Bettina Pousttchi (DE)

Bettina Pousttchi - Marlene I, Marlene II, Marlene III (2019)
Delirious (2019)
Photography Gert Jan van Rooij

Bettina Pousttchi - Marlene I, Marlene II, Marlene III (2019)

The German–Iranian artist Bettina Pousttchi (b. 1971), who is born and based in Berlin, makes multidisciplinary work relating to memory, time, space and history. She first became known for her large-scale photographic interventions on public buildings, which are linked to the historical, socio-political context of the specific locations. Her monumental photo installation Echo (2009/2010) occupied the entire façade of the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin and consisted of 970 paper posters that served as a direct reminder of the Palast der Republik, the building that had recently been demolished on that site. Once the pride of the German Democratic Republic, it had become a thorn in the side of German politicians following reunification.

In her sculpture, Pousttchi incorporates everyday objects from the urban space, of the kind that are used all over the world, such as pipes , crowd-control barriers and bicycle racks. Pousttchi bends, twists, combines and stacks this street furniture. The work refers to the regulating function of the instrument, raising questions about what might have happened to it, questions about the way in which people use the city and how they behave and move there. Like the buildings that Pousttchi uses in her practice, her sculptures also have – or have had – a practical function and at the same time they are charged with collective and personal memories and meanings.

For her work for DELIRIOUS, she used tree-protection barriers, those curved steel tubes that are placed around trees. At De Oude Warande, Pousttchi placed these not around but along an enigmatic series of beeches that have been planted close together, becoming entangled, and which are clearly not part of the park’s original design. She made three identical light-green sculptures of tree protectors that are gracefully intertwined, in such a way that they are reminiscent of elegant dancing couples. Pousttchi positioned these at strict intervals, in a clear reference not only to Minimal Art, but also to the straight line of beeches. With this relatively small and simple gesture, the artist shaped an entire plot of land to her own liking.