Bartha Contemporary presents “First Born Second”, a series of presentations featuring recent works by German artist Frank Gerritz. The artist’s fifth solo-show with the gallery is the final instalment of three events marking the opening of the gallery’s private space in St James’s.
Over the course of three weeks, the varying installations will explore key aspects of Gerritz practice and showcase recent drawings as well as wall-reliefs conceived of oil-paintstick on anodised aluminium.
At the heart of this presentation is a series of wall reliefs, which occupy a space between installation, painting and sculpture. Deeply rooted in a formal language that may find its origins in early European Constructive Art the works are often described as hard-edged, a term more commonly associated with American Minimalism. Perhaps reflecting the artist’s own early career, which was largely defined by working both in Hamburg and New York.
Despite their precise composition, exceptional clarity and dominant physical appearance, it is the sheer endless play between the defused reflective quality of the anodised aluminium support and the sumptuous quality of the finely structured oil-paintstick that bestows these phenomenal reliefs their immense presence.
The three works that make up the first presentation, each describe themes which Gerritz’s continuously revisits throughout his practice. Temporary Ground | Territory, a work from 2015 consists of four identical panels, each describing a sculptural space. Their devising lines articulated across the edges of each panel and indeed in relation to each other. This ambitious installation exemplifies the artist’s ability to define space, not least by capturing the modality of light surrounding each work.
Drawings play an equally important role in Gerritz’s oeuvre, the works exhibited here, all made over the past five years, encapsulate the elemental structure that determines the entire practice. Based on a core element, first manifested in a series of iron sculptures, Gerritz’s dense works on paper manage to convey the sculptural volume and weight through a unique drawing method. By elevating the form to eye level each drawing explores a clearly defined spacial aspect akin to the experience of three-dimensional space on the two-dimensional plane.
This series of installations coincide with exhibitions of the artist’s works in Spain and Japan and is a precursor to a series of institutional exhibitions starting in Bochum in 2020, Cologne and Wiesbaden in 2021.Courtesy of the artist and Bartha Contemporary, London