curated by Christian Malycha
Alfonso Artiaco gallery presents the group show, Accesso, featuring works by André Butzer, Albert Oehlen, David Schutter, Jana Schröder, Raphaela Simon and Ulrich Wulff.
Works of art—be it a painting, a watercolour or a drawing—are peculiar things. They offer, to quote the late Umberto Eco, »l’accesso al proprio cuore«, immediate access to one’s own heart. They allow for immediate access to the heart of an artist as well as to our own hearts. No matter the temperaments, they are there, if we agree with them or not. Sometimes, the artwork causing us the biggest headache, might eventually even be the one to help us see the clearest and come to terms with our longings, experiences and our lives.
Starting from the profound sense of artistic freedom that Albert Oehlen exemplifies, ACCESSO brings together three generations of artist. Each of the participants will arrange an individual room. Effectively, this results in six intricate solo exhibitions, resonating with their unique voices, their manifold artistic stances or styles and their distinctive approaches to our present. It is an open presentation in which we, freely roaming the galleries, are invited to partake just as much.
If all marks and statements have been damaged or overcome, ALBERT OEHLEN (*1954) does not even attempt to undo this loss. He rather invents an openly fragmented image—his very own »Ö-Norm« (il »standard Ö«)—which is not ›one‹ but many. The pictorial cohesion is precarious. Planes and gestures blur into one another. Yet, if such diffusion is brought into focus, its painterly contemplation might be absolutely contemporary.
The œuvre of ANDRÉ BUTZER (*1973) embodies the extremes of history. Colors, lines, planes, figuration and abstraction, politics, art and pop culture become one as emblems of human existence. »Its origins,« says the artist, »being blue, red, yellow and the colour of flesh.« The incarnate embodies a consoling physical presence—welcoming like Titian’s dreaming Venus, Cézanne’s bathers or an ice cream parlor like »Baskin and Robbins«.
As spontaneous as the paintings of DAVID SCHUTTER (*1974) may appear, he actually paints art history, its social conditions and blind spots. His analytical practice includes the close examination of artworks and research at museums, archives or storage facilities. Through dense layers of intriguing color, for instance, he reveals the traces of Manet’s, Champmartin’s and Frans Hals’ real-life entanglements, achievements and shortcomings.
ULRICH WULFF (*1975), well-versed in the highs and lows of the diverse Modernist strategies of artistic self-presentation, is a painter of mischievous austerity. For example, by countering impersonal geometric abstractions with his own signature. In this regard, his paintings have a certain theatrical quality, as you can never be sure, if they are »seriously performing« or »performing seriousness.« Be they now untitled, unbound or even unleaded.
Derived from a scriptural practice in which letters and initials covered the canvases, JANA S C H R Ö D E R ‘ s ( * 1 9 8 3 ) ever-evolving painterly gestures fracture and abrade any literal legibility. Text becomes texture. She transposes the visualization of a corporeal presence into ornamental excess. And while doing so, she candidly makes use of most contemporary image techniques such as digital layering and superimpositions.
The early paintings of RAPHAELA SIMON (* 1986) seemingly resembled distorted abstract structures—yet their titles said: »Teppichgeschäft« (»carpet store«) or »Staubsauger« (»vacuum cleaner«). Now, the titles of her seemingly figurative paintings sound factual and appropriate. But as paintings are made not from words but colors, things might be more complicated. With caustic wit, our clichéd, »caged in« or »fenced off« perception is probed.
Christian Malycha, born 1978, is a German art historian. He has been artistic and executive director of Kunstverein Reutlingen and since 2002 he has authored numerous exhibitions and publications on 20th and 21st century painters and sculptors, among them Georg Baselitz, André Butzer, Günther Förg, Albert Oehlen, Jana Schröder, Grace Weaver and Franz West.
ACCESSO, 2021, partial view of the exhibition, curated by Christian Malycha, November 2021, Alfonso Artiaco, Naples (IT) Courtesy Alfonso Artiaco. Photo Grafiluce