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Alison Jacques Gallery: ANDRÉ BUTZER - 27 Nov 2009 to 9 Jan 2010

Current Exhibition


27 Nov 2009 to 9 Jan 2010
Hours : tuesday - saturday, 10 - 6
Alison Jacques Gallery
16 - 18 BERNERS STREET
W1T 3LN
London
United Kingdom
Europe
p: +44 (0) 20 7631 4720
m:
f: +44 (0) 20 7631 4750
w: www.alisonjacquesgallery.com











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Artists in this exhibition: ANDRÉ BUTZER


ANDRÉ BUTZER

27 NOVEMBER, 2009 – 9 JANUARY, 2010
OPENING THURSDAY 26 NOVEMBER, 6-8 PM


“So colour is basically about history. To animate colour is historic in the way that the image will tell us about the future and the past.” André Butzer, 2009

Alison Jacques Gallery is delighted to present an exhibition of new work by acclaimed German painter André Butzer. Dominated by four monumental oil paintings measuring 340 x 260 cm, it reveals all the dizzying vibrancy and formal complexity that has distinguished Butzerʼs recent practice, as well as the artistʼs richly textured technique, and his characteristically witty, subversive attitude to art history.

Each of the four large canvases is built up from a base field of pure primary colour – yellow, blue, a rusty red and a fleshy tone, or Fleischfarbe, for Butzer the “leftover dead or living meat in the painting,” which has become a fourth primary colour in his work. Each field is then disrupted with often explosive arrangements of lines, shapes and tonal development. The chromatic programme around which the exhibition coheres, and the non-representational, geometric embellishments which animate each monochrome structure, might suggest that with these new works the artist is simply engaging in a neo-abstract expressionist meditation on form and colour, a conventional exploration of the aesthetic and emotional impact of paint. Yet Butzer’s art, rooted in a heady mix of expressionist traditions and Pop art, and often deploying images from an eclectic referential palette which embraces consumer commodities, German history, science fiction and cartoon culture, never conforms to such simple generic classification, nor
embarks on such straightforward missions.

Butzer’s oeuvre as a whole might be seen as a series of fragments from a painting universe of the artist’s making, a place which is by turns comforting and menacing and which replays key aspects of Butzer’s experiences and anxieties of contemporary modernity. The earlier, more figurative works for which Butzer is widely known revealed a world in which American mass-media culture, junk food, industrial production, and the shadow on German consciousness of the Second World War, were all been mixed vividly and regurgitated with gusto onto canvas in a faux naïve evocation of the artist’s childhood influences and adult concerns. These works were not just windows onto another world however, but also large and dramatic objects invoking mood and reflection through the artist’s sculpted and colourful approach to painting. It is this objectness of his paintings that Butzer develops here, further exploring his debt to non-representational painting traditions, but within the context of his own artistic worldview. The new works in the exhibition offer both parodic respect to and piquant critique of established painterly traditions, and received ways of looking at and thinking about abstract art. Butzer has described himself as “the famous artist without ideas. My paintings have always been very abstract although the audience saw figures on them. But I can feel that I have a more than colourful future with them in front of me. I know that the heaven above is something I
cannot reach, and I don’t want to reach this heaven.” Similarly, the interest in and use of primary colour in this body of work, particularly the startling and dominating presence of flesh, further points towards a certain art historical revisionism, even iconoclasm. For Butzer, the exhibition is organised around a new colour theory, an almost melancholic one which is more fitting for a fragmented and mechanical age. As the artist states, “painting consists of flesh and lemonade. In the Renaissance they knew it was about flesh and water. But nowadays there isn’t any more pure water; it has been industrialised like everything else in the form of a sugary serial product packed in red, blue and yellow.”

Butzer’s new exhibition marks an important departure from the more representational works for which he is known, yet they are part of the same universe. Although the recognisable motifs of popular culture and modern industrial production and slaughter, such as M&Ms, Henry Ford, Adolf Eichmann and Mickey Mouse are not as obviously discernible in the exhibition, their spirit is still very much in evidence. The Fanta cans and Disney characters are not explicitly represented here, yet all the effervescent irreverence towards the practice and history of painting suggests that rather than deploying images of cartoon characters, Butzer’s new works are themselves the kind of things Donald Duck would do when he paints.ʼ Indeed, if Butzer were to paint an art gallery, these might be the unknown Abstract Expressionist masterpieces hanging on its nihilistic walls.

A new catalogue, featuring an interview between the artist and Sebastian Wehlings, is being published to mark the opening of this exhibition.

André Butzer was born in Stuttgart, Germany (1973), and lives in Rangsdorf near Berlin. In 1996 Butzer co-founded the Akademie Isotrop in Hamburg together with a group of around 25 other artists and authors. The initiators managed the school autonomously until 2000 and represented it in a number of national and international exhibitions. Butzer has since organised a small series of group “Kommando” shows around the world, some of which took place in honour of FRIEDENS-SIEMENSE CO., Butzerʼs personal organization dedicated to abstraction. Butzer’ recent solo exhibitions include an important mid-career survey earlier this year at the Kunsthalle Nürnberg.

NEXT: RYAN MOSLEY 13 JANUARY - 13 FEBRUARY 2010
OPENING: 12 FEBRUARY, 6-8 PM

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT PRESS@ALISONJACQUESGALLERY.COM / +44 (0) 20 7631 4720










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