"There is a Mongolian saying that artists are sky people, and to be an artist is a mission that you either follow the call for, or you don't, similar to the vocation of a shaman," said Marc Schmitz whose work is being exhibited at Shanghai's Moproo Gallery until June 2.
In this exhibition, the artist presents a wide range collection of works, among them, the most recent paintings that have been completed at the Shanghai Peace Art Hotel, where he has been a resident artist for the last months of 2012.
The show includes a series of large size paintings created for the residency together with a five meter long Mongolian camel hair knotted ‘braid’ work, a neon wall work and a series of monotypes.
With his non-representational paintings, Marc Schmitz takes a position emphatically distinguished from the prevailing trends in current painting and, at the same time, picks up a tradition that started at the beginning of the last century and has evoked controversial disputes up to the present.
The artist is mostly interested in the openness of the space and the presence of the non-duality. It is a space where exchanges (the effect of cancellation via identical values) create a flattening of the hierarchical status of objects, suggesting a return to a featureless and primary space.
By being utterly absent of narrative elements and by presenting the temporary references in a concise and fragile manner -while defenselessly fending off conventional meaning- his paintings reveal balance as an all-over reference of his oeuvre. In this approach he seeks for the source of paintings, like Mehta-images that seem to return to their point of departure, in an almost physical understanding of the body as paint, canvas as skin, and the motion that resonates to notion
Schmitz is a Berlin-based artist who studied philosophy and fine art at the Universities of Hanover, Munich and Berlin. His works have been exhibited internationally at institutions and events such as the Busan Biennale in South Korea, the Beijing Biennale and the National Modern Art Gallery in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. His work is also represented in international collections including the WSI (Washington Square Institute) New York, the Contemporary Art Museum Bejing, and the Swatch Collection in Shanghai.
"The subjects of art are mostly time, sex and death. But as an artist your capital is time, and what you work with is time, and I think these days it's the best thing to 'have' time," said Schmitz.
The exhibition at the Moproo Gallery is Schmitz's first solo show in Shanghai and features the most recent paintings he created during his stay at the Peace Art Hotel in the city. Also on display is a five-meter-long Mongolian camel hair knotted braid work, a neon wall artwork, and a series of monotypes (prints made from metal or glass plates on which a picture is painted in oils). "The story is about one who is trying to get rid of stories. Come back to the essence of the story inside yourself," Schmitz said of the exhibition.
The artist said he is mainly interested in the openness of spaces. "My recent projects have focused on finding and interpreting unclaimed or contested public spaces, and on reading the importance of the spatial relationship to both personal and shared, cultural memory," said Schmitz. "The stories told in those contested spaces reveal alternate possibilities for the human experience - and particularly our experience of urban zones. My work is oriented toward the public realm and is collaborative more than it is 'interactive.' It relies on ethnographic and art historical research, and takes advantage of both contemporary and historical forms of media," he added.
Schmitz said his exhibition mainly explores diffuse light, and the bright grey reflections seen in Shanghai's air. "I love this color," he said. "When I stayed at the Peace Art Hotel I watched the Huangpu River every morning. Pudong is representative of the idea of grey. Grey is a very calm color, a mix of all colors. It's dangerous but calm. As the energy in Shanghai is on a high level, I like to balance it to an acceptable state," he added.
Date: Until June 2, 11 am to 6 pm (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)
Venue: Moproo Gallery
Address: Suite 303, Bldg 7B, 50 Moganshan Road 莫干山路50号7B栋303室
Call 6277-3623 for details