Berliners pining for the green expanses of the city’s parks in summertime can now turn their winter-weary eyes to the latest installation at the Neue Nationalgalerie.
Mies van der Rohe’s sober, minimalistic entrance hall has been transformed by an ornate carpet and a huge golden chandelier – the epitome of what the Bauhaus crew couldn’t stand. But New Yorker Rudolf Stingel’s ironic installation somehow meshes well with the space, and there’s an added bonus: visitors are invited to sit down and roll around on the ground, effectively creating an interactive ‘park’ experience inside (hence the exhibition’s title, “LIVE”).
We saw some couples lying in each other’s arms, knutsching, others sitting in circles, chatting, and quite a few reaching down to touch the carpet to verify that it is, in fact, a carpet. Its pattern, created by Stingel from a carpet that he photographed and then altered with computer programming, undoubtedly resembles an Oriental design, but its giant scale and method of creation make for a sort of exaggerated pixilation that is visually confusing.
In the downstairs gallery, four fascinating paintings highlight Stingel’s skills as a master of deception. He again alters the scale and medium of images – but this time, instead of moving them from carpet to computer and back again, he’s taken four old black and white photographs and represented them in large scale oil-on-canvas renderings. From afar, they look exactly like photographic reproductions: even the smallest details – from wayward thumbprints to scratches on the negative – are present and correct.
LIVE | February 10 to May 24