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Rubica von Streng: PortLand – Anatomie der Zukunft – Kunsthalle Brennabor | 22.06.-28.07.2024

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The Kunsthalle Brennabor in Brandenburg an der Havel is ringing in the summer with a solo show by Berlin artist Rubica von Streng. From 22 June to 28 July, around 50 paintings and a sculpture from her work cycle ‘PortLand’ will be on display. The exhibition will open on 21 June at 6 p.m. in the presence of the artist.

Image above: Rubica von Streng, Am I Elefant, oil on canvas, 200 x 185 cm, 2018

In her PortLand paintings (oil on canvas, oil on paper), Rubica von Streng merges face, body, events and landscapes into imaginary portraits of inner and outer landscapes. Using the arpeggio painting technique she developed, layer by layer she creates abstract expressionist depictions of the topography of our planet and its inhabitants – an ‘anatomy of the future’, as the artist puts it.

‘Rubica von Streng’s paintings are literally multi-layered,’ says Volker Dressler from the Friends of Kunsthalle Brennabor. ‘The repeated application of diluted oil paint comes close to the effect of a watercolour. Everything remains visible, shines through, glows – nothing is concealed. The artist inserts colour accents into this lightness, such as wounds and injuries, which do not compete with the previously created transparency, but enter into a relationship with it. They do not disturb or destroy, but are part of the exciting visual dialogue of beauty and vulnerability in Rubica von Streng’s pictorial world. The light-flooded rooms in the industrial architecture of the former Brennaborwerke provide the ideal stage for this impressive exhibition.’ Von Streng’s works have previously been shown at the KIT (Kunsthalle) in Düsseldorf, the Haus der Kunst in Munich and various galleries in Europe and the USA.

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Rubica von Streng, Harvest Moon, oil on canvas, 100 x 80 cm, 2023

At first glance, a peaceful scene unfolds in the PortLand works: ‘The beauty of nature manifests itself in many different ways,’ says the artist. But on closer inspection, the supposed paradise on earth reveals fractures: ‘If you take a closer look, you will recognise a world of desires, struggle and change in some of the works.’ The PortLand cycle, which she began in 2018, is therefore also about ‘exploring the limits of civilisation and transcending them, sometimes looking into abysses – and beyond the horizon’. The face of our planet has changed dramatically in von Streng’s pictures: Climate crisis and wars are taking their toll – lush landscapes are turning into red-hot deserts, rivers are bursting their banks, cities are sinking, glaciers are melting and species are dying out. Nevertheless, her works do not exude a depressive, dystopian mood. On the contrary. They are encouraging and point the way to a future in which life will be different from today: more conscious, more sustainable and in harmony with nature.

Kerstin Bitar, Scientific Director of the Rosengart Collection Museum in Lucerne, has studied the artist’s oeuvre in depth. ‘Rubica von Streng’s multi-layered paintings provide the viewer with an ongoing, moving visual experience,’ says the art historian. ‘By fanning out very different motif elements, which she achieves using the arpeggio technique, but also through the use of gesturally articulated fragments of colour and form, the PortLand works are particularly fascinating and rich in metaphors. They open up many perspectives – into the depths, into the distance, into the future.’

In the ‘PortLand – Anatomy of the Future’ exhibition, the artist is also showing a selection of works from the ‘PortLand in Umbria’ group of works for the first time, which she began in Italy in 2019/20 and subsequently completed at Schlossatelier Berlitt. In addition to eight paintings (acrylic and oil on canvas) and 15 watercolours, the group also includes the short film ‘An End to Jealousy’ (D/I 2020), which von Streng shot with an international team at original locations in Umbria and Tuscany.

For the vernissage on 21 June at 6 pm, Rubica von Streng has developed a performative presentation that – this much can be revealed – will be about chance and chaos; the Felix Komoll Trio, Berlin, will provide the musical framework. Volker Dressler from the Friends of Kunsthalle Brennabor will give an introduction to the exhibition at the opening.

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Rubica von Streng, The Open, oil on canvas, 150 x 150 cm, 2022

The artist has already published extensive monographs on the first two parts of the cycle. The volumes ‘Towards PortLand’ and ‘Limits of PortLand’ are now out of print. The book on the third part of the cycle, ‘Beyond PortLand’ (Isensee-Verlag; ISBN: 978-3-7308-2114-5), is now being published to coincide with the opening of the exhibition at Kunsthalle Brennabor. In addition to more than 50 reproductions of works, it contains an essay by Kerstin Bitar and an art-theoretical categorisation of the series of works from the perspective of Christoph Tannert, Director of Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin. In an interview with journalist Frank Lassak, the artist also describes her painting technique and explains why she will continue working on the cycle in the future. The book ‘Beyond PortLand’ is available during the exhibition at Kunsthalle Brennabor at a subscription price and from 1 July 2024 in bookshops.

About the artist:

Rubica von Streng studied at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Karlsruhe and at the Universität der Künste in Berlin (UdK). She completed her studies there in 2018 as a Master of Arts and master student. In 2019, she took part in the highly acclaimed exhibition ‘Taking Root’ at the Düsseldorf Kunsthalle (KIT); in 2020, she showed works from the series ‘Towards PortLand’ at the Berlin Kunstraum Torstraße. Numerous other exhibitions followed in 2021/22, including at Haus der Kunst, Munich. From May to October 2023, almost 20,000 visitors saw Streng’s monumental cycle of works ‘Totentanz’ (2017-2020) in the Kulturkirche St. Jakobi Stralsund. In September 2024, Rubica von Streng will present selected PortLand works at the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art in South Korea. The artist is represented by Galerie Tammen, Berlin.

WHEN?

Vernissage: Friday, 21 June 2024, at 6.00 pm,

Exhibition dates: Saturday, 22 June to Sunday, 28 July 2024

Opening hours: Fri – Sun: 1 – 6 pm

Finissage with guided tour: Sunday, July 28, 2024, 2:00 pm.

WHERE?

Kunsthalle Brennabor
Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 12
14776 Brandenburg an der Havel

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