Danielle de Picciotto
Opening Reception during GALLERY WEEKEND BERLIN
Thursday, 25.04. 18:00-21:00 | 19:00 Official introduction
Special opening hours during GALLERY WEEKEND BERLIN
Friday, 26.04. 14:00-19:00
Saturday, 27.04. 12:00-19:00
Sunday, 28.04. 12:00-17:00
Born in the USA, Danielle de Picciotto moved to Kreuzberg in 1987 and discovered her sympathy for its vibrant club scene and the creative world between nightlife, squats and subversive art in pre-Wall West Berlin. Through actions such as the initiation of the first Berlin Love Parade together with Dr. Motte in 1989 and the founding of the Ocean Club with Gudrun Gut in 1996, she is one of the formative figures of the Berlin club and music scene after the boom of the Neue Deutsche Welle.
The exhibition "Pandora laughs" is dedicated to Danielle de Picciotto as a painter and drawer. Visual art is an independent medium in the interdisciplinary work of the internationally successful musician, performance artist, filmmaker and lyricist, but like the other genres, it can only be fully understood in its overall context. In addition to drawings and paintings from various creative phases, the silent film "Crossroads" (2017) and original sheets from one of her graphic novels, "We are Gypsies Now" (2013), are therefore part of the exhibition. Both provide insights into her life as a nomad from 2010 until the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Danielle de Picciotto's artistic work is characterised in particular by working out of the process, experimenting with overlapping materials and layers and a love of storytelling. A guiding source of inspiration is her curiosity for the regions between the inner and outer edges of the collective psyche. Who is the individual "I" and who makes it what it is, what I AM: family expectations, cultural rules, social and moral taboos? And: does this question become more explosive when it comes from the mouth of a woman?
Since the 2000s, de Picciotto has increasingly combined her detailed ink drawings in black and white with colourful surrealist painting. Layers become stories and intermediate worlds. On the one hand, the results are reminiscent of the visual culture of Pop Surrealism, which was inspired by psychedelic music, comics and anime, among other things, and emerged beyond the established gallery and museum scene. On the other hand, their subliminal humour, the play with magical ideas, hybrid creatures and animals show similarities to works by surrealists such as Leonora Carrington.
De Picciotto's references to female figures from fairy tales and myths as well as quotations of symbolically erotically charged objects such as crowns, veils, daggers, flowers, birds and cages place her works in the context of debates about female identity and the violence of role models, but retain their independence by focussing on individual themes such as longings, doubts and fantasies. — Pandora laughs and her laughter is rebellion.
About the artist
Danielle de Picciotto's works are exhibited internationally, including the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, IMOCA Indianapolis Museum of Modern Art, London Museum of Art, ACMI Museum, Melbourne, Film Museum Frankfurt a.M., Institut de Cultura, Barcelona and Centre Pompidou, Malaga. She has produced several films with her animated drawings for the Deutsches Auswärtiges Amt. In 2003, she was honoured with the Poetic Lens Award for her poetic video "Awake" in Eugene, Oregon, USA. In 2019, she toured North America as a spoken word solo artist represented by the Goethe Institute. She has produced three film documentaries: "neubauten.org, Die Tour 2004", "How Long is Now" and "The Art of Lary 7" as well as the silent film "Crossroads". Danielle de Picciotto has been working with Alexander Hacke (Einstürzende Neubauten) on music productions and stage shows since 2001. Since then they have been touring the world with their band hackedepicciotto and have been married since 2006. Since 1990, the artist has recorded a total of 16 albums with Mick Harvey (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds), Monika Werkstatt, Gudrun Gut and Crime & The City Solution, among others.
S A T U R N A L I A
**Opening reception during BERLIN ART WEEK**
Thursday, 12.09. 18:00-21:00
The Saturnalia, according to tradition the most popular festival in ancient Rome, still stand for exuberance, abundance, the exercised pleasure in the whole realm of the sensual and the suspension of class boundaries (slaves were treated as equals). Named after the venue, the temple of the god Saturn, they were also a ritual in honour of this god of sowing and reaping and the father of the mythical Golden Age. Three reasons lead from here to the title "SATURNALIA" for an exhibition of paintings by Conor Walton, one of Ireland's leading contemporary painters of international renown: the allegorical fantasy, the realism of sensuality, the provocation of the absurd.
Allegorical fantasy. Conor Walton studied art history alongside fine art with a Masters degree from the University of Essex and has an immense knowledge of the history of motifs and ideas. Following the figures and scenes of his often large-scale allegorical oil paintings, as in the title image of the exhibition "Allegory of Wisdom" (2023), and their references to mythological ideas reaching far into the history of art, each of them opens up a world rich in imagination and knowledge.
Realism of sensuality. Walton's "Bread & Butter Paintings" depict individual foodstuffs such as pieces of butter, grapes, pumpkins, loaves of bread and chocolate bars. The masterly realistic depiction of these still lifes tells of a love for these supposedly insignificant objects, their colours and sensuous forms. However, the painter does not romanticise the things, for he repeatedly also aesthetically stages the aluminium foil and plastic bags that clothe these things in the age of conservation and synthetics.
Provocation of the absurd. Since he had children, Walton has been integrating toys into his pictures: Batman, Superman, T-Rex, medieval knights, zoos of animals from a wide variety of regions, ladies in courtly garb and many more. Wherever they appear, an alien species seems to play its game with pictures familiar to us, ironising the world we call reality. When Walton places a toy dinosaur and a toy astronaut next to an Old Master composition of pear and grape in „Keeping Things in Perspective“ (2015), he allows the history of our planet to converge on a tabletop.
"I see myself as a figurative painter in the European tradition, attempting to maintain my craft at the highest level, using paint to explore issues of truth, meaning and value. All my paintings are attempted answers to the three questions in the title of Gauguin’s famous painting: Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?“ (Conor Walton)
About the artist
Born in Ireland in 1970 Conor Walton trained at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin and under Charles Cecil in Florence, Italy. He holds a Masters Degree in Art History and Theory (awarded with Distinction) from the University of Essex. He has lectured at the National Gallery of Ireland, University College Dublin, the Royal Hibernian Academy, Laguna College of Art and Design, the New Museum, Los Gatos, and been Artist in Residence at California Lutheran University. He has attended The Representational Art Conference (TRAC) both as demonstration artist and guest speaker. Among the solo exhibitions of Walton are museum shows for example at the National Portrait Gallery (London), MEAM (Barcelona), The National Gallery of Ireland, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, the American University Museum (Washington DC) and the WMOCA (Wisconsin). The painter has won numerous awards for his work including the Gino De Agrò International Award (2022), the Ismail Lulani International Award (2019), ModPortrait 2017, Arc Salon 2014/15 (Still Life), Portrait Ireland 2005 and the "Lorenzo il Magnifico" International Award (1999).
Conor Walton lives and works in Wicklow, Ireland.