this issue contains
>> Miwa Yanagi at Hara Museum Tokyo/ Not Vital at Kunstraum Salzburg
>> Art Award for Tamara Grcic / Deutsche Bank's Art Calender 2006

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The Poetry of Reality
Tamara Grcic receives the 1822 Art Award of the Frankfurter Sparkasse

Tamara Grcic, Untitled, New York 1995, 1995
Deutsche Bank Collection, Courtesy Kuckei+Kuckei, Berlin

On the streets of New York, she secretly photographs the backs of pedestrians’ heads: Frankfurt-based artist Tamara Grcic shows close-ups of an area of our bodies we can only see in the mirror. Hair curls wildly over necks and spills over collars. The artist films the backs of boxers training with a sack of sand – close-up, showing only the play of muscles beneath skin glistening with sweat, accompanied by the sound of the men groaning and their blows hitting home. Or she shows a young Romany man playing accordion before a backdrop of Frankfurt’s skyscrapers. His melancholic "gypsy melodies" form an acoustic antipode to the cool financial towers rising high into the sky behind him. With her photographs, films, and installations, Tamara Grcic isolates parts of reality and succeeds in winnowing out a new, often poetic presence.

Now, the graduate of the Städl School has been awarded with the 1822 Art Prize. For over thirty years, the Frankfurter Sparkasse has been presenting the oeuvre award to honor artists connected to the Frankfurt region. Grcic’s 12-part series Untitled, New York, 1995 is part of the Deutsche Bank Collection. Over the course of a week, at a market stand in Chinatown, she photographed still lifes of vegetables and fruit whose random arrangement seems almost accidental. Next year, her series will be touring through several South American cities as part of a large exhibition presenting highlights of German photography from the Deutsche Bank Collection.

Tamara Grcic, Untitled, New York 1995, 1995
Deutsche Bank Collection, Courtesy Kuckei+Kuckei, Berlin

In the early nineties, Grcic focussed primarily on natural phenomena. She used perishable materials such as eggs, fruit, vegetables, and flowers for her installations and photographs. Growing and decaying: Grcic uses the camera to record the various stages in the decomposition of fruit and vegetables over the course of time – from the fresh fruit to the moldy, dissolving object. The photographs inspire a multitude of associations; they recall both scientific studies and the memento-mori still lifes of the Baroque. In her 1994 Twelve-Hour Exhibition, she arranged 700 melons on tables in Frankfurt’s Portikus. The aroma of the fruits completed the visual impression, creating a multi-sensual experience.

Later, Grcic turned her attention to people: her films Bolek and Lucy, Avonmouth are portraits of two young women; she also photographed playing children or a man jumping into a lake, seemingly hovering over the water’s blue expanse. Tamara Grcic records life’s fleeting moments, enabling the viewer to take part in the random beauty of the transitory.

Art at Work
Renowned photographers document the art at Deutsche Bank

"Business as usual" in the conference room at Deutsche Bank? Only at first glance. In any case, the men dressed in dark suits are anything but lost in concentration: one is on the phone, another is studying the carpeting, bored; someone is carrying a tubular steel chair, while assorted groups are sitting immersed in discussion. Nobody seems interested in the colleague explaining the large-scale photograph on the wall. But something isn’t quite right here. The room seems alien; somehow, it calls the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari to mind. Moreover, all of these men bear an uncanny resemblance to one another. And lo, it’s always the same nondescript, balding, middle-aged man: the Berlin-based photographer Martin Liebscher, director and actor in one. Round Table is the title of a work typical for the series he began in 2002 called Familienbilder (Family Pictures). In his photographs, the Kippenberger and Bayrle student always plays the role of the protagonists himself – from the camping vacationers relaxing in their jogging outfits to the visitors and indeed entire orchestra of the Berlin Philharmonic. Liebscher assembles his works together on the computer from many individual images. For the three motifs that he realized this summer in the rooms at Deutsche Bank Frankfurt, the artist took 640 photographs.

Martin Liebscher, Round Table, 2004
Deutsche Bank Collection, ©VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2005

Round Table is the October motif of the Deutsche Bank calendar Art at Work 2006, created for the company’s clients and staff. Along with two of Liebscher’s works, it also features commissioned works by Barbara Klemm, Michael Danner, and Lee Mawdsley. The London-based photographer’s works were made in preparation for the exhibition 25 at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin. Mawdsley documented works of art in the bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt, London, and New York for Visuell, the magazine commemorating the anniversary exhibition of the Deutsche Bank Collection. The two photographs by Michael Danner were made in the Berlin bank building at Unter den Linden. On the June page of the calendar, he offers a peek into the first-aid room where the New York-based artist Tom Sachs drew a Le Corbusier building directly onto the wall using black marker. Barbara Klemm, the "Grande Dame" of German press photography, created a cool, elegant black and white image for July that depicts Max Bill’s sculpture Kontinuität (Continuity, 1986) before the twin towers of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt – the monumental endless strip in granite that has become the trademark of Deutsche Bank’s commitment to art.