At a backyard at Boppstraße in a district called Neustadt at Mainz, ‘Work in progress’ visits a new generation of artists. We come to see the art class of drawing in the branch office of the Kunsthochschule Mainz and spend the evening in their studio, a former animal food store.
We pass brightly painted and sticker cluttered doors and climb up the stairs to the top floor where we find ourselves in a vast studio. We take place at the large table and will stay until late at night. We notice a ping-pong table whose surface is perforated with several holes. It’s a project of Philipp Jung and Simon Ertel that has been displayed during the last Rundgang in 2012. Apart from the joint colloquia, the thirteen students of the drawing class have their own working rhythm. We meet Simon Ertel, Philipp Jung, Ivana Matic and Claudia Schuh.
Each student harks back to their own topics that inspire them in their artistic work. The expressive look of the black and white drawings and animations by Simon Ertel reveal his preference for movies with expressionist imagery such as ‘The Night of the Hunter’ and ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’. Also literature, for example Herman Melville’s ‘Moby Dick’ appear repeatedly in his work. Thus in his video ‘Cortex Vortex’ you can hear a distorted quote of Captain Ahab escaping out of the skull. ‘I am fascinated by evoking images that attempt to represent a materialization of thought. As if one might picture cerebral activities and psychological processes that are actually invisible to us’. The work ‘Cortex Vortex’ is an attempt to visualize this endeavor.
Although we are visiting the drawing class, everyone has their entirely different approaches, working methods and instruments. Ivana Matic is working on large-scale drawings and Claudia Schuh with a printing technique. While in Philipp Jung’s work series motifs from different areas of experience are lined up into a conceptual open-plan collection of ink drawings. Drawings after photographs are equally important as interpretations of children’s drawings and abstract works. The works are presented as a tableau, from which it’s possible for the viewer to assemble the individual drawings imaginatively to a non-linear narrative. Meanwhile, the collection has grown to several hundred drawings and will soon be seen in form of a book.
Mainz is not exactly known as a city of art although Frankfurt with its Schirn Kunsthalle is not far away. As a result the students are often left on their own without being able to rely on a large network of galleries, so they organize exhibitions and performances themselves. Simon has just released his first comic in collaboration with Simon Metzger. Though the students also appreciate this calmness in which you can wonderfully work and focus. They often start late in the day and work long into the night. Then they enjoy the silence in the studio. As they tell us, there is much worth living in Mainz, for example living near the Rhine, beautiful beer gardens and short distances, where everything can be reached easily by bike. Especially here in the Neustadt district some nice places are the Gartenfeldplatz with the cozy café Annabatterie and Neustadteis next door. PENG, the society for the promotion of design, art and communication in Mainz, organizes concerts in caravans at the port or discussion in the living room.
We are excited to see more of their work in the future and thank them for the delightful evening. The next Rundgang will take place on 31.01 – 02.02.2014.
Pictures and Text byAnke Nunheim