28. October – 20. December 2022
The creatures that populate the imagery of Berlin artist Charlie Stein's paintings and drawings appear contemporary and modern in their aesthetics. They borrow from visualities of social media and pop cultural phenomena. Applied with oil on canvas or colored pencil on paper, these traditional media of artistic creation lend a timelessness to the highly topical, often futuristic-looking motifs, and encourage us to ask questions beyond obvious present-day references.
This questioning is rewarded - for what at first glance might appear to be a reproduction of media image floods and aesthetics is based on an intensive examination of philosophical and historical themes and discourses, which Stein transfers into the here and now with the help of the traditional media of painting and drawing, thus creating a synthesis, between tradition and modernity, between technology and engineering, between analog and digital. Often, references to the history of art and humanity, serve as visual signposts, as points of reference for cross-epochal bridging inherent in the images.
In addition to the thematic examination of the social role of bodies read as female, the influence of technologies on social interaction, and other socio-critical discourses, an examination of the chosen medium itself is always recognizable in the works - with classical motifs such as the portrait, with body forms and poses and their representation and artistic implementation, as well as with forms of abstraction, the integration of textual elements, or with almost photo-realistic approaches.
However, Charlie Stein's artistic perspective is not limited to the isolated work, but also incorporates the reception experience and the space in which the work is created, exists, and is received into the creative process. Thus, installative elements are often added in the exhibition context, giving the works a multidimensionality that is both spatial and interpretive, and often also critically to humorously questioning the notion of institutionalized exhibition contexts. Frequently, the works thus appear to have grown out of the space quite naturally and thus also address the relationship between visual art and architecture by giving the space a meaning beyond a mere open space for the artworks on display.
In their preoccupation with technologies, robots and humanoids play a major role in Stein's works. References contained in the titles of the drawings as well as visual elements point to an intense engagement with this subject matter. Stein's works succeed in posing the question of technological possibilities, of the belief in progress and the benefits of technologization, of the influence of artificial intelligences on human interaction and social coexistence, while at the same time neither foregrounding benefits nor problematic issues.
Stein lives and works in Berlin. She studied painting and sculpture with Gerhard Merz and Christian Jankowski.