07.042016. – 20.04.2016

Cornelia Baltes & Jean-Philippe Dordolo

Valeska Hageney

Centrum Berlin
Reuterstr. 7, 12053 Berlin

Centrum Berlin is looking forward to hosting an exceptional collaborative project of the artists Cornelia Baltes and Jean-Philippe Dordolo. For the duration of two weeks the artists will transform and use the project space for their residency and for an artistic experiment: the two artists, who previously have not been in close contact, but for several years have appreciated and followed each other’s work and progress, get together for an intense exchange about their techniques and shared themes and interests. Both artists’ works have in common elements of humour and playfulness; while Dordolo’s works are often sculptural, Baltes works mainly on canvas or wooden panels. Whether their cooperation will result in a two-person presentation or also lead to works with joined authorship at this point remains to be seen.

Before the official opening on the 7th of April, when the artist will present the results of their collaboration, there will be an open studio event on the 1st of April giving visitors the opportunity to participate in and get an insight into the work process of Cornelia Baltes and Jean-Philippe Dordolo. „The idea of using the space as a studio prior to the show – and to treat the show as an extension of a studio practice dedicated to experimentation – will grant us the opportunity to think materially about playfulness. It will enable us to test it on a larger scale: firstly in the context of an exchange between two artists working together in the same space; but also with idea in mind that people outside the gallery may be allowed in to witness the progression/build-up as it happens.“



In Cornelia Baltes’s work, figurative and abstract elements merge playfully. Extremely reduced figurations, that at times border on the abstract, interact with each other with playful ease, yet fragments of characters always remain recognisable. The experimental, but at the same time stringent hanging of her works is a continuation of this specific aesthetic language which also corresponds to Baltes’ subjective, particular use of colour.

Real-world observations inform her stylised works, but ultimately are omitted. Despite the artist’s clean and unabashedly chic graphic sensibility, the occasional scuff or rough drag of paint upsets the status quo of tidy lines, flat colours, and expertly graduated shades. Baltes ability to imbue rigorously conceived forms with playfulness and humour is characteristic for her specific approach to painting. Baltes sees her paintings as protagonists which in front of their audience turn the exhibition space into a stage.

Cornelia Baltes (1978, D) lives and works in London and Berlin. She received her MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London (2011). Recent and forthcoming solo shows include Limoncello, London, UK (2016); Kunstverein Ulm, DE; Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland, UK (2015); DREI, Cologne, DE; Limoncello, London, UK (both 2013); Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth, UK (2012). Recent group shows include MOSTYN, Llandudno, UK (2015); Kunsthalle Nürnberg, DE; DREI, Cologne, DE (both 2014); Museum Folkwang, Essen, DE (2013); Cell Project Space, London, UK; and dienstgebäude, Zurich, CH (all 2012).

Jean-Philippe Dordolo’s work is often organised around built structures and consists of carefully arranged materials and colourful motifs which the artist uses to create an ambiguous narrative. Sculptures – which have often been reworked, pulled apart, and rebuilt – are subject to a range of (re-)interpretations as the artist tries to systemise the accumulation of chaotic and crafted matter. With his cast objects (either made or found) Dordolo creates allusions to art history and popular culture at large. References to power structures and their subversion run as subtext, but are often treated with a touch of humour or pathos. Currently investigating flatness in sculpture, Dordolo is interested in the ‘plane’ rather than in ‘volume’; planes visible from a multitude of viewpoints and therefore open to the reading of various meanings. 

Since the summer of 2015, during a residency in New York, his practice has evolved onto new territory. Dordolo has started to work with and manipulate still images, and to make video works. In the same way that he questions values and hierarchies in sculpture, video has enabled him to engage in a new dialogue. He uses video footage shot out-and-about as raw material much in the same way that he uses ready-mades in his sculptural work. Employing spontaneous gestures as an important part of his new practice video has allowed Dordolo to go beyond the dialogue raised with the production of objects allowing him to focus on performed actions.

Jean-Philippe Dordolo (1981, F) lives and works in London. He graduated in 2011 from Byam Shaw School of Art, London (UK) and also holds a Diploma in Contemporary Music Practice from the Music Academy International, Nancy (FR). Since October 2013 Dordolo is Art co-editor for the quarterly magazine AMBIT. Upcoming and recent exhibitions include a group show at The Cut, Halesworth (upcoming, 2016), Flatland, Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Edinburgh (2015), Mark Wallinger presents The Best of Bow Arts, Bermondsey Project, London (2014), Everything Must Go, AIR Archway, London (2014), Universal Fragments: Conversations with Trevor Shearer, Large Glass, London (2013), New Work, Bermondsey Project 2, London (2013).