Art Cologne 2018
Kölnmesse, Messeplatz 1
Halle 11.2 | Stand A3
We are pleased to share with you a preview of this year’s highlights, presented at our stand A3 in Halle 11.2. After visits to many studios and collections, we will show a selection of works by Miquel Barceló, Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Marc Brandenburg, Tony Cragg, VALIE EXPORT, Gilbert & George, Alex Katz, Imi Knoebel, Robert Longo, Robert Mapplethorpe, Irving Penn, Arnulf Rainer, Robert Rauschenberg, Daniel Richter, James Rosenquist and Erwin Wurm.
Georg Baselitz is represented with two new paintings. One of the paintings is in dark charcoal tones; while in the other shades of white dominate. Both paintings feature an inverted male nude, shown from the trunk downwards, descending – or rather, ascending – a staircase. Here, the artist refers to Marcel Duchamp's Nude descending a Staircase, No.2 (1912) – a work which marks Duchamp's departure from painting and a new beginning within his œuvre. In these works Baselitz addresses the topic of late work and age – which can signify two things: departure and new beginning. To mark Baselitz’s 80th birthday, the Fondation Beyeler, in collaboration with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. is holding a comprehensive retrospective with works spanning 58 years of his oeuvre.
In Paris, at the start of this year, we held our first exhibition on VALIE EXPORT, a pioneer of media and performance art. Curated by Caroline Bourgeois, the show Body Configurations 1972 – 1976 was the start of our collaboration with the artist, who has been represented by the gallery since October 2017. The focus was on her Body Configurations, a series of conceptual photographs in which she uses her own body to measure, divide and reconfigure urban space, to inscribe herself in it and appropriate it. "Arrangements of the body's elements are postures, revelations, or expressions of inner states",says VALIE EXPORT.
Ginger Beard (2015) is the title of a work consisting of twelve elements by Gilbert & George, from the series THE BEARD PICTURES, created between 2015 and 2017. In these powerful, brightly-coloured images, the beard is used as a secular and religious symbol of our time: the beard as an emblem of "hip" millennials, as an expression of political religiosity or power. Mask-like and bearded, Gilbert & George stare straight ahead out of orange leaves or from behind a wire-mesh fence that covers the entire picture, inevitably evoking associations with current political events.
The Lotte Art Museum in Seoul is currently hosting Alex Katz's first solo museum exhibition in Korea. Besides numerous portraits from Katz's œuvre, his latest series, CK and Coca-Cola, are presented institutionally for the first time. We are delighted to show a canvas from the latter series in Cologne. Two women in bathing-costumes stand back to back in front of a monochrome Coca-Cola-red canvas, looking in opposite directions in and out of the frame. The twin-like appearance of the two suggests a mirror image. In Coca-Cola Girl 12 (2018), the artist once again explores the boundary between realism and abstraction. Long before the protagonists of Pop Art, such as Andy Warhol, Katz adopted the principle of seriality, thus influencing an entire generation. There is always some reference in his works to the history of American painting, and with Coca-Cola, he sets a further point of reference to the American world of consumerism and advertising, in the development of which Coca-Cola has played a considerable role over the past 130 years.
The earliest works on view this year are Irving Penn’s Small Trades (1950-51). Instead of showing the workers in their habitual workplace, he decided to photograph them in a studio on the rue de Vaugirard in Paris. The subjects posed with their tools in the neutral space of the studio; this lends a certain timelessness to their portraits. Later, Penn extended the series in London and New York, gradually establishing a kind of typology. Today, the Small Trades series is regarded as one of his most comprehensive series, and is currently on show in the major retrospective Irving Penn: Centennial in the famous exhibition venue for photography C/O Berlin, following the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Grand Palais, Paris.
Robert Rauschenberg's Spindle (Urban Bourbon) (1989) is divided vertically in two parts, one white, the other red; showing different kinds of urban constructions with spindles and the concomitant wires or cables. The motifs of construction crane and windmill, also to be found in other series of Rauschenberg’s from this period, are uniquely combined here. The Urban Bourbon series (1988-1996) stands out through the intense colouration and through the specificity of their medium: they are printed on enamelled aluminium featuring expressionistic brush-strokes. Rauschenberg's works from those years are often inspired by travels he made in the course of his long-term ROCI project (Rauschenberg Overseas Culture Interchange) and his fascination with urban scenes.
We find a similar intensity of colour in James Rosenquist's Hot Sauce (2005), in which the artist shows an everyday element, a plate of spaghetti, in front of a background motif which is at first hard to distinguish, but which on closer inspection turns out to be lava. Rosenquist's works are often puzzling, challenging the viewer to ask what specific combinations of motifs might signify. The major retrospective James Rosenquist: Painting as Immersion at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, which focused particularly on the cultural, social and political dimensions of this pop artist's work, has just enjoyed great success.
We hope this gives you some insight into this year's programme, and we look forward to welcoming you in Cologne. Our teams in Salzburg, London and Paris are always ready to provide further details.