Natalie Czech, who grew up not far from Düsseldorf, has home-field advantage with her exhibition ‘if someone came up and started talking a poem at you how would you know it was a poem?’ at Kadel Willborn. The exhibition consists of two series, Poet’s Questions and Negative Calligrammes (both 2018), spread equally over the two halves of the gallery. While the conceptual approach in the five photographs of the first series with its hybrid of pop music and poetry feels slightly kooky, the Negative Calligrammes are a positive affront. The photographs show printed out emails to Czech from authors including Quinn Latimer, John Holten and Julien Bismuth, filed in a pale blue folder. Alluding to Concrete Poetry and the density of figures in Mail Art, the artist has outlined domestic scenes in felt-tip pen – a couple cleaning their house or tending their plants, a venetian blind. The painted lines use only gaps, nowhere obscuring the sometimes highly personal texts. With its sleek photographic presentation, this equal status of text and drawing is a firm invitation to the high ropes of interpretation: many strands, tangles likely.
- Moritz Scheper
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