‘Integrated Systems’ presents the work of ten artists represented by the Michaela Helfrich Gallery in Berlin whose work focuses on the interface between the figurative and the conceptual.

In manufacturing, engineering and information technology, the term ‘integrated system’ indicates a synthesis of multiple elements in order to form one functional whole. In the business world this is of vital importance: any conflict may lead to system failure and even catastrophe. Art also relies on the complex interplay of numerous factors, on creating dialogues both within the works and with audiences. However, whereas in industry surprises and risks are to be avoided or minimised, artists can set up systems that create both harmony and dissonance – experiments that are open ended, constantly questioning and subverting expectations.

Gilbert Brohl creates drawings that take the viewer into a world of fantastical scenery and fluorescent colour. As he wanders through space and time, between past and future, we can detect parallels with our reality as he explores the often difficult relationship between humanity and nature in the contemporary world.

Oliver Dehn takes everyday items such as food, kitchenware and books, and through his highly gestural technique transforms the mundane into humorous yet deeply expressive oil paintings.

Fabian Freese makes photographs that show the urban environment in combination with abstract effects, exploring the growing estrangement between the market and the art world. His altered photos restate minimalist approaches to art that took place over a generation ago, but with a personal openness to materials, imagery, and interpretation.

Christina Gay uses subtle colour harmonies and rich textures in her mixed media paintings to create lyrical, metaphorical scenes whose meanings remain elusive and open to constant reinterpretation.

Thomas Jüptner paints landscapes and scenes that at first glance seem familiar but which on closer inspection become strange and even disturbing through his use of brooding shadow and sombre colours.

Jens Kloppmann uses a diverse range of media in his installations to explore social as well as artistic issues. The viewer is confronted with a complex system of images whose meanings might be divined but never completely understood.

Heike Mardo’s photographs seek to create a small space for beauty, peace and contemplation within the ever-increasing speed, stress and destructive, greedy impatience of our hypercapitalistic society.

Ulrike Pisch uses a fluid style and intense colour to pay homage to various moments and movements in art history as well as a taking a journey through her own memories of exploring the world. She imbues each of her paintings with intense emotion, whether it be a portrait or a landscape.

Marcia Raquel Székely experiments the effects of simple geometric shapes. Using a variety of techniques, she creates elegant, poised images that are both a playful and profound contemplation of the sublime.

Gerard Waskievitz uses layers of impasto oil paint to create a wonderland, in which we explore strange, arcane dimensions. We walk through memories, but every now and then are touched by a kind of foreboding, a sudden vision of hell or paradise, alarm bells ringing, telling of changes to come.