Jan Brokof, Dieter Mammel

installation, works on paper, video

12 September – 18 October 2015

Jan Brokof (1978, Schwedt, German Democratic Republic) recently discovered the account by the 16th-century German adventurer Hans Staden about his travels and his stay with a tribe of cannibals in Brasil. The explorer describes this new exotic world and in doing so also clearly defines himself as a European. In his art, Brokof applies this perspective to his own situation in which he as a former German Democratic Republic citizen has to come to terms with the capitalist West. At the same time he compares the overwhelming experience of his first visit to West Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall to his first visit to Brasil some years ago, where he travelled with a Brasilian theater group he had met in Berlin.

Jan Brokof will produce an installation with works on paper and collages on the back wall of the gallery in which he explores Brasil, exoticism and cannibalism. He also shows small collages in which he integrates elements from 16th and 17th Century woodcuts and painting of Brasil, indians and cannibals. and manipulated photos in which an archetype of the tourist and stranger is present. The video Hans Staden TV is also on show, an ongoing project in which Jan Brokof stars together with Flemish theater director and writer Joachim Robbrecht. In present day Sao Paolo they act out the story of 16th Century adventurer Hans Staden which creates sometimes surreal scenes caused by the clash of past and present and a clash of cultures.

Over a number of years Dieter Mammel (1965, Reutlingen, Germany) has been painting portraits of female movie stars. In his typical technique of painting with ink on unprepared canvas he paints the actresses who are often in the process of putting on their make-up, thereby carefully maintaining their mythical status. In order to undermine the image of the idol, Mammel cuts the portraits in half and puts the different sides together again to produce combination images, for instance of Meryl Streep/Marlene Dietrich.

In other paintings he places the face of the movie star partly outside of the painting or superimposes other figures upon them, as in Psychobaby a reference to the famous showering scene of Hitchcock’s film Psycho. Dieter Mammel also portrayed famous german artist Isa Genzken. He veiled her portrait by putting over the canvas a piece of plastic netting that Genzken used in her installation at the 2013 Venice Biennale, thus hiding her face partly.