press release

opening: December 19th 2007, 7pm – 9pm

The group exhibition includes five extremely diverse artistic points of view, which reflect on „existential“ questions in different ways. „Pure art“, „Pure surface“, „pure image“, „pure form“ and „pure life“ are decisive topics, which are disidealized by these artists in different ways.

Gerhard Merz *1947 The Monochromes of Gerhard Merz emanate deep emptiness and perfect simplicity. They are spiritual without being metaphysical, they are existential and concrete without degenerating into wrong essentialism. Without lapsing into the naive idea of creative constructiveness, but – to the contrary – staying away from this kind of pathos, they open the potentials of „pure art“ as the closest possible approach. The difference between idea and material translation seems to vanish. Without distraction they address the subject of the „impossible image“ respectively the question „why there is something and not rather nothing“ which is central to human intellectual history.

Josef Kramhöller *1968 – 2000 Very differently, Josef Kramhöller uses expressiveness without reservation. His large-size monochrome „Oils with vaseline drops“, consists of a performance act insofar new vaseline drops are added by the artist each time the works exhibited. This is typical for an artistic attitude, which aims to keep the process of production alive and visible. Today, after Kramhöllers early death, they are not to be considered as complete works but as relicts of an irrecoverable process and bring out a unique tension between monochromity and process-oriented character.

Anselm Reyle *1970 Anselm Reyle picks up styles of modern abstraction like finds. It is here not about demystification of the once sublime abstraction as a pattern-pool for the presence. It neither treats the postmodern ironical distance or a kind of revival of passed formats. Reyle is following an interesting different way taking the picture languages which he brings to the surface, taking it seriously before appropriating its reflections and distorting them on the same time. Formalizing aesthetic recycling, he developed his own style – not only as regards painting - „Sometimes styles fascinate me just because they are hackneyed, like in the stripe paintings“, says Reyle. „I am interested in something which has the quality of becoming a cliché“, „something many people have agreed on. Then I try to grasp its core – to take it and fill it with a new soul.“ (Jens Asthoff "Klischees beseelen", interview with Anselm Reyle)

Haim Steinbach *1944 In this exhibition at COMA, the wall pieces of Haim Steinbach, which consist of fragments of texts arouse a great interest. Reading is here considered as an act of seeing. Different than in Joseph Kossuths or Lawrence Weiners art concept, Steinbach does not give written instructions which should then be completed as art works threw the viewers minds. His pieces are rather about a very concrete experience of the „typeface“ in itself as an expression of human communication. This is close to what Ernst Cassirer in his „Philosophy of Symbolic Forms“ described as the „expressive character“ of signs which anthropoligically comes first before its „symbolical character“ and which lets us percieve them as images.

Katja Strunz *1970 The sculptural wall pieces of Katja Strunz, particularly her cubes and vans ensembles are „spacial languages“ with seemingly so contradictory ancestors as constructivism and surrealism. They are unique contrary movements which are generated of form and which envade wall nad space like a stage. The big tension of these ensembles evolves between statics and dynamics, between the weight of materials and the floating lightness of their constellations. Almost like the punctum in photography or a hold (experimental-) film they are friezed moments, which cut real time, or even annihilate it. Sometimes they appear like translations of thoughts of Walter Benjamins with artistic means, who, in an essay against appodictical „last truths“ suggested to „think in constellations“.

only in german

Gerhard Merz / Josef Kramhöller / Anselm Reyle / Haim Steinbach / Katja Strunz