Ari Goldmann – Katharina Kohl – Paula Markert
Politics in Portraiture: painting – water colour – photography
3 July – 12 September 2015
The 2nd of July sees the opening of the exhibition Facing Politics at galerie postel, showing paintings by Ari Goldmann, water colours by Katharina Kohl and photographies by Paula Markert with one thing in common: They use portraiture in a political context.
Working in series or with individual portraits, researching the details of a situation or personality or looking for the superior context – approaches to the topic are as diverse as the media. Even though, the confrontation in the exhibition also reveals unexpected similarities in choice of subject, method or interpretation. The topics are today’s big issues – the financial crisis, the murders committed in Germany by a group calling itself the „National Socialist Underground“ (NSU) or the Camp David Accords:
For her photo series „Das Geld der Anderen“ (The Others’ Money) Paula Markert travelled to the worlds financial centers, to London, New York, Paris and Frankfurt. There she met with financial consultants, investment bankers and employees of rating agencies. Paula Markert portrays them in the moments in be-tween – before the interview, during their lunch break or when meeting for a beer after work.She tries to capture the person behind the job, always ready to reflect her own judgement. The result is a thought-provoking series that is not ready to give easy answers, ranging from the person still checking his smartphone for the latest stock market news during his break to the woman with the chinese take away in a plastic bag looking strangely forlorn in a rundown staircase.
In 2012 Katharina Kohl startet working on a series of water colours portraying federal employees involved in the investigations into the murder series committed by the so called „National Socialist Underground“ (NSU) in Germany that came into light in 2011. Television broadcasts of the enquiry commission, personal visits, newspaper articles, all contributed to the image formed of the person and later transferred from mind onto paper working wet-on-wet in an intense process. The exhibition will show an excerpt of the not yet finished series, among others a portrait of Kriminaloberrat Felix Schwarz, in charge of the investigations concerning the murder of Süleyman Tasköprü in Hamburg and an early portrait of pope Innocent X. by Velázquez that to Katharina Kohl served as experimental ground for her investigations into a persons presence and personal space in a portrait.
In opposition to Markert and Kohl, Ari Goldmann’s starting point is the individual situation as communicated by images in the media, print and online, or as reproduced in literature. He is set on a search for the universal, superordinate information inherent in these images, which in his oil paintings he extracts by means of reduction. Persons not relevant to the interaction, forms, details of architecture or personal facial features are annihilated and thereby anonymised. Flat colours fill vibrant outlines that reduce the image to its basic structures. Stripping the image of all personal details Ari Goldmann thereby uncovers its key statement, its interaction, interrelation and communicational structure. The peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, commonly known as the Camp David Accords is communicated using the traditional iconography of a pact between three men with the hands uniting in the images center.
Giving blessing, applause or invasive patronising gestures – some images that served as model have become icons of their times and are probably known to the observer. With the process of abstraction used by Ari Goldmann the individual event is second to the general meaning and structure conveyed.