New year, new artists, new shows, new projects.
We had a busy 2021, celebrating our 27th anniversary! We began with a joint exhibition of Karl Fritsch and Paul Kooiker along with an artist residency with Jana Gunstheimer. We then showed a solo exhibition of the longest standing artist in our program German Stegmaier. This was followed by a participation in Art Central Hong Kong, presenting Matías Sanchez! That was the perfect precursor to our iconic sold out solo show for him, In Ictu Oculi. We rounded off the year with a stunning show by Muntean/Rosenblum that we were sad to say goodbye to. Nonetheless, 2022 is upon us and we have lots happening!
Right off the bat, we are so excited to debut Thao Nguyen Phan’s newest video work at Tate St Ives. The exhibition will feature an overview of her previous videos, watercolours, installation and sculptures.
‚First rain, Brise-soleil‘ could be considered a continuation of Thao’s project “Becoming Alluvium” and “Mute Grain”, in which she deepens her interest in ecology and food security. The work includes a multi-channel video installation and paintings. Thao draws inspiration from a Vietnamese folktale which explores the romantic love between a Khmer woman and a Vietnamese man. To Thao, this tale is a metaphor for the invasion of the Viet ethnic group from the north of Vietnam, to the central and southern lands (Champa kingdom in the central; Chenla in the south) which was once called Kampuchea Krom, nowadays understood as the Vietnamese Mekong delta. The Mekong delta is Vietnam’s largest rice basket – a prosperous alluvium plain for agricultural and industrial development. It is facing alarming issues dues to climate change and human intervention of the Mekong river, such as dam construction and excessive rice cultivation. ‚First rain, Brise-soleil‘ seeks to reveal the violence and the destruction that occurs in this region – historically and today. The work proposes a gentler kind of modernity. An embrace of progress that shows a respect to the poetry and lyricism of indigenous knowledge and our ecosystem.
Following the Tate showing, we will bring her work to Taipei for the first time at Taipei Dangdai art fair. That will most likely be a remote participation from us as travel is sadly still a complication. But we are excited still to bring this museum-level piece to a new country we’ve never shown in. See you in Taipei in May!
In the gallery, we will kick out our 2022 program with ‚David & Goliath‘, inspired by a 17th century painting discovered in a small auction in Munich by our friend and Old Master dealer Marco Pesarese. The centrepiece of the exhibition is a large masterpiece of the Neapolitan school. The exact authorship of the painting has not yet been clarified, but the extraordinary quality of the composition and the painting have awakened the detective in Pesarese – it is part of his ambition to uncover unexplained attributions and thus to lift treasures of art history.
When Michael Zink saw the impressive painting in the restorer’s workshop, he had the idea to juxtapose contemporary pieces with this painting. We invited artists Gregory Forstner, Dan Schein, Cristina Lama, Matias Sanchez, and the two Belgians Klaas Rommelaere and Manon Kündig to develop works especially for the exhibition. I’m sure our followers are familiar with Gregory, Matias, and Klaas as they have been actively on our roster, and we are really excited to bring on new artists Dan and Cristina!
Dan Schein’s oil paintings are expressive and painterly, often done without a sketch. The figures and scenes in his oeuvre are depicted with merely a few powerful strokes, and yet the spirit and snapshot of a narrative comes through viscerally. Through the lens of Dan Schein, the world is grotesque and awkward, ambivalently humorous. Each piece bursts with energy!
Cristina Lama is similar in that she is also an expressive oil painter. Her works tend to be surreal with often no perceivable perspective even in her more figurative works, and creatures that come from her imagination. The paintings are almost like what it’s like to peer into the dreams of a creative child, free of adult limitations like logic and science.
The following show is a group show featuring Matías Sanchez and Baldur Helgason. This highly anticipated exhibition will include new pieces by Matias as well as Baldur, Icelandic artist best known for his cartoonishly exaggerated figure. Baldur’s finely rendered paintings contrast with Matias‘ impasto works. The artists depict their characters in wildly different styles, both expressing a slightly sinister view of the world, both grotesquely ironic. The paintings by Baldur draws the viewers in with smoothly rendered ‚cute‘ big eyes and smile, but the clown-like manic smile and crazy eyes make them also confrontational and uncomfortable to really look at. In a society where eye contact and smiling at strangers freak people out, these paintings are like an affront. We can’t wait to show you more of the exhibition!
To wrap up our first half of the year, we introduce a fun summer exhibition, Surf and Turf. The show will include works by Karl Fritsch and Gerry Wedd. Friends of the gallery would be no stranger to anarchist jeweller Karl, and we invited ceramicist Gerry Wedd to join the exhibition. The artists are based in Australia and New Zealand, countries that could not seem further away than in these days with limited travel and their stringent travel bans. But while being ‚trapped‘ in their own little worlds, the artists just got to work in their studios to create. Karl will bring his signature jewelry and Gerry will create some blue and white ceramic vessels for the show. Gerry’s works are very tongue in cheek, just like Karl’s. We will be presenting the works in a very special way for a little added humour than the usual white cube gallery format. So stay tuned for more information!