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Graffiti  © Shiro Masuyama

Rambling around B
Moonjoo Lee | Shiro Masuyama

Curated by Katerina Valdivia Bruch

Strolling, rambling, drifting are synonymous of what an anonymous person does when he or she wants to experience a city through a random walk along its streets. Following the path of the flâneur, the artists are observers of their surrounding through long city walks. Influenced by different sensorial impressions they get during their rambling experiences, the artists take photographs to grasp the moment and through this recreate a portrait of a city, in this case the city of Berlin.

The figure of the flâneur has been defined in relation to street photography in Susan Sontag’s book On Photography (1977). She describes how the photographic camera has become one of the tools of the flâneur, almost since the invention of photography. For the author: “The photographer is an armed version of the solitary walker reconnoitring, stalking, cruising the urban inferno, the voyeuristic stroller who discovers the city as a landscape of voluptuous extremes. Adept of the joys of watching, connoisseur of empathy, the flâneur finds the world 'picturesque'“.

Moonjoo Lee (Seoul, 1972) works on serial paintings which document urban transformation of cities, such as Seoul, Boston, Detroit, and since last year Berlin. Her painting is based on a site-specific research about transitional urban landscapes, in which demolished buildings and new constructions appear in the process of remodelling a city.

The artist has been walking around Berlin for several months, discovering its process of change or transition, which she later documents in photographs. From these, she makes enlarged black-and-white photocopies and/or silkscreen prints to create a large-scale painting composed of different time layers. She has been observing the surroundings of Spreeufer close to Ostbahnhof and O2 Arena, and the demolition of Palast der Republik. Creating a panoramic landscape filled with mounds of metal scraps and dust mountains, all these sites are merged together in Lee's paintings, revealing social and economic factors that transform and recycle the surface of the city. Moonjoo Lee lives and works in Seoul. She was a resident artist at Künstlerhaus Bethanien during the period 2007-2008.

Shiro Masuyama (Tokyo, 1971), a former architecture student, is interested in involving people in his artworks. For him, the work is finished once the audience takes part in it. His working process includes observing the behaviour of the city’s inhabitants, which he then uses later when making his interventions, in which he tries to change slightly the way of perceiving an urban environment or a particular situation.

As a Berlin based artist, he has been strolling and observing the districts of Kreuzberg and Neukölln, portraying urban characters. For example, in the painting Pissing, a dog pisses on a street corner, or in Graffiti, a street artist is depicted painting graffiti. Later, he places these canvases on a real street corner or on a wall with the same characteristics as in his work and photographs them. Both the paintings and the photographs of the canvases are mimetic presentations or mirror images of an urban scenario seen before. His interventions are stories about different constructed urban environments.

Shiro Masuyama is known mostly for his installations and performances. We are glad to present an exhibition of his first photographic/painting works. The artist lives and works in Berlin and Kanagawa and has been artist in residence in a number of international studio programmes, such as ISCP (International Studio & Curatorial Program), New York in 2002; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin in 2004; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin in 2006, and IASK The National Art Studio Goyang, Asia Pacific Fellowship Program, Korea in 2008.

Opening: October 10th, 2008
Exhibition: October 11th - 29th , 2008

Galerie IAC-Berlin

curatorial text EN ]

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