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.

EASY images and text

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The exhibition was not meant to be called “EASY.” As is often the way, it started with the opposite idea. At the time I was reading Deleuze’s late essay on Beckett, “The Exhausted,” and wanted to do a show, which would make use of its definition of the image. “It is extremely difficult to make a pure and unsullied image, one that is nothing but an image,” writes Deleuze and seeing the late Beckett plays I could believe this was the case. “Of course it is not easy to make an image…”

As all four artists – Jonah Gebka, Hannes Heinrich, Steffen Kern and Janka Zöller – work with images, Deleuze’s definition seemed appropriate. Things changed after I visited them in their studio. We were talking about the possibilities available to contemporary painting and I gave the example of Gerhard Richter – how at the time, to do both, abstraction and figuration, was a challenge that filled him with anxiety. To which Janka replied, “What, only two? Bah!”

Painting now is not difficult in the same way it was 40, 30 or even 10 years ago. Opening up to new possibilities, expanding some pre-conceived notion of what painting might be, what it might do in a contemporary critical context no longer holds the same kind of urgency. And if not, if painting is no longer defined by that kind of hardship and struggle, it would seem painting must be easy instead.

In various ways, Jonah Gebka, Hannes Heinrich, Steffen Kern and Janka Zöller acknowledge this lack of anxiety in their work. For them the fact that painting might seem easy is a strategy, offering a means with which they can engage with the viewer.

Jonah’s work is about surface. Through a variety of means (digital manipulation, engagement with printing processes, the use of mixed media) he makes the surface of the image, specifically its physical aspect, apparent to the viewer. For GiG, he shows a watercolour on paper, stretched around its wooden frame. The image is of a generic blue and white checked deck chair, like those found around pools in holiday resorts around the world. Yet the image is not found, but carefully constructed by the artist.

Janka’s interest lies in contemporary cultures, both high and low, traditional and post-digital. For her current project – and she has many – Janka combines lyrical, Matisse-like abstractions with paintings of eyes taken from her Instagram selfies. Always starting from scratch, always on the move, she paints with restless energy, quickly and directly. The two components of her work, abstraction and figuration, sit next to each other without speaking, never coming together to form a coherent whole.

Hannes works with painting’s capacity for illusion. At its most basic, a grey patch can be a shadow; a few crisscrossing lines make it clear that one lies on top of the other. Is it surprising how little it takes to produce the impression of an endless sunset? He paints wooden frames around his paintings and uses paintings of wood to make sculptures. But unlike the mythical Parrhasius he never tries to trick the viewer into believing that what he sees, might be real. For Hannes, illusion is something very obvious and in its obviousness, intimidating.

Steffen likes to transform one visual register into another, often changing the original narrative along the way. For his drawing “O.T.” he takes a performance by Ana Mendieta and describes it in a few lines of text, referring to the filmed nature of the piece through the introduction of VHS type glitches. In “Props” he takes some tools he found abandoned in an attic and covers them in black paint. They now exist in a no-man’s land, never quite achieving their fictional potential because never quite losing their status as useful objects.

Magdalena Wisniowska, 2017

Save the date: EASY opening on the 28th of April!

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Over the years painting has been many different things. Painting had meant something; it could do things. It was utopian in its aspirations. Then painting was dismissed as elitist and patriarchal. There was the death of painting and its inevitable return. Good painting, bad painting, painting that could be critically viable, provided it tests the limits of representation. What painting was not, was easy. The painter and his struggle was a dominant 20th century narrative, clearly manifest on canvas, visible for all to see.

For the group of young artists participating in EASY, Jonah Gebka, Hannes Heinrich, Steffen Kern, Janka Zöller, the challenge is different. Their effort goes into removing all traces of worry from the pictorial surface, so that painting becomes, quite suddenly, easy. “Easy” is their strategy, their way into painting. It is also a way in for us, painting’s audience, to discover what painting might be.