with Soufiane Ababri, Alfredo Aceto, Roger Ballen, Julius von Bismarck, Asger Carlsen, Julian Charrière, Andrej Dùbravsky, Andreas Greiner, Katarina Janeckova Walshe, Robert Lazzarini, Thomas Liu Le Lann, Bernhard Martin, Nicola Martini, Simon Mullan, Fatma Shanan, Jonas Wendelin
“DITTRICH & SCHLECHTRIEM is pleased to present a group exhibition titled 2020 YEAR OF THE RAT, beginning November 18 and on view through December 19, featuring works by artists from the gallery’s program: ALFREDO ACETO, ASGER CARLSEN, JULIAN CHARRIÈRE, ANDREJ DÚBRAVSKÝ, ANDREAS GREINER, ROBERT LAZZARINI, BERNARD MARTIN, NICOLA MARTINI, SIMON MULLAN, FATMA SHANAN, as well as a collaboration by JULIUS VON BISMARCK and JULIAN CHARRIÈRE and work by guest artist ROGER BALLEN. This inclusive exhibition marks the gallery’s growth despite the diverse challenges of 2020, featuring SOUFIANE ABABRI and JONAS WENDELIN, each of whom presented his first solo show with the gallery in 2020, while previewing works from the most recent additions to the program: KATARINA JANECKOVA WALSHE and THOMAS LIU LE LANN, both of whom present solo shows in 2021.
A majority of the works and the concept had been prepared for Art Cologne 2020, which has been postponed due to pandemic restrictions until April 2021. The gallery now seizes the opportunity to rethink the show, presenting 2020 Year of the Rat as our year-end exhibition in Berlin.
2020 is the Year of the Rat in the Chinese calendar. The rat traditionally embodies intelligence, creativity, resourcefulness, and strong social bonds, while those born in this year hold the power to turn unlucky events into fortune. 2020 Year of the Rat aims to mirror these old favorable auspices, placing a responsibility on active artistic and art-viewing practices to sustain us amidst challenges. Art elevates, providing an enhanced perspective with which we persevere and ultimately progress to a more prosperous future. In Western cultures, by contrast, the rat, though a resilient survivor, is a loathsome creature, impoverished and undesirable, even criminal.
The selected works have been produced in and contextually reshaped by the unsettling events and reset of 2020, as we collectively endured a global pandemic, a worsening climate crisis, violent social injustice, terrorism, and shifts in social structures that redefined personal and spatial relationships as a result of physical distance and limited mobility.
In looping videos, soft sculptures, collages and oil paintings, ACETO, CARLSEN, LIU LE LANN, and SHANAN reexamine relationships with a new perspective on portraiture, connections, and distance. A dependable genre throughout art history, the portrait in 2020 takes on a new context and weight in a world in which humanity must be cautiously guarded.
CHARRIÈRE, DÚBRAVSKÝ, GREINER, WENDELIN, and MARTIN abstract time, reprising history and current perspectives on nature while projecting uncertain future states at risk from climate change and politics. The gallery will present a never-before-seen photograph of darkly draped icecaps from Charrière’s series Towards No Earthly Pole alongside significant sculptural work from Not All Who Wander Are Lost, previously exhibited institutionally in Europe. Dúbravský paints delightfully dystopian figurations and still lifes. Greiner and Wendelin, meanwhile, present expanded multimedia works from pandemic-postponed and repositioned Gallery Weekend Berlin 2020 exhibitions titled Jungle Memory and Only, respectively. Martin takes abstraction in time further in a new oil on canvas titled Present. Decidedly unfinished, it is rich in dueling iconographies intended to delight and devalue.
MARTINI and MULLAN explore formal abstraction and material translation to convey tension, redefine space, as well as psychological and social inversions, while ABABRI and JANECKOVA WALSHE realistically and fantastically depict narratives of domestic scenarios, placing significance on interior space and musing on relationships in isolation.
LAZZARINI and guest artist BALLEN interpret the show’s title, 2020 Year of the Rat, in more straightforward fashion with a direct reference to the vermin itself. Lazzarini, reprising a 2010 work rat poison stickers, links warning signage, the role of rats in disease transmission, and the plague from the turn of the twentieth century to the present pandemic. Ballen animates and embodies the rat in performative photography in a series developed over the past five years titled Roger the Rat, accompanied by his recently released Hatje Cantz publication.
The exhibition will remain on view through December 19, 2020, and is expected to rotate works and installations intermittently, with weekly updates and features. For further information on the artists and the works or to request images, please contact Owen Clements, owen(at)dittrich-schlechtriem.com."