Johannes Albers

Words

We meet Johannes Albers in his exhibition rooms of the Michael Fuchs Gallery in Berlin Mitte where his latest works are on display. In the widespread rooms of the former Jewish Girl’s School his art pieces seem to find the perfect exhibition space. In the former auditorium of the school one finds the monumental aluminium installation ‘Meer von Mauern’ (sea of walls) as well as the fragile glass suitcase, of which Johannes Albers tells us, that it’s currently his favorite piece of work. With this case he associates a new beginning that is always linked with an unknown future. The insecurity and fragility finds clear expression in this case of glass.

Johannes Albers latest works deal with the theme of the ‘wall’ – like manifested in his installation ‘Meer von Mauern’ (sea of walls) – and further with the motive of the advancement, with boundaries and the symbol of change. If one is aware of this intention, it appears in every of his objects like a golden thread. Using mostly used and secondhand materials which he separates from their original context, he revives them in his artistic work, giving them new meaning. The items exceed their former boundaries in which they were utilized and come to a new being as meaningful objects.

Every piece tells a story, involves a motive, a thought which he explains us during our time together. Johannes Albers idea of the ‘Zeichnung’ (drawing), which shows a rough and extensive black brushed sheet of paper, was to create a reversed obituary. Normally it has a black margin while the information about the descendent is placed in the middle. Reversing this proportions and painting the middle black instead of the margin, is an example for the punchlines in Johannes Albers work. It appeals to him to experiment with contrasts and everyday occasions, staging them, surprising his audience. His piece ‘Bleistift’ (pencil), which unexpectedly stands out of a wall symbolizes the connection between a thought and his literal realization. It is the hinge connecting fiction and reality.

We accompany Johannes Albers to his studio, which is based on the ground-floor of a Berlin flat in Wedding. The room is smaller than his large scaled artworks suppose. Though we discover items which we recognize from some of his works, like the red paddle pond of ‘große Fabrik’ (big factory) or the cube made of acrylic glass from the work ‘Healing’. At a wall there are rough coal sketches, another is occupied by a huge ping pong like panel and amidst the rooms resides a red leather chair, where Albers sits down to reflect, develops his ideas and observes to push the boundaries even further. At the end of a long creating process it’s a unique experience for him to be able to experience his well-conceived installations in the exhibiting room.

Pictures by Caroline Kurze | Text by Esther Jablotschkin

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