Focus And Seriality
The economics of attention is a post-industrial approach. In the cultural sphere, it describes strategies that direct and focus a viewer’s attention towards a subject and aim to keep it there for as long as possible. How does one achieve this in contemporary art? For the exhibition "Focus and Seriality", WAGNER + PARTNER is pleased to present two artistic strategies by programme artists who address this approach and consequently create a fruitful dialogue. The first is by the painter Peter Dreher (* 1932), who has repeatedly painted the same glass of water since the 1970s, in the same format - 25 x 20cm -, and in the same way: thus removing all distractions. The extreme repetition of the motif transcends the individual painting and lends it a serial nature. Reducing the examination of each water glass to absurdity causes the viewer’s discerning gaze to be both perplexed and liberated, with the realisation that the ‘disoriented glance’ has, in turn, become the ‘focussed view’. In this regard, the series encourages heightened attention. Conversely, the ‘classic’ photographic works of the Finnish photomedia artist Miklos Gaál – created between 1999 and 2010 – indicate another way of attracting attention. By employing partial focus in his large format photographs, the observer’s eye is irritated: the largest part of the photograph is out of focus and eludes our conscious perception and merely a small, focused section offers the opportunity for the gaze to linger. Through these conceptual photographs, Miklos Gaál consciously places into view the incidental and the mundane – that which the day-to-day unconscious anthropocentric view removes. By means of this subtle strategy, the viewer’s attention is manipulated. The exhibition aims to juxtapose both artistic strategies and to make their aesthetic and perceptual effects palpable. Popular images of Miklos Gaál’s such as Event on a shopping street, Speed below 40 or Cemetery visit are placed in opposition to Peter Dreher’s water glass series, Tag um Tag guter Tag (Day by Day, Good Day), including other of Dreher’s serial painting series’.