manuela johanna covini

recent work                              
7 small rugs and cushions_Manuela Johanna Covini
  Janus und Arachne, Berlin



On Covini’s ‘Under The Moonlight’

Tuğba Esen, December 2017

Manuela Johanna Covini creates her artworks adopting various media and techniques such as sewing, painting, cut and paste etc. in her both manual and digital works. Her latest pop up exhibition titled ‘Under the Moonlight’ that took place at Janus & Arachne –a collective artist space on Berlin’s Prenzlauer Allee– was concise and good example of her multimedia practice.

As one of the most significant elements in Covini’s work, the act and notion of repetition was underlined throughout the exhibition. Repetition fascinates the artist since her childhood, and her nonstop production of ideas and patterns makes it inevitable. One of the fundamental acts of nature, repeating is a way for the artist to create and manipulate playfully. In her different series, it is not surprising to see some common themes, colors, images and combinations. In this exhibition, the surface of the moon was visible on different pieces, just like in the video works titled ‘Four Sides of the Moon’.

‘Who needs a new worldview?’ consists of big scale textile works that are covered with military figures and extraterrestrial elements. Men with uniforms are depicted with the skulls and round forms that recall the moon and planets might seem confusing but this togetherness could also be taken as a legitimate reminder. Placed on the vitrine of the space, this installation helps distorting the perception of a gallery or studio for the viewers who pass by the vitrine, and turns the exhibition space almost into a carpet shop.

Another installation consists of seven rugs with female figure depictions. While they remind the viewer of prayer rugs in a mosque, the female figures painted on them and the soft cushions placed on top create a dichotomy of intent and purpose. Niklas Luhmann’s expressions from ‘Social Systems’ are sometimes hidden and sometimes exposed. This work also refers to the artist’s 2012 installation exhibited at Hardcore Art Contemporary Space in Miami, ‘Silence is the biggest crime.’

The history of the images, material and objects Covini uses in her works and installation matter a lot to her. This is also one of the reasons why the countries she lives and works in are so important for her artistic practice. While the audience can see the colors of Mexico in her paintings, they can get some hints of the social atmosphere in Berlin. That situation helps creating a dialogue between the works from different times and geographies. Everything becomes a part of the same circle in the end, and everything seems familiar. Thus, Covini makes us realize one more time that we all are under the same moonlight.