Today I visited:
- Let Us Compare Mythologies (David Zwirner) /Marcel Dzama & Raymond Pettibon
- Rondo (David Zwirner) /Neo Rauch
- Extremes and In-Betweens (Gagosian) /Ed Ruscha
- Framed and Frame (Hauser & Wirth) /Mike Kelley
I have chosen to talk about the two exhibitions on display at David Zwirner as I found them totally different experiences, despite they were housed in the same gallery. The one show I really enjoyed, however the other not so much. This made me think about how the shows differed in their curation and thus the experience this gave me.
Neo Rauch – Rondo
(@ David Zwirner)
Recognised for his combination of figurative paintings and surrealist abstraction, this Rauch’s first solo UK show. The first piece you see as you enter the space is a large red, green and yellow painting, directly in front of the entrance. The figures at the bottom right of the canvas are wearing a mixture of old-fashioned clothes and sportswear, with a hybrid figure slightly behind. There is also a figure to the very right who reminds me of the bird man motif found in art throughout ancient history. These strange humans who seem to be spanking a woman on the floor, are painted with such soft brush strokes, in a strict colour palette, which pulls them together and they no longer seem so unusual. My eyes were drawn to the heavy, red cloud in the top left of the piece, with the disjointed text peeking through.
This was my favourite piece from all of the five exhibitions I went to today. With minimal knowledge of Rauch prior to my visit I was pleasantly surprised by the work. I enjoyed the mixture of painting styles, evoking The Old Masters and the use of recurring imagery throughout the show. I was interested to read that Rauch develops each piece without a preconceived idea of the finished result, as I thought that there seemed to be a strong narrative, or as Martin Roth says, self-contained fables and mythologies. The paintings I saw today have really inspired me to work with oil paint and explore perspective and scale in my own paintings, as Rauch’s work is very effective in alluding to different planes of experience by doing so. I felt like I could have been looking at an exploration of utopia/dystopia with the freaky animal/human hybrids in old fashioned clothes and the modern day buildings. I strongly felt that the larger the piece, the more successful it was, I found myself looking past the smaller works and they really didn’t have the same effect on me.
Marcel Dzama & Raymond Pettibon- Let us compare mythologies
Continued upstairs at David Zwirner was an exhibition by Dzama and Pettibon of a selection of collaborative work, originally made for the zine published by David Zwirner books at the MoMA PS1 Art Book Fair, in 2015. Their collaboration started around this time, swapping drawings and completing each others’, in a variation of the ‘exquisite corpse’ method. Through this improvisation they made works together with illustration, collage and writing. The murals and pieces featured in the show were seamless and whole, making it very difficult who created the individual elements.
Although I wasn’t so keen on the work stylistically, I am very fond of their collaborative approach as I often like to swap work with my friends and finish each other’s compositions (although mine have never been as effective as this!) I have also been experimenting with the combination of text and image in my practical work this term and I really liked how the text was embedded within the mural.
I found it very interesting to walk up the stairs to this show, after leaving the Rauch rooms, as this exhibit seemed so shockingly different. The dripping bat image and text splattered up the staircase definitely set the tone for the less formal approach upstairs. I had just left a series of rooms with more white space than art, and entered a space covered almost floor to ceiling with paint, collage, garish colours and crazy mark making. It all seemed so dynamic it was difficult to focus on one area at a time. Especially the feature wall, as you entered the space.