Exhibition // Somewhere sideways, down, at an angle, but very close at WENTRUP

Article by AJ Kiyoizumi in Berlin; Tuesday, May 20, 2014
Berlin Art Link Features, Art Work by Florian Meisenberg; courtesy of Wentrup GalleryFlorian Meisenberg – installation view of “Somewhere sideways, down, at an angle, but very close” (2014); courtesy of Wentrup Gallery

Florian Meisenberg knows that we no longer need to marvel at the software of Siri, and he knows that tweeting is already an aging sport. In his second show at Wentrup Gallery, we aren’t pushed to consider magical or gimmicky aspects of technology mixed with art. Instead, he plays with the already existing language of social media, Photoshop, selfies, etc. — and humanizes these experiences rather than sensationalizing them.

The one-room exhibition houses nine canvases, two video screens, and printers hoisted near the ceilings that print out tweets, photos, poems, drawings, and more from selected friends of the artist. Against the light gray checkered Photoshop patterned wallpaper, faded pastels beckon from natural-hued canvases.

Berlin Art Link Features, Art Work by Florian Meisenberg; courtesy of Wentrup GalleryFlorian Meisenberg – installation view of “Somewhere sideways, down, at an angle, but very close” (2014); courtesy of Wentrup Gallery

Berlin Art Link Features, Art Work by Florian Meisenberg; courtesy of Wentrup GalleryFlorian Meisenberg – installation view of “Somewhere sideways, down, at an angle, but very close” (2014); courtesy of Wentrup Gallery

On some of the canvases, greasy vestiges of foot and handprints trot across, reminiscent of the finger oil streaks on our phone screens. One painting has “JPG” painted in yellow in the center. Another has a calm yet jovial smiley face, hung high on the wall. The more complicated and colorful canvases possess spindly abstracted shapes that look like a delicate interpretation of both Miró and Trapper Keepers.

One of the video loops playing in the center of the room is of Meisenberg using his iPhone to film himself in a recently-steamed bathroom mirror. With satisfying squeaks, he uses his pointer finger to draw smiley faces on the mirror in methodical rows. The more he draws, the more of him we can discern through the outlines. Faster and faster, he alternates between upward curves and downward curves for the mouths, some more curved than others. The tension builds. Will the smiley face mouths eventually neutralize and become an unamused straight line? The end result is an amusing and quick video, but one that plays with the power of immediacy.

Berlin Art Link Features, Art Work by Florian Meisenberg; courtesy of Wentrup GalleryFlorian Meisenberg – installation view of “Somewhere sideways, down, at an angle, but very close” (2014); courtesy of Wentrup Gallery

Another study in testing our attention includes the printers that spat out sheets of paper during the opening. They now nest dormant in the corners, yet the activation of the space is still recorded, with the sheets lying in thin piles on the ground. The papers litter the floor, and we find ourselves stepping around them, as if intruding on a vitrine in a white box gallery, afraid to damage the work. In reality, the images have dusty footprints on them and many are flipped over. Photos of cigarette butts, someone’s grandma, and a sprained ankle in a splint are just a few of the images that range from mundane to crude to humorous. These are a manifestation of all the information that floods us, but what we remember and why, we cannot always explain.

Meisenberg’s talent lies in his contemplations of our material and consumer desires. We do not leave feeling as if he has lectured us about enjoying our smartphones, but are reminded of how we can use these innovations to entertain ourselves and connect with others. That’s not to say that his art can be simplified in this generalization. His work is lightweight and easy to admire, but is layered with self-awareness and considered examinations of painting and media.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Additional Information

WENTRUP GALLERY
“Somewhere sideways, down, at an angle, but very close” – FLORIAN MEISENBERG
Exhibition: May 02 – Jun. 21, 2014
Tempelhofer Ufer 22 (click here for map)
___________________________________________________________________________________

AJ Kiyoizumi is a writer living in Berlin.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *