Today I will write about a group exhibition, which is now on show at Bernhard Knaus Fine Art in Frankfurt am Main. It’s in general relatively hard to write about a group show, because you are not able to write in depth about one artist and his intentions. The works on show are diverse, not only in the way the artist’s use of medium, but also their subject matter is very diverse. This exhibition shows in some way, that art in this time or era has no dominant direction, that every subject matter and every medium and use of a medium is possible.
The work of Aldo Christofaro is in line with the heavy painting gestures in the work of Willem de Kooning. Drawing like and painterly parts alternate in his paintings. His use of colour is diverse, so is the variety in lines, transparent parts, drippings and contours. The titles of Christofaro’s work catch the eye, and raise questions about recognizable narratives or storylines in his paintings. But maybe these titles are loose and associative poetry, like the brushstrokes of Christofaro’s neo-abstract impressionist paintings.
The work of Karsten Konrad is in itself very diverse, because he uses (found) metal, wood, plastic and paint. The metal sculptures remind of the work of David Smith and Jean Tinguely. These sculptures are assemblages in space. This type of assembled sculpture has a long modernist tradition, which arose from Picasso onwards. The other side of Konrad’s work is more related to the aesthetics of the shaped canvas (Frank Stella), but built up out of wood and paint. These assemblages on the wall have an irregular hand made quality, existing of wood parts and graphic patterns. One word is exceptional appropriate for all of Konrad’s work, and that is the word and act of ‘assemblage.’
Erik Schmidt makes paintings, in which the point of view from the painter is very present. There is a photographic quality in his choice for this point of view from beneath. He looks from the ground to the dreads and electricity wires above the street and so do we as a viewer. The drawing like quality of his paintings is in line with the subject matter. He paints pasty fine lines in a diversity of colors to describe the lines, which he sees in the city, when he looks up. The basketry of dreads in paint makes you aware not only of the image it represents, but maybe even more of paint itself.
Klaus von Bruch observed in his pictures, what it is to live in a certain époque or a certain time. He researched the political and cultural atmosphere and reflected on society, contemporary time, history and media. He made use of images out of mass media, advertisements, historical images and found-footage. In his pictures you see the era of the 1970’s, an artist scene in black and white, with sparkles of coloured confetti and a coloured frame. These photographs give a view on private lives. As a viewer you are a voyeur of the private lives of these young artists in the 1970’s.
Henry Woller uses iconic images, of for example Grace Kelly. She is an icon, but the painting Wolker made of her is it already too. His paintings are built up out of grey tones in oil paint, acrylic paint, tempera, ink, but also out of text. You could call his paintings ‘painted collages’, because the paintings are assembled out of different elements. Nothing in his paintings is without a strong meaning. Even the texts are in a font, clearly out of the period of Nazi Germany. The content of the text has a signification, but also the font and this all in combination with an iconic image, has even a stronger signification. But in the end, the artist asks questions about the position and the sense painting has. Is it real? What signification does a painting have?
Ralf Ziervogel makes graphical work, which is strong related to the human body. Somewhere I red he takes a few important French Romantic painters as an inspiration. He likes painters as Géricault and Delacroix. These painters had a strong eye for the anatomy of the human body and painted them in the most extraordinary positions. I think Ziervogel’s work is now more related to that of Yves Klein, Oscar Schlemmer and Eadweard Muybridge, because the interpretation or literally the print of the artist’s own body in gouache is more present. You can’t deny that a gesture like this is related to the tradition of Yves Kline and his ‘Anthropometry Performance’ (1960). The black sequence of forms has also something in common with the work of Muybridge. The fine lines on paper remind me of the schematic drawings of Oscar Schlemmer of his ‘Triadisches Ballet’. Ralf Ziervogel his work is graphic, but is by the repetitions of forms also about the suggestion of movement on a blank background. It’s pure choreography on paper. (Maybe sometimes a danse macabre, with skeletons and heavy political subjectmatter, given in the titles).
Until 25 march Bernhard Knaus Fine Art
Niddastrasse 84, 1. OG, Frankfurt