Independence Berlin showcases for the first time at one place works by some very different yet related Berlin artists: Juliane Vonna Schönhauser, Elisabeth Reu, Anita Maria Leib, and Kerstin Kary. The exhibition focuses on painting, although the artists work in different media too. The paintings oscillates between precise figurative depiction and bodily abstraction. Common to all is a commitment to the hand-made, be it through the use of strong strokes, or as in Elisabeth Reu's case the offer of ready-made kits by which the viewer is turned into an artist himself. Common is a painting that does not hide its medium, but where drops of paint or a deliberate blurring of pigments becomes visible. It is an avowal to the medium of painting as such. The ongoing complaints that painting is dead, that art is lacking ideas, it was escapist, or banal and kitschy prove the artist as untenable. Kary, Leib, and Schönhauser are observers of the world around them, depicting simply what encounters them in life: in the life of big cities it is especially people. Whereas Kary is a master of black and white, whose pictures bespeak of spontaneity and suspense, Leib's pictures on the contrary are pastose, fragile and seemingly unreal, similar to those by Juliane Vonna Schönhauser, who melts both characteristics, the tension and the pastel-like transforming more into an earthiness, and whose motifs seem like to be taken from the streets and on the other hand seem fragmented and unfinished – in each of them an apparent reality is broken up and thus opened up to a new context. Figures seem to look at the viewer, but actually they look beyond it, as if they cared little about the opinion of the audience. In Elisabeth Reu's work the body totally dissolved into a „sillybody“ – it is there, perceivable, but yet is only developing through the observer who is creating it in that moment where he decides to engage with the art.
Leib, Kary, Reu, and Schönhauser are Berlin artists, who have lived in the city for many years, most of the time, or their entire life, who are a lot around in the city's „underground“, and who made a little name for themselves as „outsider-artists“ in Berlin's (music) scene. All four did not take the „normal“ way of the art apprenticeship, but adopted art in their own way; all four also stand for artists who think about where they want to get to, but who also know what they do not want: they embody a productive answer to what seems refusable to them: falseness of feeling, that is not felt by one's self, ingratiation on the market for the price of the choice what to depict and the shallowness of an arty work, that is hard to deciper and understand, do not seem the chosen aim. Rather do we have here representatives of an art that tries to use an understandable visual language, that does not want to be more than it is, and that as such wants to commuicate with the viewer in an unarrogant and impartial manner: Everyone can make art, everyone can understand it, if he wants. - And especially: it can enrich everyone, with beauty, warmth, truth, colours – by the means of honest hand's labour.