Art Review: Rosemarie Trockel – A Cosmos @ Serpentine

Rosemarie Trockel is an artist who enjoys experimenting with various styles, yet ensures all her works are infused with a healthy dose of surrealism and her customary dark humour.

Her strange works vary from a cage full of motorised birds to a large dead crab sat atop a perspex case filled with textiles. On top of these enjoyable oddities, the central room is the dark heart of the exhibition containing disturbing imagery. Whether it’s a mother neglecting her baby while gazing over holiday snaps or a green leg in fishnets that looks decidedly reptilian.

Not all of her works hit the mark and her abstract wool ‘paintings’ get tedious very quickly. The first room containing book covers and adverts lacks cohesion.

Trockel is also a collector including works that are not her own but that fit in with the oeuvre of the exhibition. These include a set of jellyfish models delicately recreated using glass, on loan from the Natural History Museum. There is also a bizarrely brilliant stop motion animation by Wladyslaw Starewicz where a couple of anthropomorphised beetles conduct extramarital affairs to escape the tedium of their daily lives.

This retrospective reminded us of the quirky stylings of another German artist, Hans Peter Feldmann, who had an exhibition at the Serpentine last year. The sense of humour is very similar and though Trockel has some great works on display that are worth seeing, her hit to miss ratio is not as strong as Feldmann’s.

Rosemarie Trockel: A Cosmos is on at the Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, W2 3XA until 7 April. Admission is free.

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Tabish Khan 2

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  • IvonaPoyntz

    Inspired artist

  • ArtBrain

    The lack of cohesion is intentional. Trockel is a realist in the sense that she presents us with a world (or Cosmos) of chaos and variety. The works are not intended to be ‘hits’ or ‘misses’. This is one of the most intellectually engaging and challenging exhibitions I’ve attended.