Saskia Bos

  • Sigmar Polke

    “Semiconceptual tautologists . . . industrious church painters,” who produce “painting for clever blind men and others who can see as little as they can think”—so did Sigmar Polke, in 1976, describe those he felt were his opposites. At that time he was still having to fight the champions of a concrete, anti-illusionistic art. Now, eight years later, the tide has turned in his favor, and a wider public can see how this artist, born in 1941, was the precursor of many contemporary painters. At the same time it has become clear what a difference in quality there is between him and many of the

  • Robert Wilson, “the CIVIL warS”

    To judge from the disappointed tone of Dutch press reviews of the world premiere of the first episode of “the CIVIL warS,” Robert Wilson can still shock even the most faithful of his fans. What the critics disliked most was what they termed the use of clichés: notable figures from Dutch history, such as William the Silent, Queen Wilhelmina, and World War I female spy Mata Hari, people décors of frozen seascapes alternating with sun-drenched scarlet tulip fields. The stage image is unremittingly colorful, showing a marked resemblance to a collection of picture postcards. The music has no affinity

  • “De Statua”

    A sculpture exhibition whose participants ranged in age from 36 (Giuseppe Penone) to 62 (Joseph Beuys) in age clearly did not aim to show the latest developments in the field. Yet with the recent work of these 14 well-known artists, museum director Rudi Fuchs sought to develop new criteria for the making of sculpture. “De Statua,” the rather solemn title of both exhibition and catalogue, refers to an essay by Leon Battista Alberti, the Renaissance architect and theoretician. In it Alberti outlined two ways of sculpture: “Some proceed by adding and taking away, such as those who work in wax or

  • Blinky Palermo

    This museum, in cooperation with the Stadtisches Museum in Monchengladbach and under the direction of Imi Knoebel, an old and close friend of Blinky Palermo’s (who died in 1977), succeeded in mounting an exhibition that in its totality created an atmosphere of delicate balance just as intense as that in Palermo’s work. Its small but complete survey included the complete graphic works, all the multiples, and a number of single pieces (fabric and metal paintings). At the entrance, in its own showcase, was a multiple entitled Blue Triangle, published by René Block; the piece consists of a flat

  • Ger Van Elk

    Now that quoting and combining styles appears to have become an end in itself, it is refreshing to find an artist who refers to tradition in art with a clear purpose. In his still lifes of flowers, Ger van Elk does more than give an up-to-date interpretation of art history’s bygone subjects and styles; he questions our attitudes to such genres and at the same time makes a distinction between “decorative” (for which read “meaningless”) and “expressive” (read “meaningful”) forms of art.

    It seems ages since painting flowers was considered a worthwhile occupation. Perhaps the most recent examples in

  • Anselm Kiefer

    This show of huge woodcuts demonstrated a continuous development in Anselm Kiefer’s work and at the same time revealed a direct use of figurative motifs: trees, a river, and monumental architecture. However direct these motifs, their meaning is multilayered, as is the use of wood on the formal level. On cut-out pieces of paper glued together in enormous collages, strong black forms in tarlike paint are pressed onto the off-white grounds. Kiefer uses the woodcut process to depict both the trees within the picture and the borders of the picture; the trees are printed with boards drenched in ink,

  • Richard Long

    In his recent work, Richard Long unexpectedly appears as a kind of painter. On the white walls of the gallery are huge monochrome circles, two in brownish gray and one in a warmer reddish-brown; within the circles the white wall is left visible at intervals, thus implying not only a flat ornament but also structure and depth. Long painted with his hands, dipping his fingers in mud and clay with which he then covered the walls in a tense, rhythmic motion. Because of the supple and continuous movement of his fingers, the paintings have an overall structure that is both dynamic and controlled. On