press release

The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas is proud to announce a two-person exhibition featuring work by Charlotte Posenenske (1930-1985) and Peter Roehr (1944-1968). This will be the first major American museum presentation devoted to these artists. Working in Germany in the mid to late 1960s, Posenenske and Roehr developed radical artistic practices utilizing new mediums, materials and processes. Although associated with the minimalist art movement in Germany and the United States, their work evolved in different artistic directions from their contemporaries, including Donald Judd, Carl Andre, and Dan Flavin, artists in the collection at Chinati with whom Posenenske and Roehr exhibited in Germany in 1967. The exhibition reveals two artists ahead of their time, whose close friendship, like that of several of the artists in the collection at Chinati, impacted and influenced their art.

The exhibition will open Saturday, October 10, over Chinati Weekend, and be on view until August 1, 2016. Chinati Weekend, October 9-11, 2015, draws people from around the world to enjoy self-guided viewing of Chinati’s collection, special exhibitions, lectures, musical performances and a festive benefit dinner Saturday night October 10th supporting Chinati’s programs. The exhibition is organized by Jenny Moore, Director of the Chinati Foundation, and is the first she has curated for the museum.

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Charlotte Posenenske

The exhibition at Chinati will feature installations of Posenenske’s “Series B Reliefs” and “DW Series,” from the significant body of work Posenenske produced in the span of just two years, from 1966 to 1968. These works challenged conventional notions of painting and sculpture and charted new territory in performance based artistic practices.

Following ten years of work primarily in painting, Posenenske moved from two dimensions into three with wall based works of industrially sprayed and colored aluminum that she titled “Sculptural Pictures.” As the artist herself described these works, “objects dissolve into space and space solidifies as objects. The pictures bring to mind of impressions from our technical environment, painted sheet steel, headlight reflections, warning signs, street perspectives.” Posenenske developed from this work a series of relief sculptures, serially produced in unlimited quantities, taking the basic geometrical forms of canted, arched, convex, and concave lengths of sheet aluminum of consistent measurement. Available in four standard RAL colors—yellow, red, blue, black—the “Series B Reliefs” could be hung vertically or horizontally, in interior or exterior spaces, in various or repeated configurations and in unlimited numbers. With these works, Posenenske subverted the status and the commodity value of the unique, exclusive and costly object of art, to create a more social, accessible, and public work of art.

The D and DW series followed: large tubular constructions of galvanized steel and corrugated cardboard respectively. Comprised of manufactured component parts that could be assembled and reassembled in endless configurations by anyone (the artist was not required for fabrication, assemblage, or for installation), the work enabled viewers (or as Posenenske identified them “consumers”) not only to visually engage with but also to participate in the manifestation of the sculpture and its installation by being given the freedom to assemble the parts as they wished and present the works in any configuration and in any environment.

In contrast to the durable or indeed precious material nature of other work from the time, Posenenske increasingly focused attention on commonplace materials like cardboard, with architectural connotations from the build environment. “I make series,” she wrote in 1968 in a statement for Art International, “because I do not want to make individual pieces for individuals, in order to have elements combinable within a system, in order to make something that is repeatable, objective, and because it is economical.”

“The objects are intended to have the objective character of industrial products,” she continued. “They are not intended to represent anything other than what they are.”

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Peter Roehr

Peter Roehr produced over 600 works of art from the period of 1962-1967. His fascination with seriality and repetition took the form of montages, as Roehr called them, in a variety of mediums— type, text, photo, film and sound—culled from mass media, commercial advertisements and quotidian materials. Roehr created a complete system for serial repetition that was powerful for its ability to reveal overlooked aspects of the repeated image and therefore create something new.

“I believe that everything conceals within itself comprehensible qualities which we nevertheless seldom perceive,“ Roehr wrote. “When we perceive a thing several times in a row, whether in time or space—with no irregular space between them which would create ‘non-forms’ not necessarily caused by the shape of the materials used—we notice these characteristics.”

“The image is not happening anywhere in particular,” Roehr declared “It is happening everywhere.”

The presentation at Chinati will include montages from each area of Roehr’s artist production.