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Black dressed woman stands in a desert and holds a golden cloth in the strong wind under overcast sky Johanna Reich Virgins Land 2019 4 K Video Loop Courtesy Galerie Priska Pasquer Copyright Johanna Reich VG Bildkunst Bonn 2020

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Made in Düsseldorf #3: Alex Grein / Johanna Reich

Duration: October 9–November 8, 2020
Opening
: October 8, 2020, 7 pm
Press Preview
: October 8, 2020, 11 am

Press Release
August 10, 2020

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Made in Düsseldorf #3: Alex Grein/Johanna Reich
October 9–November 8, 2020

Made in Düsseldorf is an exhibition series by the NRW-Forum in cooperation with the Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf. It is dedicated to contemporary artists who are connected with Düsseldorf and the Rhineland through their studies, place of residence, or the content of their artistic work. Once a year, as part of the institution’s partnership with the Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf, the series presents works from the Sammlung der Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf im Kunstpalast. From October 9 to November 8, 2020, the third edition, titled UNCOVER, will be dedicated to questions of mediality and the critical and clever experimentation with reality and perception in the photographic works of the artists Alex Grein and Johanna Reich.

While Alex Grein rearranges libraries and places literature in new contexts or constructs new image layers in her photographs, Johanna Reich uses portraits of forgotten women artists as the starting point for her work and addresses the role of women in art. Among the exhibited works are three new works by the artists that have been acquired for the Sammlung der Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf im Kunstpalast.

Alex Grein (*1983) studied at the Fachhochschule Düsseldorf and at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf as a master student of Professor Andreas Gursky. In her works she challenges the viewer’s perception through decontextualization, displacement, and playing with proportions. The relationship between photography and reality is a central aspect of her work. Created in 2019, the works Lolita, vergiss Orangen und Datteln, der Mensch lebt nicht vom Brot allein. (Lolita, forget oranges and dates, man does not live by bread alone.) and Die Manager reden. (The managers are talking.) are part of a new series featuring photographic images of book spines. In her work she throws the library system into disarray and creates new contexts through her own configurations of often canonical books.

Moments of confusion emerge from the work Pictures on a Screen: Grein places miniature models of everyday objects on the screen of her smartphone, which displays either found footage or her own photographic images. She then goes on to photograph the ensemble, thus playing with the different levels of perception and reality. In these illusionistic photographs, pots and pitchers seem to either float through the air or threaten to fall to the ground.

Digital transparency and analog memory are blurred together in an exhibition. In Neptun Technologies, Alex Grein takes photographs with her smartphone and sends them to a printer, which immediately prints them out in the exhibition space. The prints fall into a photo laboratory tray filled with water. The paper dissolves within a few seconds, so the viewer barely has a chance to recognize the photo. The photo disappears as quickly as it was taken.

The work Sky occupies the exterior of the NRW-Forum. The advertising sign of a well-known media company flickers on at one-second intervals on the outer walls of the building and takes on a life of its own through the artist’s technical intervention.

Johanna Reich (*1977) studied at the Kunstakademie Münster, at the HfbK Hamburg under Wim Wenders and others, and at the KHM in Cologne. In recent years, the media artist has created a diverse body of work at the interface between digital and analog visual worlds. Alongside digital media, she also includes sculpture and performance in her work. Reich examines the influence of progressive digitalization on our world and the effects of the media monopolization of our everyday life on the way we think, how we understand our roles, and our perception. The relationship between reality, image, and representation is a fundamental theme in her work.

Since 2014, as part of her project Resurface, Johanna Reich has been working on an archive of women artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, who were forgotten within a historiography dominated by men. She started by creating the work Resurface (Part I), in which she took Polaroid images of over one hundred selected portraits of women artists and recorded the development process with a video camera. The work shows the video installation together with the Polaroids; Wikipedia articles with information about the artists are arranged alongside the images, which are cut in places and difficult to decipher because the text is blurred. The exhibition shows the continuation of the project. In Resurface (Part II) Johanna Reich creates Polaroids of portraits of women artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries who were well-known and successful during their lifetimes and who were certainly represented in museums, but whose oeuvre did not receive enough appreciation over time. During the development process Johanna Reich scans the Polaroids, resulting in large-format, pale images of the portraits that are not yet fully developed. “One sees the women and at the same time one does not see them. They remain in limbo. They are there and yet not there,” says the artist.

The video work Virgins Land, in which the artist stands on a deserted beach and lets a golden emergency blanket blow in the wind, is inspired by Heinz Mack’s Sahara Project from the 1960s. The theme of the materiality of light is combined with a symbolic meaning through the politically charged object—the emergency blanket—and leaves the viewer a great deal of room for interpretation.

In the performative work Crawler, text passages on socially relevant themes move around the space. A projector mounted on a robotic vacuum cleaner displays comments from over the last year dealing with gender, the digital revolution, or climate change, among other things. The texts are filtered from the internet by a search engine programmed by the artist and selected according to her criteria. They move around the space alongside selected poems and create an interaction when they are projected onto the walls or the visitors in varying sizes.

“I am delighted about the joint exhibition of Alex Grein and Johanna Reich, as well as the acquisition of some of their works for our collection. In different ways, both artists challenge our notion of reality through the medium of photography,” says Felix Krämer, the general director of the Kunstpalast. “We are very grateful to the Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf for their generous commitment to purchasing art for the further expansion of their collection in our establishment.”

“Through these new acquisitions and our focus on the medium of photography, we wish to support the Kunstpalast in expanding its photography collection. We are pleased to be able to make a selection of our new acquisitions accessible to the public at the NRW-Forum in the form of the annual exhibition Made in Düsseldorf,” says Karin-Brigitte Göbel, chairwoman of the board of the Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf.

About the Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf’s Commitment to the NRW-Forum

The Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf has been supporting NRW-Forum in its exhibition and mediation projects as a partner of the institution since 2017. Promoting the arts and supporting cultural institutions in Düsseldorf is an important part of Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf’s social commitment.

The Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf’s art collection was launched in the 1970s by Fritz Kulins, then chairman of the board. The first works found their way into the collection through corporate art exhibitions. The works incorporated into the exhibition were primarily by Düsseldorf artists, former students of the Kunstakademie, but also major figures in the Düsseldorf art scene. In 2008, a cooperation with the Kunstpalast resulted in the Sammlung der Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf im Kunstpalast, which has an annual acquisition budget. The artists represented in the collection have a connection to Düsseldorf or the Rhineland through their place of residence, their studies, or their personal or professional connections. A selection of the new acquisitions serves as the starting point for the annual exhibition series Made in Düsseldorf.

The exhibition is curated by Katharina Grote, curator of the Kunst- und Kulturstiftung der Stadtsparkasse Düsseldorf.

Uncover

Made in Düsseldorf #3: Alex Grein/Johanna Reich
Duration: October 9–November 8, 2020
Opening
: October 8, 2020, 7 pm
Press Preview: October 8, 2020, 11 am

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Press images Alex Grein

The image material listed may be used freely for thematic reporting (in print and online media as well as on social media channels) and provided that the photo credits given are cited. Six weeks after the end of the exhibition, the free right of use expires.

Alex Grein Die Manager reden 2019 Inkjet Print 865 x 59 cm Courtesy Galerie Gisela Clement

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Alex Grein Lolita vergiss Orangen und Datteln der Mensch lebt nicht vom Brot allein 2019 Inkjet Print 865 x 70 cm Courtesy Galerie Gisela Clement

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Alex Grein Rolling Pictures on a Screen 2019 Inkjet Print 1008 x 74 cm

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Press images Johanna Reich

You will receive the listed picture material only on request via mail to presse.forum@kunstpalast.de.

Please note that free use is only permitted for topic-related reporting and by mentioning the credits. Six weeks after the end of the exhibition the free right of use expires.

Use for social media must be approved separately and is fee-based.

Resurface II Corinne Michelle West
Two sentences in English are projected into a room in a dark environment Johanna Reich Crawler selbstfahrende Roboter Performance 2020 Courtesy Galerie Priska Pasquer Copyright Johanna Reich VG Bildkunst Bonn 2020
Black dressed woman stands in a desert and holds a golden cloth in the strong wind under overcast sky Johanna Reich Virgins Land 2019 4 K Video Loop Courtesy Galerie Priska Pasquer Copyright Johanna Reich VG Bildkunst Bonn 2020
Exhibition Views
Ausstellungsansicht UNCOVER. Made in Düsseldorf #3: Johanna Reich/Alex Grein © NRW-Forum, Foto Katja Illner

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Ausstellungsansicht UNCOVER. Made in Düsseldorf #3: Johanna Reich/Alex Grein © NRW-Forum, Foto Katja Illner

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Ausstellungsansicht UNCOVER. Made in Düsseldorf #3: Johanna Reich/Alex Grein © NRW-Forum, Foto Katja Illner

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Ausstellungsansicht UNCOVER. Made in Düsseldorf #3: Johanna Reich/Alex Grein © NRW-Forum, Foto Katja Illner

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Ausstellungsansicht UNCOVER. Made in Düsseldorf #3: Johanna Reich/Alex Grein © NRW-Forum, Foto Katja Illner

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Ausstellungsansicht UNCOVER. Made in Düsseldorf #3: Johanna Reich/Alex Grein © NRW-Forum, Foto Katja Illner

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