Galerie Max Hetzler is pleased to open a new gallery space in Goethestraße 2/3, Berlin- Charlottenburg, with a group show featuring paintings, collages and sculptures by Albert Oehlen, Markus Oehlen, Joyce Pensato, Matthias Schaufler, John Sparagana and Rebecca Warren.
Simultaneously, we will open another gallery space in Bleibtreustraße 45, Berlin-Charlottenburg, with recent works by Albert Oehlen.
The six artists taking part in the group show are especially linked by an expressive gesture. The works on view range between abstraction and figuration, have a non-academic approach and combine different genres, thus challenging our conventional concept of reality and representation.
With his two new pictures from the series Interieurs Albert Oehlen is raising the interaction between abstraction and figurative representation to a new level. The large-format canvases are composed of advertising fragments. The title Interieurs is only revealed at second glance: The blatant promotions are organized to create subtle illusionary spatial structures, in which silhouettes of figures or furnishings appear amongst signs and letters.
The monumental sculptures by Markus Oehlen with their ornamentally corded cover also comprise an expressive gesture as well as a genre-spanning claim. While colour scheme, grid and organically curved lines evoke the artist's paintings, the use of technical or functional devices such as loudspeakers and car radios extend his experiments towards hybridity.
American artist Joyce Pensato is subjecting the icons of American cartoons to an almost brutal dissolution by means of a gesture-painting inherited from Abstract Expressionism. Heads and figures are distorted, alienated or conflated to a totally new guise and displayed in threatening close-up on large format. By focussing on the black-white dichotomy, the monumental, expressive but also attentive application of paint obtains a graphic touch and the figures loose their assignability.
The limits and possibilities of painting are also explored by Berlin based artist Matthias Schaufler, whose paintings at first glance appear to be purely abstract. Made of small-scale colour elements such as dots, speckles and short strokes in different density, these works also imply figurative elements which however remain undefined through scrappings and overlays.
The collages by the American artist John Sparagana are entirely based on print media. Manifolded and cut according to a specific grid, several copies of the same magazine page provide the basis of the images. On some of them, the artist has exposed the invisible texture of the paper by abrasion.
Grid, substrate and motif - in magazines usually perceived as a unit - are thus decomposed at different levels and presented as distinct elements before being put together again. The resulting image is overpainted with iconic motives of formalist pictures, thus submitted to additional abstraction.
The sculptures by British artist Rebecca Warren also range between representation and abstraction. A rough, expressive formal vocabulary is combined with a subtle echo of significant sculptors in the history of art from Rodin to Giacometti and de Kooning. The spatial context and the relation between the objects are always involved in the disposal of the artworks. The painted bronzes with delicate slender silhouettes obtain their femininity through almost aggressively erupting sexual characteristics. Furthermore the untamed surface design forms an irritating contrast to the delicate colours used on the sculptures and pedestals.
Albert Oehlen, born in Krefeld, 1954; lives and works in Switzerland.
Markus Oehlen, born in Krefeld,1956; lives and works in Munich.
Joyce Pensato, born in Brooklyn, NY; lives and works in Brooklyn.
Matthias Schaufler, born in Laichingen, 1964; lives and works in Berlin.
John Sparagana, born in Rochester, NY, 1958; lives and works in Chicago and Houston.
Rebecca Warren, born in London, UK, in 1965; lives and works in London.