Mitchell Anderson, Tina Braegger, Anton Bruhin, Othmar Farré, Gina Fischli, Annamarie Ho, Damien Juillard, Tobias Kaspar, Jan Kiefer, Laura Langer
Galerie Eva Presenhuber presents Paint-by-Numbers, a group exhibition curated by Gianni Jetzer.
Paint-by-Numbers is an exhibition that revolves around contemporary artists who take a conceptual approach to painting, often following non-established production methods such as painting with industrial fabrics, logotypes, graphic designs, the cross, LEGO bricks, smartphones, borrowed motifs, or simply an empty stretcher bar, thus raising the question: How can you hone painting down to its bare conceptual bones while keeping it pertinent?
In 1962, Andy Warhol introduced a series of paintings based on the famous DIY art kit Paint-by-Numbers. Thereby he was countering the predominant style of abstract expressionism and its adoration of highly subjective gestures. Warhol’s conceptual approach, by contrast, was detached, calculating, but painterly nonetheless.
Sixty years after Warhol’s brainchild, and when figurative painting is in high demand, the group show Paint-by-Numbers gathers contemporary artists who follow Warhol’s legacy by painting from a conceptual angle and following instructions, resulting in the use of painting as a sheer vehicle. Applying multiple styles in parallel, often confounding abstraction and figuration, these artists reveal a penchant for appropriation and mimicry when impasto or brushstrokes are staged as a mere quotation of the look of painting.
The show is structured in three loosely assembled, partially overlapping chapters. The first one contains historical references from Anton Bruhin’s Suprematist Mickey Mouse to Blinky Palermo’s afterimages in the fabric assemblages of Annamarie Ho. The second chapter investigates standardization and staged reality where children’s toys and corporate identity meet. While in the last one, flowers are the guiding theme, an image motif that has been a popular stand-in in contemporary painting for decades.
Gianni Jetzer, Curator
Installation view, Paint-by-Numbers, Curated by Gianni Jetzer, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Maag Areal, Zurich, 2022 © the artists . Courtesy the artists and Galerie Eva Presenhuber . Photo: Stefan Altenburger Photography, Zurich