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UMD, The Phillips Collection Present Summer 2016 "Intersections" Project by Bettina Pousttchi

May 25, 2016

Graham Binder, University of Maryland, 301-405-4076
Elizabeth Lubben, The Phillips Collection, 202-387-2151 x235
Amanda Hunter, The Phillips Collection, 202-387-2151 x243

COLLEGE PARK, Md. and WASHINGTON, D.C. — This summer, the University of Maryland and The Phillips Collection will present their next installment of the Intersections exhibition series that highlights contemporary art and artists in conversation with the museum’s permanent collection, history, and architecture. The University of Maryland is the primary presenter of all Intersections exhibits at the Phillips Gallery, a major component of the vibrant partnership between both institutions to transform scholarship and innovation in the arts.

This Intersections installment will feature the work of German artist Bettina Pousttchi titled Double Monuments, which addresses the history and memory of architecture. 

Through photography and sculpture, Pousttchi is interested in altering architectural buildings and monuments as indicators of the past and media of remembrance. In her series Double Monuments for Flavin and Tatlin (2010–2016), Pousttchi transforms the constraining materials of rails, street barricades, and metal crowd barriers into sculptural forms with spiraling vertical towers and neon light tubes. These “double monuments” reference the work of Russian Constructivist sculptor-architect Vladimir Tatlin from the 1920s and American minimalist artist Dan Flavin from the 1960s. 

Five Double Monuments, ranging from 5 to 12 feet, will be on view at the Phillips, dramatically illuminating the space with neon lights. The sculptures will be paired with works from the permanent collection including Naum Gabo’s Linear Structure in Space No. 1 (1943), and black and white photographs from the 1930s and 1940s by Berenice Abbott, Louis Faurer, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Gjon Mill, and Brett Weston—images that underline the theme of illuminated space presented in Pousttchi and Gabo’s works.

Best known for his architectural sculptures that emphasize translucency and suggest skyscrapers and industrial settings, Gabo creates work with a strong kinship to Russian constructivism, a movement which sought to overcome the static aspect of traditional sculpture, and activate the surrounding space. Just as Gabo used glass, metal, and plastic to create fluid, almost transparent sculptures that emphasizes space, line, and movement, Pousttchi employs materials such as neon and powder-coated objects to create installations that address both sculptural form and architectural setting. 

Born in Mainz, Germany, in 1971, Bettina Pousttchi is a Berlin-based artist working in photography, video, and sculpture. She studied at the Kunstackademie Düsseldorf and participated in the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York from 1999–2000. Pousttchi’s work has been displayed throughout Europe, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Köln, and London. She held her first U.S. solo exhibition at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas, in 2014.

Double Monuments is on view June 9–October 2, 2016.


Inaugurated in 2009 and led by Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Vesela Sretenović, the Phillips’s Intersections series has invited more than 21 artists from the US and abroad to engage with the museum’s collection and architecture. The artists have created diverse projects—both aesthetically and conceptually—and employed various media, from wall-drawing, rubber-painting, and digital photography to video projection and yarn installation. 

Intersections is presented by the University of Maryland. 

Additional support is provided by Phillips Collectors Forum members.