Magazine article Artforum International

Astrid Sourkova and Markus Selg: KAI 10 Raum Fur Kunst

Magazine article Artforum International

Astrid Sourkova and Markus Selg: KAI 10 Raum Fur Kunst

Article excerpt

KAI 10 Raum fur Kunst was started last year by founding director Monika Schnetkamp as a platform for young artists. For this exhibition, "Der mude Tod oder der Gang uber die ekstatiscbe Treppe" (The Weary Death or the Path over the Ecstatic Stairs), KAI 10 curator Zdenek Felix put the space at the disposal of Markus Selg and Astrid Sourkova, both artists based in Berlin. Selg and Sourkova took as the starting point for their installation Fritz Lang and Thea von Harbou's silent film Der mude Tod (The Weary Death, 1921), a paradigmatic example of German Expressionism, in which a woman attempts to wrest her lover away from Death. Her struggle entails both global and transhistorical travel, taking her from caliphate Baghdad to Renaissance Venice and ancient China.

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In reacting to the film, Selg and Sourkova invited other artists, all based in Germany, to collaborate with them: Andrew Gilbert, Bernhard Lehner, and Dominic Wood. By painting the gallery's walls and columns, they turned the main space into a stage on which the "world court of human conflicts" makes its appearance. The room was configured allegorically as well as ceremoniously. Sourkova's large black-and-white drawing Sohne des Dormers (Sons of Thunder), 2008, hung on the front wall, showing battle scenes seemingly from the Middle Ages. The drawing was flanked on the left by Gilbert's Andrew the Zulu Queen, 2008, four sculptures of ghoulishly deployed British colonial soldiers; these life-size rag dolls escort an African chieftain enthroned on a stretcher--actually another British soldier, who has pronounced himself chieftain. Across from them stood Selg's nostalgic-looking painted plaster sculpture, Trauernde (Woman in Mourning), 2008; an equally archaic-looking wooden sculpture from the series "4 Eons of Evolution," 2008, by Wood; an elephant skull on a pedestal; and, leaning against the wall, sticks and scepters that Lehner has produced over the years, cobbled and screwed together from found objects both cheap and costly (for instance, a gothic wooden Madonna attached to a piece of found wood). …

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