Crystal Palace and the Dinosaurs at aspreyjacques

Story by Jack Foley

"ANTJE Majewski uses photography both as a starting point and a reference point, but also, in a sense, as a sketch that produces a visible approximation of an imagined painting”. Peter Pakesch, “Antje Majewski”, solo show, Kunsthalle Basel, 2001.

LONDON-based arts gallery, aspreyjacques, is presenting Antje Majewski’s second solo show in London, entitled Crystal Palace and The Dinosaurs, until February 22, 2003.

Born in Germany in 1968, Majewski now lives and works in Berlin but for her show at aspreyjacques, she will present two large format works on canvas that form an ambiguous narrative.

As is often the case with the artist’s work, the precise link between the paintings is left incomplete, as each painting contains an element that unbalances its apparent ordinariness. It is this uncertainty, according to the aspreyjacques website, which leaves the viewer to ‘complete’ the story.

In her painting Entrance to the Crystal Palace (240 x 380 cms), two girls are seen standing in front of one giant Sphinx statue, the sole remnants of the legendary Crystal Palace originally built for the Great Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park. The palace was then moved to Sydenham Hill where Majewski saw two girls visiting this relic that was once the ultimate 'amusement park' of the British Empire.

A couple of hours later Majewski spotted the same two girls eating in the greasy spoon cafe in the park. As seen in the second painting, Dinosaurs (190 x 200 cms), the girls are seated in front of a naive mural depicting the palace grounds. The park in which Crystal Palace was originally sited included the first ever recreation of prehistoric life, an epoch defining event.

Antje Majewski’s recent solo exhibitions include L’invitation au voyage at the Kunsthalle Basel (2001). She was an artist in residence at Delfina Studios in London 2000/2001.

Teenage Pantomime, (published by aspreyjacques) an artist's book by Antje Majewski and her sister, Ulrike, is also available through Art Data, email:

aspreyjaques, 4 Clifford Street, London, W1. Tel: 020 7287 7675. Gallery hours: Tuesday - Friday, 10am - 6pm, and Saturday, 10am - 1pm.