press release

November 1, 2007, New York, NY — Max Lang and Galerie Haas und Fuchs announce the opening of Strange Brew, an exhibition curated by Wolfgang Schoppmann featuring new work by 17 rising international art stars. The artists selected for this exhibition share a singular pursuit: affirming the triumph of painting. While the imagery, subject matter and process of each artist differs, a determination to celebrate the medium and declare its relevance to our contemporary existence underlies the work. The raw, psychologically-charged, angst-filled canvases grouped together for this show present enigmatic depictions of the messiness of modern life – a strange brew, indeed.

Old Masters, Nineteenth Century portrait paintings, Neue Sachlichkeit, German Expressionism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism are just a few of the influences detectable in paintings by these artists. Bernhard Brungs (German, b. 1974), for example, references history and literature in his genre scenes, while Marcin Lukasiewicz (Polish, b. 1979) lyrically constructs compositions paralleling art and science. In David Nicholson’s (Canadian, b. 1970) highly personal full-length portrait, allegory and theatricality merge to create his vision of contemporary ideal beauty, referencing the representation of ideal beauty in 19th century painting. Alex Tennigkeit’s (German, b. 1976) self-referential work, on the other hand, derives from commercial popular culture where naked bodies, smiling faces, and fast cars manifest her interpretation of the same 19th Century concept.

The architectural spaces of Jonas Burgert’s (German, b. 1969) fantastical canvases inhabited by gruesome figures are as much inspired by Surrealism as they are by Shelly, while Aaron van Erp’s (Dutch, b. 1978) unorthodox, intentionally “incomplete” interiors are ephemeral spaces filtered through the artist’s memory. Likewise, Birgit Megerle (German, b. 1975) playfully borrows from Surrealist ideology by peopling her planned architectural spaces with imaginary historical figures. Leopold Rabus’s (Swiss, b. 1977) dream-like conglomerations allude to similar influences.

The fundamental solitude of human existence seems as paramount in works by Janis Avotins (Latvian, b. 1981) as in the atmospheric landscapes painted by Rosilene Ludovico (Brazilian, b. 1969). The relationship of painting to reality is challenged in the work of both Slawomir Elsner (Polish, b. 1976) and Ronald Ophuis (Dutch, b. 1968), the former models his work on photographs but de-familiarizes the subject matter while the latter constructs highly direct and confrontational narratives rooted in contemporary history. Paintings by Marianna Gartner (Canadian, b. 1963), Gustav Kluge (German, b. 1947), Hans van Hoek (Dutch, b. 1947), Keisuke Yamamoto (Japanese, b. 1979), and Peter Zimmermann (German, b. 1956) will also be included.

Wolfgang Schoppmann is an independent curator, writer, and advisor based in D�orf and Schwaz/Tyrol. He was co-owner and director of Schoppmann & Partner, an auction firm based in D�orf, which specialized in modern and contemporary art. Schoppmann served as curator of the renowned Olbricht Collection, for ten years before opening Two Monsters Agency with Karin Pernegger.

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Strange Brew
Kurator: Wolfgang Schoppmann

Bernhard Brungs, Marcin Lukasiewicz, David Nicholson, Alex Tennigkeit, Jonas Burgert, Aaron van Erp, Birgit Megerle, Leopold Rabus, Janis Avotins, Rosilene Luduvico, Slawomir Elsner, Ronald Ophuis, Marianna Gartner, Gustav Kluge, Hans van Hoek, Keisuke Yamamoto, Peter Zimmermann