The two large-scale paintings by Jutta Koether (born 1958 in Cologne) are titled "Berliner Schlüssel" (Berlin Keys, 2010), named for a very special kind of key which only allowed the doors of prewar Berlin buildings to be opened if they were locked again behind the opener. This name also cites an unpublished essay by the French sociologist and philosopher Bruno Latour about the "strict requirements and demands of objects." Koether’s pictures from the "Berlin Keys" series do not just refer to the object and its disciplining effects, but also to works from the history of art now in Berlin museums – a self-portrait by Poussin, and an Egyptian sculpture. These are demanding pictures that suggest beauty and strangeness, that are both esthetically attractive and repellent, that ask to be decoded only to deny it. This kind of painting thematizes the painting subject and painting itself both skeptically and longingly. Jutta Koether’s work also includes performances, film, and music, as well as writing.
(l) Berliner Schlüssel #9, 2010, Acrylic on canvas
(r) Berliner Schlüssel #12, 2010, Acrylic on canvas
© Jutta Koether, Courtesy: Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Köln