Mahdad Alizadeh / Emil Schumacher
27 November 2021 - 22 January 2022
With a cross-generational duet, Mahdad Alizadeh and Emil Schumacher question the here and now in our Showroom. The image of a common whale song is fitting for this. Why a whale song? Because, against all categorisation, these creatures are simply mammals in the sea. Although they need the air to breathe, they nevertheless live exclusively in a different element. This mascot of category refusal, pioneer in species extinction, embodiment of worldly humility is our inspiration to enter the exhibition sanctuary.
The Informal Master Emil Schumacher shows drawings selected by Mahdad Alizadeh. The guy born in Tehran in 1993, who came to Berlin to study, likes Emil, who was born in Hagen in 1912 and died in Ibiza in 1999, so much that a few of Emil's sheets are allowed to find refuge in the installation. Alizadeh changes the floor of the exhibition space and builds a rudimentary-looking exhibition architecture of 900 bricks on it, on which sculptures made of clay are placed in groups and standing alone. The installation is reminiscent of an infrastructure with baths and bakeries of ancient and ancient oriental excavation sites. The sculptures do not want to be described.
Serious but without authority, unknown forms meet familiar structures or vice versa, it is difficult to say. Sanctuary can be translated as both sanctuary and refuge. Through the title we seem to get an answer to all the questions that might arise in this space: here is a sanctuary. And at the same time it opens up the space for us to make associations and possibilities that move in the indescribable and invisible.
Emil Schumacher travelled to Libya and Tunisia in 1962 at the age of 50 in search of precisely this indescribable, alien, in order to integrate it into his work and thereby change it. Mahdad Alizadeh knows this too. His work seems to come from a laboratory of rituals, where experiences of the new and the familiar are explored.
Perhaps it is a search for universal trust. An important attitude in our society, which has to deal with the unknown and renegotiate its values. This requires new combinations and connections that can only be found together.
Text : Manuel Kirsch
Körper, der, die, das
July 17th - 19 January 2022
Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg
Rebecca Ackroyd, Mahdad Alizadeh, Horst Antes, Dieter Appelt, Art & Language, Michael Badura, Georg Baselitz, Max Beckmann, Hans Bellmer, Joseph Beuys, Mel Bochner, Peter Bömmels, Louise Bourgeois, AA Bronson, Lovis Corinth, Jim Dine, Martin Disler, Gerd van Dülmen, Ernst Fuchs, Alberto Giacometti, George Grosz, Karl Hartung, Heinrich Heidersberger, Karl Hofer, Rudolf Hoflehner, Martin Honert, Nan Hoover, Alfred Hrdlicka, Alexei von Jawlensky, Alan Kaprow, KAYA (Kerstin Braetsch & Debo Eilers), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Manuel Kirsch, Max Klinger, Michael Koch, Jiri Kolar, Käthe Kollwitz, Hermann Kracht, Alfred Kubin, Maria Loboda, Robert Mapplethorpe, André Masson, Duane Michals, Henry Moore, Andreas Mühe, Michael Müller, Ernst Wilhelm Nay, Siegfried Neuenhausen, Hermann Nitsch, Emil Nolde, Max Pechstein, João Penalva, Sigmar Polke, Laure Prouvost, Anton Räderscheidt, Mel Ramos, Brigitta Rohrbach, Salomé, Thomas Scheibitz, Claudia Schink, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Michael Schoenholtz, Anja Schrey, Günzel von der Schulenburg, Thomas Schütte, Michael Schwarze, Toni Stadler, Heiko Tiemann, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, Lambert-Maria Wintersberger
All I Think About Is You deals, in an associative way, with the various focal points of Art Informel. Artists such as K.O. Götz, Fred Thieler and Henri Michaux, who were pioneers of of the movement, meet younger contemporary artists such as Mahdad Alizadeh, whose sculptures oscillating between figuration and abstraction are given their own exhibition space. The works on display have in common an intuitive, abstract language of form that questions social norms and paradigms of strict rationality.
For artist and curator Michael Müller, the examination of Art Informel works resembles a private conversation with the author, ”which unites thinking and feeling”. Influenced by the culture of the postwar years, the artists of Art Informel in the 1940s and 1950s sought abstract forms that allowed for a representation of deep psychological processes. The fact that this kind of pictorial exploration continues to drive art today is demonstrated in the exhibition by recent works by artists such as André Butzer and Bernard Piffaretti.
One emphasis is on the moment when universal archetypes emerge from abstraction. There are the heads that emerge in Emil Schumacher's scratched layers of paint and Arnulf Rainer's etchings, among others; there is the totem that one encounters in Habib Farajabadi's wooden sculpture as well as in the sculpture by the artist duo KAYA made from found objects such as hair and clothing.
Another central motif of the exhibition is writing - a medium that the artists approach on a formal rather than semiotic level. Frustrated by the limits of language, writer and artist Henri Michaux gave expression to his inner world with Tachist ink drawings. His works, which were groundbreaking for Art Informel, enter into a dialogue with artists who play with the affordance of the written word at the limits of legibility. Friederike Feldmann's large-scale curved lines want to be deciphered as writing, although they lack letters; Travis Jeppesen gradually dissolves the elements of the Latin alphabet in his drawings.
The printed word becomes material in the works of artist Jenny Michel. With the help of adhesive strips, she removes letters from encyclopedias, transforms them into sculptures, or interweaves them with other materials in her collages. Floating unsteadily, the lexical definitions are robbed of their authority.
A creative approach to formal norms is found in works such as Dieter Appelt's scores, which defy the strict form of the sheet of music, and Karin Sander's Mailed Painting, which reinterpret the bureaucratic act of labelling as a painterly gesture.
At the exhibition's second location, the showroom Galerie Georg Nothelfer in Charlottenburg, Nadine Fecht continues the subversion of classifying materials in an expansive manner with surplus. Her nexus of price tags picked up in urban space meets a floor installation by Madeleine Dietz, who gives structure to loose soil using a luminous rectangle. With minimal gestures, the artist brings together the highly symbolic substances of earth and light, initiating an exchange about transience and transcendence.
Text : Donna Schons