Exhibition views

Ina Sangenstedt

Animals in the Garden of Art

Opening: Fri 25 February 2022 from 6 pm

Exhibition 27 February – 01 May 2022


  • Sampsa Indrén (Porvoo, Finland)
  • Marina Koldobskaja (St. Petersburg, Russia)
  • Jakob Roepke (Berlin)
  • Ina Sangenstedt (Berlin)
  • Jürgen Witttdorf (Berlin)

More artists in the cabinet, including

Jan Bejšovec (Berlin), Grisha Danunaher, Roman Ekimow, Gisa Hausmann, Alexander Horn, Henrik Jacob, Sergej Jurisdizki, Kent Karlsson, Karen Koltermann, Philipp Mager, Mileta Poštic, Uwe Sennert

People have been painting animals since the beginning of humankind and throughout the centuries, again and again artists have dealt with animal depictions and the relationship between animals and humans. Animals fascinate: my mother taught her cat to tumble on command, and she says she has the impression that the cat can understand her. Perhaps the attraction of dealing with animals is that we cannot know whether animals really understand us or not. This could be one explanation why animals have never gone out of fashion as a subject in art.

The exhibition shows different artistic positions on the subject of animals in art. In the exhibition space and corridor, works by Jürgen Wittdorf (Berlin), Marina Koldobskaja (St. Petersburg), Sampsa Indrén (Porvoo, Finland), Jakob Roepke (Berlin) and Ina Sangenstedt (Berlin) will be presented, and in the cabinet there will be further works on the theme by around 15 artists.

The woodcut cycle Tiermütter (Animal Mothers) by Jürgen Wittdorf shows elephants, rhinos, zebras with their young. In some of the works, children are also depicted looking at the animals. Wittdorf found his motifs in the East Berlin zoo, which he liked to visit.

The St. Petersburg-based artist Marina Koldobskaja paints pictures of animals such as cats, dogs or birds in a reduced expressive gesture, which seem peculiarly grim and sometimes dangerous and then again friendly. The formal language, reminiscent of children’s pictures and Marimekko at first glance, gives the animals a very characterful expression, but the depictions remain enigmatic.

For some years now, the Finnish artist Sampsa Indrén has been drawing and painting dead animals that he finds on the summer house island or at the roadside. Sometimes he arranges several of the found birds into a composition in his very detailed drawings, sometimes the animals are skeletonized or you can see tyre tracks on the paper, which places the pictures in our times. What is special is that Sampsa Indrén’s animals never lose their dignity. This makes them strangely alive and beautiful despite the sad subject matter.

In her animal sculptures and objects, the Berlin artist Ina Sangenstedt deals with the relationship between humans and animals, and when we encounter her works, they show us how much we project our ideas and feelings into animals. A bumblebee conducts Rimsky-Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee, a table-like object with legs comes to life. In her sculpture Wildziel, she connects wild boars with a target, evoking an idea that a hunter probably might have. The sculpture shows a human purpose-oriented gaze and ironises our relationship to animals.

Jakob Roepke has been working for about 20 years on a group of small-format collaged and painted panels in which the animal and human protagonists deal with perils and adversities of life. The visual language is reminiscent of both steampunk and surrealism.

Further works in the exhibition include a plasticine Yeti by Henrik Jacob, a cat by Gisa Hausmann, seagulls by Karen Koltermann and Sergej Jurisdizki, a TV programme-selecting ape by Uwe Sennert, another seagull by Kent Karlsson, moles by Mileta Pošti’c, a rabbit by Alexander Horn, a seal by Grisha Danunaher, cats by Archi Galentz and a fish by Philipp Mager.

Artwork: Ina Sangenstedt, Bumblebee conducting Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky-Korsakov, 2016, Bumblebee (prepared), wood, paper, brass, plexiglass, glass, 10 x 10 x 14 cm