Highlights from ‘Various Others’ – Munich’s Gallery-Share Initiative

From Senga Nengudi’s pantyhose sculptures to Andrea Büttner’s iPhone etchings, a selection of shows not to miss

BY Carina Bukuts in Critic's Guides | 13 SEP 19


Diamond Stingily, Doing the Best I Can, 2019, installation view, Wattis Institute, San Francisco, 2019. Courtesy: the artist, Queer Thoughts, New York, and Ramiken, New York; photograph: Johnna Arnold

Diamond Stingily, ‘Wall Sits’

Kunstverein München

20 September – 17 November

The first exhibition curated by Kunstverein München’s newly appointed director, Maurin Dietrich, also marks American artist Diamond Stingily’s European institutional debut. Titled ‘Wall Sits’ – in reference to the endurance workout exercise – the show unpacks Stingily’s recent investigation of our human obsession with victory. In the middle but in the corner of 176th Place (2019), for instance, comprises large shelves bearing hundreds of trophies for various sports, ranging from gymnastics to baseball. The installation recalls the trophy cases found in high schools but the original plaques have been removed and replaced with slogans like, ‘I DID IT FOR THE GLORY’ – confessions of a society conditioned to achieve everything it aims for. Stingily’s work questions the notion of success and exposes the illusion of the American Dream: not everyone receives a trophy in life and not everyone makes it from rags to riches.

Andrea Büttner, Beggar, 2016, woodcut on paper, 1.3 × 1.0 m. Courtesy: the artist, Galerie Barbara Gross, Munich, and Hollybush Gardens, London; photograph: Wilfried Petzi © Andrea Büttner / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Andrea Büttner

Barbara Gross Galerie hosting Hollybush Gardens, London

14 September – 31 October 

While many artists in the 1990s were interested in exploring new internet technologies, Turner-prize nominee Andrea Büttner embraced the more traditional technique of woodcutting – a practice she has continued to this day. Here, at Barbara Gross Galerie, in collaboration with London’s Hollybush Gardens, Büttner shows three series of woodcuts and etchings. ‘Beggars’ (2015–ongoing) is an homage to expressionist artist Ernst Barlach’s sculpture Verhüllte Bettlerin (Cloaked Beggar, 1919) and recalls the same formal language in its frontal views of sheathed figures with outreached hands. This series of woodcuts is an echo of Büttner’s extensive exploration of the iconography of poverty and shame, but it also reflects more broadly on strategies of non-verbal communication. Employing a completely different process, the series ‘Phone Etching’ (2015–17) also investigates gestural communication: Büttner translated the traces of her fingers on her iPhone into colour etchings to create a protocol of her movements.

Arthur Jafa, Monster, 1988/2019, photograph. Courtesy: the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York/Rome © Museum Brandhorst, Munich

‘Forever Young: 10 Years Museum Brandhorst’

Museum Brandhorst

24 May – 26 April 2020

2019 has been a year of anniversaries: 100 years since architect Walter Gropius founded the avant-garde Bauhaus art school; 50 years since Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon; 30 years since the Berlin Wall fell; and a decade since Anette and Udo Brandhorst decided to share their outstanding art collection with the public by opening Museum Brandhorst. Since then, the number of artworks on display has nearly doubled – from 700 to more than 1,200 – and the museum has become an integral part of Munich’s art landscape. With its anniversary exhibition, ‘Forever Young’, Museum Brandhorst not only pays tribute to its pop-art roots with various works by Andy Warhol but also provides an overview of its most recent acquisitions, including Arthur Jafa’s self-portrait Monster (1988/2019) and Charline von Heyl’s painting Spoudaiogeloion (2016).

Tramaine de Senna, Upholstered Object Nº 2 – Drip Origin, 2019, installation view. Courtesy: the artist; photograph: Quinten Buijsse

Tramaine de Senna & Nicolás Lamas

Loggia hosting Mélange, Cologne, and Sabot, Cluj-Napoca

14 September – 12 October

Most galleries in Munich have been around for decades, but there are also a few younger spaces bringing a breath of fresh air to the Bavarian capital. One of these is Loggia. For ‘Various Others’, the gallery has teamed up with Cologne-based project space Mélange and Romanian gallery Sabot to present works by Nicolás Lamas and Tramaine de Senna. Lamas combines found and discarded objects – shoes, metal bars, stools – with natural materials like feathers to create sculptures that attempt to investigate the infinite possibilities and meanings of everyday items. Reminiscent of futuristic interior design, De Senna’s sculptures are characterized by the artist’s interest in identifying anomalies within the familiar.

Senga Nengudi, R.S.V.P. Reverie D, 2014, nylon, sand, copper. Courtesy: the artist and Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus und Kunstbau Munich; photograph: Timo Ohler

Senga Nengudi, ‘Topologies’


17 September – 19 January 2020

American artist Senga Nengudi’s sculptures and performances examine our relationship to our bodies. Her iconic ‘R.S.V.P.’ series, which she began in 1975, consists of nylon pantyhose filled with sand then tied, knotted, twisted, stretched and tacked to the wall. In 1977, Nengudi developed her first choreographed performances, in collaboration with artist Maren Hassinger, in which the nylon sculptures were activated. At Lenbachhaus, these performances are documented in the black and white photographs of ‘Performance Series’ (1978). When asked in a 2018 interview with frieze why she had started working with stockings, Nengudi responded that she enjoyed the idea of being able to carry an entire exhibition in her bag. Fortunately, her works here in Munich take up significantly more space.

KAYA (Kerstin Brätsch and Debo Eilers), Take Hell-Raiser (Black), 2019, Kartell lamp epoxy, glass stones, drawn glass, 32 × 17 × 28 cm. Courtesy: the artists, Deborah Schamoni, Munich, and MX Gallery, New York

Paul Gondry & KAYA

Deborah Schamoni hosting MX Gallery, New York

14 September – 19 October

For the second edition of ‘Various Others’, Deborah Schamoni has teamed up with New York-based performance and exhibition space MX Gallery to present a duo exhibition by KAYA and Paul Gondry. The collaborative project of artists Kerstin Brätsch and Debo Eilers, KAYA is known for its multidisciplinary practice – ranging from sculptures and paintings to performance – as well as its interest in processes of reproduction and appropriation. At Deborah Schamoni, KAYA presents a new series of works, comprising modified table lamps produced by the Italian plastic interior design company Kartell. Take Hell-Raiser (Black) (2019), for instance, transforms the lamp into an eerie face with colourful glass stones and fake diamonds for teeth and eyes. Displayed alongside, Gondry’s acrylic paintings, set in a fictional dark age with a dying civilization, form the perfect disturbing liaison.

Ding Yi, Appearance of Crosses, 2017–19, mixed media on bass wood, 1.2 × 1.2 m. Courtesy: the artist, Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich, and ShangART Gallery, Shanghai

Ding Yi, ‘Rim Light’

Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle hosting ShanghART, Shanghai

14 September – 16 November

Shanghai-based Ding Yi was one of the first artists to reject the traditions of Chinese painting and subject his practice to extremely rational design methods. For the past 30 years, his paintings have been readily identifiable as variations on the same motif of small crosses and plus signs. At first glance, Ding’s works appear to have been printed but a closer look reveals that the various layers, arrangements and overlappings of crosses, lines and structures are entirely the product of the artist’s painstaking technique. For ‘Rim Light’, his exhibition at Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle in collaboration with ShangART, Ding has created a new series of paintings on limewood (‘Appearance of Crosses’, 2017–19), in which the supports were first covered with several layers of paint and then meticulously worked on, line by line, with a burin. The colours appear as a cross motif, complemented by individual, deftly applied brush strokes. 

Various Others is at locations across the city from 13 September until 13 October 2019.

Main image: Senga Nengudi, Performance Piece, 1977, photograph with performer Maren Hassinger. Courtesy: the artist, Lenbachhaus, Munich, and KiCo Collection, Munich; photograph: Harmon Outlaw

Carina Bukuts is associate editor of frieze. She is based in Berlin, Germany.