Abstraktion, Fläche und Überlappungen
From Wassily Kandinsky’s Compositions and Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist icons to Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings, Ad Reinhardt’s and Frank Stella’s minimal iterations or the Neue Wilde movement in Germany, the formal and conceptual questions evolving from abstraction have captivated painters for over of a century. For the start of the season, Nosbaum Reding has gathered a selection of important positions from the recent history of painting around new works by the German artist Jens Wolf in an exhibition soberly titled Abstraction, Surface and Overlappings.
Through its numerous historical references, the work of Jens Wolf (b. 1967) acknowledges the heritage of the great modernist movements to better question them. By means of imperfections or cracks, he undermines the assumed neutrality and aesthetic perfection often associated with minimalist painting, and in so doing tries to open up new avenues for pictorial abstraction, without ever concealing his admiration for the models that inspire his own work.
As the co-founder of the New Secession movement, August Clüsserath (1899–1966) left an indelible mark on the revival of pictorial abstraction in post-war Germany. The works exhibited here, which could be seen as precursors of tachism, bear witness to the artist’s lifelong pictorial research, which led from figuration to a form of geometric abstraction whose linearity gradually loosens up to let colour take centre stage.
A former student of Joseph Beuys at the Academy of Fine Arts in Düsseldorf, Imi Knoebel (b. 1940) is well-known for his pictorial and sculptural work around minimalism and abstraction, in which he experiments with a wide variety of compositional means and techniques. Facing several historic works, the exhibition presents a series of more recent paintings in which the artist continues his formal research into the relationships between medium, material and space.
The monochrome paintings by Marcia Hafif (1929–2018) derive from a drawing practice that the Californian artist adopted in the 1970s by applying repetitive vertical marks to cover the sheet of paper or canvas from top to bottom. By playing on the supposed opposition between objectivity and gesture, between detachment and sensuality, she uses minimalism as a pretext to draw attention to the act of painting and the choice of technique and medium.
Each in their own way, the artists in Abstraktion, Fläche und Überlappungen thus explore the formal possibilities of non-representative painting in the field of tension between art history and contemporary recontextualisation.