In the exhibition Hoch-Spannung. Objects. Video. Painting the artist Salah Saouli shows a central aspect in the works of the steel sculptor Karl Menzen, and he traces two international projects, on which the two had worked together.
The exhibition is now entering its third and final week. During this time we open as usual by appointment.
You are welcome to the finissage on Sunday, November 13, 2022 at 6:00 pm.
The exhibition is the second in the series Friends of Karl. Salah Saouli is one of the artists, which we got to know through Karl Menzen.
Salah Saouli is followed by the artist Susanne Ruoff.
Their exhibition begins on December 9, 2022.
New works by Salah Saouli
The exhibition “Hoch-Spannung” is part of the series “Friends of Karl”, which is conceived by artist friends as an homage to the artist Karl Menzen, who died in 2020.
In two chapters, Salah Saouli shows reflections on his long-standing friendship with Karl Menzen, the works – objects, videos and paintings – refer to joint projects, journeys and conversations shared by the two artists.
The installation “Hoch-Spannung”, which also gave the exhibition its title, refers on the one hand to the tension that was an important part of Karl Menzen’s metal works, in particular the metal spirals, whose creation processes can be seen in the accompanying video. On the other hand, the table stretched against the wall reflects the still unresolved tension between former colonial powers and countries colonized by them, in this case Indonesia and the Netherlands. The tiles on the table are reminiscent of the landscape motifs that were so popular in Dutch ceramics.
The question of the unresolved legacy of the colonial era represents a continuation of an examination of the issue that Saouli began in Indonesia in 2019. In the installation “Still Life. Exotic Fruit”, the artist has arranged in a three-dimensional “still life” / “exotic” fruits, such as papayas, mangoes, pitahaya, etc. in a way. The compilation was reminiscent of the still lifes so popular in classical Dutch painting, which emerged just at a time when the Netherlands was becoming very wealthy through its colonial possessions. Objects, plants and food from abroad became a status symbol and served to emphasize one’s own wealth in paintings and interior design. The fact that, like the “exotic” fruits exported all over the world today, these are everyday things contributes to the contradiction of the term “exotic”.
The second “chapter” of the exhibition, to which a mask from Indonesia leads, explores the question of how to deal with traditional, indigenous knowledge, magic and shamanism. For a trip to Patagonia (Chile) planned for 2020, Salah Saouli dealt with the now extinct indigenous population and the knowledge that their destruction has disappeared. Especially for a more sustainable use of natural resources, the focus is increasingly on the question of what solutions the knowledge of indigenous peoples could bring, and thus also a long overdue recognition.
The trip to Patagonia had to be postponed due to the Covid 19 pandemic and will now no longer be able to take place with the planned participants, including Karl Menzen. For this reason, the works in the second part of the exhibition have a sketchy character. The fish are preparatory work for a possible work that Salah Saouli might have produced on site, as part of a question about how to deal with nature and the human-induced changes in vulnerable ecosystems. The painted pictures represent an attempt to conceive of a work project by Karl Menzen in which more perishable material is used than with the metal usual for Menzen.