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Artistic Expression and Cultural Identity: Michael Janssen Berlin at NADA New York 2022


For the NADA Art Fair 2022, Michael Janssen Berlin has invited seven artists with different backgrounds to delve into the concept of collage as a means of artistic expression and a tool for building a cultural identity...

NADA New York, Installation view, 2022, Galerie Michael Janssen

NADA New York 2022
5—8 May 2022
Visit us at Booth 1.08

Louis Cameron, Yafeng Duan, Margret Eicher, Monique van Genderen, Gulnur Mukazhanova, Jonathan Schmidt–Ott, Yonamine

For the NADA Art Fair 2022, Michael Janssen Berlin has invited seven artists with different backgrounds to delve into the concept of collage as a means of artistic expression and a tool for building a cultural identity.

Louis Cameron’s Collage Paintings are a visual diary of Berlin seen through the lens of the artist‘s heritage. His abstract, conceptually driven works are inspired by the patchwork patterns of African American quilts. Cameron makes his collages on canvas, processing pictures of textures and patterns he takes on the streets of Berlin through the aesthetics of the quilt tradition. This fragmented visual narrative creates a distinguished portrait of the German capital with glimpses of the American South.

Another series Last Words are vinyl poster installations quoting the “last words” of Black people in the United States unjustly killed by police and others. The phrases are taken from moments before individuals are killed to those spoken up to a week or two before. Out of context many of the phrases appear banal. It is only after reading the title of the works that the context is revealed for the phrases.

Similarly, Gulnur Mukazhanova uses the traditional craft of Kazakh artisans to examine post-nomadic identities and alienation from indigenous communities caused by global capitalist processes. Her delicate hand embroidered work from the series Moments of present made with ancestral Kazakh techniques embodies a fragile identity trapped between West and East.

In contrast to Gulnur Mukazhanova’s hand-woven textiles, the collages of Margret Eicher are created digitally and printed in an industrial manner. She is considered a pioneer of contemporary tapestry in Germany: in her large-scale textile works, well-known motifs from classical paintings are interwoven with iconic images of popular culture.

Works of Angolan artist Yonamine are also deeply influenced by the images from pop culture. He appropriates street art aesthetics to reverberate the echoes of colonial politics in today’s world. Blending history with personal experience, he shapes a fragmented narrative of the African continent and of his own identity.

Likewise Yonamine, who creates a visually engaging composition using a wide variety of artistic techniques, Monique van Genderen develops her language of abstract composition through the individualistic vocabulary of brushstrokes and mediums. The collage-like interplay of biomorphic forms, luminous colors and quirky geometry of whimsical shapes innate to her works creates physical experiences in dimensionality and illusion.

Jonathan Schmidt–Ott, a former film scholar and technician with a vested interest in Gestalt psychology, greatly advocates the “next moment” and the gap between image, reality, and the imagined truth.

Finally, Berlin-based Chinese artist Yafeng Duan is another artist who explores the objective sensibility of abstraction. She employs different painting methods, combining gauche, tempera, aquarell and acrylic, to create delicate transcen-dental landscapes filled with melancholic beauty. Duang’s works add a final touch to the unique composition of this booth, conceptually woven by six artists who use their works to resist the commodification of their identities.

Text: Karina Abdusamalova

NADA New York, Installation view, 2022, Galerie Michael JanssenNADA New York, Installation view, 2022, Galerie Michael JanssenNADA New York, Installation view, 2022, Galerie Michael Janssen 

NADA New York, Installation view, 2022, Galerie Michael Janssen

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