frieze, Matthew Burbidge, 2013

Annette Ruenzler

Galerie Kamm, Berlin, Germany

At first, Annette Ruenzler’s second solo show at Berlin’s Galerie Kamm seems enigmatic. The press release explains that the show’s French title, ‘Faire la bise’ (Air Kissing) exemplifies an exhibition in which sculptural and photographic works ‘teeter between presence and absence’. This ambiguity is indeed true of an air kiss, the phenomenon so widespread in Basel in June, and in Miami in December; but it is not true of Ruenzler’s exhibition, which is as definite as a kiss on the lips. Definite, though, nevertheless entails a whole set of meanings, each of which can occur in different ways. Definition, in other words, does not enforce singularity.

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Fräulein, Anne Waak, 03/2011

Ruenzlers Papierarbeiten sind geprägt von einer klaren Zartheit. Etwa wenn sie sich in ihren Zeichnungen mit geradezu dokumentarischem Interesse den Auflösungserscheinungen textiler Gewebe widmed. Dann wieder kontrastiert sie eine florale Zerbrechlichkeit mit der subtilen Ästhetik von Erpresserbriefen: In der Collage-Serie „Flower Talk“ fallen aus Zeitungen ausgeschnittene Buchstaben aus kopierten Orchideenblüten. Reiht man die Buchstabenfragmente zu Worten zueienander, verhandeln sie die immerwährende Anwesenheit der Vergangenheit in der Gegenwart, die Überlagerung beider Zeitebenen in der Psyche – ein auch an anderer Stelle wieder auftauchendes Thema in Ruenzlers Arbeit. Etwa wenn sie in „Calender“ die beiden Worte „Past“ und „Present“ in unterschiedlichen Farben und im Stil von Abreißkalendern übereinanderdruckt und miteinander verschmelzen läßt.

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Alex Hetherington, ‘Review’, The List, 14th May 2009

 
The Power to Faint at Will – or Not, Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow
 
It is often said you should talk to plants; in German artists Annette Ruenzler’s subversive yet subtle universe, her flowers talk back. A series of cut-out flower photocopies are ‘pressed’ on pages accompanied by tiny, flowing newspaper-cutting letters, which for accusing, demanding or poetic phrases in a style reminiscent of ransom notes. It is this tension between the decorative and the sinister that plays together to form a brilliantly orchestrated observation on gender aesthetics, the civilized, masculine assertion and the ornamental.

Vulnerable or illusory situations dominate this show: a naked, female figure is seen upside down disguised in part by a domestic rug; our presence, as observers, in the spaces skewed by mirrored peep holes, and a sculpture of tightly grasping adults arms held aloft by the weakest grip, a child’s hand.

Ruenzler’s materials, meanwhile, are both immaculate and delicate yet powerfully rendered, inviting a cautious and curious approach. This underscores her interest in the dichotomy between perceived strength and weakness, and frames her criticisms levied against more utilitarian, masculine ideals of the modernist landscape. In turn, the title of the show, where fragility and force combine, extends her tactical analysis of gender and visual politics. It reminds us that appearances can be deceptive and a delicate gesture can also hold the most formidable punch.
 
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Monopol Nr.10/2008, Jens Hinrichsen

Zwischen Freiheit und Beklemmung pendelt das “ Tanzbein“ aus Gips, das 2008 in einer Gruppenschau der Berliner Galerie Kamm zu sehen war: Ein moströs verquollenes Bein mündet in einen Ballerinafuß, das Ganze ist eingehängt in ein fahrbahres Gestell, halb Kinderspielgerüst, halb Galgen – unheimlich sinnlich. Künstlerinnen wie Luise Bourgois und Sarah Lucas könnten hier Pate gestanden haben.

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