Podróbka - The Avantgarde Does Not Surrender
"L’Avantgarde se rend pas" [The avant-garde doesn’t surrender] is the title of a work from 1962 by the Danish situationist Asger Jorn. He presented pictures found at a flea-market, which he had modified by painting over them. Annexation through vandalism is only one of several artistic methods of pictorial appropriation. It has numerous predecessors in art history, and in the twentieth century, above all, it fluctuates between the poles of appropriate association and contestatory counter-reaction. One thinks here of Rauschenberg’s "Erased de Kooning Drawing" or Warhol’s "Oxidation Paintings."
The conceptually and methodologically complex interweaving of copy, quotation, montage, and sampling, and the reformulation of models in pictorial reception chains unite the various interventions of the artists in this exhibition.
Despite their inspiration by the utopias of the avant-garde in the modern period, a dilemma remains: the contents and pictures of the world tied to specific languages of form can no longer be conveyed.
The painter Guido Münch put the matter clearly: "We are fans of an abstract, reduced, and denying pictorial language. We are inspired by the hubris of the modern period. We are exegetes of empty pictorial surfaces." In his complex speech pictures, Lars Breuer thematizes the often naive and conflicting progressivism of various avant-gardes, above all that of Italian Futurism, a progressivism that led in some cases to dubious political alliances. Alongside architectonic projects and installations, Christian Odzuck produces modular constructions and has developed for the gallery’s spaces the sculptural display "Die indische Sonne" [The Indian Sun]. In her paper and carpet collages, Frauke Dannert draws on archive materials and architectural photographs. As with the work of Sebastian Freytag, pictures and concepts, which once had a function but have been deprived of value by endless reproduction, gain a new meaning. Angela Fette is a painter and performance artist. She develops readings with ritual-like performances, which she stages in proto-avant-garde costumes that she designs herself. In 2011, she founded with Philip Schulze the noise-art duo "Weisser Westen" [White West].
At the same time, the contributors to the exhibition articulate what it is that they value. Is there still the possibility today of a "good form" and a way of life that are not shaped primarily by economics but rather by esthetics?
Sabine Maria Schmidt
Friday, 14.03.2014, 19.30 - Opening
Saturday, 15.03.2014, 15.00 - Lecture/performance with Lars Breuer, Sebastian Freytag, and Guido Münch
followed by a discussion with the artists,
moderated by Iwona Bigos and Sabine Maria Schmidt
Wednesday, 07.05.2014, 18.00 - Closing Event, Performance by "Weisser Westen" [White West]; presentation of exhibition catalog
Performance of "Weisser Westen"
Weisser Westen is a Duesseldorf artists duo formed by Angela Fette and Phillip Schulze. In her work Fette refers to the idea of the artist in the spirit of the classical avant-garde -- embracing painting, costume design, poetry, and performance art. The media-artist and composer Schulze creates and programs electro-accoustic sound and light sculptures. In Weisser Westen Angela Fette chants absurd hymns and manifestos in an imperative, gestural way over the intermittent beats and chiseling electronica of Phillip Schulze. The group presents itself guised in masks and armor, with a look reminiscent of Constructivism or Dada.
Short biographies of the artists:
Lars Breuer, born 1974 in Aachen, lives and works in Cologne
Free of subjectivity, the words deployed in Lars Breuer’s wall paintings are consummate classical signifiers. He selects words that are as concrete as signs but vague in their overt meaningfulness and their context. The words employed in Breuer’s wall paintings are comprised of ‘big idea’ words: historical, weighty and reflective.
Frauke Dannert, born 1979, currently lives and works in Cologne
Her work is a response to experiences of place with an emphasis on exploring architectural ideologies, the physical processes of de- and re-construction, and optical illusions of space. In her photo-collage series Dannert draws on ideas of archive and collective memory, specifically surrounding the urban landscapes of UK and post-war Brutalist architecture. She takes these fragmented photographic images and re-scales them in her wall or floor collages, integrating them into the gallery space. Through this she explores spatial phenomenology and embodiment, and the tension created between perceiving real and simulated spaces.
Angela Fette, born 1970 in Hamburg, lives and works in Düsseldorf.
The Düsseldorf based painter, poet and performance artist Angela Fette is known for her idiosyncratic combinations of readings and rituals in proto-avantgarde costumes, masks and hat designs. Angela Fette’s paintings and site-specific installations have been shown internationally in solo and group shows.
She studied art at HfG Offenbach, Städelschule Frankfurt and Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Focusing mainly on painting Angela Fette developed a strong affection for the performative.
Sebastian Freytag, 1978, lives and works in Düsseldorf and Cologne
Sebastian Freytag’s work is characterized by repetition as an attidute towards the history of art as well as a compositional method. Since his studies at the Düsseldorf art academy from 1998 to 2005 in the classes of the conceptual artists Jan Dibbets and Gerhard Merz, Sebastian Freytag has been focussed on formalistic and critical art practises. During the last years Sebastian Freytag developed several works that interacted between the institutional space and the public space.
As part of their collective practice Sebastian Freytag formed together with Guido Münch and Lars Breuer the artist group and showroom "Konsortium". They participated in numerous exhibitions, like in the Museum Folkwang (2007/ 2010), ZKM Museum of Contemporary Art, Karlsruhe (2008), Pori Art Museum (2010) or Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen (2011).
Guido Münch, born 1966 in Essen, lives and works in Düsseldorf
Guido Münch studied in the 90’s at the Art Academy Karlsruhe and the Art Academy in Düsseldorf. His linking of references is much more easily designated, because he takes up formative phenomena from everyday life. The industrial design, logos, and images from pop music generally form the points of reference of his painting. Münch takes them up and liberates them from their narrative and ideological content. He does not complain about the plundering of art in every day life and design, instead he simply reverses this relation.
Christian Odzuck, born 1978, artist, lives and works in Düsseldorf
Born in Eastgermany, Odzuck works with the processes of perception and the question how reality emerges from this in the context of society, politics and economy. This leads to temporary transformation of the environment in order to provide a different way of looking at a particular situation and to create spaces of experience (mostly in public sphere). He studied art, design and architecture in Düsseldorf. Latest shows were at the Museum Abteiberg (2013), Mönchengladbach, Goetheinstitute in Chicago (2012) and Expo 11 in Xian (2011).
Weisser Westen is a Duesseldorf artists duo formed by Angela Fette and Phillip Schulze. The media-artist and composer Schulze creates and programs electro-accoustic sound and light sculptures. In Weisser Westen Angela Fette chants absurd hymns and manifestos in an imperative, gestural way over the intermittent beats and chiseling electronica of Phillip Schulze. The group presents itself guised in masks and armor, with a look reminiscent of Constructivism or Dada.
Sabine Maria Schmidt, born 1968, art historian, curator and art critic, currently lives and works in Bremen and Düsseldorf
After three years at the Kunsthalle Bremen (1997-1999), she took up the post of curator of painting and graphic art at the Foundation Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg for five years. From 2007 to 2011 she was curator of contemporary art at the Museum Folkwang in Essen and realized there over fourteen exhibitions like "Aernout Mik. Communitas" (2011/2012), "Captured while Vanishing" (2010), "Hacking the City" (2010) and "Atelier van Lieshout. Slave City" (2008). Since 2013 she curated several exhibitions for the Kunsthalle Bremen.
Since 1992 she has published numerous essays, articles, inventory catalogs and monographs on modern and contemporary art. Her work focuses on examining the possible functions of art in today’s world, the moving image (in its spatialized form), the image as a document and an aesthetic event, the relationship between fact and fiction, the interaction of different visual media and traditions and art in public space; many of her projects involve close collaboration with artists over long periods of time.
Podróbka - The Avantgarde Does Not Surrender
Artists: Lars Breuer, Frauke Dannert, Angela Fette, Sebastian Freytag, Guido Münch, Christian Odzuck
(Special Guest: “Weisser Westen” [White West])
Curated by: Sabine Maria Schmidt
Opening: March 14th 2014
Exhibition: March 15th - May 9th 2014
Venue: Gdańska Galeria Miejska 2, Powroźnicza 13/15, Gdańsk, Poland
Exhibition organized with the financial support of: