Tessa Verder & Tum Tum

With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?

Exhibition: 07.04.2018 - 24.04.2018

Opening: 07.04.2018, 6 - 9 pm

With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy?

The launch of the book Breeze of Light by Tessa Verder is at the heart of this exhibition.

The book has recently been published and covers the past 20 years of work by the Berlin-based Dutch artist.

The two contributors, whose catalogue texts are comprehensive examinations of Tessa’s work, will be present at the opening. During the course of the exhibition, it is possible to purchase a special edition copy of the publication at a preferential price. During the opening, the artist is available to sign your copy.

In the exhibition With freedom, books, flowers and the moon, who could not be happy? a variety of landscapes by Verder will be exhibited alongside humorous wall-based objects by the artist duo, Tum Tum. Herman Lijftogt and Tessa Verder (Tum Tum) create three dimensional objects by combining photographs or fragments of historical books with Tessa’s own photography, as well as embroidery or actual natural elements, such as branches. The results are small playful objects – artworks with a twinkle in their eyes.

Daniel Bodner

New York

Exhibition: 26.04.2018 - 02.06.2018
Special Opening Hours for GALLERY WEEKEND. The gallery will be open:
- on Friday 27.04.: 11 am - 9 pm
- on Saturday 28.04.: 11 am - 9 pm
- on Sunday 29.04.: 11 am - 6 pm

Opening: 26.04.2016, 6 - 9 pm

Daniel Bodner began painting in New York in the mid-1980s with a focus on the human figure. Following his move to Amsterdam, Netherlands in 1990, he explored space in relation to the figure, making unplanned and organic paintings from an interior dialogue. In 2005 his focus shifted to the depiction of light as it describes or sometimes obliterates space and figures. His paintings have formal qualities that recall decaying photographs or artifacts, and surface textures that reference mold and oxidization — qualities that are visual metaphors for the human experience, and refer to themes of solitude, alienation, memory and desire.

A momentary glance across an avenue, a barely noticed glimmer in the street—Daniel Bodner’s paintings transform gritty urban scenes of New York City into shimmering arrays of light and shadow. Bodner’s cityscapes feel as if the light, rather than a paint-loaded brush, caused the images by burning itself onto the canvases. The new oil paintings concentrate on bustling figures in the streets, with an unintentional quality in the compositions that emphasizes a sense of immediacy, as if the images were happening right now.

Daniel Bodner divides his time between New York, Amsterdam and Easthampton Massachusetts.

Santiago Ydáñez


Exhibition: 02.03.2018 // 6 - 9pm

Opening: 02.03. - 31.03.2018

We last exhibited Spanish painter, Santiago Ydáñez (born 1967) during his solo show in Berlin in 2008 (and in our Munich-based gallery in 2012). With the exhibition title, “Rastros” (“Traces”), we are exhibiting new works from three central groups of work.

Santiago’s self-portraits are especially expressive. They are based on a photo series in which he is seen in a snowy landscape with his face covered in white cream. These paintings examine the primal origins of human nature. They depict the animal in the human.

Santiago’s painted animals are a quotation of the long tradition of animal portraits found mainly in English, Spanish or Dutch Baroque painting (i.e. by Diego Velázquez or the Dutch painter, Frans Snyders). When viewing Santiago’s painted greyhounds with a Berliner’s perspective, one might think of Frederik the Great’s greyhounds. The representation of the most beautiful horses, dogs and particularly glorious hunting animals were used to illustrate the pride of their owners, while simultaneously letting the owners be associated with the gracefulness and strength of each depicted animal. With an ironic undertone, Santiago grants modern-day house pets (such as canaries or cats) the same status. The artist enlarges these animals to a gigantic scale as well, in which they retain something rather endearing, innocent and positive about them on the one side, but are also given monstrous features and a certain threatening appearance on the other.

Likewise, the paintings belonging to the series “dirty snow”. They portray the female high-diving athletes that Leni Riefenstahl captured on film in her documentary “Olympia” from 1938. In this series, Santiago examines the emergence of National Socialism and the preceding decades that provided fertile ground for this atrocious worldview to grow. Riefenstahl’s imagery of perfect, well-trained bodies and the higher aesthetic of their staged composition are definitely appealing, but one cannot ignore the thoughts on conformism and the subservience of art for the purposes of Nazi propaganda.

There is a common thread bringing Riefenstahl’s perfect bodies, the self-portraits and the animals together. At the same time, these subjects are both fundamental and centuries-old topics of art history.

Meanwhile Santiago Ydanez is one of the most established spanish artists of his generation. He was honoured by the following prizes: Premio de Pintura ABC / 2002, Premio de Pintura Generación / 2002, Caja Madrid, Beca del Colegio de España in París, Ministerio de Cultura / 2001 und den Beca de la Fundación Marcelino Botín / 1998.

Ydanez work was shown and collected by institutional collections like Fundación Botín (Santander), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), Museo Sofía Imber (Caracas, Venezuela). Moreover he is represented in 17 spanish museums.

Flavia Pitis and Radu Belcin

Exhibition: 13.01. - 20.02.2018

Opening: 13.01.2018 // 6 - 9pm

The Rumanian artist-duo Flavia Pitis and Radu Belcin is exhibiting together at Gallery Martin Mertens for the second time.

The two painters live and work together and, while each of them has developed their own personal artistic language,  their practices are deeply intertwined. They are engaging with similar subject matters and a description of fundamental thought behind the works can be applied to their works equally.

Based on and inspired by the research of American scientist and author Joseph Campell, Pitis and Belcin are interested in the influence of mythology on modern society.

“The universal stories say something essential about our most profound human characteristics and their lessons transcend time, though their language, images and symbols are constantly updated with the evolution of humankind. 

As Joseph Campbell notices, there once was a reminiscent time when people were united through common beliefs and driven by aspirations and fear.  They came together sharing the same myths and religions and were even capable of glorious achievements despite their modest possibilities. The individual could find comfort and support in a community based on the same understanding of the meaning of life and the world. This changed tremendously with time and members of our modern society are now torn by the effects of a never ending flow of stories, impressions and influences. As a result they are forced to build own paths to achieve significance and to create their very own mythology.  This system is a more solitary one, the modern hero/heroine is in the end everyone who succeeds in his/her personal journey.

The paintings in the exhibition describe an environment in which this contemporary hero/heroine can find self-expression and is able to suggest a personal vision of the world, as an individual but also connected to all mankind in an universal sense.” (Flavia Pitis/Radu Belcin)