‘Werkzeuge’ is Antje Majewski’s most recent body of work, in which she explores the intersection of the objecthood and functionality of everyday items as well as their aesthetic value. Having transformed old furniture pieces into the support for her canvases, Majewski presents oversized images of tools. With this “sustainable painting,” as she calls it, she combines elements that are freed of their practical use and disassembled in pieces, the objective presentations of which serve to create new objects, or at least repaired ones. Majewski thus playfully refers to a form of producing that is not necessarily output-oriented but oscillates between the creation of meaning and pure representation.
Il giardino dei corpi
Antje Majewski and Piotr Nathan live as artists in Berlin and both practice a type of figurative painting that, together with their motives and choice of subject can take on surreal or magical characteristics: Figures escape from their stencilled shapes or come together in improbable encounters. As well as this rather superficial similarity, the two artists’work is also linked on a level that operates with terms such as donation and surrender.
In the case of Antje Majewski (born 1968 in Marl) the image takes on a kind of intermediary status between subject and narration/context. It concerns the transfer of objects and meaning to painting and vice versa: from the image to utopian scenarios. Following her intensive tracing of the international value of seven objects (“The World of Gimel. How to Make Objects Talk.”, Kunsthaus Graz, 2011), whose meaning and treatment she researched on various continents and communicated in paintings and videos, Antje Majewski is now showing two new series of paintings at the Villa Romana: the “Elfenbeintürme” (“Ivory Towers”) position canvas steles as absurd governors in the space. Her image motives are oversized portrait-style imaginations of miniature carvings from the 16th century. Conversely, in the series “Werkzeuge” (“Tools”), she enhances the status of banal traditional tools to icons of painting. (…)
The title of the exhibition, “Il giardino dei corpi” (“The Garden of Bodies”) was chosen by both artists and plays on the ambivalence of beauty and convenience, as well as of form and uninhibitedness. The two artists have exhibited internationally since the 1980s and 1990s respectively. Piotr Nathan’s work has been shown at venues including Kunst Werke Berlin (1992); the Whitechapel Gallery, London (1993); the Haus der Kunst, Munich (2001) and the Nationalgalerie im Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2002). Antje Majewski has exhibited at galleries including the Malmö Kunstmuseet (1995), the Städtisches Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach (1998), the Kunsthalle Basel (1999), the Generali Foundation, Vienna (2004) and the Salzburger Kunstverein (2012).