We are pleased to present most recent works by Adrian Falkner, Katrin Fridriks, Marco Reichert and Stefan Strumbel at our gallery in Berlin.
Painting with less thinking going on. Unleashing the hand’s movements by preventing the mind from telling it where to go. This expressionist precept is the main thrust of the work by Adrian Falkner, who asserts himself as a contemporary painter by reclaiming his civilian identity and shedding the pseudonym he’d been using until then as a graffiti writer: Smash137. Starting from the observation that, ever since he started painting, his work has been highly controlled, precise and meticulous, Adrian Falkner is striving to attain a form of freedom by experimenting with thought-free – but not uncontrolled – gestures. The idea of breaking loose from the chains of habit guiding his hand movement fascinated him to the extent of becoming the core focus of his new paintings. The construction based on the letters of his pseudonym has been replaced by circular movements repeated again and again to form multiple layers, artfully blending colours and techniques. No two circles are the same; they overlap without ever becoming superimposed, an astonishing fact when you’re aware of just how precisely the Swiss artist used to construct his work, both in the street and the studio. His new paintings and works on paper nod towards the artist’s interest in Eastern philosophies and their related aesthetic ideas around notions of eternity, incompleteness and imperfection.
For more than a decade, Katrin Fridriks has been experimenting with the constitutive elements of painting, that is the quality of the paint, its support, as well as a range of unconventional painting techniques, to attain her distinct and outstanding style. It is the unique interplay between the medium, the timing and the artists’ body moving around a canvas on the floor that encompasses the fluid and organic quality of her paintings. These are best described as an occurrence, rather than a static image: The moment of eruption, liquid matter gushing from deep inside, small particles hurtling through the air, dripping all over the surface, all solid is liquefied and each layer set in motion. This depiction of her abstract painting furthermore alludes to natural occurrences, such as the scene of the outburst of a geyser in her home country, Iceland. The unique and pristine landscape of the geologically active island has been an enormous influence on her work and life. By means of her distinct painting technique, Fridriks captures the force and the sublime of its nature, without depicting an event or the scenery, as such. Although applied on a canvas, the paint only seems to have come to a temporary halt, before continuing to swirl and splash over the edges of the canvas – and into the space of the beholder. Rather than capturing a moment in time, her technique evokes a feeling of movement and energy that, on an abstract level, directly relates to the origin of the evolution of the universe.
Through his recent work, Marco Reichert offers the public the possibility of thinking of a new future for painting, one that does not forget the past and yet is able to capture the potentiality offered by contemporary technology. His works are pictorial planes that regain their verticality only at the end of the creative process, and they bring to mind horizontal surfaces destined to host objects and to collect the traces of their passage as well as to record the classical gestures of the “painter”. Each painting is planned, but it is also unpredictable. This is because it develops during the very course of the work, and each image is intrinsically tied to the elements utilised. The vast range of materials and tools involved leads to new structures, new textures, and new colours which could not have been arrived at without having passed through these pictorial mechanisms. Besides this, what is of primary importance is the action that the “painting machines”, programmed by the artist himself, exert on the work. Planned at first as “robots” that followed a geometric path and rules in order to interact constantly with them, these devices have today become more complex, and they are for the artist a genuine tool, on the same level as brushes, ones capable of obtaining certain visual results. This is certainly a strange way of painting and it adds something to the final visual effect, one that cannot be separated from the creative imagination of its programmer.
Aluminium objects, bronze sculptures and abstract paintings mark a new direction in the creative process of Stefan Strumbel, who made a name for himself by exaggerating traditional and cult artifacts such as cuckoo clocks, anchors and crucifixes and reincorporating elements of Street Art and Pop Art. In his current work, which centers on bubble wrap, he has developed his leitmotif towards a more universal language. This ubiquitous material symbolises the human desire to protect and safeguard things in transit or storage, be that values, content, convictions or emotions. Things that are carefully and conscientiously wrapped are automatically invested with an aura of preciousness and importance – as well as fragility. Strumbel envelops everyday objects and cultural artifacts that are redolent of the idea of ‘Heimat’ in the protective plastic material. Among these objects are canvases, crucifixes, Madonna statues and his own cuckoo clocks which have long since acquired cult status. The diligently tied and taped packages, which provide no more than an inkling of their content, are cast in aluminium or bronze. In the process, the content loses its object character – Strumbel speaks of ‘non-objective works’ – and the packaging itself becomes a work of art. The artist transforms the everyday material, which usually buffers objects of value against knocks and bumps, into something timeless and valuable. The object deemed worthy of such careful protection – space, the body, an idea, an emotion or a thought – finds its formal match in the indestructability of the material. Usually untitled, the works take on the character of guessing games and have enormous tactile appeal. Pondering the question what the protective wrapping might conceal almost inevitably leads us to consider our own values and valuables which we want to safeguard in these fast-paced globalised times.
Excerpts of text about Marco Reichert by Maria Villa.
Excerpts of text about Stefan Strumbel by Sebastian Steinhäußer, Museum Art.Plus.