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Bettina Pousttchi spent her childhood in Germany and part of the time in Iran. From 1990 to 1992 she studied art at the Université de Paris VIII, and from 1992 to 1997 philosophy, art history, and film theory in Cologne and Bochum. From 1995 to 1999 she studied with Professor Rosemarie Trockel and Professor Gerhard Merz at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. From 1999 to 2000, she attended the Whitney Independent Studio Program of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, where Isaac Julien, Yvonne Rainer, Mary Kelly, Hal Foster, Homi Bhabha and Benjamin Buchloh were among her teachers. After a time spent assisting other artists (including Nam June Paik), in 1997 she began exhibiting her own work in Germany and abroad. She participated twice in the Venice Biennale (2003, 2009). Her works are found in numerous private and public collections, including the collection of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2014 the artist received the Wolfsburg Art Prize.
Since 2009, Bettina Pousttchi has been realizing photographic interventions on public buildings. Her photo installation Echo on Schlossplatz in Berlin covered the entire exterior façade of the Temporäre Kunsthalle for half a year. Extending nearly 2,000 square meters, the installation consisted of 970 different paper posters, and formed a continuous motif that recalled the Palast der Republik (Palace of the Republic), the building which had just been demolished on that very site. On the façade of Art Basel 2010, she mounted Basel Time, a large photo installation that alluded to the imminent demolition of the hall as part of a redesign of Basel’s Messeplatz. At the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, the artist presented the site-specific photo installation Framework (2012) in its rotunda and on its eastern façade. This work’s point of departure was the building’s historical and urban context. In London, she conceived the photo installation Piccadilly Windows (2013) for the Hauser & Wirth Gallery building on Piccadilly, covering their windows with a photographic pattern. In 2014, the artist transformed the Nasher Sculpture Center Dallas into a Drive-Thru Museum, referencing the site’s history and the architecture of the Renzo Piano building. Her most extensive photo installation to this point is The City (2014), which covered three sides of the Wolfsburg castle with a 2,150 square meter photographic print. The motif shows ten skyscrapers that have been the world’s highest buildings, grouping them together into an imaginary single transnational skyline.
Pousttchi’s most extensive photo series to date is World Time Clock. Since 2008 the artist has been photographing public clocks in different time zones around the world, always at the same time. The completed 24-part photo series premieres 2016 at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC in a 360 degree presentation.
Between 1999 and 2002, Pousttchi produced primarily single-channel videos including Auf gute Nachbarschaft (To Good Neighbors; 1999), Die Katharina-Show (2000), Double Empire (2000), Reset (2001), and Line (2005). Since 2003, her videos have increasingly become part of three-dimensional works. For example, the video sculpture Landing of 2006 employed 10 monitors and 25 crowd barriers to create an atmosphere of enigmatic uncertainty.
Crowd barriers and street bollards occur frequently in the artist’s sculptures and, in the tradition of object art, she transforms them. At the 2009 Venice Biennale, Pousttchi’s sculpture Cleared, consisting of two crowd barriers made of security glass, was part of the Glasstress exhibition. The sculpture series Double Monuments for Flavin and Tatlin debuted in her extensive solo exhibition at the Kunsthalle Basel 2011, curated by Adam Szymczyk. The Phillips Collection in Washington DC presents this group of sculptures in 2016 in dialogue with their collection. The use of these street objects address questions of limits, the forces at work therein, and the transformative energy released by passing them, underlining the artist´s transnational approach to her work.
Bettina Pousttchi is a member of the Brutally Early Club, founded by Hans-Ulrich Obrist and Markus Miessen in London in 2006 along with Shumon Basar, Tom McCarthy, Zak Kyes, Charles Arsene-Henry, Marina Abramović, Ingo Niermann, Sam Thorne and Jefferson Hack. This salon takes the form of spontaneous meetings in public cafés in London, Berlin, Paris, and New York. At 6:30 a.m., current issues in art, literature, and the sciences are discussed. In addition, she has realized installations in collaboration with the architect Markus Miessen and the artist Rosemarie Trockel and has taken part in a film by Lawrence Weiner (How Far Is There, 1999). She produced an interview video with Daniel Buren in 2010 on artistic practice in public spaces Conversations in the Studio #3.
- 2016 World Time Clock, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C (solo)
- 2015 Sprengel Museum Hannover (group)
- 2014Nasher Sculpture Center (solo)
- Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg (solo)
- 2013Hauser & WirthLondon, Traderoutes
- 2012 Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (solo)
- Palm Springs Art Museum, The Galen, Palm Springs
- 2011 Kunsthalle Basel World Time Clock (solo)
- German Embassy, London (at the former GDR Embassy) (solo)
- Kunsthalle Detroit
- Bold Tendencies, Peckham Carpark, London
- Georg-Kolbe-Museum, Berlin
- 2010 Buchmann Galerie, Berlin (solo)
- 2009 Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin (solo)
- 2008 Triangle Gallery, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (solo)
- Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin
- Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem
- 2007 Von der Heydt Museum / Kunsthalle Barmen, Wuppertal (solo)
- Centro Cultural Recoleta, Buenos Aires
- Essl Collection, Klosterneuburg / Vienna
- Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury
- 2006 Buchmann Galerie, Berlin (solo)
- 2005 Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Düren (solo)
- Dortmunder Kunstverein, Dortmund (solo)
- 2004 Cineroma, public city project, Rome (solo)
- Haus der Kunst, Munich
- 2003 Württembergischer Kunstverein Stuttgart (solo)
- 2002 Chelsea Kunstraum, Köln (solo)
- 2001 Verein Junge Kunst, Wolfsburg (solo)
Grants and Awards
- 2016 Villa Aurora Fellow, Los Angeles
- 2014 Wolfsburg Art Prize
- 2008 TrAIN Research Center for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation, Balmoral Residency, University of the Arts, London
- 2007 BBAX - Berlin Buenos Aires Art Exchange, Buenos Aires
- 2005 Provinzial Förderprojekt
- 2000 Kunststiftung NRW
- Bettina Pousttchi: The City, Nasher Sculpture Center Dallas / Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg, Hatje Cantz 2015, essays by Susanne Pfleger, Thomas Köhler, Jeremy Strick, Adam Szymczyk, and a conversation between the artist and Chris Dercon, ISBN 978-3-7757-3908-5
- Bettina Pousttchi: Framework, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König Köln, 2012, with texts by Max Hollein, Katharina Dohm, Adam Szymczyk and a conversation between Bettina Pousttchi and Nikolaus Hirsch, introduction by Max Hollein, ISBN 978-3-86335164-9
- Bettina Pousttchi: Echo Berlin, Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König Köln, 2010, with texts by Tom McCarthy, Diedrich Diederichsen, Markus Miessen, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Bettina Pousttchi, Angela Rosenberg, Esther Ruelfs, ISBN 978-3-86560-833-8
- Bettina Pousttchi: Reality Reset, Von der Heydt Museum Wuppertal, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln, 2008, with texts by Barry Schwabsky, Jörg Heiser, Matthias Mühling, Petra Löffler, Niels Werber, Uta Grosenick, Jon Wood, Christian Rattemeyer, Mark Gisbourne, Vanessa Joan Müller, ISBN 978-3-86560-374-6
- Bettina Pousttchi: Departure, Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln, 2007, ISBN 3-86560-285-1
- Zeitblick: Ankäufe der Sammlung Zeitgenössischer Kunst der Bundesrepublik Deutschland 1998–2008, Dumont 2008
- Susanne Kaufmann: When Pousttchi met Trockel, in: Time magazine, 7 April 2003, 68/69
- Press release, accessed on 15 March 2016.
- Press release, accessed on 15 March 2016.
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