One of the oldest materials used for sculpture is ceramic, a material which also has a special relationship to the history of Berlin. Large areas of the city were built using ceramic bricks. Like other works by Bettina Pousttchi, the ceramic works presented here reference the field of architecture and its social implications.
These murals started out as photographic details Pousttchi took of the patterned blackened oak beams of historic, half-timbered houses and then digitally edited. Similar to a 3D printing technique, the photo file of the façade elements was transformed into a ceramic module.
This serial module is arranged on the wall in different constellations in ornamental patterns, thus creating a spatial dynamism. Picking up on this aspect in a conversation with the artist in her recently published book, The City, Chris Dercon noted: “You go much further, I think, reflecting on ornament not only as a form of life but also as a form of animation.”
The wall friezes combine the language of European architecture with that of the Middle East. This interlacing of perspectives is based on a transnational vision which is central to the artist’s oeuvre.
The manual production of the different ceramic pieces, which are glazed in different colours, gives each element a slightly different shape. “In their linear placement, these wall-mounted sculptures recall Progressions of Donald Judd. Even more, as groupings of nearly identical modules placed in a serial, nonhierachical order, they call to mind the floor pieces of Carl Andre”, writes Jeremy Strick, Director of the Nasher Sculpture Center Dallas, continuing: “And while Judd and Andre worked with sculptural elements that were decidedly and determinedly impersonal, Pousttchi’s modules call forth a variety of cultural, historical, and autobiographical associations.”