Rear Room

Roman Ondak
September 25 – November 7, 2009

Shared Floor, 1996 (front) 
Parquet floor, electrical sockets on metal rods
392 x 543,5 x 24 cm

Freed Doorway, 1998 (back) 
Door with cut edges
195 x 78 x 4,3 cm

Photo © Jens Ziehe

Shared Floor, 1996 (detail) 
Parquet floor, electrical sockets on metal rods
392 x 543,5 x 24 cm

Photo © Jens Ziehe

Untitled, 1998 (detail)  
Mixed media

Dimensions variable

Photo © Jens Ziehe

Untitled, 1998 (detail)  
Mixed media

Dimensions variable

Photo © Jens Ziehe

Untitled, 1998 (detail)  
Mixed media

Dimensions variable

Photo © Jens Ziehe

Untitled, 1998 (detail)  
Mixed media

Dimensions variable

Photo © Jens Ziehe

Untitled, 1998 (detail)  
Mixed media

Dimensions variable

Photo © Jens Ziehe

Untitled, 1998 (detail) (left) 
Mixed media

Dimensions variable

 

Colour and Size, 1999 (right) 

Shoebox, wood, open window

Dimensions variable

Photo © Jens Ziehe

Colour and Size, 1999 

Shoebox, wood, open window

Dimensions variable

Photo © Jens Ziehe

Untitled (Traffic), 2001

Bus emergency exit hammer

14 x 7 x 3 cm

Photo © Jens Ziehe

Untitled (Traffic), 2001

Bus emergency exit hammer

14 x 7 x 3 cm

Photo © Jens Ziehe

Rear Room

Roman Ondak
Johnen Galerie, Berlin
September 25 – November 7, 2009
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Johnen Galerie is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of Roman Ondak in conjunction with the unveiling of their new gallery space in Mitte at Marienstrasse. 

 

The selection of early works from 1996-2000 all pertain to the idea of space and its perception. Shared Floor, 1996, Untitled (Wall), 1997, Freed Doorway, 1998 and Untitled, 1998 are each made from real found elements from different apartments and galleries. Each element directly refers to the architectural structures of these former sites, although when originally in situ, were in a certain sense invisible: the objects were such an inherent part of any room that the viewer did not register them.

 

In Shared Floor, for example, the parquet flooring of a room was removed and then reassembled in the outline of its original shape on the gallery floor. The electric sockets from the same room were dismantled and affixed to metal rods, which were then attached to the parquet floor, thus simulating their original positions in the walls while retaining the same spatial relationship to the floor.   

 

Freed Doorway is a doorway that has had the frame and door removed.  The doorway itself is dysfunctional and has been negated from the relation to the doorframe that it belonged to. The door now leans against the wall of a gallery.

 

Untitled occupies the whole room with only several tiny pieces, such as electric sockets and traces of water pipes. They are pushed out a few centimeters from the wall by metal rods, thereby implying the surface of a fictional wall, which could stand in front of the real gallery wall.

 

A panel from a gallery has been relocated to the exhibition in Untitled (Wall). The panel leans against the wall, as if it were a remnant from the construction of the exhibition. Upon closer inspection, however, one notices that the panel still has an electric socket completely intact, including the back casing, which remains hidden behind the panel.

 

In addition, there are two works that directly link the gallery’s interior with its exterior. The work Colour and Size, 1999 draws from the view of the trees in the gallery windows of the rear room. One window is left open and next to it, a white shoe box has been installed. With a circle cut out in the front and its top slightly sloping on the sides, the shoebox is reminiscent of a birdhouse. Below the hole is the shoebox’s original sticker that reads, “Colour/Black; Size/36,” which absurdly conflates the description of shoes with the taxonomy of birds: it seems to say that only those birds that are black and can fit in the 36mm hole are allowed to enter.

 

Untitled (Traffic), 2001 consists of a red emergency-exit hammer that has been removed from a bus and installed next to the window of the gallery. The windows of the gallery make a strange reference to a bus, especially when such a hammer is installed next to the windows: its presence summons visions of undesirable but possible bus accidents. Moreover, in the gallery, it suggests that the viewer might yet find one more way to leave the exhibition other than the way he came in. 

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