Ellen Rodenberg & EX-MÊKH_FeMaler

11.09.2020 – 18.10.2020

Show-window 24h

Vitrine U - Kleistpark (U7) in 10783 Berlin

Opening with performance  11.09.2020 at 7 PM

Please notice,we kindly ask you to accept the recent COVID-19-regulations.

Afbeelding met voedsel

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving









This year’s theme, A Femmes City, deals with the feminine view of various aspects of the city. How does urban space appear from a women’s perspective, what potential is overlooked, and what development possibilities are held in public space? Who does the city belong to?

“A Femmes City. I interpret the invitation of A trans as a challenge. When do we talk of a female gaze and of a female approach? What does it look like? I decided to engage the men of the EX-MÊKH-collective in this project in order to be able to hold the development of my work against the light of a male/female concept. Two shop windows next to each other, organized with work based on the male/female concept. I had discussions with Maarten Schepers and Kees Koomen about the difference in strategies, upbringing, social behavior and networking. When do we talk about expressing oneself with personal character and where do we observe the influence of gender?

To try and make this visible I decided to install one shop window myself, as a woman. I asked the two men to install the second shop window with their work: one female, two men, two painters, one sculptor! The title FeMaler is an apt translation of this mix.

For my personal presentation I developed a procedure of applying paint with big strokes on white cardboard resulting in color forms. It is a method with which I leak diluted acrylic paint through cotton sheets. After it dries the sheets are removed and whimsical shapes appear. The results have a watercolor-like character. I think of gardens for the imagination. I think of all the possible associations one single form can already evoke, I think of the mental space being created by this approach. Imagine the memories in the future. Imagine the questions in the future. Imagine the possibilities of the female approach in the future.
The cardboard pieces will be installed in a precise manner but the result will look casual. The display in the shop-window must tempt for timelessness and thus create space, the incomprehensibilities will be helpful with this. What is it you see? A curious garden full of life? Or are you “Lost in Paradise”?

The second shop window will be of a totally different nature. Maarten Schepers and Kees Koomen have been discussing the installation to be shown. Maarten Schepers has created an over-all design which we can associate with phenomena like show-box, diorama or bijou-box. Kees Koomen will add to this with work based on the muses and the story of Actaeon.

On September 11th opening rituals and a performance will take place both inside and in front of the show windows.”

(Ellen Rodenberg, 2020)


EX-MÊKH, consisting of Ellen Rodenberg, Kees Koomen und Maarten Schepers, came together as a collective that wants to examine the nature and process of making exhibitions. Since 2007 EX-MÊKH have done exhibitions in many kind of spaces, ranging from tiny and intimate spaces till huge halls. The context of the work and its presentation must always be newly developed and redefined.




/////// Anhang / FeMaler © Ellen Rodenberg, 2020


Supported by | Mit freundlicher Unterstützung der Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa



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//////////////////////////////////////////// A TRANS  curated by Isolde Nagel

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work process

FeMaler in the studio of Ellen Rodenberg



Afbeelding met koelkast

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving 

Afbeelding met slaapkamer, kleurrijk, kamer

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving

Studio situation June 2020

Afbeelding met voedsel, regen

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving

De afzonderlijke verf afdrukken hebben vormen aangenomen die voor meerdere interpretaties vatbaar zijn. Pareidolie, Rorschach associaties geven ruimte aan individuele geheugenactiviteit. Uitwisseling roept onmiddellijk misverstanden en dus de roep op uitgebreidere informatie. Maar de taal maakt het misverstand vaak alleen maar groter. We delen elkaar enkel bestaande categorieën en indelingen mee. Waar is de ruimte?


Afbeelding met bloem

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving


Afbeelding met voedsel

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving


Afbeelding met voedsel, bloem

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving





Installing the work in two Vitrines.


At the Location: Kleistpark U bahn, Berlin


Afbeelding met buiten, klein, zitten, trein

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving  Afbeelding met gebouw, baksteen, groen, betegeld

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving

Assistant and materials.

Afbeelding met gebouw, buiten, brand, straat

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving  Afbeelding met gebouw, buiten

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving  Afbeelding met binnen, gebouw, tafel, zitten

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving Afbeelding met meubels, tafel, oranje, bank

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving

Location, situation, invitees. Preparation, maquette: Maarten Schepers

Afbeelding met binnen, plafond, gebouw, kamer

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving  Afbeelding met venster, gebouw, binnen, person

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving


Afbeelding met binnen, tafel, kamer, levend

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving


Afbeelding met binnen, person, staand, foto

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving  Afbeelding met gordijn, koelkast, kamer

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving  


Afbeelding met binnen, zitten, tafel, oven

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving  Afbeelding met binnen, klein, tafel, kamer

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving  Afbeelding met persoon, binnen, jong, person

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving


Afbeelding met binnen, tafel, kamer, gebouw

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving

The two ‘Schaufenster’ are ready for the opening rituals and performances.

Afbeelding met tekst, berg

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving  Afbeelding met stof

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving  Afbeelding met stof

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving Afbeelding met zitten, tas, tafel, stuk

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving


Isolde Nagel (Atrans) opens the openingsrituals and explains in short the project of A Femmes City in U bahn Kleistpark, Berlin.


Afbeelding met kast, binnen, keuken, oven

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving

Have you seen the Stars Tonight.

Afbeelding met binnen, kast, keuken, koelkast

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving 

Performance ‘Knocking on heavens Door’

Afbeelding met binnen, kast, keuken, trein

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving 



Interruption of the performance with a performance.

Afbeelding met binnen, persoon, person, staand

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving


Afbeelding met persoon, person, doen, bord

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving



Afbeelding met trein, binnen, ondergrondse, platform

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving


Afbeelding met binnen, person, zitten, tafel

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving


Afbeelding met persoon, binnen, person, vrouw

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving


Afbeelding met binnen, persoon, staand, open

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving

The installation is completed.

Afbeelding met binnen, trein, station, platform

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving


On show untill October 18th.

A moment before the opening. The 4th wall is waiting for removal.

Opening rituals by Ellen Rodenberg, un-taping the window.

Afbeelding met plafond, persoon, mensen, groep

Automatisch gegenereerde beschrijving


Inviting the audience to start drawing.




At the opening, the first drawings by the audience are presented.



The public is invited to post drawings inspired by the FeMaler Virtrine U, on instagram.



Thoughts afterwards 1.


Vitrine U, A Femmes City

The test phase for the Schaufenster (Ellen Rodenberg) lasted 3 months. Laying cotton sheets and cloths on large sheets of white board, applying the thinned paint, folding it, drying it, pulling it loose, hanging it up, folded, hanging loose, curled up, creased, observing a composition in which the individual paint forms as floating in a space brought together to be entirely itself. There they are like a staged aquarium in which all attributes and living organisms are artificially and carefully composed together for the admiring eye of the maker and the viewer.



The theme A Femmes City (a project from Atrans) and the U bahn location have both influenced the new work that has been developed. I have been looking for a concept that leaves room to discover new insights, directions and vistas. The Covid-19 pandemic made us uncertain about when to implement it, but not about feasibility. The opening and public rituals continued to contain uncertainties until the very end. As it has been, can be seen in the photo report.


Preparations and artistic work process,

Underlying thoughts of what is actually female? What are feminine qualities? Can you tell from a work of art whether it was made by a woman? What's the point of this sorting of kind? Who benefits from this?

In any case, I saw advantages for dealing with the subject by involving the EX-MÊKH group in this. We have never made a distinction before, on the basis of male or female classification.

Three people, 2 men, 1 woman, we have never tackled a theme like this before.


In the conversations with the other 2 artists of the EX-MÊKH group it became clear to me that especially the way of working, reasoning and considering is different, possibly even feminine in nature. Where is the difference between character and gender? A distinction is always arbitrary. My conclusion was therefore, let's make the separation artificially for this project. The 2 men will work in 1 display case together and I as a woman work in the other display case. Language alone feels unbalanced, inadequate.

Simone de Beauvoir, Camilla Pglia, Luce Irigarai, Joke Hermsen bring me a new gender awareness, but not directly on deviant work. The work must be done first. It is only by living life that you discover what you really "want to do". This is not an empty slogan. Being busy is deeply human. The meaning of this is tangible, visible, noticeable in everything around us. The situation, location, atmosphere of the environment is an essential factor that influences how and what you are doing as a person. The how and with what, that is the question. I think both are individual in nature. Masculine or feminine is too crude a form of characterization. There are so many factors that determine how you act in a given situation.


The title FeMaler summarizes this dilemma. Fe femmes (Fr), female. maler(D), male (Eng), femaler (Eng).


How and with what?

The method has been practical. After a few conversations, I noticed that we best use the proven method that we have been using as EX-MÊKH for more than 10 years. The theme can be interpreted in its own way for everyone. This means that everyone also proposes their own version. The fact that Maarten and Kees together have 1 display case at their disposal is a complication that they themselves have to deal with. This is also the first time that the spatial distribution is uneven in the beginning and not a point of discussion. Maarten and Kees have divided the space in their appropriate way. Maarten Schepers made his own design for the display case, Kees immediately played with the idea of ​​"the Muses". In consultation they have brought several ideas into 1 artwork. Title: Have you seen the Stars tonight? Including the performance by Kees Koomen: Knocking on Heavens Door.

The  Schaufenster I had at my disposal was the same size. As with a solo exhibition, you only have to deal with your own work. Although the theme played a role and the concept has led to an artificial division, I am curious about the outcome. What can be read from this?

For the time being, the work has been made and will be on view until October 18, 2020 in Vitrine U, Bahnhof Kleistpark, Berlin.

The public is invited to respond (visually) to social media such as Instagram. # FeMaler_U7_Berlin


The public space U7 Kleistpark.

The opening took place at 7 p.m.

Given the covid-19 situation, there were not too many people, so a distance could be kept.

The performances and rituals were also geared to this. Partly behind glass and partly at a distance from each other.

Temporarily appropriating a space and being publicly visible without any commercial ulterior motives is one of the aspects of a good public space.

By doing a performance in a public space, there is always the chance that something unforeseen will happen,

which also happened (see photos of the intervention of a passer-by looking for his own audience for his own cause).

One ran back and forth "smoothly" in the other.

After the performance "Knocking on heavens Door", Maarten and Kees' Schaufenster was transformed into an interior that will be on view until 18 October.

The days before the opening, the display case was only occupied by a swimmer and a stone.

The title of the installation is: Have you seen the Stars Tonight.

The opening ritual was followed by an opening act by Ellen Rodenberg.

I had pasted short pieces of tape in green and red on the Schaufenster.

The opening act consisted of simply removing the tape, which by the way did not hide anything.

The tape did, however, provide the temporary visibility of a "4th wall".

After putting the tape on my pants I stepped into the role of hostess and handed out drawing books.

I invited the public to view the installation FeMaler and choose part of it as inspiration for a drawing.

I photographed their drawings and it was posted on Instagram under the hashtag #Femaler_U7_Berlin


Ellen Rodenberg

Sept. 2020



Thoughts afterwards 2.


The words i didn’t use at the opening of ‘Femaler’.

A Femmes City

I like to use James Browns song, ‘It is a mans world, but it would be nothing without a woman or a girl’, and turn it into If it was a womans world, it would be nothing without a man or a boy.

Camilla Paglia who wrote ‘Sexual Personae’ would agree. She wonders: What drives us to be sexual and violent?


That is the reason for inviting my fellow male partners from EX-MÊKH to work in the second vitrine.

A way to get to know each other better. Although we work already for over 10 years together.

The differences are visibly obvious. The motivation can be guessed.

Men, women, we are different. That must be traceable in the art also.

The two vitrines show how.


Ellen Rodenberg

Oct 2020












>>more photo impressions>>

installation of the work in the two Virtrines and the opening rituals, performances.


work process Ellen Rodenberg