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ART COLOGNE 2012: NEW POSITIONS showcases 23 young artists

Sponsored exhibition space
Interdisciplinary convergence
Audi Art Award for best young artist
Award ceremony on Friday 20 April at ART COLOGNE

'New Positions', ART COLOGNE's sponsorship programme, was launched in 1980. The programme is supported by the German Federal Government, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Koelnmesse and the Bundesverband Deutscher Galerien und Kunsthändler e.V. (BVDG). The programme gives young artists free exhibition space at ART COLOGNE. The young artists' spaces are located right next to the stands of the galleries representing them. This year's selection panel has singled out twenty-three young artists. A special prize - the AUDI Art Award for NEW POSITIONS - will be awarded to the best young artist. The prizewinner will be given a solo show at the Cologne artothek. The prize also includes the publication of a catalogue. The package is worth EUR 10,000. The award ceremony will be held at ART COLOGNE at 3.00 pm on Friday, 20 April 2012. Venue: the 'Monopol' lounge.
ART COLOGNE runs from 18 to 22 April.

Cross-medial convergence is a common denominator in the work of a strikingly large number of the young artists. Much of it is interdisciplinary, making it hard to label in conventional artistic terms. This year, figurative painting and video are less strongly represented than installation - spatial and site-specific work incorporating a broad range of materials. Works examine issues of artistic identity and states of mind, question traditional forms and symbols and investigate social phenomena.

Mirjam Thomann (Galerie Christian Nagel) explores space and the gaps in spatial continuity, architectural potentialities and the relationship these three interests build with the viewer. In her spatial interventions she uses architectural elements - walls, panels, pillars and plinths - as spatial markers to extend or create new spaces. Lisa Lapinski (Galerie Johann König) produces dramatically charged sculptural installations that are deeply unorthodox and unconventional. Her work often draws on poetic and philosophical sources. Polish artist Natalia Stachon (Galeria SCQ) has developed a pictorial vocabulary whose lyrical minimalism finds expression in her objects, installations and sculptures. Many of her works reference basic architectural elements which she reconfigures in new spatial contexts. A primary preoccupation is the intention to address the subjective experience of the viewer. Prague-born Luisa Kasalicky (Galerie Nächst St. Stephan) is a versatile artist who specializes in installation, panel painting and drawing. Her interest in three-dimensionality and her site-specific, installation-based approach with its references to the formal vocabulary of the Baroque are significant aspects of her work. Her intricately composed works reflect her deep analysis of colour systems, surfaces, form and space.

The work of the media artist Pauline M´barek (Galerie Thomas Rehbein) is subtly balanced in the border zone between perceived and imagined spaces. In drawings, videos and slide projections she explores what she calls the 'topological phenomena' of creases, folds, knots, loops and bows. Her spectacular room-size video installation is titled 'Über die Entstehung einer Verschlingung aus der Perspektive eines Schleifenbandes' [lit. 'On the formation of an intertwinement seen from the viewpoint of a length of ribbon']. It takes the viewer on a roller-coaster ride as a tiny camera mounted on a white ribbon spins through every tortuous stage of tying of a bow - a stomach-churning, almost physical experience.

In videos like 'Prime Time Paradise' and Mastering Bami' the Dutch media artist duo Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács (Galerie Akinci) produce disturbing and challenging images. The Iranian artist Leila Pazooki (Galerie Ernst Hilger) is a critical analyst of the world of print media. Deploying media censorship techniques she cuts passages of text and images from newspapers and magazines to reveal hidden layers of content. Despina Stokou (Galerie Krobath) produces multilayered collages composed of texts and images. Her central theme is the daily cascade of data and information. She overpaints, masks and collages individual letters and uses the layering of texts and images to highlight the constant flood of information. Her works are vibrant with pace and expressive energy but are the result of lengthy and laborious processes.

In her photo collages, material collages and installations Tine Furler (Galerie Hammelehle und Ahrens) examines questions of male and female sexual identity. Her work addresses socially and culturally motivated gender and role assignment - often carried to ironic extremes. Carina Brandes (BQ gallery) produces carefully staged black-and-white photographs of a highly subtle, dreamlike quality. Her images are filled with archetypal motifs such as doppelgängers, fairy tale characters and mythological figures. In her images she is usually the sole protagonist, staging enigmatic scenes not immediately interpretable and with no identifiable markers as to meaning. The work of the Chinese photographer Kexin Zang (Galerie Alexander Ochs) focuses on conceptual interpenetration and interfusion between East and West. She develops a confrontational strategy to create and test relationships between Chinese and European aesthetic traditions, consciously juxtaposing their antithesis and compatibility. Her enigmatic still-life photographs challenge the viewer to question culturally conditioned patterns of perception and received artistic concepts. The photographer Dan Dubowitz (Galerie Mirko Mayer) explores the detritus of forgotten and deserted wastelands. Among them are children's holiday camps built under the Mussolini regime in the 1930s in undeveloped regions of the Adriatic coast and in isolated mountain areas. Dubowitz documents their state of disrepair - although some of them are still in partial use - in fine, large-format photoworks.

Albert Mayr (Galerie Konzett) is an artist, performer and musician whose experimental projects are located at the interface between sculpture and media art. His materials are recycled from the detritus of the media industry. He reconfigures and melds them, uses them for recordings and exploits them as vehicles of communication. The work of Juergen Staack (Konrad Fischer Galerie) is highly complex and involves the transference of image to sound and into text. Images are vocalized - photos go missing or are effaced, and are brought back to life in recorded descriptions. He occasionally elucidates these processes, by ordering them experimentally and involving a prodigious quantity of audio and video equipment. Arab pop music plays a major role in the deeply felt narrative installations of the Lebanese contrabassist Raed Yassin (Kalfayan Galleries). Philipp Goldbach (Annely Juda Fine Art) focuses not only on language as an instrument of communication but also explores the complexity of the relationship between the written word and the vehicle that transports it. The chalkboards of his photo series 'Blackboards' were photographed in traditional German university settings - seminar rooms and lecture halls. The blackboards were witness to scholarly history and are now almost historical objects in themselves. They show ghostly traces of past writings, testifying to the transience of materials - and to the evanescence of intellectual insights. His series of drawings titled 'Micrographs' includes a meticulous transcription in pencil on paper of the entire text of Captain Scott's journals on his fatal expedition.

Lucy Teasdale (Galerie Mikael Andersen) is an innovative reworker of classic sculptural traditions. She creates abstract groups of figures - sometimes just pairs of figures - which she fashions out of a variety of synthetic materials but retaining art-historical references.
Michaël Aerts (Galerie Deweer) questions traditional symbols and forms in art and architecture. He reinterprets them using modern materials and places them in new contexts. His critical appropriation of historical forms is based on acute analysis of their meaning. This is the central theme of his series of mobile monuments. The work of the Polish artist Dorota Jurczak (Sies + Höke) is laden with seemingly naive allusions to eastern European folklore, folktales and applied art. Her images are peopled with nightmarish visions of human figures and animals depicted in brightly contrasting colours - weird tableaux which slip imperceptibly from the bizarre to the depressing.

The paintings of Eriks Apalais (Galerie Vera Munro) are filled with signs and letters that float freely over the picture plane like seemingly weightless objects in space. The bright glow of these small, frequently ill-defined bodies emanates from the matt black of the background conjuring up distant worlds of experience. Apalais's dark, large-format canvases suggest deeper intellectual insights. Ulrich Wulff (Galerie Bernd Kugler) constructs fantastic, highly coloured pictorial universes filled with mysteriously encrypted symbols. He uses dynamic brushwork and a varied palette of vivid and pastel tones. The Hungarian painter Patrícia Jagicza (Dovin Galeria) is a photorealist with a strong interest in feminist issues. The Mexican painter and draughtsman Mauricio Limón (Galeria Hilario Galguera) has been named the 'Jesus of the Ghetto' and this is no accident. He has befriended small-time drug-pushing street kids in Mexico City's toughest neighbourhood and portrayed them in watercolour and ink drawings.

Images of ART COLOGNE and material on the Audi Art Award prizewinner can be accessed in the Press section of the ART COLOGNE website (www.artcologne.com). Select 'Press', 'Image Database' and 'Art Cologne'.

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