The group exhibition “nichts, nichts nichts, außer aber alles” in English “Nothing, nothing, nothing, but everything” , which was opened on October 22nd, 2021 in Kunstverein Gelsenkirchen , in the old villa of the Gelsenkirchen Art Museum in Germany, is still open to the public until December 12th, 2021. Exploring identity in relation to individual origins and current social transformations becomes a central theme of the exhibition that brings together in the same place the artworks of 21 students of different nationalities. This is the latest exhibition of the class led by Mariana Castillo Deball at Kunstakademie Münster (Münster Art Academy).
The intercultural status of the Deball class is manifested in the exhibition by the participation of 8 nationalities belonging to: Germany, South Korea, Japan, Guatemala, Turkey, Mexico, Mongolia and Romania: “If you wanted to collect our passports you’d get 8 different kinds ( from Germany, South Korea, Japan, Guatemala, Turkey, Mexico, Mongolia and Romania), but regarding our identities and cultures we are way more”, says Anastasia Comănescu for artevezi team.
Among the participants there is also the artist Anastasia Comănescu who helped us to find out more details about the exhibition after being interviewed by Stanca Soare exclusively for Artevezi: “My colleagues were interested in finding a common denominator between origins and nationality searching for a collective theme, which is the real reason why the artworks reflect the identity of each artist”.
Since 2019, Anastasia Comănescu has been a student in the class led by Mariana Castillo Deball at the Kunstakademie Münster. In the same year, she received a two-week scholarship to improve her German language and deepen her knowledge of Berlin’s history and political situation at Goethe Institut Berlin.
She is currently a Romanian-German interpreter for Akzent GmbH and she works with patients in a Hospital called Universitätsklinikum and so far she has participated in group exhibitions in Romania, Münster and Denmark.
Anastasia’s participation in the current exhibition emphasizes her connection with the tradition, seen from outside her country of origin. In this case, the notion of “time passing” vanishes, as this state is generated by the emotional impact of the artist’s living memories, that she got to feel in her home country.
“The exhibition is an insight in our personal search and exploration. We have been asking ourselves for the past year what identity is, and here is the result”, says Anastasia Comănescu about the exhibition.
The identity of each artist is transposed into installations and objects, which can be seen on all three floors of the Kunstverein’s building. From soap to pieces of beech wood to writing and language, the works encapsulate different perspectives of alienation in the current pandemic context. There seems to be a return of artists to tradition and rituals.
In fact, the need to return to the roots of artists is natural and nothing new, at least compared to those who live in Romania, where we could see the evolution of two artistic currents that have developed based on traditional culture: neo-orthodoxy in painting and spectralism in music.
Returning to the exhibition entitled in German “nichts nichts nichts, außer aber alles”, Anastasia Comănescu’s installation -“About soap”, reprezents a liminal state wich the artist experienced during the period of isolation imposed by the pandemic context. After finding a piece of soap that once belonged to her grandmother the artist had an olfactory hallucination, which reminded her of the enticing smell of freshly washed clothes and therefore of her grandmother’s hand washing ritual: “Handwork is an important part of what I do. and soap is a symbol that connects me to the origins. Here is a small part of my identity “, says Anastasia in the interview given to Stanca Soare about the exhibition.
Her work, made of three metal structures, highlights a white T-shirt soaked in soap and pieces of soap of different shapes and sizes. The artist thus offers us a perspective view of the cleaning ritual. The installation comes with a set of instructions for making soap at home and therefore inviting the public to take part in the process.
4 Kg fat (any form of oil/fat that you can find: used, fresh, spoiled, doesn’t really matter) -here featuring the traditional Pork fat and pieces of bacon
1 Kg Sodium Hydroxide (caustic soda). Please wear gloves. Or don’t.
About one bouquet of lavender. But you know, one must measure it with the heart, just like with garlic.
2 handfuls of salt
So, the rule of thumb here is to mix everything well and continuously under a fire. Start with melting the fat, then add the water and after that mix in the soda, lavender and salt.
Mix until the next full moon. Or until you see the soap forming on the potion’s surface. Now let it cool for a day. It’ll be usable in about a week from now.
I’d love to see your potions taking form! Send me pics at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mandkhai Ariunbold, Jannik Bergfelder, Merle Borgmann, Anastasia Teodora Comănescu, Tuğba Durukan, Lisa Felden, Katrin Fischer, Hansol Kang, Masako Kato, Suyeon Kim, Katharina Kneip, Hannah Kons, Maria Alejandra Medina Fuentes, Jakob Mönch, Elena Mohr, Maria Rene Morales Garcia, Jin Soo Park, Joshua Karan Singh, Yui Tombana, Johanna Wiesen.
About Mariana Castillo Deball:
Mariana Castillo Deball earned a BFA from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in 1997. In 2003, she completed a postgraduate program at Jan van Eyck Academie in the Netherlands. Deball has been awarded with the Prix de Rome (2004), Zurich Art Prize (2012), a fellowship at the Henry Moore Institute (2012), and the Preis der Nationalgalerie für junge Kunst (2013). She was an artist in residency at the Berliner Künstlerprogramm in Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) in 2011.
For anyone interested in applying at the Kunstakademie Münster: one needs a C1 level of German and the application period is from 4th of April to 10th every year . If you get in but you don’t know enough German, then the academy allows you to keep your places for the following year so you have time to attain your C1 German level.
Article by Elena Ghițoiu aka Elena Est