Paula Doepfner’s work refers to a diverse formal vocabulary, to drawings, sculpture/objects and performance. The questions of content to which the artist addresses herself through these modes of expression, the questions she reflects and transforms, are drawn from neuroscience, literature and politics. The work is held together by an apparently scientific exactitude, a concern for humanity and its existential conditions between life and death, by a poetic timbre that is content with gentle allusion and evaporates at the slightest vibration.
The interleaving of ephemerality and violence in Doepfner’s work lends it a suggestive ambivalence that’s hard to resist. Torture, human rights declarations, brain surgery and the literature of Robert Musil provide the highly aesthetic score to a variously attuned world. Virtually within sight of the Charité hospital, where Doepfner regularly observes neurosurgical procedures, at B-Part she has claimed a new space for art. Here, where her polyphonic text pieces and damaged but reconstituted sheets of armoured glass are displayed in an international location at once protected and exposed, multifunctional and communicative, this exhibition will provoke a qualitatively new dialogue about the city.
Dr. Hans-Jörg Clement
Text for the exhibition ‘Paula Doepfner – Today, tomorrow, and yesterday, too, the flowers are dyin’ like all things do’ at the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung at B-Part, Berlin 2021.
Translated by Jonathan Blower