An exhibition to mark the 100th Birthday of Jackson Pollock
At the beginning of his career, Jackson Pollock (1912 –1956) was open to a wide variety of influences. He went through a lengthy development until he arrived at his famous drip technique. As an art student in New York, his teacher Thomas Hart Benton, a naturalistic and representational painter, influenced him. Benton’s teaching as well as the influence of Pablo Picasso, the cubists and the Mexican muralist Orozco all marked the initially figurative art of Jackson Pollock. After 1936, he was also inspired by Native American art, with its symbolic forms, bright colors, and interlocking patterns.
Only in 1946 did Jackson Pollock turn away from figurative painting. He wanted to reflect the artist’s interior world, i.e., his interior world: “I want to express my feelings rather than illustrate them.” Pollock developed the drip technique, letting paint drip and flow onto the canvas lying on the floor, he poured, exploded, and smeared, so that structures and patterns emerged from paint drips and rivers. With this technique of action painting, Pollock made art history, and it marks a turning point in the artistic development of North America, detached from Europe. He became one of the pioneering American modern artists.
Pollock’s paintings derive their power from contrasts, thus giving expression to the opposition of body and soul. He created labyrinthine network structures of paint, linking gestural intensity with formal rigor. The production process of the work of art is in the foreground, the painting becomes a record of a dynamic process.
In 1950, his style once again changed: Pollock created large compositions in black and white and covered white canvases with brown and black lines of paint going in all directions. In that year, the photographer Hans Namuth, an émigré from Germany, photographed the artist in his studio and also produced a film. The photographs, published in the following year in the magazine Life, caused a sensation and gave birth to Pollock the legend. After 1951, Pollock was much less productive, and at the end of 1954 he gave up painting altogether. On August 11, 1956, Jackson Pollock died after an accident he caused while driving under the influence of alcohol.
January 28, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Jackson Pollock’s birth, and thus we will start the New Year with a homage to this artist. Our exhibition There is no end – A Tribute to Jackson Pollock will bring together different positions of young artists – figurative as well as abstract works, video –, all of which relate to an aspect in the life and work of Pollock.