Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster | Panoramism and the Abstract Sector

28 Oct 2022 – 23 Dec 2022

Regular hours

11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00

Free admission

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Esther Schipper

Berlin, Germany


Travel Information

  • The M85 and M48 bus routes have stops on Potsdamer Strasse at Lützowstrasse. (1 min. walk). Alternatively, take the M29 which stops at Potsdamer Brücke. (5 min. walk)
  • Take either the U1 to Kurfürstenstrasse or the U2 to Bülowstrasse and exit onto Potsdamer Strasse. Esther Schipper Gallery and Office are just a 3 minute walk away.
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Esther Schipper is pleased to present Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Panoramism and the Abstract Sector. On view will be a captivating environment that includes a 30-meter long 180°-degree curved panorama, especially conceived for the exhibition, a custom-printed carpet, with printed pillow books.


Esther Schipper is pleased to present Panoramism and the Abstract Sector, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s tenth solo exhibition with the gallery. On view will be a captivating environment that includes a 30-meter long 180°-degree curved panorama, especially conceived for the exhibition, its imagery spilling over onto a custom-printed carpet, with printed pillow books.

Panoramism and the Abstract Sector continues the artist’s creation of an artistic, emotional and intellectual genealogy, begun at the Vienna Secession in 2021 and at the Serpentine Galleries this past summer. Comparable to an act of media archeology, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (DGF) has reimagined the panorama as a medium that transcends contemporary image culture and reconnects to the legacy of early 19th century formats (this also includes, the diorama, a form the artist chose for her 2009 presentation at the Dia Art Foundation in New York). DGF reinvents these still precursors to early cinema, restoring their visual splendor and excavating their discursive power as storytelling devices.

The artist described her first panorama, conceived for her solo exhibition at the Secession, as a vision. Taking Diego Rivera’s giant 1947 mural Dream of a Sunday afternoon in the Alameda Central as point of departure, DGF produced her own equivalent: “a huge transfeminist and antiracist excursion... an eruption of life, protest, activism, desire, in a period of control, fear, isolation and screen time....” In this Volcanic Excursion, as the work was called, more than 230 characters inhabited a fantastic landscape, alongside representations of alien life. The second panorama at the Serpentine Galleries, Alienarium 5, focused more specifically on this notion of the extraterrestrial. Posing the question “What if aliens were in love with us?,” the artist created a speculative environment that condensed her decades-long interest in science fiction and imagined an otherwordly site of human, nonhuman and extraterrestrial connection.

The new 180°-degree panorama draws on the history of Berlin in the 20th century. A central motif of Panoramism and the Abstract Sector is the Berlin Wall. Covered in lyrical abstractions in one section, abstract expressionist in others, the wall forms the backdrop for a myriad of figures—artists mingling with actors (in character and as themselves), dancers, fashion designers, musicians, philosophers, theorists, and writers—quoting from photographs, paintings and drawings. Along a temporal arc—from scenes of crowds atop the wall in November 1989 to later images of toppled sections of graffitied concrete—other locations in Berlin and protagonists from earlier moments, especially the Weimar years with its lively, transgressive, and genderbending art and theatre scenes, are interlaced. Another emphasis, signaled in the title, is abstraction, in particular abstract painting. Thus, Panoramism and the Abstract Sector includes a wide range of reference to 20th century abstraction, especially Color Field Painting and Abstract Expressionism, paying tribute to artists such as Helen Frankenthaler and Lee Krasner but also actress and film maker Musidora (from Irma Vep) and transformative art world protagonists Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and Okwui Enwezor.

Altered realities and quotations from art, image and film history have been a major theme in DGF’s practice. Thus, Roman de Münster, her 2007 contribution to Skulptur Projekte Münster, and TH.2058, her 2008 solo presentation at the Tate Modern, modified existing works by other artists. The former included thirty-eight miniatures of art works from different iterations of the decennial in Münster, assembled in a theme-park-like parcour, while at the Tate, works were enlarged and their transformation integrated into a dystopian narrative. Historical figures and their representation are central to DGF’s series of apparitions, part of her larger ongoing project TH.2062 (a fragmentary opera), begun in 2012. Likened by the artist to inhabiting a character “séance-like,” DGF’s apparitions have included among others Maria Callas, Bob Dylan, Emily Brontë, Véra Nabokov, Lola Montez, Marilyn Monroe, Fitzcarraldo, and, most recently, Foxyne, based on a character from the 1922 novel Lady into Fox. And since 2017, through Exotourisme, the artist has made manifest her interest in music, combining staged concerts with appearances as “replicant” characters from Blade Runner. The first album is coming out on October 21 and on the occasion of a “replicants tour.”

Visitors can explore the dense web of associations while seated on pillows printed with the covers of books, adding another layer of intellectual context, and continuing DGF’s longstanding inclusion of books into her environments, often creating veritable bibliographies alongside her works.

Concurrent with the exhibition, Paul B. Preciado and Gonzalez-Foerster’s Une Valise Transféministe, first presented at the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2019, will be on view in the bookstore.

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

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