Selected works by Felix Gmelin

Felix Gmelin
Kill Lies All After Pablo Picasso (1937) & Tony Shafrazi (1974)


Oil on canvas

195 x 295 cm

Pablo Picasso once said, ‘for me, an image is the sum of destructions.’ Felix Gmelin, an artist based in Stockholm and Berlin, explores this defining idea from a rather literal angle – in a series of works he made for an exhibition entitled ‘Art Vandals’ which focus on the creative energy latent within acts of revolutionary destruction. Gmelin reproduces artworks that have literally been destroyed in public spaces, including galleries and museums, in order to examine and question traditional notions of history versus what actually constitutes historical truth.

In his painting Kill Lies All After Pablo Picasso (1937) and Tony Shafrazi (1974) (1996), Gmelin reminds viewers of a famous example of art vandalism – the defacement of Picasso’s Guernica by an angry young artist, Tony Shafrazi, now a famous New York art dealer, who spray painted ‘Kill Lies All’ over it in red.

‘I wanted to bring the art absolutely up to date, to retrieve it from art history and give it life. Maybe that’s why the Guernica action remains so difficult to deal with. I tried to trespass beyond that invisible barrier that no one is allowed to cross,’ Shafrazi has explained. The ravages of war depicted in the painting serve as the background for his indicting statement on the contingency of history as it is constructed.

Perhaps Picasso, who once painted over works by Modigliani, would agree with Shafrazi’s point of view, but the art historical establishment certainly doesn’t – the Museum of Modern Art staff quickly removed all the damage from Guernica, essentially updating the act of iconoclasm over another artist’s work themselves. ‘By turning Picasso’s Guernica into a masterpiece’, Gmelin explains, ‘the museum helps to make the picture historic, thereby rendering it invisible in the present.’

Felix Gmelin's Biography

Felix Gmelin
Born in 1962, in Heidelberg
Lives and works in Stockholm


Lautom Contemporary, Oslo

Manifesto, De Antivader, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam

The Anti-Father, Milliken, Stockholm

I Feel so Divided, Vilma Gold Gallery, London

Tools and Grammar, Milliken, Stockholm

Roda Sten, Gothenburg

Revolution II, Portikus, Frankfurt (curated by Nikola Dietrich) (cat)
Film Stills, Voges + Partner Gallery, Frankfurt
Felix Gmelin, Malmö Konstmuseum, Malmö, Sweden (curated by Göran Christenson) (cat)

The Aging Revolution, Milliken, Stockholm
The Cells in an Onion, maccarone inc., New York

Non-Stop, Videovindue International, Copenhagen

Nothing becomes a Man More Than a Woman’s Face, Gasworks, London
Galleri Olsson, Stockholm

[a:t], Association for Temporary Art, Internet

Art Vandals, Malmö Konstmuseum, Uppsala Konstmuseum, Gävle , BildMuseet in Umeå, Borås Konstmuseum, Sweden and Kemin Taidemuseo, Finland. Traveling exhibition organized by Riksutställningar, Stockholm (curated by Annika Öhrner) (cat)

Ein kleiner Beitrag zur Sauberkeit, KĂĽnstlerhaus Bethanien at KulturBrauerei, Berlin (cat)

Painting Modernism Black, Galleri Olsson, Stockholm


Version Control, Arnolfini, Bristol

The evolution must be made little by little, part 1: difference and repetition, Galeria Raquel Arnaud, SĂŁo Paulo, Brasil,
curated by Jacopo Crivelli Visconti
The personal and the universal, Galeria Raquel Arnaud, SĂŁo Paulo, Brasil, curated by Jacopo Crivelli Visconti

Vanuit Hier – Out Of Here, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands, curated by Christiane Berndes, Charles Esche, Annie Fletcher
After Shelley Duvall '72 (Frogs on the High Line), Maccarone Gallery, New York City, NY
Colliding discourses, Shiryaevo Biennale, Samara Art Center, Samara, Russia, curated by Martin Schibli
Video night Mystery, Fondation Cartier, Paris, screening program compiled by Isabelle Gaudefroy
Gesamtkunstwerk, Art from Germany, Saatchi Gallery, London
Psychosis - an excursion into your mind, Färgfabriken Center for Contemporary
Art and Architecture, Stockholm, curated by Edi Muka, Koyou Kouh, Robert Stasinski, Vladan Jeremic, Annika Ă–hrner, Chatrine Kubittcky and Joachim Granit
Ta plats!, Karslkrona Konsthall, Länsmuseet Nacka, Ludvika konsthall, Konsthallen Sandviken, curated by Po Hagström,
The Ultimate Stock Excange, Treasures from the past 20 years, Voges Gallery, Frankfurt a.M. 11. - 13. November 2011,
Volta, Basel, Voges Gallery, Frankfurt a.M.

Carnegie Art Award 2010, Listasafn Islands, Reykjavik, Konstakademien, Stockholm, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Royal Academy, London
New Aquisitions, Moderna Museet, Stockholm
Konst med Alla Sinnen, Kulturhuset, Stockholm, curated by Po Hagstrom
Niet Normal: Difference on Display, Buers van Berlage, Amsterdam, curated by Ina Geves

Do they love their children too?, Milliken Gallery, Stockholm
The Social Critique: 1993-2005, Kalmar Konstmuseum, Kalmar, curated by Martin Schibli
Difference on Display, Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam, Curated by Ine Gevers
Untitled (History Painting): Painting and Public Life in the 21st Century, University of Michigan Museum of Art, curated by Jacob Proctor
Every Version Belongs to the Myth, Project Arts Centre, Dublin, curated by Tessa Giblin and Amalia Pica
When the Mood Strikes... Verzameling Wilfried & Yannike Cooreman, MDD Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium
Curator Curator #4: Time-Challengers, HISK, Ghent, Belgium, curated by Adnan Yildiz
Opening, an arts and music picnic evening, Galleri Rostrum, Malmö, Sweden, organized by Björn Ross
Carnegie Art Award 2010, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen
6 Artists, 3 Shows - Felix Gmelin & Amalia Pica, Vilma Gold, London

On the Limit, Le Centre d’art Buda, Tournai, curated by Annette Schemmel
VĂĄrutstillingen 2008, Fotogalleriet, Oslo
La Marge d’Erreur, La synagogue de Delme contemporary Art centre, Delme, curated by Le Bureau
Not Quite How I Remember It, The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, Toronto, Canada (curated by Helena Reckitt)
Reenactment, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia (curated by Angela Goddard and Robert Leonard) (cat)
Reality Check, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen (curated by Marianne Torp)

Stalking with Stories: The Pioneers of the Un-Rememberable, Apexart, New York (curated by Antonia Majaca and Ivana Bago)
History Will Repeat Itself, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin and Hartware, Medien KunstVerein at Phoenix Halle Dortmund, Germany (curated by Inke Arns and Gabriele Horn) (cat)
Por favor gracias de nada: Re-enactments, Casa del Lago, UNAM, MĂ©xico City, Mexico (curated by Victor Palacios)
Think with the Senses - Feel with the Mind. Art in the Present Tense, La 52 Biennale di Venezia, Arsenale, Venice (curated by Robert Storr) (cat)
Left Pop (bringing it back home), 2nd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art - Special projects, Moscow Museum of Modern Art at Petrovka, Moscow (curated by Diana Baldon, Nicola Lees and Georgina Jackson) (cat)
Urban Connexions (I), Château du Domaine départemental de Chamarande, France (curated by Judith Quentell)
System Error, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, Palazzo delle Papesse, Centro Arte Contemporanea, Siena, Italy (curated by Lorenzo Fusi and Naeem Mohaiemen)
Anachronism, Argos - Centre for Art & Media, Brussels (curated by Elena Filipovic)
Re-, Site Gallery, Sheffield, UK (curated by Jeanine Griffin)
The Backroom / Société Anonyme, Kadist Art Foundation, Paris (curated by Magali Arriola, Kate Fowle and Renaud Proch)
I Love Malmö - Works from Malmö Art Museum, Turku Art Museum, Turku, Finland

Dreamlands Burn, Kunsthalle Budapest, Budapest (curated by Edit
Molnár and Lívia Páldi) (cat)
Art, Life & Confusion, October Salon 2006, Belgrade, Serbia (curated by Barbara Heinrich and René Block) (cat)
Por favor gracias de nada: Re-enactments, Santa Monica Center of Arts, Barcelona, Spain (curated by Victor Palacios)
Of Mice and Men, berlin biennial 4, Berlin (curated by Maurizio Cattelan, Massimiliano Gioni and Ali Subotnick) (cat)
The Moderna Exhibition 2006, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (curated by Magdalena Malm and John Peter Nilsson) (cat)
Ahistoric Occasion: Artists Making History, MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts, USA (curated by Nato Thompson) (cat)
Infinite Painting, Contemporary Painting and Global Realism, Villa Manin Centre for Contemporary Art, Passariano, Codroipo, Italy (curated by Francesco Bonami and Sarah Cosulich Canarutto) (cat)
Now Again the Past: Rewind Replay Resound, Carnegie Art Center, North Tonawanda, US (curated by Joanna Raczynska)

Situation Comedy: Humor in Recent Art, Independent Curators International (iCI) at The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, Museum of Art, Fort Lauderdale and Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada (curated by Dominic Molon and Michael Rooks) (cat)
Rewind<<, Nassauischer Kunstverein, Wiesbaden, Germany (curated Clara Jung) (cat)

Berlin-Moscow/Moscow-Berlin 1950 - 2000, State Historical Museum, Moscow (curated by Jekaterina Degot and Viktor Misiano) (cat)
Delayed-on-time, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia (curated by Nada Beros) (cat)
Art and War, Holon Digital Art Lab, Tel Aviv (curated by Daniel Birnbaum and Boris Groys)
Always Already Passé, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York (curated by Chivas Clem)
Movimento/Movimenti, Palazzo Lanfranchi, Matera, Italy (curated by Francesco Bonami)
Ritardi e rivoluzioni, Palazzo Belmonte Riso, Palermo, Sicily (curated by Francesco Bonami)
Side Effects, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia and Galeria Nova, Zagreb, Croatia (curated by What, How & for Whom (WHW)) (cat)
Balancing Acts, Centre Culturel Suédois - CCS, Paris (curated by the curatorial program at Konstfack, Stockholm)
Samtiden -I betraktarens rum, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (cat)
Laocoonte devorado, arte y violenca politica, Artium, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Centro Guerrero, Granada, DA2 museum, Salamanca, Spain (compiled by Javier Gonzáles de Durana) (cat)

Delays and Revolutions, La 50 Biennale di Venezia, Italian Pavillion, Venice (curated by Francesco Bonami and Daniel Birnbaum) (cat)

Iconoclash, Beyond the Image Wars in Science, Religion and Art, ZKM, Zentrum fĂĽr Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Germany (curated by Peter Galison, Dario Gamboni, Joseph Koerner, Bruno Latour, Adam Lowe and Hans Ulrich Obrist) (cat)
maccarone inc., New York

Outlanders, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead at Waygood Gallery, Newcastle, UK (curated by Paul Stone and Sarah Martin) (cat)
Money/Pengar, Kulturhuset, Stockholm (curated by Karin Hansson and Nils Claesson) (cat)

Ă…rhundradenas bilder, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm (compiled by Olle Granath and Lena Holger) (cat)
Shoot. - Moving Pictures by Artists, Malmö Konsthall , Malmö, Sweden, (curated by Åsa Maria Bengtsson, Lisa Strömbeck, Marit Lindberg)

Passion, Gasworks, London (curated by Peter Cross and Tim Hutchinson)

Invasioon, Saaremaa Biennaal, Kuressaare, Estonia (curated by Eve and Peeter Linnap) (cat)
Samtida konstnärer ser på Liljefors, Göteborgs Konstmuseum, Gothenburg, Sweden (cat)

Samtida konstnärer ser på Liljefors, Waldemarsudde, Stockholm (cat)
Index Edition, Galleri Index, Stockholm

Revir/Territory, Kulturhuset, Stockholm (cat)

Edstrandska Stiftelsens Stipendiater, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö, Sweden
Missing, Forum Arnault, Stockholm (with Sushil Kumar and Jan Håfström)
90-talets nyförvärv, Moderna Museet, Stockholm

”Waldemarsudde“, Waldemarsudde, Stockholm (cat)

Invocation, Lalith Khala Academy, New Delhi, Madras and Ahmedabad, India
Enigma, Göteborgs Konsthall, Gothenburg, Sweden

Spegling, Moderna Museet, Stockholm and Museet for samtidskunst, Oslo (cat)