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>> Portrait Ursula Döbereiner / Kirstine Roepstorff
>> Lawrence Weiner: Interview
>> Cash Flow at the ibc in Frankfurt: Olaf Metzel

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Collaged Utopias, Globalized Worlds:
Deutsche Bank Art presents Ursula Döbereiner and Kirstine Roepstorff at the Frieze Art Fair

Deutsche Bank Art’s press stand at the Frieze Art Fair in London is celebrating a premiere. Not only has the Danish artist Kirstine Roepstorff, one of the newcomers on the young Scandinavian scene, designed a limited edition for the occasion; her set comprised of a shopping bag, sticker, and poster promises to become a collector’s item. For the first time this year, the entire stand has been designed by a single artist: “Spaces into Spaces” is the title of the installation by the Berlin-based artist Ursula Döbereiner, which surrounds the visitor like a gigantic all-round drawing. db-artmag introduces the artists and their works.

Kirstine Roepstorff, The Third Way, 2005 © Kirstine Roepstorff, Courtesy Peres Projects, Los Angeles/Berlin, Christina Wilson Gallery, Kopenhagen
Kirstine Roepstorff, This is not the Queen of Diamonds, She just wants it, 2004 Courtesy Christina Wilson Gallery

"I think photomontages function like dreams," says Kirstine Roepstorff. "It’s impossible to dream of something you have no picture of, of something that hasn’t been reproduced by our visual culture." Indeed, the collages of the artist, who divides her time between Berlin and Copenhagen, evoke an odd state of suspension. In The Third Way (2005), the work that makes up the poster motif for Deutsche Bank Art, a 19th-century schooner sails through a turquoise-blue sea leaving a foamy mist of paper shreds and glittery particles in its trail, innumerable specks of color and light.

Kirstine Roepstorff, Eel of unfortune (trust me), 2005,
Courtesy Christina Wilson Gallery

Kirstine Roepstorff, Parlament (Stop woman), 2005, Courtesy Christina Wilson Gallery
Kirstine Roepstorff, Hearts with Seeds and Brains with Love, 2004, Courtesy Christina Wilson Gallery

An ivory-colored tower of cups and pots is piled up on the horizon. A closer look reveals two amateur golf players behaving like elephants in a chinaware store, threatening to turn the luxurious vision to shards. In Roepstorff’s work, the classical image of the immigrant from Old Europe who embarked on the journey to the promised land on the other side of the Atlantic towards the end of the previous century meets its contemporary equivalent. The romantic yearning for a freer life is reduced to utopian visions that resemble the consumerist dreams of a Habitat catalogue.

The Third Way belongs to a series of collages that Roepstorff made in 2005 for her installation Mystic Harbour in the group exhibition Critical Societies shown at the Badischer Kunstverein. During the same time, her works were part of the international event project Populism, which investigated the relationship between contemporary art and current political and populist tendencies and was shown in various exhibition venues such as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Frankfurter Kunstverein. Capitalism as a safe harbor? Both exhibitions posed the question as to how artistic production can be combined with a criticism of capitalism. Roepstorff’s works examine whether and how current artistic production can aesthetically comprehend and reflect upon alternative political utopias.

The principles of montage assume a key role in the work of the 1972-born Danish artist. Works like Pink or Hearts with Seeds and Brains with Love, both of which are from 2004 and serve as motifs for the paper bag editions of Deutsche Bank Art, are reminiscent of Dadaist collages and the agitative works of John Heartfield. At the same time, they refer to the aesthetic strategies of women artists such as Hannah Höch or Martha Rosler:

Kirstine Roepstorff, Pink, 2004,
Courtesy Christina Wilson Gallery

the photomontage appears as a medium for a feminist point of view that illuminates collective consciousness. Roepstorff, however, blurs the borders between the political message and "Radical-Chic": images of war zones, global migration, and ecological catastrophes merge with pictures taken from lifestyle and design magazines. In her collages, clouds of colorful confetti explode; it’s raining diamonds and glitter, and the result is both glamorous and paradoxical. Roepstorff’s works are aesthetically refined; they possess an almost oppressive beauty. While they reveal political and social transgressions in a highly subtle manner, they unmask the all-encompassing language of the world of commodities and advertising as cynical and superficial.

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