Current

JUBGWGGS #1
+ vuvulectra concert by Ketonge
Exhibition March 3 – April 8, 2023

Exhibition with less blue

A group exhibition is always an encounter between a blind date and welcome surprise guests. Bearing in mind the regulars. Who sits next to whom, who gets extra legroom and what kind of attention. As is well known, one of Kippenberger’s many basic rules was never ever group show.


As an exception to the rule, JUBG’s first ever group exhibition shows positions in painting that come without a direct connection to music, otherwise recognized as the gallery’s brand essence. Many of the artistic positions shown are internationally renowned. The exhibition gives a brief, good overview of what one can easily call common sense in contemporary painting and what is being negotiated between established and blue chip in one way or another. Half being abstract, half figurative. Barely any digital aspects in analogue conversion. Maybe a generational issue.

In post-ideological abstraction, the prevailing mood is often one in which hunger tastes best. The rough, broken and drastically inarticulate serves as its own abrasive paper. If abstraction had really made it the universal language at that time, all figuratively recognizable things would have been eliminated as well. One wouldn’t even have been able to identify a doorknob anymore. 
So speaks the old cold war. And probably the new one, too.

Be that as it may, a well-known curator recently proclaimed that figurative painting in itself is questionable. The question mark doesn’t quite know how to raise its eyebrows here.

A diffuse, blood-red pictorial space appears to have been created by a hand that has forgotten about its fingers. Moreover, an almost delicately clumsy zigzag track has been placed here. Yes, better at the centre, why not. A thin, white contour defines something form-like oscillating between landmarks on a map and deranged figuration, as is known from Michaela Eichwald.

Reddish colors per se play an almost life-determining part in the work of Martha Jungwirth. In her paintings, the sheer possibility of other colors seems to have been erased. A perplexed look into one’s own ink box. Only red-toned color pots in a remarkable range are awaiting moisture. In this respect, it can be considered a small fright in this exhibition when Joanne Greenbaum and Andreas Breunig have different colors frolicking orchestrally on the picture surface.

A matter of hanging.

The color as such, the non-form, the trace or mark, the imprint, all these exercises of post-modern abstraction seem to efface a possible originator in positions like Cameron Jamie, Andreas Breunig and also Stefan Müller, if one disregards some recognizable style codes.

There seems to be a promise in a maximized “non-intentionality”. Increasingly few ways to decipher, multiplied by shapelessly enhanced non-identifiability. The shapeless as an imprint might refer to thingnesses and traits not yet known. The thought though does not want to move into the metaphysical here. Rather, for every kind of imprint as something pre-existent there must be a causation, however determinable? Here, yet another post-abstract imagination could knock at the door. Just as if something new would first come into the world only as its shadow.

The figurative positions in the exhibition move at a safe and proper distance from so-called realisms. The deformations and derangements within Matthias Schaufler’s and Yuji Nagai’s work originate from a naturalism that deliberately wanders between paraphrases and discount store archaism. Something that was and could have been. A strict camera would refuse to record here, but such a thing can be painted. At times, Soutine and Ludwig Meidner might have been right there inside the color-consistency centrifuge as well. This is not about a breakdown as an offensive brutalization with a gutted image essence in mind. Limbo Figuration as a counterpart to Zombie Formalism? Nobody wants to write Bad Painting any more anyway, and for the expressive to be current, it would have to have such a nervous, in fact collapsing acceleration factor, which, mechanically, is not feasible for body joints.

Gunter Reski, February 2023

Art Düsseldorf
JUBG with André Butzer, Markus Oehlen, Albert Oehlen
March 30 – April 2, 2023
www.art-dus.de