Private view: Friday 22nd August 6 - 9pm

23 August – 21 September 2014

Cactus presents SWEETNESS, a solo exhibition by Berlin based artist Katharina Fengler.

Katharina Fengler is a German artist based in Berlin. She studied Photography at Zurich University of the Arts (formerly HGKZ), Switzerland, where she graduated in 2007. In 2008 she received the City of Zurich Fine Arts Grant (Werkbeitrag). Recent exhibitions include «Ende» (cur. Dr. Julia Wirxel), Kunstverein Schwerin, DE (2013), «Friday» (cur. Elise Lammer, Samuel Leuenberger), Autocenter, Berlin, DE (2014), «Surface Poetry» (cur. Melanie Bühler), Boetzelaer|Nispen, Amsterdam, NL (2014), «One Bite», NO SPACE @ OTHER Projects, Berlin, DE (2014) and «Space is the Place 2014», Basel, CH (2014). Fengler's upcoming solo project «Cast Away» (w/ guest artist John von Bergen) will open in November, 2014 at BLOK art space, Istanbul, Turkey.


///// Press Release /////
by Jaakko Pallasvuo

In her Facebook profile picture Katharina Fengler is drinking from a coconut. She is using a straw. She's looking at a webcam. She looks quizzical.

I'm browsing her photos. There are more pictures of her work than of her. There are a lot of installation shots from very white cubes. This is a professional Facebook account.

A shot of Katharina Fengler eating a banana, wearing round sunglasses. Someone else eating a banana next to her, his mouth drawn tight, mid-chew.

On 30th of May 2013 Katharina Fengler uploaded a picture of a chameleon. It's in her profile pictures folder. I'm looking at the chameleon: it's multicolor, it looks like someone's doodled on it with gouache paint.

Katharina Fengler sends me an image of an airbrushed looking painting with a cutout of one half of a Twix bar superimposed. They used to be called 'Raider' in Europe, she reminds me, these chocolate bars.

Jaakko Pallasvuo:
why raider?

Katharina Fengler:
no idea
you mean why it was called raider or why I'm using an images of it?

Jaakko Pallasvuo:
why are u using images of it?

Katharina Fengler:
mainly because of the attractiveness of the object
it's very simple but also very appealing
it comes from a commercial language
but in the image it's just an abstract tool for me
hovering between abstraction and represantation
looking yummy, but also a little bit like poop
I could have used other candy
but somehow just the twix works very well
so for the show the images are all in some form with a twix


Maybe the works are like these chameleons in mid-transition. They have been placed under bright fluorescent lights and are shocked and out of their element. They don't know what to imitate anymore.

I'm thinking of Dali's melting clocks and then I'm thinking of Franz West sculptures and then I'm thinking that the way I described the works as confused chameleons made them sound ambiguous and compromised, but I don't think they are that. I think they are exact. Their failure to blend in benefits them as artworks. I show pictures of Katharina Fengler's work to my gallerist and he's like oh-cool-who's-that and bookmarks her homepage.

7 hours ago near Prenzlauer Berg, Germany
Katharina Fengler: IS THERE ANYBODY WHO WOULD LIKE TO WRITE THE PRESS RELEASE FOR MY NEXT SHOW (VERY SOON)? Can be completely fictional, poetic. No need to name drop philosophers or relevant artists. Needs to be in English and I'm happy to trade it for a small artwork if it's a good text . I would do it myself, but I'm not as good at writing as I am at criticising other people's writing. Also I don't have time and I don't really know what my work is about.

I volunteer to write a press release for Katharina Fengler. She mentions the need for the text to be 'good' two or three more times. I'm imagining her wringing her hands. I imagine her as a perfectionist. She's stressed about the type of language the art world uses to articulate itself. She's stressed about having to constantly talk about what she's doing when it's so fluid and material-based. She has to write artist statements and project plans for spaces and grant applications and she's like ugh whatever.

Why these texts are a pain to write, and why this probably won't amount to a 'good text', is the promotional nature of them. A press release exists to affirm a choice, an event, a body of work. Affirmative texts are usually pretty boring. Katharina Fengler is an emerging artist with a firm grasp on X. Her work creates exciting tension between Y and Z. Don't miss this show.

  Katharina Fengler, Jaakko Pallasvuo, Cactus, Liverpool,