May 4, 2012 at 7 p.m.:
Presentation Shake Your Tree Edition No. 4,
David Ostrowski & Leif Randt
with a reading by Leif Randt
May 26, 2012 at 7 p.m.:
TOURETTE No. 1 with BRANDENBOOGIE
Ursula Döbereiner – THE VIEW
June 6 through July 7, 2012
We are pleased to announce the opening of SEPTEMBER’s new exhibition space in Kreuzberg on Wednesday, April 25 at 7 p.m. with the show New Gestural Painting. David Ostrowski (*1981), Elmar Vestner (*1975), and Henry Kleine (*1978) represent three very different but exemplary approaches to contemporary painting that unite many seemingly incompatible elements: emotionally charged gestures with a conceptual remove; a search for authenticity with appropriation and reproduction; composition with dissolution and destruction. An attempt to see and use the painterly gesture in a new context has long been evident in contemporary painting. Following the formalism debates of the past several years, during which artists mainly focused on the legacy of the Russian avant-garde, Constructivist painting, and an investigation of the modernist heritage, one element increasingly emerges that young painters have long implemented only with great caution or have avoided entirely: the expressive, subjective painterly gesture. The departure from the gesture has a long tradition that is not only connected to Minimal Art, but also with the (entirely necessary) departure from the individual artistic signature that began in the early 1980s with the emergence of a new, institutionally critical scene and politicized art. For a long time, artists couldn’t paint gesturally without being branded as conservative or backwards. This awkward relationship with the gesture continues to this day: to inject formal art with poetic or political content, the younger generation might well take recourse to the sensitive gestural treatment of material, color, and form, but this gesture usually has to remain fragile, delicate, or frame a quote or reference.
New Gestural Painting does not propagate a return to Informel or Abstract Expressionism as has been done by critics and curators. Instead, the show is an undogmatic approach to the gestural painting of a post-Tomma Abts generation that casually quotes these strains. The positions presented in New Gestural Painting are inspired by a variety of different sources ranging from the conceptual painting of the American painter R.H. Quaitman to graffiti, literary texts by Julien Green, the aesthetic of Isa Genzken’s psycho-sculptures, or the shattered storefront windows of a busy street in Neukölln. But what unites them is the search for a perfect composition that can only be found in the negation of this perfection—in an insistence on the process, the search, and a questioning of immediate and authentic expression, with attention paid to the banal and the marginalized. What all of these positions have in common is that they equally mistrust pathos-laden gestures and a cynicism of the Kippenberger variety. If they appear at all, pathos and irony emerge as form that is then used for a different purpose altogether. Deliberately chosen for its polemical character, New Gestural Painting resembles an assertion, a shell that gradually takes on form and waits to be filled with life.