Press Release: Simon Schubert & Cosima Hawemann, "IN A ROOM WITH NO WINDOW", 2016 (engl.)
An Installation by Cosima Hawemann and Simon Schubert
until 19th March 2016
Cosima Hawemann and Simon Schubert join together for the room installation IN A ROOM WITH NO WINDOW and present new works of unsettling density and suggestive flair. The visitor enters a room which has the appearance and the atmosphere of something that has materialised itself like a dream – or a nightmare: dark, eerie, and at the same time full of secrets and challenges.
On the dark-green papered walls, Cosima Hawemann presents new paintings and small-format overpaintings from two very recent series: “La Voix Humaine” and “Shadowplay”. The former, which is based on the one-person play of the same name by Jean Cocteau, uses stills as a basis that show Ingrid Bergman alone on the phone. Hawemann first edits the original photographs on the computer and changes hues, contrasts and backgrounds in a way that intensifies their atmosphere enormously. She then overpaints the print-outs and covers them in a painterly manner. The result are cabinet-like paintings that lead a strange but thoroughly controlled life between the past and timelessness. The second series consists of paraphrases on photographs by Diane Arbus, whose expressiveness she increases by partly gestural overpainting.
Also for the larger formats she employs screen printing, moulds and photo prints. Here, however, the photographic sources are her own or from her personal environment. These pastose paintings are at times agonising in their intensified expression, yet in their fragility and sensitivity also of seductive beauty.
Paradoxes occur on various levels: The telephone puts the distant caller within close reach. But this remains an illusion. The woman on the phone remains lonely. Painting and photographic source melt together to form an over-reality that still remains aloof. And lastly Simon Schubert’s most recent multiple series of keys, whose ring is their own keyhole. The viewers remain confronted with their own fears, images, and irresolvable conflicts.
Schubert’s keys are lined up like a vertebral column on a flat table that is covered with black hair. Next to it stands the sculpture of a low armchair. Both stand on a dark carpet made of live moss, whose iridescent effects and unsettling shimmering correspond to the patterns of the paper covering the walls. The most spectacular sculpture of the exhibition rests on a wide lead pedestal: A life-size human skull that Schubert carved out from a massive block of graphite and then gave it a matt polished finish. The skull isn’t purely naturalistic, but stylised, while an orifice in the shape of a keyhole on the back of the skull provides it with an abstract sobriety.
Both Simon Schubert and Cosima Hawemann studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, they live in Cologne. This room installation is the continuation of a maze-like extending gesamtkunstwerk the two artists have been working on in the past years.
The gallery is offering a variety of publications on the works of Simon Schubert and Cosima Hawemann.
The exceptional wallpapers used for the installation we owe to Cologne-based designer Bernhard Holzapfel and the company Topli Wallcoverings Beijing.