ANDREAS GRIMM MUNCHEN is pleased to announce the second solo exhibition of Stefan Sandner. Living and working in his birthplace Vienna, Sandner is one of the most important contemporary representatives from Austria. The exhibition showcases large format paintings made between 2009 and 2011.
Entering the gallery the visitors see themselves confronted with Sandners large-scale paintings, which appear to be blown-up memos and notes, conserved for all eternity in acrylic on canvas. The presented works are based on found footage or quotations, almost like textual ready-mades. The working process of the artist starts with the well thought out choice of one of the collected memos or notes and is the starting point for an aesthetic improvement. Through the transfer process of memo to canvas and the immense enlargement, Sandner elevates this seemingly banal scrap of everyday life into the realm of art. By doing so the artist stands in a tradition with someone like Marcel Duchamp and his Fountain from 1917. Sandner coquets with the question “What is Art?” and reveals, not unlike Duchamp, the character of masquerade or posing in art. Does a large-scale painting of a scrawly lettering just pose as art or is it indeed art? And even if it is just an art masquerade would it not therefore be art?
Besides the question of the artistic status of his work, Stefan Sandners paintings also put the authorship into question. The notes and memos transferred onto canvas are the intellectual property of known and unknown authors that Sandner appropriates for his purposes. This fact puts the artist also into the direction of Appropriation Art, which centers around the question of authorship, acting accordingly to the Zeitgeist of postmodernism by quoting and copying other material. While quoting these other sources Sandner makes slight changes to subordinate the texts to his aesthetic and compositional needs. Similar to Appropriation Art, questions emerge about the authenticity of the artwork, one of the most important aspects in the art world. On the one hand, Stefan Sandner changes the texts for the sake of artistic aestheticism, but on the other hand he, simultaneously summons its demise by negating any claim of authenticity. As Raimar Stangen already noted in an exhibition text about Stefan Sandner, one can read this as a critique on the art market in which prices depend rather on the artists name and the artworks size than its actual artistic value (Stangen, Raimar: „The Mask As Mark As Masterpieve As...“ in: Stefan Sandner, Secesscion (ed.), Vienna 2006).
Stefan Sandners body of work seems hard to grasp, as it is influenced by so many different movements such as Expressive Abstraction, Concept Art, Appropriation Art and Dadaism, however, it is exactly this artistic pluralism that gives way to an almost endless number of approaches and discussions.
Stefan Sandner studied at the University for Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria. Among his numerous exhibitions in Europe since 1995 such as in London, Luxembourg and Basle (Art Statements, 2008, Galerie Grita Insam, Vienna), his solo exhibitions at the Wiener Secession (Vienna, 2006) should be highlighted. A well-illustrated catalogue was published on this occasion.