January 12 – February 23, 2013

Weydingerstrasse 10 Berlin


Since 2007, Dirk Bell has been working on the creation of an alphabet
(LOVEPHABET) formally based on the shape of the square. He has been
using this visual alphabet in order to create linguistic grid
structures, spreading words over walls and objects and even making up
rooms. Lacking a clearly determined beginning or end, they are readable
in several directions and form geometrical, ornamental palindromes
continuing ad infinitum and charge the emerging room linguistically with

Like a motto, already visible from the outside, a three-dimensional
grid is installed in the window next to the entrance. Consisting of wood
and of steel alphabetic characters reading “SCHÖN UND GUT“ (beautiful
and good), the object reminds of a rack or a bookshelf. The words take
up two concepts from classical ethics and aesthetics – two categories
that have been considered as interrelated or even mutually dependent
since antiquity. As regards Bell’s geometrical alphabet, one may think
of the platonic idea of the good that is always the beautiful which is
characterised by the measure and proportion. The formal affinity to an
empty shelf invites the visitor to charge the two traditional categories
with a fresh meaning.

In the main exhibition, there is a room-dividing grid structure that
is made up by the repeated sequence DENKEN (thinking) that results in
ENDE (end). Two further three-dimensional shelf-like grids, HAH and AHA,
are installed on the wooden wall of the exhibition space. The artist
subtly combines thinking (DENKEN) with knowledge (AHA / I see!), and the
end of thinking (DENKENDE…) with laughter (HAH) that is always tied to a
loss of the subject. The transgression of self – the basis to renew our
traditions of thought – is also the subject of recent pencil drawings
that represent mythological motifs, wrath and hybrid figures.

This symbolic development or passage is continued in the smaller room
of the gallery. Eleven seating cubes, each of them painted with an
alphabetic character, form the word WARTEZIMMER (waiting room). The Z of
the word can also be read as N, so the situation can be interpreted as
either eternal waiting (WARTEN IMMER / always waiting) or a call for the
opposite (WARTE NIMMER / never wait). In this context, watercolour
paintings on newspaper showing figures in self-reflection seem to
criticise the retreat to subjectivity. Further, a wall painting based on
the characters TIME establishes a connection between time and
subjectivity (ME in TIME).