Mai 36 presents corpus transludi, a solo exhibition by Swiss artist Pia Fries featuring new works.
Pia Fries (born 1955 in Beromünster/Switzerland) represents abstract European painting.
The current group of works heightens the tension between the «here and now» of the painterly act and the «then and there» of art history. The new works do not spring from nowhere. They are a reiteration in the literal sense of repeating by bringing something back again – in this case, extractions from existing images in circulation of existing images, trans-formed and re-formed.
At the heart of the exhibition is the new group of works corpus transludi, based on the Four Disgracers series of engravings by Hendrick Goltzius (1558 – 1617).
Pia Fries integrates the prints into the ground of her paintings in the form of screen prints. She fragments, multiplies and scales the dimensions of the tumbling and plummeting figures. The painterly interventions into and within the printed body parts heighten the theme of their fall. Her works equate the image with the body, as in a body expelled (from heaven) and detached from its background. With rhythmic fluidity, the colors and lines intersperse and cross – supported by the turning and twisting of the painterly surface during its creation. Although these paintings have been created as if they were hovering on the very threshold of their formation, the figures themselves are like collages, eluding any color field uniformity and tending instead towards tattered constellations of color reliefs. Fries ́ color configurations are not all-pervasive. She is not a painter of the all-over school. Instead, her paintings involve the localized intrusion of colors and partial disruptions into the picture plane. The blank white areas in her paintings are just as important as the carefully crafted areas. All are based on an actual void.(1)
The bodies and body parts hover into view and out again, entering the picture and leaving it. Fries pits her fragmentary approach to painting against the fragmentation of the body. Her painterly gestures around, towards and within the falling figures actually conceal, dissect, hide and delete them. Yet, remarkably, they also take on a blind and faceless corporeality that transforms the body from an image into a painting of abstract sensuality and vibrant materiality.(2)
Pia Fries lives and works in Düsseldorf and Munich. She teaches as professor of painting at the Akademie der Künste in Munich. Her works are internationally represented in many renowned collections. In 2017 she received the Gerhard Altenbourg Prize of the Lindenau Museum in Altenburg. In 2018 her works were shown in the exhibitions parsen und module at the Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris, in Hendrick Goltzius + Pia Fries: proteus und polymorphia at the Museum Kurhaus Kleve and in Pia Fries: vier winde, Gerhard-Altenbourg-Preis at the Lindenau-Museum in Altenburg.
(1) cf. Ory Dessau: Alternative Formen der Geschichte: Zur Malerei von Pia Fries, in: Hendrick Goltzius – Pia Fries, Museum Kurhaus Kleve, 2017, p. 48.
(2) cf. ibid., p. 47.