The Serpentine presented the first major exhibition of work by Kerstin Brätsch and Adele Röder in a UK public institution.
Brätsch and Röder are based in New York and London. While each has her own practice, the artists have worked collaboratively as DAS INSTITUT since 2007.
The exhibition at the Serpentine North Gallery presented works resulting from their collaboration, as well as pieces from their individual practices.
In her work, Brätsch uses painting to question the ways in which the body can be expressed – psychologically, physically and socially – while Röder searches for basic symbolic forms to create a non-verbal language utilising clothing, posture and light. As DAS INSTITUT, the artists attempt to communicate the inexpressible – the intuitive, irrational element of human experience and relationships.
DAS INSTITUT focuses on the kinds of communication that occur between individuals, and this has led them to collaborate with other artists. Featured within the show were a number of additional contributions: a film by historian and filmmaker Alexander Kluge, a composition in light and sound by Sergei Tcherepnin, a series of traditional Hawaiian Hula dances organized by Ei Arakawa and a fragmented portrait of Brätsch and Röder by Allison Katz.
The exhibition DAS INSTITUT focused on the transformative properties and effects of light on bodies and spaces. The skylights of the gallery were covered with coloured gels and the key sources of light were the artworks themselves, as projected images, as stained glass and as neon shapes. Traces of Brätsch and Röder’s own physical presence were also made visible: silhouettes and photographs of their bodies were incorporated into a number of works, such as the Am Sonntag Series (2014), while their faces and figures emerged through the surfaces of pieces, such as Dark Codex (2015).