29 Apr 2021
Making Things More Better
Esper Postma, Mirror Stage, exhibition view
courtesy: the artist
Esper Postma will speak about a recent body of work which confronts the urban landscape of Berlin. For the past year, Postma has researched the conflicting memories embedded in the city and the controversies over its transformations since German reunification. One of the resulting projects is Mirror Stage, which thematises the demolition of the GDR building Palast der Republik to make way for a reconstruction of the Prussian Berliner Schloss, which recently opened as the Humboldt Forum. The installation orchestrates a direct confrontation between the two buildings by juxtaposing reconstructed fragments of their facades. Where Mirror Stage responds to current developments, another recent work speculates on the future. Making Things More Better, made in collaboration with Maurits Koster, is a series of posters that invades Berlin's public space. The posters function as proposals for hypothetical ad campaigns; they provocatively speculate on the future of technology, finance, and politics. Postma will touch on these and other projects, some of which are still in progress.
Esper Postma shows how familiar spaces, objects and icons allow for a plethora of meanings. His work unravels the narratives that make up our cultural identity as told by political and cultural institutions. For example, Postma has repeatedly made dissections of institutional establishments, presenting life-size architectural fragments that appear to be methodically cut out of a building. These subversive acts of displacement are characteristic of his practice; Postma continuously dissects the language and aesthetics of power. Another trajectory of his practice is made within existing museum collections and archives. Here, Postma researches politically charged objects such as religious artefacts. At Stadtmuseum Lindau, he took a painting of St. Wilgefortis – a bearded female saint – as a starting point to emancipate objects from the yoke of patriarchy. His installations situate existing relics together with self-made objects, constituting a dynamic playing field in which utilities, artefacts, and architecture form new poetic relations.
Esper Postma, born in Amsterdam in 1988, is a graduate of the Städelschule (2015) and was a participant of the BPA// Berlin program for artists (2020). Recent solo exhibitions include Salome at Westfälischer Kunstverein and Rebis at Stadtmuseum Lindau. He took part in group exhibitions at Martin Gropius Bau Berlin, Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Hotel Maria Kapel Hoorn, PS120 Berlin, Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK) Frankfurt am Main a.o. In June 2021 he will have a solo exhibition at Villa Romana in Florence.
Since February Esper Postma has been living in Florence to follow his artistic research. He was invited by Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz – Max-Planck-Institut and Villa Romana as a cooperative approach to further develop dialogues and reflections between contemporary artists and art historians. This first online appointment is to introduce the artist and start a first semi-public exchange. This talk should be a starting point for further – hopefully also physical – meetings and discussions in the coming months.
in collaboration with