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  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
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Press Releases - Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien

André Butzer

The Künstlerhaus KM–, Halle für Kunst & Medien is pleased to be able to present new paintings by the German artist André Butzer (born 1973 in Stuttgart, lives in Rangsdorf/Brandenburg) in the venue’s main exhibition space. Here Butzer’s artwork encounters the work by artist Christian Eisenberger, who is being shown in parallel. Always starting out with an intensive exploration that probes the boundaries and potentials of painting as a medium, Butzer first generated awareness with his eye-catching, gesturally expressive, and highly variegated paintings, which he himself considers to be in the style of “science fiction expressionism”. Yet while engaging in a continual and consistent process of evolution and further development, an insidious departure from the significant carrier elements (spray paint, emoticons of rather similar smileys or skulls, text material, or paint applied in especially thick strokes) of this sometimes exaggerated but very memorable language of form has emerged. Pictures followed that were created using luminous paints and showed angled and coincident motile lines and formations against a planar, monochrome grey ground. This exploration of colour has increasingly become based on stringent formal questions related to the representational function of colour in general. The two painted pieces on show in this exhibition are part of the series of so-called “N-Bilder” (N-Pictures) initiated in 2010.
All black-and-white paintings in this cycle are united by an alignment to the incalculable dimension of “N”, which is in turn derived from “NASAHEIM”, another neologism spawned by the artist. For André Butzer, this “NASAHEIM”—a constellation of letters elicited from “NASA”, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and “Anaheim”, the hometown of Disneyland—is a utopian place, faraway and beyond reach, comparable to a depot of endless size, where any conceivable colour is available. The picture itself keeps perishing there, only to simultaneously re-emerge again and again like a permanent trust. The actual motif is the image as a whole, connected to the beholder’s perception thereof. It follows that the paintings evince a stringent continued development within Butzer’s oeuvre, going back to the formal structures already established in his earlier works. Moreover, the “N-Bilder” reference the basic pictorial direction and the clear proportions of the picture beyond worldly geometry. Brushwork, shifts in colour, and fore- and background of the painting are all ignored, inviting the viewers to precisely discern the contrasts between chromatic verticals and horizontals that are so constituent for the pictures.

In answer to the question as to which artistic legacies he finds himself confronted with, which legacies he could possibly carry forth, and which dead ends might threaten the working process in order to then arrive at results, Butzer gives the following reply in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition: “The legacy does not rest with the artist. The legacy itself is receptive. Art has existed for three thousand years or more. Surely there is nothing that continues on. Art is a peaceful dead end, and it must remain a peaceful dead end forever, otherwise it wouldn’t be art. However, almost no one enters this dead end, that is, the dead end lets almost no one in, and for good reason.”

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Christian Eisenberger

The Künstlerhaus KM–, Halle für Kunst & Medien is pleased to also be presenting new works by the artist Christian Eisenberger (born 1978 in Semriach, lives and works in Vienna and Semriach) in parallel. Eisenberger first attained broader recognition in the first decade of the twenty-first century thanks to his continual placement of countless painted cardboard boxes in public space. Depicted here were motifs such as social outsiders like migrants, the homeless, but also easy-to-identify great minds of global politics. The approach of working with series continues to be a formative characteristic feature of Eisenberger’s exuberant artistic practice, which he transfers to all facets of his varied interests and explorations. It is based on an unbridled experimental stance, with raw, simple gestures and a “snotty” air, that Eisenberger builds and crafts his large-scale works of installative nature, often using a wealth of materials. Explored here are classic art themes such as life, death, or vanitas motifs, yet they are usually accompanied by an aura of incompleteness, chance, and sometimes also a semblance of caustic humour owing to a revised and subjectivised sense of Dadaism.
For the exhibition at the Künstlerhaus KM–, the artist has specifically worked on a series of comparatively low-key sculptural and painterly works for which he processed the basic material of wood and the canvases used only minimally and with a very raw touch. This “leaving-it-almost-untouched” approach taken by Eisenberger has allowed him to generally succeed in thematising and underscoring the crucial and reciprocal relationship of dependency between material effect and artistic intervention so inherent to each and every work of art. Accordingly, the works compiled at the Künstlerhaus KM– and arranged in an opulent, space-encompassing installation do not help to clearly verify the origin of the wood employed—whether its shape was formed through exposure to natural influences at its source, or whether (and to what degree) it has been subjected to artistic processing by Eisenberger. Of focus here is a critical questioning of art-related genesis myths and terms of authorship—having once again topped the agenda of this artist vaunted for his bustling activity—in addition to issues related to the context dependency of perception and the pursuit of making visible the operant potentials of auratically charging objects and materials by exhibiting them in classic contemporary exhibition venues, as well as the planes of meaning inherent to each transfer of context.

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K8 Hardy

YDRAH 8K, presented by the Künstlerhaus KM– Halle für Kunst & Medien, is an exhibition of new works by the artist K8 Hardy (born 1977 in Fort Worth) who is based in New York. Hardy is a founding member of the queer feminist collective of female artists called "LTTR". She is also an editor of the fanzine "fashionfashion" and actively participates in the group W.A.G.E. (Working Artists and the Greater Economy). Her works of art garner performative energy from various fields and studies, frequently from the area of fashion, for example, and generally from current forms of representation and modi of self-presentation in digital-based social networks. In the process, she avoids committing herself to a single artistic medium, eludes artisanal virtuosity in photography, sculpture, and video, and produces as if drawing on a gigantic maelstrom of self-documentation and fashionable, queer-visionary transformation of identity.
In a video work designated as “Outfitumentary” by the artist, which is shown in the exhibition in condensed excerpts, she has been documenting her opulent and frenzied changes of clothing since 2001, along with the related signal change within a lesbian subculture and projections of yearning in general. This documentation of a quest for self-invention and the critical examination of identity-seeking and related mediatic breaches lead the fashion items being worn in front of the camera to lose significance. Also evident is the act of refocusing on the artist herself as immersed in perpetual change and the similarly shifting sites of self-documentation playing out here. This high-velocity switching of roles and the concurrent societal pressure to cultivate and express one’s image is one of the themes long explored by Hardy. This aims to challenge the role of the artist, along with the authentic embodiment of this role, within veritable capitalist systems of reproduction and the formatting of the self manifesting there. In her unconventional, artistic elaborations, which take the form of sculpture, light boxes, or photographs, Hardy is likewise concerned with lending visibility to emancipatory means and potentials. She addresses this by responding to a pressing question once posed by theorist Diedrich Diederichsen: “What purpose would it serve were we to resort to taking a union position against creative work? What could we demand without inevitably demanding everything? Only this: a renewed approach to objectifying personalised techniques, access to options for retreat that are not devoured by a compulsion to reproduce, the reappropriation of the self by way of the self, the de-economisation of the soul, the body, the presence, of sexiness; the re-politicisation, re-objectification, re-reification of capabilities, skills, knowledge.” (1)

K8 Hardy has shown her work at the Whitney Biennial, New York, PS1, New York, MoMA, New York, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, Tate Modern, London, and at the galleries Karma International, Zurich and Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York.
The artist’s works are also found in large museum collections such as those at the Guggenheim and the Whitney Museum, both in New York.

(1) Translated from Diedrich Diederichsen, “Kreative Arbeit und Selbstverwirklichung”, in "Kreation und Depression: Freiheit im gegenwärtigen Kapitalismus", ed. Christoph Menke and Juliane Rebentisch (Berlin: Kadmos Verlag, 2010).


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