In his sixth solo exhibition at the gallery Meuser presents a group of new wall-based works and freestanding sculptures under the exhibition title “Kann ich mich hier auch selbst einweisen?“ (Can I Admit Myself To This Place?), a title that seems a logical follow-up to his 2014 show ”Herr Ober, zwei Doppelte“ (Waiter, Two Double Shots).
For more than 40 years Meuser has been finding his material, discarded industrial objects made from steel or iron, primarily at the scrapyard. The search for a suitable industrial relic is an essential part of his artistic process; as Meuser puts it: ”Scrap, there is tons of course but it contains a lot of rubbish." Ignoring the original function of the often bulky found objects, Meuser reworks them in the studio, welds them together, or sometimes simply paints them. With minimal interventions the artist thus constructs three-dimensional works that oscillate between sculpture and painting. The arrangement of the objects in the manner of an installation—in particular his wall-based works—facilitates an experience that is rather pictorial. Obvious signs of wear, like marks and scratches, in the material evoke painterly gestures. This effect is enhanced by coating the found objects with ordinary industrial paints and oil. At the same time, the monochrome color infuses the metal fragments with an amorphous vitality and physical presence, evoking an illusion of lightness, which counterbalances the actual physical weight of the material.
The unpretentious and modest vocabulary of Meuser’s more geometric body of work has a constructivist formal clarity that is reminiscent to strategies of Minimal art, especially considering his specific use of materials. With his so-called “Knautsch” works (roughly translated from the German, it means “crumpled“), Meuser expanded this idiom and since 2011 he has developed works that are literally crumpled: i.e., squeezed, crushed, and bent. As a student of Beuys at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Meuser developed his abstract constructivist vocabulary particularity in the context of the work of older colleagues such as Blinky Palermo and Imi Knoebel, who—like Martin Kippenberger—had significant influence on his work. With Kippenberger he shared an ironic and down-to-earth approach to artmaking and he sometimes visited his friend to create titles for the works (“Titel kloppen”), just as one would slam cards on the table in a game of skat.
Ultimately, with his specific handling and installation of the works, but especially with his idiosyncratic titles, Meuser ironically transfers his materials into an everyday world oscillating between banality and poetry. Meuser’s hilarious and disrespectful titles are inspired by the distinctively blunt and irreverent everyday rhetoric of the Ruhr valley, as well as popular songs (“Schlager”), proverbs, or jokes. These titles are found fragments just like the scrap metal, extracted from their original realm of meaning. They render the work as a self-referential whole composed of image and text and allow for new iconographic interpretations and various—sometimes anarchic—associations.
Brand New Gallery is pleased to present In Saecula Saeculorum, Bosco Sodi’s first solo exhibition at the gallery.
The title of the show is a Latin locution that expresses the idea of eternity and is literally translated as “unto the ages of ages” (forever and ever).
The exhibition features a new series of paintings on linen, accompanied by a few small volcanic rocks covered in red ceramic glaze. In Saecula Saeculorum questions and stands out the permanency of objects throughout the time.
Bosco Sodi shows his signature fissured, velvetised and encrusted paintings on linen, a new series of works that he started painting since late 2016. Compared to the prior works, which are heavily encrusted, these show a random and unorganized spatiality in between the matter. The spaces between these pigmented chunks show the absence of the materiality that the work expresses. Absence, can be read not as a lack of something but as a new element that counter balances the rest of the artwork components.
The artist uses a mixture of pure pigment, sawdust, wood pulp, natural fibers, water and glue to create a textured surface that dries into a monochromatic primordial landscape. By doing this process over a clean canvas he explores the volume of color, from deep red to purple and orange, all the way to a simple but strong black. The final result shows a terrestrial surface of which is built up by hand over the course of one or two days.
This is a demanding physical process that Sodi dubs as a continuous action, like a performance. Each piece’s process is influenced by factors beyond his control including climate, altitude, and water density.
It never worries me to let work go. For me making art is about the process not the outcome. (Bosco Sodi)
Hive Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing) is pleased to announce our first exhibition in 2017 , Arcadia Revisited: Liang Quan and the Eight Views of Xiao and Xiang Rivers. As an significant artist of Hive Center, Liang Quan has had several shows in our space, such as Folds of the Infra-fade: On the Ink Works of Liang Quan (2013), Amassing The Essence: Thirth Years of Painting by Liang Quan (2015) and other important solo exhibitions. At this time, the artist will bring his latest Xiaoxiang-themed creations, presents the relationship between traditional aesthetics and contemporary art, and the influence of traditional visual model on contemporary art, and has a deep discussion on the possibility of an unique artistic path and the exploration of future art making. The exhibition is curated by Xia Jifeng, organized by Hive Center for Contemporary Art, co-organized by No. 55 Art Space and Tian Wu, the space scene is designed by Zhong Song. This exhibition will open from March 4th until April 7.
Born in 1948, Liang Quan is the one of the first Chinese contemporary artists who studied in America after Chinese Cultural Revolution. Also he is one of the first Chinese artist who have engaged in abstract works. The utilization of the rhetoric of dual East-West cultural heritage and intertextuality became the crux of establishment of Liang’s artistic style. This exhibition will show Liang's contribution and practice in translating the Western Abstract language to the East using Liang's masterpieces from different phases.
The well-known Chinese traditional cultural imagery of “Xiaoxiang” has its original semantic roots as a literary concept. Though literary references date back to the Pre-Qin era (21st century BC to 221 BC), the terms “Xiao” and “Xiang” were first combined during the Wei and Jin period (222–589 AD). In painting, the Xiaoxiang schema emerged after the literary term was defined. It would not be until the Tang dynasty (618-907) that verifiable instances of shanshui landscape paintings titled “Xiaoxiang” would appear. The Xiaoxiang imagery of this period was mostly rooted in the legend of “Emperor Shun's two concubines,” Qu Yuan's ci poetry, and exile literature. It came to coincide with yearning for paradise and ideas of mental purification through distant wandering, and was then mixed with notions of nostalgia, and the imagery of the contented “hermit fisherman.” The first true instance of a painting titled “Eight Scenes of Xiaoxiang” is described in the Dream Pool Essays by Song dynasty writer Shen Kuo (1031-1095). For nearly a thousand years since, the Eight Scenes of Xiaoxiang have remained an enduring theme among painters from all eras, and it has spread across a wide territory, from China to Japan, Korea and all of East Asia to become an eternal artistic motif. In Japan, with its similar climate to China’s Jiangnan region, the development of ink painting was intimately linked to Zen hermitage culture. Artists there were naturally receptive to the Jiangnan styles of Dong Yuan, Ma Yuan, Xia Gui, Muxi and Yu Jian, and their formal vocabulary came to form the creative mainstream. Artists on the Korean peninsula felt affinity for cold, sparse landscapes. They modeled their Xiaoxiang themes around the cold forest styles of such northern Chinese artists as Li Cheng and Guo Xi. Locally, in China, Xiaoxiang-themed creations fused these two different stylistic traits.
Liang Quan's Xiaoxiang-themed creations are rooted in his individual aesthetic cultivation, his grasp of Zen culture, and his deep understanding of this creative theme. When all of this encounters an international painting language, a uniquely styled schema is born. Like the majority of those who came before him, Liang Quan has never visited the birthplace of the Eight Scenes of Xiaoxiang in person; he has only vicariously entered into this creative context. The goal of conveying the Eight Scenes of Xiaoxiang is to fix moist air and flickering light onto the painting. It is unconnected to the referenced region, but it is connected to seasonal climates and fixed times, and most importantly, it is connected to the mindset of the artist. This is cultural imagery that lives eternal in the hearts of literati through the ages, as well as a movable landscape. The “localization” and “abstracted” aspects of the Eight Scenes of Xiaoxiang echo Liang Quan’s own abstract creative form. They come together to form a resonating schema.
In Liang Quan's Eight Scenes of Xiaoxiang series, those ancient landscapes we can never see in person, through the individualized understanding and transformation of the artist, have come to transcend pure visual experience to take on an inner mental landscape with universal meaning. The infinitely repeated chants and writings, joys and sorrows of literati painters through history become perceptive experiences of the past that repeatedly reemerge in the artist's mind and coalesce into an unbreakable aesthetic heritage. American sinologist Max Loehr describes Ming and Qing dynasty painting as “art historical art.” This term seems to have a slightly negative connotation, implying that artistic innovation has been confined within a framework of existing art. Liang Quan may be working in the same traditional format of the Eight Scenes of Xiaoxiang, but his approach is entirely different from the model of imitating old paintings. He activates tradition through contemporary artistic ideas and forms, and thus gives rise to an unprecedented new spectacle and language in an attempt to present an Eastern height to contemporary art.
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