History Now / Galerie Pankow

Brigitte Waldach History Now

from April 26 to June 18, 2023

Galerie Pankow
Breite Straße 8
13187 Berlin

The series “History Now” is privately owned and is now being shown for the first time in Berlin at Galerie Pankow, together with other groups of works by the artist.

It’s hardly surprising that topics such as Christianity, terrorism, and fascism are among the keywords provoking the most intense editorial activity on Wikipedia. And just as the various text versions are superimposed on each other in this constantly changing online encyclopedia, in Waldach’s drawings they contract into almost impenetrable word clouds when she writes different text versions of the relevant encyclopedia entries—the oldest in light grey, the most recent ones in dark grey—next to and on top of each other in pencil. In addition to a vast structure of characters and references, on a symbolic level the constitution of individualized knowledge and its interpretation are visualized. Digital information as a flowing, virtual attempt to objectify historiography is combined with quotations from classical printed works and individual trains of thought from the fund of associations of a present subject—in this case the artist. Accordingly, the figures in History Now‘s drawings seem to float in their own individual cosmos, which is also formally condensed into an interpretation of its protagonists. Isn’t that Jesus walking on the water of the words wafting around him? Aren’t Hitler’s outer contours being dissolved by those very words? And doesn’t the text lend corporeality to the members of the Red Army Faction?

The eight large drawings appear like a highly symbolic tableau showing the possibilities and impossibilities of a global, universal update of history, arranged and presented as a system of thought from different disciplines represented by well-known figures: Franz Kafka (literature, the absurd, The Metamorphosis, black), Hannah Arendt (philosophy, Judaism, the unspeakable, blue), Adolf Hitler (politics, fascism, Mein Kampf, brown), Jesus (Christianity, faith, the Bible, violet), Ensslin, Baader, and Meinhof (terrorism, resistance, diaries and letters, red), Buddha (transcendence, the sun wheel, emptiness, orange), Sigmund Freud (psychoanalysis, hysteria, the unconscious, silver), Marilyn Monroe, Madonna and Lady Gaga (pop culture, image building, song lyrics, pink).

Roland Nachtigäller