The Thomas Dane Gallery is pleased to present Very Abstract and Hyper Figurative, an exhibition curated by Jens Hoffmann. At first glance, the exhibition appears as an overview of recent painting focusing on artists from Europe and the United States. However on closer inspection Very Abstract and Hyper Figurative presents painting in quite a different light. By outwardly categorizing the paintings according to two contrasting styles, the show provokes a series of questions about art history, painting and value systems. The overall exhibition design plays on the architecture of a museum of western antiquities. The works of 46 individual artists are displayed within two large vitrines normally used to present artifacts within a museum of cultural history: one dedicated to figurative painting and one to abstract works. This device creates the possibility for critical distance from and reflection on the practice of painting, which is presented as an artistic phenomenon from another historical or cultural context.
Within the confines of the exhibition, it is assumed that the long-proclaimed death of painting has already taken place. These are not artworks, but artifacts, cultural products from a bygone era. By isolating the paintings in this way, there is an estrangement which paradoxically allows for a fresh investigation of the various aesthetic, economic, and critical systems which are brought to bear on the evaluation of an artwork.
The exhibition sets out to reflect upon the status and position of painting within the visual arts today, and in particular its relationship to the art market. It also acknowledges the important contribution of each artist to the wider discourse on painting and contemporary art in general.
The title of the exhibition is a reference to Marcel Broodthaers' work Museum of Modern Art - Department of Eagles (1968 - 72), a fictional museum he founded to redefine the understanding of art, explore the possibilities of institutional critique and ultimately to undermine the restrictive definitions of the art of his time. Similar to Broodthaers' concept, this exhibition presents itself as one department of a fictional museum, the first in a series. Other departments will follow at a later date in further exhibitions elsewhere.
Artists in the exhibition include:
Markus Amm, Hurvin Anderson, Matthew Antezzo, Brian Calvin, Varda Caivano, Arabella Campbell, John Currin, Peter Doig, Kaye Donachie, Milena Dragicevic, Marlene Dumas, Slawomir Elsner, Bernard Frize, Ellen Gallagher, Wayne Gonzalez, Mark Grotjahn, Andrew Grassie, Wade Guyton, Eberhard Havekost, Lothar Hempel, Olaf Holzapfel, Sergej Jensen, Chantal Joffe, Chris Johanson, Jordan Kantor, Udomsak Krisanamis, Martin Kippenberger, Stefan Kürten, Sarah Morris, Frank Nitsche, Albert Oehlen, Christopher Orr, Laura Owens, Elisabeth Peyton, Michael Raedecker, Anselm Reyle, Clare Rojas, Wilhelm Sasnal, Maaike Schoorel, Norbert Schwontkowski, Anj Smith, Dirk Stewen, Neal Tait, Phoebe Unwin, Dan Walsh, Jakub Julian Ziolkowski.