Tag Archives: Painting

Haim Steinbach: Objects, Commodity Products, or Art Have Functions For Us That Are Not Unlike Words

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haim-steinbach

Haim Steinbach, Display #31G — An Offering: Collectibles of Ellen and Michael Ringier, Kunsthalle Zurich, 2014

Producing an extraordinary body of work throughout his impressive forty year career, Haim Steinbach has redefined the status of the object in art through his continued investigation into what constitutes art objects and the ways in which they are displayed.

When I began working with objects in the late 1970s, most objects I employed were used objects that I got from flea markets and yard sales. For instance, all the objects in an installation I did at Fashion Moda in the South Bronx in 1980 came from the neighborhood second-hand stores or were picked off the street. The idea of a desire for a “cultural object-as-commodity,” something which “exists outside,” intrigues me because I believe that what exists outside eventually comes inside. A “commodity object,” once acquired, becomes internalized. 

Through juxtaposing paintings, sculptures, artefacts and children’s playthings, Steinbach uncovered alternative meanings inherent in the objects, while subverting traditional notions of display and the value of objects. In presenting these loans and the salt and pepper shakers, Steinbach also unites the day-to-day habits of the home with the seemingly more conventional museum-based act of collection and display.

Up until the mid-1970s, Steinbach explored Minimalist ideas through the calculated placement of coloured bars around monochrome squares. He then abandoned painting to configure works using linoleum based on a range of historical floor designs, responding to both high and low cultural narratives. By the late 1970s, Steinbach began a transition to the three dimensional, collecting and arranging old and new, handmade and mass-produced objects, coming from a spectrum of contexts. These objects were displayed on what Steinbach termed “framing devices”, ranging from simple wedge-shaped shelves, to handmade constructions, to modular building systems.

Steinbach’s preoccupation with the fundamental human practice of acquiring and arranging objects has remained a key focus within his work and brings to the fore the universality of this common ritual.

“People seem to build their own cathedral inside their house. They select the objects that they like to live with, and they make a shell for themselves. They cultivate their little domain. In terms of my own experience with objects, there was a time when I went through a purist period. I didn’t want to have anything in my house — it was simpler just to have very few things around. I went through an evolution in my own work from a minimal, reductive language based on the conceptual activity of the late 1960s and early 1970s, toward a point at which a whole other range of discussions began to emerge. I realized that I had developed an incredible bias toward objects, probably as a result of a resistance to an ideology of “commodity fetishism.”

Steinbach’s interest in display extends to the environments in which objects are placed, and thus photographs, images, models and recreations of interiors are prevalent throughout the exhibition. He often positions his objects within larger architectural installations resembling domestic interiors. Several of these historical installations have been reconceived within the exhibition, where sheets of wallpaper sit on studded walls. These walls serve to guide the viewers’ navigation through the galleries and highlight the architectural qualities of the space.
On show within the installation was a new installation, comprising salt and pepper shakers lent by members of the public. By transporting objects that hold their own stories into the Serpentine Gallery, Steinbach’s participatory gesture reactivates them within this new context and makes the connection between the private and the public sphere.

“Objects, commodity products, or art works have functions for us that are not unlike words, language. We invented them for our own use and we communicate through them, thereby getting onto self-realization.”

Text:Joshua Decter, Journal of Contemporary Art http://www.jca-online.com/steinbach.html and Press Release, The Serpentine Gallery, http://www.serpentinegalleries.org/exhibitions-events/haim-steinbach-once-again-world-flat.
Artist Website: Haim Steinbach, http://www.haimsteinbach.net.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Ida Ekblad, Diary of a Madam, Exhibition Kunsthaus Hamburg


Ida Ekblad, Installation view, Diary of a Madam, Kunsthaus Hamburg, 7 Februar – 26. March 2017

The Kunsthaus Hamburg is hosting Ida Ekblad’s first institutional solo-exhibition in Germany. The artist is showing large-format paintings created for the exhibition. New sculptures will be presented in the context of a performance by the singer Nils Bech at the opening reception.

Ida Ekblad’s paintings and sculptures are like vehement acts of liberation. Gestural brushstrokes, dolphins, airbrush technique, aliens, junk, icons of Expressionism, puff effects recalling 3-D prints on sweatshirts of the eighties – Ida Ekblad’s process-oriented art production embodies an anarchic spirit that does not hesitate to appropriate styles, subjects, and materials of western culture that are deemed outdated or tasteless. This non-hierarchical aesthetic approach to the visual repertory of the recent past – often derived from contexts of popular culture and everyday life – may be understood in the sense of an ‘open source’ mentality which is devoid of the intention of consciously seeking to quote or to comment.

Teetering on the edge of good taste, the artist’s works have a strongly affective impact. While, on the one hand, ambivalent materials and aesthetic concepts are obviously being celebrated, on the other hand, a struggle with and between these very materials and concepts also clearly manifests itself. This also applies to Ida Ekblad’s latest large-format paintings, which she has assembled into a wall frieze of 20 meters length at the Kunsthaus Hamburg. Here, pubertal graffiti tags and Murano vases formed by the artist with puff paste are conflated on a two-dimensional surface. Relief-like surface structures as well as Ida Ekblad’s visibly obsessive delight in pure materiality reveal a sculptural spirit that does not call painting itself into question. The artist claims: “Painting to me combines expressions of rhythm, poetry, scent, emotion… It offers ways to articulate the spaces between words, and I cannot be concerned with its death, when working at it makes me feel so alive. Canvas can be attacked, copulated with and played like an instrument. I believe in painting like I believe in music. Gore grind music has been invented and can be reinvented forever, and no two raindrops are alike… no two gobs of paint, etc. etc.“ (Ida Ekblad, Mousse Magazine, Issue 22, 2010)

Ida Ekblad not only often refers to music and poetry, but the latter also concretely play a major role in many of her energetic, rhythmical works. In some of the paintings she has incorporated words or short sentences, while her exhibitions are generally accompanied by entire poems. Among other things, the titles of her works and presentations play with ambiguity: Diary of a Madam, the title of her presentation at the Kunsthaus Hamburg, not only makes reference to a biographical context – which, incidentally, is only pseudo-biographical since the multiply recurring portraits of a small Scandinavian-looking girl only appear to represent the young Ida Ekblad. It also phonetically alludes to ‘madman’ – a further recurring theme in the artist’s work: “Writing poetry becomes part of the struggle to stay sane, or the struggle to stay insane, I forget!”

In cooperation with Ida Ekblad, a performance by the Norwegian singer Nils Bech will take place at the opening reception. The performance will also be presented at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, and the ICA Institute for Contemporary Art in London.

Text: Press Release, http://kunsthaushamburg.de//.
All images belongs to the respective artist and management.

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Painting: Max Schmidtlein

Max Schmidtlein

Max Schmidtlein

Max Schmidtlein, Hallo, 2014 and Head and Shoulders, 2015

Max Schmidtlein’s solo exhibition Detox Plus is a highly contemporary painting exhibition. ‘Not another “contemporary” painting show’, you might say. Yet more painting that wants to do everything differently. Painting that acts oh so aware of media issues and its own implication in the mechanisms of both on- and offline circulation – but in the end turns out to be just that: implicated. While these grumbles may be warranted, perhaps this exhibition is different.

Detox Plus not only looks cheap, it is: made, in fact, on a shoe-string budget. Nine works are on view, eight of them almost the same size and similar in appearance. The longish canvases of thin black fabric (bought on sale at Karstadt, apparently) are used sometimes vertically, sometimes horizontally; all are painted using products from the pharmacy chain dm. The only work that’s not a painting is a deceptively real light box bearing the dm logo, installed outside the gallery (dm, as all works from 2015).

The titles of the works are derived from the respective products used in their manufacture, for example Head and Shoulders, the exhibition’s most representational painting. True to its punning title, the work depicts the head and shoulders of a human figure on a black background, while the body for the most part disappears beneath a white, nearly rectangular spot of colour (made of sham­poo and conditioner from the corresponding brand, together with chalk, oil, and acrylic paint). Contrastingly, Balea is almost abstract. The hint of a hand can be made out and one can’t help but search the glittery, slippery-looking splotch for traces of lotions and bath products from the eponymous personal hygiene brand. For Profissimo, a cleaning product from the dm in-store household range was used. The work depicts a kitchen knife and a pack of cigarettes. And in The Beauty Effect, one detects a reclining figure stretching its arms over a head resembling an irregular square on which a mixture of anti-acne cream, essential oils, and perfumed wax has been applied. If you get up close to the canvases, you can even smell the products.

While this might sound like a sequence of cheap one-liners, the target quickly becomes clear. The focus is less the craze for wellness and detox than the current ubiquity of what is largely, ostensibly, conceptual (and for the most part abstract) meta-painting. In other words, the joke works despite the collision of cheap material and cheap concept, not through it. It’s a form of meta-meta-painting, if you like. Perhaps in a similar vein to what the Reena Spaulings pranksters have come up with for their concurrent Later Seascapes show on view at Berlin’s Galerie Neu – four ‘Zombie Formalist’ abstract canvases painted by robot vacuum cleaners. These works, too, are one-liners: a commentary on painting through painting. Whereas by now Reena Spaulings’ project might come across as the self-reflexive one-upmanship of cynical jokes – their subversive aspect lost largely due to the position of power they’ve achieved at the heart of the art establishment – Schmidtlein’s exhibition feels quite different: more the stunt of a mischievous court jester than a grimly nihilistic gesture by the sovereign.

Schmidtlein might make use of the prevailing short-circuit between material and concept, but he intersects it at the formal level by using deliberately sloppy figuration. Rather than a slick, decorative abstraction based on a tired conceptual superstructure – the automatization of a painting process whose insistence on expressivity has long since ceased to be anything more than appearance – here are helpless, sad, ghostly figures that attempt, apparently without much success, to breathe new life into their tired, dirty bodies with cheap synthetic hygiene products. At the same time, and in the midst of all this dreariness, Schmidtlein’s paintings are also far removed from the colourful canvases in which today’s painters have tried to restore figuration through comic form, using googly eyes and cute monsters to poke fun at conveyer-belt abstraction.

Ultimately, Schmidtlein’s show too is a grinning meta-commentary on the ubiquitous genre of conceptual painting. One, however, that doesn’t cynically turn itself into a robo-cleaner messing around with the dirt on the gallery floor, only then to sell that same dirt. Instead these paintings use the mud of a €1.99 face-mask: a kind of fresh-cell therapy in a low-grade drugstore spirit. Lo and behold, beneath it all a young and tender skin actu­ally does appear. What’s the dm slogan that puts it so well? ‘This is where I’m a person, this is where I shop.’ And that’s miles away from painting bots.

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Jamian Juliano-Villani, Penny’s Change, 2015

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Jamian Juliano-Villani, Penny’s Change, 2015,

What makes a painter paint? In her Bedford-Stuyvesant studio, artist Jamian Juliano-Villani uses a digital projector to create surreal paintings and discusses the graphic source material that inspires her. Juliano-Villani’s Brooklyn studio is crowded with a wildly varied collection of books ranging from 70s-era fashion, to commercial illustration, to Scientific American-style photography, to obscure European comic art. This vast image bank—which the artist began collecting in high school—generates the building blocks for her mashup creative process. “When I’m working I’ll have thirty images in a month or two months that I’ll keep on coming back to, and I’ll try and make those work with what I’m doing, but they’ll never look like they’re supposed to be together,” says Juliano-Villani. “That’s when the painting can change from an image-based narrative to something else.”

Working quickly and intuitively with the projector, Juliano-Villani toggles through a series of potential images on her laptop as a way to discover solutions for content and composition. Long attracted to cartoons, the artist borrows from illustration as a way to deflate painting’s historical pretensions and to speak in a more direct language; and yet, despite her use of vernacular imagery, what her works ultimately communicate might only be personally understood. “Painting is the thing that validates me and the thing that makes me feel good. I care about it, and they care about me. That’s why I put the things that I collect and really, really love in my paintings,” says Juliano-Villani. “They’re helping me figure out the things that I can’t communicate to myself yet.”

Her trippy acrylic paintings combine cartoonish imagery from far-flung sources, some of them actual cartoons from artists like Chuck Jones. She calls her use of other artists’ work “simultaneous exploitation and homage.”
Juliano-Villani explained her thinking in a Facebook comment: “It’s important to realize that all visual culture is fair game for artistic content, ‘appropriation’ isn’t a ‘kind’ of work, it’s almost all art. When making a painting or a print or a sculpture, it’s nearly impossible to make something without thinking of something else. A good reminder that when dealing with images 1) once an image is used, it isn’t dead. it can be recontextualized, redistributed, reimagined. 2) It should have several lives and exist in different scenarios.”

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Norwegian Painting: Christian Tony Norum

Christian Tony Norum Christian Tony Norum

Christian Tony Norum painting

Christian Tony Norum, Installation view, Untitled, 2015 and Colours of All Time, 2015

A beautiful bird, a drum, the stars and the ancestors, a river, the sea, the wind and the sun. I am blinded by being a human being, searching wondering about everything and nothing. I am a universal human being that live and breath for art, poetry, performance. My main focus is painting but with all this intensity and shadow, I even have to use my self as a medium.

The problems I’m dealing with or try to solve, is how a specific painting or situation have any value or effect at all in this world. I cant change the world or solve any big problems but only believing that small organs like a catalyst can present some kind of nerve that show a little hope of healing in all this killing. Ambitious initiative, which addresses issues of storage and research in addition to exhibitions, museums-represents a substantial attempt to cement this reputation.
Possibilities available for the fundamental artists to negate, stripping away until nothing remains, or to accumulate, to embrace additively until one has reached the limit of fullness. The subversive, at the times contrarian loving and caustic, chaotic and prec—has pursued both paths at once both tendencies arc visible in the presents of artistic practice.

Working with painting, performance and sculpture I need to examine strategies and issues in post structural and modernist theories by using dialogue and communication with my contemporaries and earlier artist.
I use the art-history as a innocence open source to use this old knowledge as a catalyst for new deeper meanings and generate it into a self-reflecting understanding of how I preside the world.
Its not always a issue, its to amuse your self in this reality of ours.
The issues that already exist, or you are put into this world and by using experimental natural methods to meet this experiences with closed eyes while staring at the sun and you know what it is for what it is and that is the color orange.

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Artist: Nikolas Gambaroff

Artist Nikolas Gambaroff

Artist Nikolas Gambaroff

Nikolas Gambaroff, Untitled, 2011 and exhibition view of Tools for Living, 2012

Artist Nikolas Gambaroff work questions the process of painting and its support structures by deconstructing and re-evaluating traditional methods of production and display.

As Gambaroff himself puts it, “In my work I try to dissect, deconstruct, and re-evaluate (mainly within the limits of the activity painting) the customs, expectations and myths that painting as part of our visual culture brings along.”
Works that ostensibly echo the age-old impetus of subjective self-expression are, therefore, conceived as platforms through which to question notions of authorship, distribution and exposition alongside issues such as the social and economic value of art itself.

In addition, Gambaroff’s “staging of the space that a viewer experiences painting in” is designed less to highlight interplay amongst the works themselves, than focus particularly on “the problems of support structures in art (material/architectural but also ideological).”
The introduction of elements from ‘outside’ the traditional compass of painting provides further opportunities to deconsecrate and demystify painterly production in order to debate the mechanisms that confer artistic status.

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Painting: Mathew Cerletty

Mathew Cerletty The Economist, 2007 oil on linen 106,5 x 213 cm

Mathew Cerletty Yoplait, 2007 colored pencil and gouache on paper 35,56 x 33,65 cm
Mathew Cerletty Epson, 2009 graphite on paper 76,2 x 76,2 x 2,54 cm

Mathew Cerletty, The Economist, 2007, oil on linen, Yoplait, 2007, colored pencil and gouache on paper and Epson, 2009 graphite on paper

Since the early 2000s, Mathew Cerletty has been earnestly stretching the possibilities of figurative painting while cleverly subverting much of what we have come to expect from both realism and hyperrealism. Transitioning from his early, psychologically compelling portraits to more abstracted takes on household products and text-based images, Cerletty has been probing some amazingly banal subject matter as a challenge to the transcendent promise of traditional painting and to his skills as a draftsman.

Mathew Cerletty was born on 1980 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin New York. Matthew Cerletty’s paintings encapsulate a cosmopolitan air with their voguish finish and ambivalent sexuality. Presenting a fragmented body, Cerletty’s untitled trade’s image for the fetish of gesture, his absent figure reduced to an intimation of style. Rendered as graphic form against an empty slate colored ground, Cerletty’s hands seem strangely foreign and empirical. Classically positioned, Cerletty sets his study as abstracted intrigue, his opaque white sleeve and purple nail polish convert the representational to formalist balance, constructing the sublime through the simplicity of casual expression.

Matthew Cerletty’s Untitled reconsiders the figure as an abstracted strategy of design. Set on a cold ground, his torso is centered as an obsessional focus of concentration. Rendered with painterly impasto, his shirt becomes a slacker study of illusionary space: its simplified cartoon form balancing between graphic flatness and 3D perspective, the stylised shadow alluding to sculptural form reinforces the planar surface. The addition of the hands converts Cerletty’s painting from compositional study to relational subject, infusing traditional line, shape, and tone with dandyish and charismatic personality.

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