Jane Hayes-Greenwood

The Witch’s Garden

26.07 – 20.08 | 2.09 –  September 27.09. 2019

 

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Black Prince, 2019, Acrylic and oil on linen, 45 x 55 cm

 

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Sugar Almond, 2019, Acrylic and oil on linen, 45 x 55 cm

 

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Beehive Ginger, 2019, Acrylic and oil on linen, 45 x 55 cm

 

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Silver Dollar, 2019, Acrylic and oil on linen, 45 x 55 cm

 

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Silver Dollar, 2019, Acrylic and oil on linen, 45 x 55 cm

 

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Apollo’s Gift I, 2018, Acrylic and oil on linen, 45 x 55 cm

 

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False Unicorn Root, 2019, Acrylic and oil on linen, 45 x 55 cm

 

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Rainbow Moonstone, 2019, Acrylic and oil on linen, 45 x 55 cm

 

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Compared with the large scale installations of paintings, objects and video she has shown previously, the show Jane Hayes-Greenwood presents at GiG seems, at first glance, quite straightforward. It consists of thirteen small oil paintings, all on identically sized linen canvases, each depicting one flower or plant. Some of these plants – like for instance, One O’Clock Gun – look vaguely familiar, something you might come across in a garden or meadow, others are startlingly strange, unnatural composites of tubular forms, bulbs, prickles and flesh.  Although many of the plants are green, the colours are unlike those found in nature, a mixture of viridian, mint, pale blue, grey and black. The plants are rooted in the soil, but this is pale yellow or pink – they are clearly defined, casting strong theatrical shadows, yet equally clearly, they are not from this world. They are all slightly larger than life.

Speaking to Jane, we learn that the work stems from her earlier research into the origin of the ❤️ symbol. It is thought that this shape is based on the seeds of a mythical plant, the Silphium, known in Roman times for its contraceptive and aphrodisiacal properties.  A possible recreation of how Silphium might have looked appears in Apollo’s Gift and Apollo’s Gift II. The other plants of the collection have been similarly selected for their histories, their medicinal properties or even, as with One O’Clock Gun, for their unusual name.  Together they form a ‘Witch’s Garden,’ and it seems very deliberate to be showing them in Bavaria, a state infamous for one of the largest witch trials of the 17th century. 

But just as a fast motion film of a plant germinating and growing does not bring us any closer to the actual seedling, knowing more about Jane’s research practice is not what brings us close to the work.  As Heidegger argues in his short essay ‘The Thing,’ the abolition of distance brings no nearness, indeed often when distance is abolished, the nearness of the thing remains absent. Nearness cannot be encountered directly, instead, it can only be reached by attending to what is near.  And what is near according to Heidegger, are things, standing on their own, self-supporting and independent. Things are not objects, neither re-presented in perception, thought through their making process nor through the function they fulfil. They cannot be defined for us, precisely, by scientific method.  We have to learn the activities of things through what they do, because things are foremost an activity that involves other things and non-things – the world. 

Since I have known Jane, she has always been interested in things, whether these are the mysterious artefacts of her earlier drawings, the fetishistic partial objects of her paintings, or in this case, the plant forms contained by her canvases. Whether or not these plants are supposed to be life-like or make-believe, they gather together tales of the divine and the problems of being human, what relates to the infinite, and what is defined as perishable. Quite literally they stem forth to join earth and sky. They encourage us not to think the earth and sky separately in order to define and understand them but together, at once, intertwined. 

Magdalena Wisniowska 2019

Jane Hayes-Greenwood

The Witch’s Garden

26.07 – 20.08 | 2.09 –  September 27.09. 2019

 

Apollo's Gift I

 

 

GiG Munich is excited to present The Witch’s Garden, the first international solo exhibition by London-based, British artist Jane Hayes Greenwood. The show focuses on the artist’s latest series of work, newly made paintings of dreamlike plants and the mythical gardens where they might grow. Exploring desire, control and magical thinking, the work makes use of an idiosyncratic symbolism, referencing varied sources such as illuminated manuscripts, botanical illustration, anatomical diagrams and herbal fertility guides.

In The Witch’s Garden the painted plants act as potential ingredients for love potions or spells, their depicted herbs and flowers thought to have special power and potency.  Drawing on apocryphal histories, the painting Apollo’s Gift I is based on an extinct plant known as Silphium, reportedly used as a contraceptive and aphrodisiac in the 700 BC. Described as having a heart-shaped seed, one theory suggests this might be where the heart shape symbol ❤ originated from.  The Witch’s Garden explores our relationship to the natural world, our bodies and their life cycles, and considers fear, power and ritual behaviour.

Jane Hayes Greenwood completed an MA in Fine Art at the City & Guilds of London Art School with distinction in 2015. Soon afterwards she was shortlisted for the Catlin Art Prize, 2016 (London) and presented a large-scale solo exhibition, Lead Me Not Into Temptation, 2017 at Block 336 (London). She was recently selected for the  Anomie Review of Contemporary British Painting, 2018, as one of the 40 artists whose practices have been shaping and defining Britain’s contribution to current painting on the national and international stage. She is also the co-founder and Director of Block 336; an artist-run project space, studio provider and UK registered charity located in Brixton, London that has hosted over 30 exhibitions. She teaches within the BA Fine Art department at City & Guilds of London Art School.

 


 

GiG Munich freut sich, The Witch’s Garden zu präsentieren, die erste internationale Einzelausstellung der in London lebenden britischen Künstlerin Jane Hayes Greenwood. Die Ausstellung konzentriert sich auf die neueste Werkreihe des Künstlers, auf neu entstandene Gemälde traumhafter Pflanzen und auf die mythischen Gärten, in denen sie wachsen könnten. Die Arbeit beschäftigt sich mit Begierde, Kontrolle und magischem Denken und benutzt eine eigenwilligen Symbolik, die sich auf verschiedene Quellen bezieht, wie zum Beispiel illuminierte Manuskripte, botanische Illustrationen, anatomische Diagramme und Kräuterfruchtbarkeitsführer.

In The Witch’s Garden fungieren die bemalten Pflanzen als potenzielle Zutaten für Liebestränke oder Zaubersprüche, wobei die abgebildeten Kräuter und Blumen eine besondere Kraft und Potenz haben sollen. Das Gemälde Apollos Geschenk I basiert auf einer ausgestorbenen Pflanze namens Silphium, die angeblich im Jahr 700 v. Chr. als Verhütungsmittel und Aphrodisiakum verwendet wurde. Eine Theorie besagt, dass es sich um einen herzförmigen Samen handelt, von dem möglicherweise das Herzformsymbol ❤ stammt. Der Hexengarten erforscht unsere Beziehung zur natürlichen Welt, unseren Körpern und ihren Lebenszyklen und betrachtet Angst, Kraft und rituelles Verhalten.

Jane Hayes Greenwood hat 2015 einen MA in Fine Art an der City & Guilds of London Art School mit Auszeichnung abgeschlossen. Kurz darauf wurde sie für den Catlin Art Prize 2016 (London) gewählt und präsentierte eine große Einzelausstellung mit dem Titel Lead Me Not Into Temptation, 2017, Block 336 (London). Sie wurde kürzlich für die Anomie Review of Contemporary British Painting 2018 als eine der 40 Künstlerinnen ausgewählt, deren Praxis den britischen Beitrag zur aktuellen Malerei auf nationaler und internationaler Ebene geprägt und definiert hat. Sie ist auch Mitbegründerin und Direktorin von Block 336, ein von Künstlern geführter Projektraum, ein Studioanbieter und eine in Großbritannien registrierte Wohltätigkeitsorganisation mit Sitz in Brixton, London, die über 30 Ausstellungen veranstaltet hat. Sie unterrichtet im BA Fine Art Department der City & Guilds of London Art School.

Justina Becker

24.05 – 12.07.2019

 

P1030657Justina Becker, 2019, installation view

 

justina28Justina Becker, 2019, installation view

 

P1030722Justina Becker, untitled, 2019, antique wooden windowframe and egg tempera, dimensions variable

 

Justina14Justina Becker, 2019, installation view
justina26Justina Becker, 2019, installation view

 

P1030736Justina Becker, 2019, installation view

 

P1030735Justina Becker, 2019, installation view

 

Justina12Justina Becker, 2019, installation view

 

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Justina Becker, 2019, installation view

 

P1030699Justina Becker, o.T., 2015, egg tempera and canvas strips, 20 x 32  cm
P1030716Justina Becker, o.T., 2015, egg tempera on canvas, 20 x 32 cm

 

P1030719Justina Becker, o. T., 2015, egg tempera on canvas,  20 x 32 cm

 

P1030686Justina Becker, 2019, installation view

 

Justina3Justina Becker, 2019, installation view (nighttime)

 

Justina4Justina Becker, 2019, installation view (nighttime)

 

Justina2Justina Becker, 2019, installation view (nighttime)

 

All things have a strangeness to them for those who care to look. Their foreignness has been long recognised, whether this takes the form of the thing-in-itself, never to be experienced or trauma, first defined as that which acts like a foreign body in the mind.  We notice the strangeness of objects for instance, when blunt or broken they stop being useful and they turn away from us and each other.  Justina Becker pays close attention to things in their strangeness. The objects she incorporates in her practice are always things that she finds close by, in her house or in the small town where she lives, and almost always, these things have been abandoned, damaged in some regard, without a use. The objects have a history to them – even the viewer not privileged enough to know more of their background, the wheres and hows they came about, can recognise the signs of their previous use. They retain a sense of having lived their own life, among other people and other objects. 

Having studied painting to graduate with Klasse Hildebrand,  Justina Becker approaches her objects with the eye of a painter. Her older work was concerned with the material qualities of painting. How the canvas goes around the stretcher would be important or the way that the canvas keys fit tightly into the corner of a frame.  A shift in her practice occurred when she discovered the readymade and began to use things that previously belonged to someone else. Initially she would wrap these objects in various ways. Some would be covered in a layer of light, sheer fabric almost like a shroud, others would be tightly wound with brightly coloured woollen thread. This protective gesture had a double meaning. On the one hand, it would be a way of hiding the object, obscuring its material qualities and past histories. On the other hand, the object would never be completely covered and through the various gaps and imperfections, its material history would become even more apparent. 

The current exhibition at GiG, shows two of Justina Becker’s older paintings together with a new body of work. One seems at first a straightforwardly abstract, but gives the illusion of a painting shrunk and stretched, the other, consisting of strips of canvas wrapped tightly like a bandage around a stretcher, utilises this double gesture of hiding and revealing. They provide a kind of framework for the new work, a complex installation of hanging window frames, made specifically for the exhibition room at GiG. The wooden windows frames are old, perhaps antique, but with none of the antique’s preciousness. They have been removed and replaced with something better and less rickety, glass taken out, the wood still having some kind of value, even if just as kindling for the fire. These frames have been partially painted by the artist in sympathetic colours and rehanged in the space no longer as windows, or even as architectural elements that would divide the room, but simply for themselves, in their best light. Justina Becker’s work takes on here an almost theatrical element, but the stage she sets is curiously not for us, the viewer, awaiting some kind of grand spectacle. The room in its theatricality is now left for the objects to be in.

Magdalena Wisniowska 2019

Justina Becker

24.05 – 12.07.2019

 

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Opening: Friday 24th May 2019, 6 – 9 pm

GiG is pleased to introduce the work of Justina Becker (br. 1974) in her first solo exhibition in Munich.

In line with the recent turn towards materialism and realism in the arts, her practice pays close attention to the object, using the simple act of covering things – whether with cloth, coloured thread or cardboard – to reveal as much as to conceal its hidden objecthood. For GiG, Justina Becker will be presenting a new series, which uses the ready made device of the window frame not to open outwards, offering access to the world beyond, but inwards, towards the inner material life of things. 

 

GiG freut sich die Arbeit von Justina Becker (geb. 1974) in ihrer ersten Einzelausstellung in München vorstellen zu können.

Entsprechend dem gegenwärtigen Interesse an Materialismus und Realismus in der Kunst widmet Justina Becker dem Objekt große Aufmerksamkeit. Sie deckt Dinge ab, ob mit Stoff, buntem Faden oder Pappe, nicht um sie zu verstecken, sondern um ihre verborgene Objekthaftigkeit aufzudecken. Justina Becker präsentiert für GiG eine neue Serie mit Fensterrahmen, die den Blick nicht nach außen wenden, vielmehr offenbaren sie das materielle Innenleben der Dinge.

 

elements

Lukas Hoffmann, Andrea Zabric

16.12.2018 – 11.01.2019

 

fullsizeoutput_820elements, 2018, installation view

 

fullsizeoutput_82delements, 2018, installation view

 

fullsizeoutput_823Andrea Zabric, Pigment sculptures (Berlin red and Naples Yellow)  2018, pigment, dimensions variable

 

fullsizeoutput_835Andrea Zabric, Pigment sculptures (Berlin red and Naples Yellow)  2018, pigment, dimensions variable

 

fullsizeoutput_824Andrea Zabric, Pigment sculpture (Berlin red)  2018, pigment, dimensions variable

 

fullsizeoutput_825Andrea Zabric, Pigment sculptures (Naples yellow, 43870,)  2018, pigment, 12 x 10 x 10 cm

 

fullsizeoutput_827elements, 2018, installation view

 

fullsizeoutput_828Lukas Hoffmann, o. T., 2018, Series of 4, each in edition of 10, Stainless steel, dimensions variable

 

fullsizeoutput_830Lukas Hoffmann, o. T. and o. T, 2018, stainless steel, various textiles, pvc, plastic fittings, steel, aluminium bronze, German silver, 150 x 3 x 3 cm and 50 x 15 x 3 cm

 

fullsizeoutput_82aLukas Hoffman, o. T., 2018, various textiles, pvc, plastic fittings, steel, aluminium bronze, german silver, 150 x 3 x 3 cm

 

fullsizeoutput_832Lukas Hoffmann in elements, 2018, installation view

 

fullsizeoutput_82cLukas Hoffmann, o. T., 2018, bronze, 15 x 4 x 4 cm each

 

fullsizeoutput_82eLukas Hoffmann, o. T., 2018, series of 5, stainless steel, 9 x 1 cm each

 

fullsizeoutput_82fLukas Hoffmann, o. T. and o. T., 2018, stainless steel and various textiles, pvc, 9 x 1 cm each and 65 x 35 x 8 cm

 

fullsizeoutput_833Lukas Hoffmann, o. T., 2018, various textiles, pvc, 65 x 35 x 8 cm

 

The show elements, featuring new work by Lukas Hoffmann and Andrea Zabric, is GiG Munich’s first collaboration with Klasse Pia Fries, Akademie der bildene Kunst, München. Klasse Pia Fries is well known for its focus on abstract painting, especially in its material aspect. Both Andrea Zabric, a recent graduate (2018), and Lukas Hoffmann, a student at the class, incorporate material elements in their practice, but in a strongly conceptual rather than a painterly fashion.

Carbon, aluminium, iron, copper – basic chemical elements are at play in the work, often in their purest form. These instead of being manipulated by the artist’s hand are left in their natural alien state. Matter is subject to its own internal logic not the artist’s touch, and the method of production incorporates industrial, mechanical, and printing processes. While this is obviously human in origin, technology as much a product of man as any painting, when combined with the emphasis on materiality, lends their investigations a scientific rather than artistic quality. As an attempt to think the world outside of the personal relationship we have with it, the work relates to speculative realist concerns currently present in art and philosophy. It shares with speculative realism a taste for the dogmatic, the formal and the mathematical.  

Zabric’s signature pigment sculptures, quite literally, take centre stage. Painting becomes reduced to its primary components: space, ground and pigment. The pigment is not mixed with medium and spread across the ground in its customary way, but is compressed at high pressure to form unusually perfect cuboid shapes. This gives her colours an uncanny density, a new found depth that recalls the violence of its making. For GiG Munich Zabric has produced three new pieces in pigments she had not used before. The work is also more experimental than previously, in that she allows the pieces to crumble, thus exposing their innate vulnerability. 

For all its implications of aggression, Hoffmann’s work is curiously invisible, scattered around the room, sometimes disguised as items of furniture.  Instead of paintings, we encounter clothes hooks, a javelin is placed against the wall ready for use. Bullets (or are they exercise bars? maybe dildos?) lie waiting on the floor. The casual method of display serves to highlight the works tactile qualities, drawing us in. In a moment of masochism, we want to touch the sharp points with our fingertip and wait for the skin to break. Yet simultaneously we feel that to do so would be an imposition, we would enter a space that its not for us, that belongs to someone else, or indeed to the work itself. Quietly, the work turns away from us and withdraws into its own realm. 

Magdalena Wisniowska 2018

elements

Lukas Hoffmann, Andrea Zabric

26.11.2018 – 18.01.2019

 

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Vernissage: Freitag 16. November, 18 – 21 Uhr,
16 November 2018 – 18 Januar 2019
Bitte nach Vereinbarung unter contact@gig-munich.com
Finissage: Freitag 18. Januar 2019, 19 – 21 Uhr

 

The exhibition elements, showcasing new work by Lukas Hoffmann and Andrea Zabric is GiG Munich’s first collaboration with Klasse Pia Fries, Akademie der Bildenden Künste München.

What connects the two young, upcoming artists is a shared interest in materialism, where their version of materialism belongs more to the philosophical developments centred around Speculative Realism than to the handmade, expressive variety traditionally associated with the activity of painting. Operating at the intersection of materialism and realism, they submit to the view that the primacy afforded to matter necessarily demotes the importance of the human understanding of it. If matter is all there is, then its reality must be encountered for itself. In their quasi-scientific, quasi-magical approaches, they reject the emphasis on the multiplicity of interpretations that art borrowed from dominant modes of contemporary critical theory (post-structuralism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis) in order to pursue an almost essential, almost dogmatic, grounding of reality. With this comes a violence, whether this is manifested in the high pressure Zabric submits her pigments to, or the highly polished weapon-like quality of Hoffmann’s metal work. They show that the material world, the inhuman one, is intense, forceful, elemental.

 

Magdalena Wisniowska 2018

 

On Repeat

Alasdair Duncan, Jenny Dunseath, Jonah Gebka, Jane Harris, Melina Hennicker, Steffen Kern, Claudio Matthias Bertolini, Michael Schmidt, Amanda Ure, Magdalena Wisniowska

Opening: Freitag 21. September, 18 – 21 Uhr
22. September – 26. October 2018

 

installation closeup‘On Repeat’ exhibition view, 2018

 

installation front3‘On Repeat’ exhibition view, 2018

 

installation front2‘On Repeat’ exhibition view, 2018

 

installation front1‘On Repeat’ exhibition view, 2018

 

jane harris2Jane Harris, Setting Out and Touching Light, 2018, oil on wooden panel, 50 x 50 cm

 

jane harris1Jane Harris, Setting Out and Touching Light, 2018, oil on wooden panel, 50 x 50 cm
fullsizeoutput_6e9Alasdair Duncan, Magic Bucket, 2018, bucket, rope, potatoes, dimensions variable
Some years ago I hung a bucket from a chain, a little above the ground, in my studio. I thought that perhaps I might find a way to make art from it. I came to my studio one morning, and to my surprise I found the bucket to be full of potatoes. I wondered how this could be? I supposed that someone must have filled the bucket in my absence, but nobody else had ready access to my studio at night. I emptied the bucket at the end of the day, and when I returned the next day, again it was full, almost overflowing with fresh looking potatoes. This strange occurrence repeated itself daily for a week or so. I transplanted the bucket to my living room at home, hung in the same manner, and was astonished to find that when I woke up, the bucket was again full. It was only if I stayed with the bucket through the night that it didn’t fill itself. 
Well, I accepted this superabundant gift, but I’m not a greengrocer, nor do I eat quite so many potatoes, and in any case, I always regarded these potatoes with slight suspicion, since their origin was unknown. They induced wonder, yes, but just a little anxiety too. So eventually I sold the bucket, with it’s extraordinary tuberous fecundity, as art.
I always regretted selling it.
Well, here we are, years later. I decided to revisit that magic bucket, to make a new version. Of course I assumed that this time around it would just be a sham in so far as surely a new bucket wouldn’t create potatoes. With that in mind Magdalena and I bought some potatoes just in case, so that if that old magic weren’t to return, we could fill the bucket. And we agreed to tell you that the bucket had done the job itself. But you know what? Amazingly enough, we left the bucket overnight in the gallery, and it filled itself with potatoes, just like my old bucket had. The potatoes we’d purchased were completely unnecessary. Amazing.

 

installation back portrait2‘On Repeat’ installation view, 2018 (Steffen Kern, Alasdair Duncan and Jonah Gebka)

 

steffen kernSteffen Kern,  o.T. (Aperture), 2018, Kohlestift on paper, 16x28cm

 

fullsizeoutput_664Jonah Gebka, Rechen (Engl. Title: Raking), 2018, oil on canvas and MDF, dimensions variable

 

fullsizeoutput_665Amanda Ure, Painting 111 and 112, 2018, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 cm

 

installation back3‘On Repeat’ exhibition view, 2018

 

installation back1‘On Repeat’ exhibition view, 2018

 

jenny dunseath Jenny Dunseath, Hard Hard Hat Hat, 2018, digital print on silver film

 

fullsizeoutput_6f2Jenny Dunseath, Hard Hard Hat Hat, 2018, digital print on silver film

 

claudio matthias bertoliniClaudio Matthias Bertolini,  Montsalvar 2 & 3, 2017, spray paint on wax, dimensions variable

 

‘On Repeat’ is GiG Munich’s latest exhibition, featuring work by Alasdair Duncan, Jenny Dunseath, Jonah Gebka, Jane Harris, Melina Hennicker, Steffen Kern, Claudio Matthias Bertolini, Michael Schmidt, Amanda Ure, Magdalena Wisniowska.

The starting point for this show was the paper, ‘Genius and Genesis’ first presented by Magdalena Wisniowska at the 2017 Deleuze and Artistic Research Conference at the Orpheus Institute, Ghent.

As part of her investigation of the concept of originality, she argues that the process of repetition has an original because genetic component. This is not the repetition of the same as found in Walter Benjamin’s work on mechanical reproduction or Sigmund Freud’s discussion of trauma. Rather, it refers to our impulse to repeat, to try, to do something again and again, without thought of an outcome. Repetition in this spirit of Nietzsche and Deleuze, would be an affirmation of difference.

Artists in the exhibition use repetition in their work, not simply as a mechanical device (although this feature is present in Gebka’s or Kern’s investigations of the image in its relation to photography) but as a creative because productive gesture. For Alastair Duncan the act of repeating is miraculous; for Jenny Dunseath, absurd; for Jane Harris and Amanda Ure, the beginning of a long meditative process. In their video, Melina Hennicker and Michael Schmidt demonstrate that it has no boundaries, however much we wish to contain it. It often combined with a destructive quality as demonstrated in work by Claudio Matthias Bertolini. All in order to strip back and begin afresh.

On Repeat Saaltext

Genius_and_Genesis

 

Save the date: On Repeat!

21st September – 26th October

Alasdair Duncan, Jenny Dunseath, Jonah Gebka, Jane Harris, Melina Hennicker, Steffen Kern, Claudio Matthias Bertolini, Michael Schmidt, Amanda Ure, Magdalena Wisniowska

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Repetition. Not opposed to originality. Not the repetition of the same. But a call to productivity. To discovery and experimentation. To repeat is to start again, over and over. It is to affirm the unexpected and the new.

Stefanie Ullmann

peaches N cream

26.05 – 13.07.2018

four1peaches N cream, 2018, installation view

 

installation1peaches N cream, 2018, installation view

 

diagonalback11peaches N cream, 2018, installation view

 

betteryellow1o.T. 2018, oil and acrylic on canvas, 160 x 160 cm

 

betterorange1o.T. 2018, oil and acrylic on canvas, 160 x 160 cm

 

bettergreen1o.T. 2018, oil and acrylic on canvas, 160 x 160 cm

 

betterpurple1o.T. 2018, oil and acrylic on canvas, 160 x 160 cm

 

watercolor1o.T. (series of watercolours on paper) 2017-8, watercolour on paper 32 x 24 cm

 

peach1o.T. 2018, oil and acrylic on canvas, 35 x 35 cm

 

Stefanie Ullmann’s paintings have always been minimal. Even at their most overworked, there was never much to see in or on her small to medium sized canvases. A rather distressed looking surface perhaps, a few meandering brushstrokes, some lines or a couple of smudges. Muted colours. For this exhibition, she has made four larger canvases, brighter and larger than her previous work perhaps, but equally paired down, consisting of a few random marks on pastel coloured ground. A quiet ‘no’ cries out from each individual frame, which is a distant echo of Minimalism’s earlier, much more stark and vehement ‘no’ to values associated with Abstract Expressionism: transcendence, heroism, anguish, ego and preciousness. If Robert Morris used a chainsaw to slice out his rejection of anything that might distract the viewer from the here and now, Ullmann uses the slightest of gestures to question what is the ‘just enough’ for a painting.  A canvas for instance, would seem about right, but brushes are something that could easily be dispensed with. Much of the painting at the exhibition is made directly by squeezing a tube of paint onto unprimed canvas. One squeeze is sufficient for one mark.

Similarly to other minimalist artists, Ullmann directs her ‘no’ against artistic intentionality, the external motivation of a rational type, an idea existing prior to the making of the work which nevertheless dictates its final form and meaning from within. This is why there are no vestiges of illusion in her paintings and no gestures towards representation, and why, unlike many of her contemporaries she does not work between abstraction and figuration. Instead she utilises strategies that do away with intentionality altogether: by reducing the number of elements in her paintings, by rejecting the hierarchies between the component parts, sometimes by painting with her eyes closed and leaving things unfinished. And yet she never quite resorts to the complete impersonalisation of many anti-authorial practices. The personal remains important, her way of navigating what is deliberate and what is not.

The deliberate and the accidental – as with minimalism what we see is what we get.  Here it is a number of marks on a peach and cream background. But this does not cause us to turn away from the canvas to investigate the work’s surroundings and their function within a larger space. The work does not depend on the moving spectator’s visual trajectory in that way. It is not, in Michael Fried’s sense of the term, theatrical, analogous to an actor producing effects on us the audience in real time. The here and now of Ullmann’s paintings always draws us closer. There may be little present in the work, but what is there draws us in, before saying stop, it is enough, now you can go no further. What is there keeps us hovering at the surface of painting, neither allowing us, as a beholder to forget ourselves by entering a state of transcendence nor to move away to engage with the work’s surroundings. With her work, we are always caught between one pole and the other. Between presentness and presence lies their state of grace.

Magdalena Wisniowska 2018