five shanghai germans   stageBACK gallery, shanghai

16.5.2009 - 26.6.2009


P R E S S R E L E A S E stageBACK 696 Weihai Shanghai is delighted to present ‘Five Shanghai Germans’, a group show of recent works by Alexander Brandt, Roland Geissel, Susanne Junker, Rolf A. Kluenter and Lothar Spree. The exhibition offers a look through the eyes of 5 German artists who have been living and working in Shanghai during the past 3 – 10 years. Shanghai, the trend-setting metropolis with a capitalistically characterized dynamic, has been challenging their artistic practices and exploration into new or different ways of expression.

Alexander Brandt states in the context of his ‘ephemeral structures’, 4 times photography in c-print:: From a personal, purely esthetic point of view, most of Shanghai's new high rising buildings are visually more interesting during their construction phase than after their completion. This state is temporary; in a month's time, what was captured in the image doesn't exist anymore. At the same time, because Shanghai's construction sites are omnipresent, the presence of these ephemeral structures also has something permanent.”

Roland Geissel’s work “melusine – xujing’ includes photography and an object. ‘A Spatial Drawing is the interior of a Melusine’...... a series begun in 1997. Melusine is the collective title of all worksbelonging to a group whose design always follows the same basic principles, leadinghowever to a unique result each time. The Melusines are corporealobjects, occupying the borderlands between painting and sculpture. .... the Spatial Drawings are site-specific and have so far been temporary, documentation is necessary. However the photos Roland Geissel takes, on 5x4” film, using a large-format camera, transcend the purely documentary function and assume the nature of works themselves. The photographs do not only succeed in translating the space via perspective onto the two-dimensional plane of film, much more than this they lead to an alteration in our perception. Our spatial perception as a whole shifts towards the visualization of flatter, graphic formations seen in the background, and optical effects are created which evoke a space other than the real one; new, unreal spaces are created. [johannes kögler?“journeys into space - roland geissel’s spatial drawings”, exhibition catalog, 2007]

Susanne Junker presents her photographic series “ - - - id - - -identity- - - - work in progress”. R A Suri writes about her work: “Essentially, the photographic work of Susanne Junker is cathartic, humorous and violent in effect. Her trajectory is one wherein the role of subject/object, identity and transfiguration of medium revolve, intertwine and are re-cast in a conscious manner. Unfortunately, while the pivotal device of oscillating to and from established or fixed visual iconography-which she has sought to challenge- of women, embodying the same formal vocabulary in her staged self-portraiture, one might evaluate that rather than a rupture with the perversion and vulgarity of the portrayal or women by mass-media and the "victimization" of the fashion world in real terms on both the physical and psychological landscape of women, conversely, her work is somewhere testament to the legacy of that sphere upon contemporary photographic art. [R. A. Suri “Globales Geiles Gesicht”, guest contribution / essay / KUNST BLOG / (

Rolf A. Kluenter’s mix media installation ‘ steps registration overkill’ shows canvases, a stencil, rubberstamps, a 2 minute video, a photo and text. Ilse Schache comments: “…the nature of self, the nature of the environment in which we find ourselves, and the relationship between them. The central theme of these works is not to capture some kind of abstract reality, life, as it 'is', but instead to explore the processes of creation and the creative process in and of itself. Kluenter is captivated by the verb 'to transpire', to cause something to happen, to go beyond, to cross something, to inspire. The purpose of his work is to demonstrate or to cause some kind of tension, since this, in his mind, will cause something to transpire. Kluenter is interested by the idea that beyond memory, there is something more, something non-material but nevertheless, very real. It is this 'beyond-ness' of things that his work is trying to expose. As something happens, or transpires, it passes into our memory, where this process of creation keeps developing. Nothing is finite and nothing has an end; one event is transformed and so leads on to something else.” [Ilse Schache “rolf a. kluenter – recent works, 2009]

Lothar Spree makes a very distinct statement in the context of his 2 simultaneously running films, title: ‘ shanghai passage voyage / dissolve’: “understanding media as a tool of exploration - zooming out the panoramic views of satellites and into microscopic close-ups of the psyche of people // although a filmmaker at heart, media art has become my main interest in the context of chinese art education // shanghai is a maze of media art reflections // here the two terms ‘media’ and ‘art’ carry both a certain acute urgency – they are terms of our times that signify essential demands and developments for global society/ visible in the cityscape of shanghai // under the term media we see our world transferring itself increasingly into the visualizing media/ not only because of the intensification of global communication and exchange -- more so because of the great virtualization of our life // formative events are not anymore happening in real life but in media only/ and more and more of human life takes place in the realm of virtuality // to work -- and live -- in the field of media/ especially in shanghai/ means dealing with the issues of humanity/ society and the ‘essence of life’ -- finding/defining/refining rules of changing reality before the media world forgets its humanity // art provokes the new and evokes the old/ reminding of the essence of the strife for progress // art is breaking the rules in order to liberate/ and challenging in order to define a next necessary step // making and braking the rules - art is the realization of both these impossible attempts // understanding media as a tool of exploration - to move out to the panoramic views of satellites and to return to microscopic close-ups of the psyche of people.”

The show is curated by Ke Luo Fu, Shanghai ‘Five Shanghai Germans’ will be exhibited at Brige Gallery, 798, Beijing in November-December 2009, at K GALLERY, Chengdu in the first half of 2010 and at TEAPOT, Cologne in the first half of 2011. Catalog, published and edited by Ke Luo Fu & stageBACK, Shanghai, soft cover, 88 pages, color plates