On the occasion of to the abc - art berlin contemporary about painting 201, our exhibition oysz... painters! does not represent a discourse about painting in general, but is rather an exhibition about painters who use the medium of painting to immanently explore and broaden the possibilities of the genre. The exhibition bears an international character with the exhibiting artists Heribert C. Ottersbach, a German painter working in Sweden, the Chinese artist Yang Shaobin, as well as the Polish painter and sculptor Radek Szlaga.
The genre and colouring of Yang Shaobin’s ‘Blue Children’s Portraits’ (2010-2011) are akin to his Blue Series, which was shown in the ‘BLUE ROOM’ exhibition at the UCCA – ULLENS CENTER FOR CHINESE ART in Beijing last year. These large portraits of politicians and their ‘victims’ were integrated in a complex installation in correspondence with gloomy and empty landscapes.
In the exhibition oysz… painters !, Yang Shaobin presents his small portraits of children as if under a burning glass, with his extreme close-ups depicting the faces of the innocent and the defenceless. In contrast to his earlier work, it is noticeable that Yang Shaobin is not only portraying Chinese protagonists in these works. Reminiscent of his earlier works, the artist uses a monochrome colouring (blue and red) which draws the first similarity between the work of Yang Shaobin and Heribert C.Ottersbach.
In the gallery, the small blue paintings will be presented in contrast to the gigantic triptychon titled Sleepless Gods, 2009. This work has a retrospective character and was shown in 2009 at Yang Shaobin’s solo exhibition First Steps - Last Words in the Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand, Brazil.
Heribert C. Ottersbach’s convincingly large painting ‘The Assassination’ (2005) was reviewed by Goetz Adriani of the Kunsthalle Tübingen in the catalogue titled In Erwartung der Ereignisse. Alexander Ochs Galleries Berlin will be the first gallery to show the painting. Similar to Yang Shoabin’s triptychon, this painting will be contextualized by the surrounding smaller formatted paintings.
Similar to Szlaga, Ottersbach examines the general function of painting in his mostly small sized, contained and pale coloured works. Moreover, the paintings of both artists question the justification and the possibilities of painting as a traditional medium in an age of analogue and digital media. Using a computer, Ottersbach edits archived photos into collages, which he then transfers onto the painted picture. Especially in his architectural depictions, the artist suggests a homogeneous image, but closer observation reveals that the painting is composed of a montage of sceneries. Through isolating the content of the pictures, which lack space and background, he selectively accentuates it.
Heribert C. Otterbachs work has received much recognition through many solo exhibitions, such as in Kunsthalle Hamburg, Villa Stück Munich, Kunsthalle Tübingen and Museum Frieder Burda. Upon invitation from Alexander Ochs, his work will soon be presented in Beijing for the first time. While there, the artist will also be giving lectures at the CAFA-Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing. Since 2009, he has been Neo Rauch’s successor as a professor at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig.
Radek Szlaga was already a guest artist in Beijing in 2009, as a part of the ‘artist-in-residence programme’ initiated by Alexander Ochs.
His pictorial world is populated by icons of daily life and the media. Following the idea of the exhibition titled ‘THE END’ shown in our former exhibition space; he extends the story of the ‘Una-Bomber’ Ted Kaczynski in a familiar articulate and ironic way.
Szlagas material and protagonists include teenagers, persons of short stature and the so-called ‘abnormal’, as well as animals - frequently pigs, but also goats. In Szlaga’s view, these figures are all symbols of often undesired destinies.
The centrepiece of his presentation is a group portrait of US immigrants from Eastern Europe of the mid 20th century. This portrait is a motive suggesting the connection between his own family biography and the history of the Una-Bomber.