pain(t)ology and other trials
Petzel Gallery is pleased to announce the fifth solo-exhibition in New York by the German artist Dirk Skreber. The show, consisting of new paintings and a large sculpture, will run from February 21 through March 30, 2013, with a reception for the artist February 21st from 6 to 8pm.
In his new exhibition, pain(t)ology and other trials, Dirk Skreber continues to mine the contradictions of popular imagery through both conceptual and formal variations. These polarized elements exist in tandem but simultaneously threaten a collapse or confusion of pictorial meaning. Skreber’s subjects tumultuously balance violence and beauty, catastrophe and calm, safety and fear, both in their immediate aftermaths (billowing explosions and the wreckage of terrorist attacks) and their potentiality as a quiet threat (a single missile-mounted predator drone taxis across two canvases worth of an unidentified American floodplain). Contradiction manifests physically, as the serene neutral blue of an unmoored diver in the painting Diver (with anti-matter gatling gun) 2.0 transforms into an apocalyptic orange sea in its doppelgänger Diver (with anti-matter gatling gun) 2.0, Inversion and large painted portraits of models torn by formalist abstractions.
Center to exhibition is the sculptural installation PRC. Through researching an archive of images found on the internet, Skreber has scrupulously reconstructed the brown metallic cage used in the trial of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, the three members of the feminist punk collective Pussy Riot. This odd piece of furniture, used in Russian courtrooms for dangerous criminals, ironically became the stage set that propelled the punk band to international fame after their conviction of hooliganism (a two-year sentence for staging a protest song in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior). The sculpture raises questions about the distribution and control of speech in a world in which the internet’s real-time free flow of information can coexist with autocratic rule.
Dirk Skreber (born 1961, Lübeck, Germany) has had solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally at the Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden; the Museum Franz Gertsch, Burgdorf; the Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem; and the Aspen Art Museum. His most recent survey exhibition, Dirk Skreber. NDAA - Der Na(h)tanz Hummer II at the Leopold-Hesch-Museum & Papiermuseum in Duren in 2012 was accompanied by a comprehensive monograph. He will have an upcoming exhibition at the Milwaukee Art Museum later this year. Dirk Skreber lives and works in New York.