•  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
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Current Exhibition

SELECTED WORKS BY Lothar Hempel

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Lothar Hempel
Das goldene Dreieck (Golden Triangle)

2003

Acrylic on Paper

143.5 x 42 cm
Working across a wide range of media, Lothar Hempel stages elaborate theatrical possibilities, placing the viewer as an autonomous character engaging in his constructed dramas according to their free will. Stemming from an interest in value and identification systems, Hempel’s paintings exist as potential casts for his interactive dilemmas. In this series of paintings, Hempel designs a parade of figures: identical in stance, each character is defined by their aesthetic properties; painting itself becoming an extension of persona, ideology and storytelling. In Golden Triangle, Hempel’s figure is a tragicomic muse: his face painted as a grotesque Venetian mask, and is sinister in uniform, adorned with a rainbow coloured tutu. Hempel frames his perverse presence with designer elegance; harlequin tiles and dead black-green buds suggest both a dandyism and courtly intrigue. Underlying themes of contemporary politic are neutralised for the viewer, creating not a portrait, but an instance of ethical quandary.
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Lothar Hempel
Kindl

2003

Acrylic on Paper

119 x 42cm
Following the format of ancient friezes, Lothar Hempel’s figures play out scenes of high drama from their stiff and stylised positions. In Kindl, Hempel paints a statuesque woman, a prototype heroine resplendid in diva-esque fashion. Hempel’s simply rendered background is suggestive of minimal theatre sets and allows homely formalism to give way to urban mystery. Drawn in hieroglyphic profile, Hempel humorously focuses on her eye; the only vivid indicator of explicit action, he paints it with the dramatic trepidation of crime film posters.
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Lothar Hempel
Kreuzberg Nacht (Kreuzberg Night)

2003

Acrylic on Paper

89 x 21cm
“Consideration of moral, ideological and ethical issues, are my central motifs, and are delivered by questioning the concept of the self.” Lothar Hempel explains. “The self here is fluid and dynamic, a social metaphor. It doesn't have a beginning or an end.” Taking fractured identity as a bi-product of modernity, Hempel constructs his portraits with a sense of fleeting transience. Painted on paper, they are figures of fancy; two dimensional characterisations, their similar format making them interchangeable props. In Kreuzberg Night, his figure operates as a formalist construction, a blank projection of contours and colour-fields, their attributes and symbolism readily appropriated for viewer self-identification and imagination.

Quote from: Art: Concept Olivier Antoine
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Lothar Hempel
Jason

2003

Acrylic on paper

125 x 30 cm
Drawing from the timeless morality of myth, Lothar Hempel pictures the heroic Jason as a god-like form, a portent of tragedy. Taking reference from ancient Greek theatre, Hempel’s figures rely on a minimum action and presentation in order to maximise the audience’s imagination and response. Characters’ attributes are defined solely by their costumes, their emotions by sculptural masks. His figures’ stylised stance and armless torsos restrain overt gestures of action, their ‘storytelling’ unfolds from symbolic and psychological interpretation rather than physical illustration. In Jason, Hempel paints his figure standing over a two-toned ground, walking from white to black: a climatic moment foretelling fatal misadventure.
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Lothar Hempel
Medea

2003

Acrylic on paper

126 x 30cm
In Medea, Lothar Hempel paints Jason’s wicked counterpart as a ruthless femme-fatale. Her fractured and calculating state of mind is echoed through the angular patterns and sharp strata of her dress and ground. Bold colours and geometric shapes allude to strength of character; her face a contrast of soft amoeba-like blotches, relating a feminine humanity and diseased corruption. Placed on a steely grey backdrop, Hempel gives this figure a supernatural dynamism, the wrath of a woman scorned echoing in timeless and placeless dimension.
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Lothar Hempel
Richard Wright

2003

Acrylic on paper

89 x 21cm
Through a simplified and stylistic form of painting, Hempel creates a sense of a theatrical charade. His figures are suggested as impostors, knowing hypocrites or deceptive pawns of unseen and elaborate fictions. Hempel uses painting as a tool of illusion. His dream-like and surreal forms don’t pretend a reality, but constantly reinforce their staged-ness. Reminiscent of Bertolt Brecht’s ‘epic theatre’, Hempel’s formalist compositions and puppet-like figures don’t provoke emotional engagement, but rather the viewer’s detached critical reaction to the presented narrative. In portraits such as Richard Wright, Hempel sets up scenes of plausible mystery and adventure as analogies of the viewer’s self-reflection and moral judgement.
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Lothar Hempel
Morning Rain

2005

Mixed media, butterfly

168 x 109 x 107 cm
Presented as both sculpture and theatrical maquette, Lothar Hempel’s Morning Rain offers a sentiment of naïve elegance. Constructed from simple craft media such as fabric and newspaper, Hempel draws from the enchantment of imagination, converting everyday materials into a fanciful puppet theatre. Consciously exposing the process of his making, Hempel’s figure makes no pretence to illusion. It’s interpretation as fictional scene, fragile museum piece, exotic artefact, or simply formalist intrigue is openly offered for viewer’s participation in Hempel’s suggested fantasy.
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Lothar Hempel
Butterfly

2005

Oil on canvas

200 x 100 cm
Delineated through whimsical colours and shapes, Lothar Hempel’s Butterfly presents a scene explicit in its fabrication. Conceived as if it were collage, Hempel’s painting is suspended in a crafted world of playful make believe, its simplified design conveying a sense of theatrical magic. Picturing a pixie balancing on an abstracted mountain, Hempel freezes narrative movement in a moment of static expectancy. Drawing equally from fairytale illustration and modern formalism, Hempel exposes the illusion of escapism, beckoning the viewer to examine their own motives and rationale.

ARTICLES

Lothar Hempel's Propaganda at the ICA

Propaganda, the title of Lothar Hempel's new installation at the Institute for Contemporary Arts, is a big name for a small show. But it's not just the title that makes big claims. Lothar Hempel, a 36-year old German living in Cologne, has a long list of group and solo exhibitions to his credit, a rave review from Frieze magazine, and a contract with the alarmingly fashionable Anton Kern Gallery in NYC. So one goes to this show with every expectation that Hempel is going to be quite good. And the ICA seems pleased enough with its new commission. The ICA's director Philip Dodd has helpfully set out its merits:

In a bewildered London art world and in a newly repoliticised Britain, it's a great pleasure to welcome Lothar Hempel's very resonant work. It addresses the cancellation of utopian imaginings in a world where all is propaganda, or at least often is - and it does so by engaging with the history of art. It's a rare achievement.
To which I can only add, not nearly rare enough.

Propaganda is, in fact, an installation-by-numbers, a faintly lazy exercise in rounding up a few disparate items, pasting up a few sheets of the Frankfurter Allgemeine nearby and hoping that it will all end up in a pavilion at some biennale somewhere in a few years time. Its proponents display a certain anxiety about the way in which it ought to be read. Is it, for instance, about propaganda? How political is it? Or is it simply another one of those gut-churningly circular and self-referential conversations with which a certain strand of post-post-modernism insists on boring the shades of its ancestors? The latter, almost certainly - not that it much matters, because its tropes are so hackneyed, its visual force so weak and its faux-casual moments of prettiness so cheap. Why not stick up a few faded Polaroids of old Joseph Beuys installations and be done with it? Or to put it another way, if there's a long lineage linking, say, David's Death of Marat with the Russian constructivists and Fluxus and who knows what else, we can only hope that it is not ending up here, in the ICA, under these high vaulted ceilings with this melancholy autumnal light seeping in from St James's Park and the tourists drifting aimlessly along the Mall outside.

So what is there to find in the first of the three rooms, titled Streik (Strike)? There is a sort of pierced wooden screen, a few upturned plastic chairs, two coffee-percolators but no cups, a non-descript hanging sculpture, a few boringly doctored newspapers pasted onto the walls, and a television monitor placed on the floor. The monitor shows a dreary black-and-white film in which a woman eats some pasta, finds a key in her mouth and extracts it, and makes an unconvincing show of using the key to open the forehead of another character. Of course we could all fill up several sides of A4 'interpreting' this, or rather, nervously ascribing some sort of meaning to what might otherwise seem almost terrifyingly vapid. So the film makes references to surrealism, and the gothic resonances of the screen are about Catholicism and German-ness, and the newspapers are about the way in which the (conservative) news is obviously manipulated before it gets to us. As for the name, I struggled to connect it with anything in the room, other than those upturned chairs and their hints of arrested activity.

Read the entire article
Source: electric-review.com