Tag Archive | German

Sigmar Polke, Eine Winterreise at David Zwirner

Palme auf Autostoff (Palm Tree on Fabric)
Palme auf Autostoff (Palm Tree on Fabric) By Sigmar Polke (All Photos By Gail)

David Zwirner is currently hosting Eine Winterreise (A Winter’s Journey) the gallery’s first exhibition dedicated to the work of German artist Sigmar Polke since having announced its representation of the artist’s estate. Curated by Vicente Todolí, the exhibition presents a selection of works by the artist that address an expanded notion of travel.

Lungta
Lungta

Sigmar Polke (1941-2010) is widely recognized for his multidisciplinary output of paintings, photographs, drawings, prints, objects, installations, and films. Characterized by a relentlessly experimental and inquisitive attitude, the artist’s work employs unusual materials and techniques, and playfully defies social, political, and aesthetic conventions. Throughout his prolific career, Polke’s unorthodox approach to materials, subject matter, and artistic processes was always concerned with the testing of limits and boundaries, and this exhibition will demonstrate the breadth and lasting influence of his radical and innovative practice.

Ohne Titel (Untitled)
Ohne Titel (Untitled)

The works in the exhibition will range from playful takes on mass-produced tourist scenery from the 1960s to compositionally layered paintings from the 1980s that offer complex reinterpretations of travel-related themes, Romantic notions of the sublime, and hallucinatory imagery — thereby addressing both outward, physical travel and inner/mental, intellectual journeys. In particular, the exhibition centers on the artist’s around-the-world journey from 1980 to 1981 that took him to Indonesia (Bali, Java, Sumatra), Papua New Guinea, Australia, Tasmania, Malaysia, and Thailand, among other locales.

Hallucinogen
Hallucinogen

As noted by Polke, this trip inspired a close consideration of the material forms and cultural practices of color itself: “how, for example, Hinduism explains and uses color or how Australians use color.”1 The exploration of color as an aesthetic end in itself led Polke to the unconventional use of often dangerous or unstable chemical substances within his work. Describing this process, Polke stated simply: “I was looking for brilliance of color, and it happened to be toxic.”

Magnetische Landschaft
Magnetische Landschaft (Magnetic Lanscape)

The exhibition will include a number of large-scale paintings, including Magnetische Landschaft (Magnetic Landscape), an abstract mountainscape executed in acrylic and iron mica on store-bought, checked fabric from 1982. The materials, content, and support in this work each simultaneously present distinct facets of Polke’s multivalent investigation into German cultural and artistic history: medieval alchemical and (pseudo-)scientific experiments, Romanticism’s fraught invocation of the natural world, and postwar Germany’s bourgeois embrace of consumerism.

Lappländische Reise I (Lapland Journey I)
Lappländische Reise I (Lapland Journey I)

The link between material experimentation and physical exploration is further explored in Polke’s Lappländische Reise (Lapland Journey) series from 1984. As the series progresses, recognizable figures (a reindeer, a row of trees) are eliminated, as semi-transparent washes of lacquer dissolve into shifting, hallucinogenic forms.

Lappländische Reise III (Lapland Journey III)
Lappländische Reise III (Lapland Journey III)

Installation View

Polke’s attention to the properties and effects of transparency can be seen also in the selection of works from his series Laterna Magica. Painted in lacquer on both sides of transparent polyester fabric, they combine figuration and abstraction in complex, layered compositions. These works moreover evoke the medium of the magic lantern, an early slide projection device that predated the invention of the cinema.

Translucent Painting

Also on view will be a selection of experimental film works that document Polke’s own travels.

Sigmar Polke’s Eine Winterreise will be on Exhibit Through June 25th, 2016 at David Zwirner Gallery, Located at 537 West 20th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Video Clip of The Week: Digitalism, “Utopia”

Here’s a stone groove for you body and mind: “Utopia,” the epic new single from German duo Digitalism, and its accompany, mind-expanding video. Directed by Japanese artist Yoshi Sodeoka – famed for his neo-psychedelic work with artists such as Beck and Tame Impala – the talented director takes the viewer on a trippy, kaleidoscopic journey through dreamscapes and nature, bringing the duo’s musical vision to life, while expanding on the identity of their new album Mirage, which is out now.

Sodeoka explains, “When approaching the video for “Utopia” I was drawn to the golden spiral as a representation for infinity, which to me suggests the possibility of an ideal social condition without any limitations on its inhabitants.” Nice.

Mirage  reached Number 1 on Hype Machine and Essential New Tunes on BBC Radio 1 within its first week of release, and continues to pave the way for this incredible new collection of work.  Digitalism are on the road in the US and Canada in late May/early June. Tour Dates are below. Enjoy!

NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES
05/24 – Double Door – Chicago, IL
05/25 – Shelter – Detroit, MI
05/26 – The Garrison – Toronto, ON
05/27 – L’Astral – Montreal, QC
05/28 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
06/01 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA
06/03 – El Rey – Los Angeles, CA

Digitalism Utopia

Modern Art Monday Presents: Neo Rauch, Der Laden

Neo Rauch Der Laden
Photo By Gail

Neo Rauch (born April 18th, 1960) was raised in communist East Germany. Upon encountering a united Germany in the early 1990s, Rauch assimilated and parodied the social realist ruins of communist art along with the popular imagery of capitalism. His unusual style, which renders contradictory and often competing sensibilities intelligible and seemingly unified, has given rise to a generation of painters in the Leipzig area as well as a dynamic gallery scene.

Rauch’s paintings share certain affinities with surrealism, namely the invocation of dreams as an escape from a rule-driven consciousness. Rauch himself, however, distances his work from easy readings. “I have no use for the cultishness of classic surrealism or for its tight repertoire of methods,” he says. “In fact just the opposite is true: on my canvas, as in my mind, anything is possible.” Although highly interested in his own East German origins and the nature and limitations of its society, Rauch also channels German iconoclasts like Jörg Immendorff and Georg Baselitz to present a figurative work full of chronological fissures. His painting reflects the influence of socialist realism, and owes a debt to Surrealists Giorgio de Chirico and René Magritte, although Rauch hesitates to align himself with surrealism.

Der Laden (The Store), painted in 2005, is part of the Permanent Collection at The Broad Museum of Contemporary Art in Downtown Los Angeles.

White Snow By Paul McCarthy

White Snow Sculpture By Paul McCarthy
Photo By Gail

This massive, black walnut wood carved sculpture of what appears to be a mirrored image likeness of Snow White stands about 14 feet tall and can currently be seen on display as part of Paul McCarthy’s Sculptures exhibit at Houser and Wirth’s cavernous new 18th Street space. However, McCarthy calls this character White Snow, since he is riffing on the classic German fairy tale and also the Disney adaption from the late thirties. If you think this is wild, you should see what he does with the dwarves…

Sculptures By Paul McCarthy will be on Exhibit Through June 1st, 2013 at Houser and Wirth, Located at 511 West 18th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Mies van der Rohe Google Doodle!

Google Doodle Honoring Mies Van De Rohe

German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born on this day, March 27th, in 1886. As a member of the Bauhaus design school, Mies (as he was called) was highly influential in shifting modern architecture away from the ornate to the simple, a design philosophy from which he popularized the phrase “Less is More.” Mies is honored by today’s Google Doodle, which depicts the SR Crown Hall in Chicago, one of his glass-and-steel designs. Happy Birthday, Mies!

Remembering Nico


Nico with Andy Warhol Circa 1968

On This Date, July 18th, in 1988: Nico, (born Christa Päffgen) the German-born actress, fashion model, Andy Warhol Cohort and a former singer with The Velvet Underground died of a cerebral hemorrhage after hitting her head when falling off of her bike in Ibiza, where she was on holiday with her son. She was 49 years old.