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Majla Zenelis

Press release

Majla Zenelis – On Stops and Continuants

Just as the pronunciation of words is an articulation of always new combinations of vowels and consonants, Majla Zeneli's presentation On Stops and Continuants consists of individual images that can be read as variables in a system of larger, multipartite units. While repeatedly conceivable and combineable with each other anew, they raise the viewer's questions about the substance and essence of an image. What makes a picture a picture? When does it become an independent, functioning unit and where is it differentiating from the next? Where can be found transitions and boundaries to other works and how consistent or autonomous is a picture in its appearance, legibility and meaning for us at all? In a series of multi-layered prints, the artist plays with the creation of depth and perspective through simple geometric constellations and light-dark contrasts. Contemplatively experiencable, fine-pored color surfaces make the viewer immersing in a color space in which diffuse lines and clear breaks appear like horizons, sky, shadow or cones of light.

Whether indoor or outdoor spaces, comprehensible arrangements or surreal contradictions - the reaction always remains pure association and thought image. At the same time, these images, in their composition of recurring forms, are to be understood as arbitrary seeming, minimalist additions, which, in their mysteriousness, provoke us to search for regularities, affiliations and a presumably applied code in the seriality.

Also in the exhibition's second, figurative complex of works, for which Majla Zeneli was inspired by a publication (ed. Joe Hembus) on the film icon Humphrey Bogart, the connection and separation of individual pictorial elements is playing an important role. The black-and-white collages take up fractions of the already cut-out film stills and place them in other, mysterious contexts. While the narrative is surreally alienated and redesigned, gestures and poses, shadows and empty spaces come into focus as well as faces and hands. Gender-specific, cinematic, and medially staged role models overlap and open up a dialogue that can be differently re-started over and over, in which the disunity and multi-faceted nature of the portrayed becomes clear - but never the actual identity. With a special devotion to the word, the artist finds poetic titles full of allusions and a twinkle in the eye, able to enrich the artistic works with at least one additional aspect.

Since her studies in Breslau and Halle (Saale), the Berlin-based artist Majla Zeneli (*1980 in Tirana) has devoted her artistic work to the two major topics of collage and printmaking. Especially the elaborate and multi-faceted technique of mezzotint from the 17th century has been refined by the artist more and more. With its special opportunities for creating painterly quality, mood and atmosphere, this intaglio printing technique was popular in numerous genres of art history. In Majla Zeneli's work it experiences a new actuality and a most contemporary use.