Cologne

Gustav Kluge

Galerie Zwirner

Gustav Kluge claims that he is not interested in painting. This may sound like an exaggeration, particularly coming from an artist who has mastered the language of that discipline so profoundly. Yet Kluge’s goal is not located in painting per se. As both a painter and an enemy of painting, Kluge uncompromisingly inquires whether his chosen medium is necessary or useless. His angular, unsparing depictions of the crippled, the tormented, the hopeless monsters—outsiders excluded from the triumphant march of evolution—exist on the other side of the easily digestible world of advertising images.

With the works in this exhibition, Kluge imagines a fictitious dispute between Savonarola and Antonin Artaud. He locates a point at which their two contrary viewpoints meet across the centuries. While Savonarola calls for the burning of paintings that interfere with “true devotion,” Artaud postulates

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