[58] Transit - Matt Lemon Photography. All Rights Reserved.

“Transit” [2013] Nina Neumaier. Varnish on Plexiglas, 20 parts, 15 x 10 x 2 cm. Exhibition at Kunstraum t27, Berlin Neukölln, Germany. © Matt Lemon Photography. All Rights Reserved.


Back in 2013, Kunstverein Neukölln (Art Society Neukölln) presented an exhibition at Kunstraum t27 that featured selected works of four artists who consciously reorientated themselves over the course of their careers. Reflecting the motto of the art festival “48 Hours Neukölln”, which ran under the motto “Change of perspective” that year, the “Stoffwechsel” (Metabolism) exhibition illustrated the respective origins and progresses of the changes the artists had gone through in their work. The above photo shows a part of “Transit” by Nina Neumaier, published with kind permission of the artist.

Reverse glass painting

The religious tradition of reverse glass painting was common in the 18th and 19th century. It was briefly rediscovered by “Der Blaue Reiter”, an art movement lasting from 1911 to 1914 that was fundamental to Expressionism and included, among others, Wassily Kandinsky, Franz Marc, and Lyonel Feininger. Nina Neumaier has been working with reverse glass painting since the late 1990s. She lifted this old technique out of its traditional context by using Plexiglas (acrylic glass) and unusual formats that accentuate the subjects of her works. The mark-making of the reverse glass drawings by Nina Neumaier correspond with the fragility of the material. Closed forms are in interplay with fine transparent formulations. Lines and bands connect both sharply defined and irregularly structured surfaces. Her drawings investigate concentration and reduction. The complex technical constraints of reverse glass painting requires constant thinking ahead in order to allow the necessary technical procedures. A reverse of thinking is also required as everything has to be designed in reverse. Nina Neumaier has worked with this method for many years and developed it accordingly. Every brushstroke has to be executed with precision, as the drying of one layer excludes the possibility of retouching previous layers. (Source: Art In Flow)


The word “transit” will forever remind me of the many times my family travelled to or through the German Democratic Republic (GDR), and of the experiences we made at the inner-German border. My strongest memories are of the border crossings at Dreilinden and Bornholmer Straße. The latter is nearby the neighbourhood I grew up in, and living there again for several months in 2013 reminded me of the times we entered East Berlin there, and of that incredible day we witnessed East Germans pouring over the border in November 1989.


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