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Indepth Arts News:

"Painting Pictures: Painting and Media in the Digital Age"
2003-03-01 until 2003-06-29
Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg
Wolfsburg, , DE

For some years now painting has played an increasingly prominent role in the contemporary art world, as we have seen in international exhibitions such as Pittura Immedia (Graz 1995), Troublespot Painting (Antwerp 1999), Twisted (Eindhoven 2000), Painting at the Edge of the World (Minneapolis 2001), Urgent Painting (Paris 2002), Lieber Maler, male mir (Paris/Vienna 2002).

With the exhibition Painting Pictures: Painting and Media in the Digital Age, the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg will present an exploration of the possibilities of pictorial invention open to painting in the age of photographic and digital media. Since the rise of photography, there have been repeated attempts to declare painting dead. In vain. And Painting Pictures will document the astonishing resourcefulness with which painting has constantly been able to reposition itself with regard to the so-called New Media.

Gijs van Tuyl, the Director of the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, has commented on the concept and the title of the exhibition: "The leitmotif of the exhibition is the organic, or where appropriate, technical and electronic painting of ‘pictures’ - and here the English word is most apposite, even in the German-speaking world, because it includes technological media such film and television. In addition the English word ‘pictures’ also has connotations of ‘pictorial’ and even of ‘picturesque’ (borrowed from French). At the same time, in a German context, the title Painting Pictures specifically points to the difference between ‘painting and/or paintings’ and ‘pictures’."

Nowadays painting operates within the force field of photography and television, advertising, cinema and the computer. And artists use all these media for their paintings, in part by taking media images as their motifs or by using the computer as a sketchbook in order to create their own picture of the world, as they have been doing for hundreds of years. By the same token, other artists use photography and video to cite pictorial narratives and painterly gestures; yet others combine painting and film in their work. Painters no longer exclusively need oil and canvas to express their thoughts. Thus in addition to paintings, the exhibition Painting Pictures will also include photography, film and video work. This exhibition of internationally renowned artists, working in the realms of Pop Art, focuses especially on images of urban and suburban life. Certain artists from the 1960s, whose work was ground-breaking in its day and which still sets standards for younger artists now, could be described as the ‘spiritual fathers’ of this exhibition: notably Richard Hamilton, Martin Kippenberger, Roy Lichtenstein, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol. Although not represented with works as such, their spirit lives on in the theme of this exhibition.

The artists whose work is physically present in the exhibition come from very different generations. Hence the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg will be presenting groups of works by ‘old masters’ such as Bill Viola (b. 1951) and Jeff Wall (b. 1946), by mid-generation artists like Jeff Koons (b. 1955) and Andreas Gursky (b. 1955), and by stars from the younger generation, including Wolfgang Tillmans, Doug Aitken, Sarah Morris and Elizabeth Peyton. In addition the exhibition also presents works by artists who have only rarely been seen internationally hitherto, such as the Thai artist Udomsak Krisanamis, Monique Prieto, and Ingrid Calame. Seen as a whole, the various positions in Painting Pictures come together to create a dynamic web of interconnections, embracing different thematic realms of form and content, constantly varied and extended by the various artists. And so it is that the individual pictures form clearings and thickets, leading to unexpected, surprising encounters, both in the exhibition and in the picture section of the catalogue.

The exhibition Painting Pictures: Painting and Media in the Digital Age in the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg was conceived in Wolfsburg by Gijs van Tuyl and Annelie Lütgens: it contains approximately 100 works by 34 artists - including Franz Ackermann, Doug Aitken, Ingrid Calame, Brian Calvin, Ben Edwards, Inka Essenhigh, Torben Giehler, Andreas Gursky, Eberhard Havekost, Gary Hume, Sarah Jones, Jeff Koons, Udomsak Krisanamis, Michel Majerus, Sarah Morris, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Laura Owens, Erik Parker, Richard Patterson, Elizabeth Peyton, Lari Pittman, Monique Prieto, Fiona Rae, Michael Raedecker, David Reed, Matthew Ritchie, Lisa Ruyter, Thomas Scheibitz, Wolfgang Tillmans, Fred Tomaselli, Bill Viola, Massimo Vitali, Jeff Wall

This exhibition project has been generously sponsored by VOLKSWAGEN BANK.

Albert Oehlen
Deathoknocko, 2001
oil on canvas
260 x 320 cm
Courtesy Poju and Anita Zabludowicz

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