Kristin Wenzel’s first solo exhibition at SUPRAINFINIT Gallery continues her research into architecture and the production of space. For Wenzel, architecture is both a cultural symbol and a space for encounter. With "The Near and the Elsewhere", her artistic investigation enters the realm of liminality.

"The Near and the Elsewhere" marks Kristin Wenzel’s first solo exhibition at SUPRAINFINIT gallery, an exhibition that continues her research into architecture and the production of space. Drawn to her interest in architecture as a cultural symbol, as well as a space for encounter, Wenzel’s artistic investigation is taken further to a liminal realm.

Growing up in the eastern part of Germany, Kristin paid close attention to the socialist architecture and the transformation processes that started in the early 1990s. Her patterns of perception have been developing around forgotten things, things that are left behind, re-purposed or about to disappear. Her current large-scale installation references the artist’s personal memories in relation to a public swimming pool, while also engaging the viewer in a playful reinterpretation of the gallery’s floor plan. The swimming pool is a ‘visible sign of what used to be.’[1] In full advent of the ‘acceleration of history, excess of time and spatial overabundance,’[2] the creation of a micro architectural context for social and artistic encounter is essential in Wenzel’s practice.

As the modernist utopia fails under the artist’s eyes as well as the others’, the artist works with that failure in seeking to analyse and preserve it so that it might instead be converted into other states of being and beginnings. Delving into her ongoing 'Re-collection' work, the transformation through casting and moulding processes of certain stucco ornaments from the artist’s personal archive/collection[3] is creating new ceramic objects. Although carefully shaped and glazed, traces of time are still visible and added versions of history and materiality are unveiled. Kristin’s involvement and works always balance between ‘the near’ and ‘the elsewhere’, the familiar and non-familiar, the present and the past.

After Milița Petrașcu, the artist’s replica of an existing bas-relief—made by female Romanian artist Milița Petrașcu in 1935 at the entrance of a modernist block of flats built by Marcel Iancu—is both an alarming and preserving gesture, an attempt to re-evaluate a part of the recent history through her subjective lens.

As a central piece, the fountain is related to the idea of a community space, of an infrastructure that can be found in public and semi-public spaces destined for people’s use. Also as a comment concerning the use and location of the drinking fountains in Bucharest, this vernacular object adds even more to the peculiarity of the whole transformation of the gallery space. Further explored here, Kristin Wenzel’s practice is strongly related to the forging of site sensitive spaces and contexts for social encounters and collective knowledge production.

In this context of social encounters, the artist organises a parallel programme through which she invites other artists and practitioners to engage with the space.

[1] Pierre Nora cited by Marc Augé in Non-Places. Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, London: Verso Books.
[2] Augé, Marc, 1995, Non-Places. Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity, London: Verso Books
[3] Kristin Wenzel’s work 'Re-collection' (2018—ongoing) is a growing collection of found stucco façade ornaments in Bucharest and it started on a Sunday morning after a storm

Text written by Cristina Vasilescu
all images © Dan Vezentan

Kristin Wenzel | solo exhibition
The Near and the Elsewhere
Suprainfinit Gallery
Strada Mantuleasa, nr. 22
Bucharest, Romania

Kristin Wenzel, born in 1983 in Gotha, East Germany, lives and works in Bucharest and Gotha. She received an MA from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 2013. Kristin Wenzel’s recent work has shifted towards the public space, by imagining structures and alternative ways of dealing with it (which she often coins as proposals or models). With installations, sculptures and interventions, she tackles the implications of public architecture as both ‘memory foam’—inscribed with its particular history—and open source structure—allowing to be strayed from its original design. In 2018, together with the artists Vlad Brăteanu, Alice Gancevici & Remus Pușcariu, she co-founded Template, an artists’ initiative and exhibition project in Bucharest.

Image captions:

Kristin Wenzel, former East Germany swimming pool

1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Installation view: The Near and the Elsewhere 

6. Fountain no. 3, 2020
metal, wood, paint, water
164 x 66 x 76cm

7, 8. Alice & Remus, 2020
glazed ceramic, steel
300 x 80 x 60cm

9. Stay, 2020
glazed ceramic
28 x 18 x 10.5cm

10. Dragon, 2020
glazed ceramic, nickel plated steel
21 x 62 x 10cm

11, 12. After Milița Petrașcu, 2020
glazed ceramic
100 x 46 x 2.5cm

13. Shiver, 2020
glazed ceramic, nickel plated steel
40 x 27 x 8cm

14. Lion head, 2020
glazed ceramic
16 x 13.5 x 10cm