Andreas Schulze and Sprüth Magers have a shared history. In February 1983 Monika Sprüth opened her Cologne gallery with an Andreas Schulze exhibition, and since that fateful day he has had fifteen solo exhibitions with the gallery, in Berlin, London and Los Angeles. He has also exhibited widely in museums, including a solo exhibition at Villa Merkel, Esslingen (2014), which travelled to the Kunstmuseum Bonn and Kunstmuseum St. Gallen (2015). Most recently, he had a solo exhibition at the Kunsthalle Bielefeld (2018). Kunsthalle Nuremberg will host a comprehensive solo exhibition in February 2022. 

 

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze, Installation view, Monika Sprüth Galerie, Cologne, February 5–March 8, 1983

Celebrating Schulze’s unique achievement, Jörg Heiser, writer and professor at Universität der Künste Berlin, explores the artist’s life and work in an in-depth essay, from his early days in Cologne’s heady 1980s art scene to his important room installations and his recent paintings based on his travels in Sicily. Heiser coined the term “intranscendence” to characterize the inward, fearless nature of the artist’s vision. We invite you to join the esteemed critic on a guided tour through Schulze’s playful oeuvre.

 

Details
Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze, Installation view, Monika Sprüth Galerie, Cologne, February 5–March 8, 1983

Celebrating Schulze’s unique achievement, Jörg Heiser, writer and professor at Universität der Künste Berlin, explores the artist’s life and work in an in-depth essay, from his early days in Cologne’s heady 1980s art scene to his important room installations and his recent paintings based on his travels in Sicily. Heiser coined the term “intranscendence” to characterize the inward, fearless nature of the artist’s vision. We invite you to join the esteemed critic on a guided tour through Schulze’s playful oeuvre.

 

Intranscendence
by Jörg Heiser

 

In a previous attempt to pinpoint what makes Andreas Schulze’s work unique, I described it as coming from “an 80s that never happened, in which Sigmar Polke took over Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, and made it both blander and more joyfully aggressive.” (“Andreas Schulze,” frieze, October 2010) Andreas Schulze came of age as an artist during the 1980s, and his canvasses and objects were occasionally shown alongside work of the neo-expressionist painters at the time. Rather than revel in hot virile gesturing or take a coldly ironic stance, as most of them did, he carefully explored the world of the lukewarm, the banal, the average, the unobtrusively insipid. He developed a language of form that he is still expanding and modulating today: Strange bulgy forms in semi-illusionistic abstraction mode, evoking interiors—both mental and architectural—that combine Pee-Wee’s silliness with chuckling, wise horror. Yet Polke remains a residing spirit in the Playhouse: Schulze combined painting, sculpture and installation, and had as little regard for avant-garde conventions as he did for the comfort zones of petit-bourgeois life, always ready to be skewered among the players of West Germany’s post-1960s Rhineland art scene. Why “an ‘80s that never happened”? Because Schulze, born 1955, didn’t form a zeitgeist, or a school (despite being an influential teacher), but occupied his own, vast, well-equipped, and still evolving Schulze zone, the place where he still resides.

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Morris Nolde/Rügen), 2009
Acrylic on nettle cloth
240 × 380 cm (2-teilig)
94 1/2 × 149 5/8 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Sofa with vineyard II), 2003
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 360 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 141 3/4 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Travel Compartment), 2010
Acrylic on nettle cloth
190 × 320 cm (2-teilig)
74 7/8 × 126 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Living Room), 1986
Acrylic on nettle cloth
230 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
90 1/2 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Details
Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Morris Nolde/Rügen), 2009
Acrylic on nettle cloth
240 × 380 cm (2-teilig)
94 1/2 × 149 5/8 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Sofa with vineyard II), 2003
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 360 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 141 3/4 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Travel Compartment), 2010
Acrylic on nettle cloth
190 × 320 cm (2-teilig)
74 7/8 × 126 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Living Room), 1986
Acrylic on nettle cloth
230 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
90 1/2 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 4

Intranscendence
by Jörg Heiser

 

In a previous attempt to pinpoint what makes Andreas Schulze’s work unique, I described it as coming from “an 80s that never happened, in which Sigmar Polke took over Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, and made it both blander and more joyfully aggressive.” (“Andreas Schulze,” frieze, October 2010) Andreas Schulze came of age as an artist during the 1980s, and his canvasses and objects were occasionally shown alongside work of the neo-expressionist painters at the time. Rather than revel in hot virile gesturing or take a coldly ironic stance, as most of them did, he carefully explored the world of the lukewarm, the banal, the average, the unobtrusively insipid. He developed a language of form that he is still expanding and modulating today: Strange bulgy forms in semi-illusionistic abstraction mode, evoking interiors—both mental and architectural—that combine Pee-Wee’s silliness with chuckling, wise horror. Yet Polke remains a residing spirit in the Playhouse: Schulze combined painting, sculpture and installation, and had as little regard for avant-garde conventions as he did for the comfort zones of petit-bourgeois life, always ready to be skewered among the players of West Germany’s post-1960s Rhineland art scene. Why “an ‘80s that never happened”? Because Schulze, born 1955, didn’t form a zeitgeist, or a school (despite being an influential teacher), but occupied his own, vast, well-equipped, and still evolving Schulze zone, the place where he still resides.

Another way to describe the more elaborate environments Schulze develops by way of a comparison would be to say (an updated version of my Pee-Wee / Polke wedlock) that they seem saturated with memories of a childhood that never happened, like a Tim Burton film set – suburban ordinariness grotesquely exaggerated towards bittersweet Goth – taken over by Philip Guston, the acerbically sentimental chain-smoker painting in seclusion. (Tim Burton’s feature-length directing debut was Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985).) There is something sickly and pop-slick (Burton) going on in Schulze’s work, antidoted by something avant-garde brute (Guston). More importantly, something very theatrical (Burton), and simultaneously, something very anti-theatrical (Guston). By “theatrical” here I mean, simply, the suggestion of a stage scenario, however artificial or makeshift, whether on the big screen or the picture plane, that hints at a narrative. And by “anti-theatrical” I mean a fundamental discontent with precisely that theatricality, the overbearing “come-in-and-marvel” hollers that make some artists resemble amusement-park announcers, turning experience into a gleaming object lit from all sides. Instead, Schulze offers a purposefully flat vista that says: “you can come and look, but don’t think you can just step into this world, fully understand it and identify with it – no way.”

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Ohne Titel (Torture chamber), 1986
Acrylic on nettle cloth
230 × 340 cm (2-teilig)
90 1/2 × 133 7/8 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1992
Acrylic on nettle cloth
190 × 480 cm (2-teilig)
74 7/8 × 189 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1992
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 360 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 141 3/4 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1986
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Flowers of Rotterdam, 2019
Acrylic on nettle cloth
150 × 280 cm
59 × 110 1/4 inches

Details
Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Ohne Titel (Torture chamber), 1986
Acrylic on nettle cloth
230 × 340 cm (2-teilig)
90 1/2 × 133 7/8 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1992
Acrylic on nettle cloth
190 × 480 cm (2-teilig)
74 7/8 × 189 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1992
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 360 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 141 3/4 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1986
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Flowers of Rotterdam, 2019
Acrylic on nettle cloth
150 × 280 cm
59 × 110 1/4 inches

Andreas Schulze
Flowers of Rotterdam, 2019
Acrylic on nettle cloth
150 × 280 cm
59 × 110 1/4 inches

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 5

Another way to describe the more elaborate environments Schulze develops by way of a comparison would be to say (an updated version of my Pee-Wee / Polke wedlock) that they seem saturated with memories of a childhood that never happened, like a Tim Burton film set – suburban ordinariness grotesquely exaggerated towards bittersweet Goth – taken over by Philip Guston, the acerbically sentimental chain-smoker painting in seclusion. (Tim Burton’s feature-length directing debut was Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985).) There is something sickly and pop-slick (Burton) going on in Schulze’s work, antidoted by something avant-garde brute (Guston). More importantly, something very theatrical (Burton), and simultaneously, something very anti-theatrical (Guston). By “theatrical” here I mean, simply, the suggestion of a stage scenario, however artificial or makeshift, whether on the big screen or the picture plane, that hints at a narrative. And by “anti-theatrical” I mean a fundamental discontent with precisely that theatricality, the overbearing “come-in-and-marvel” hollers that make some artists resemble amusement-park announcers, turning experience into a gleaming object lit from all sides. Instead, Schulze offers a purposefully flat vista that says: “you can come and look, but don’t think you can just step into this world, fully understand it and identify with it – no way.”

Schulze’s work from the mid 1980s is especially emblematic of the tension between 3-D pop-up, cut-out immersion and 2-D opaqueness. An untitled landscape format, two-part painting of 1984—like almost all works of Schulze painted in acrylic on muslin, and like many of them executed at a relatively large size (in this case 230 x 340 cm)—is dominated by abstract forms that nevertheless suggest objects and a three-dimensional lookout. Red spirals—rosebud lollipops?—overlap and rub up to one another as if shuffling for attention from behind a rubbery brown, triple-rim frame with rounded corners somewhat reminiscent of a concertina lens hood. I have to think of a fairground hypnotizer’s peep box: Step right up, folks, and look at the turning spirals! The whole thing rests on four grey stumps, sausage-rounded like the legs of a Duckburg-style chair, against a background of what looks like blue horizontal airbed tubes. All of that is painted in Schulze’s typical shorthand for space and volume—i.e. every rounded structure comes with a dark shadow on one side and a white glistening shine on the other, in the purposefully simplified manner of a children’s animation. The light has no discernible direction; it’s as if everything glows from within like painted-over neon tubes.

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1984
Acrylic on nettle cloth
230 × 340 cm (2-teilig)
90 1/2 × 133 7/8 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1984
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Details
Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1984
Acrylic on nettle cloth
230 × 340 cm (2-teilig)
90 1/2 × 133 7/8 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1984
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1984
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 2

Schulze’s work from the mid 1980s is especially emblematic of the tension between 3-D pop-up, cut-out immersion and 2-D opaqueness. An untitled landscape format, two-part painting of 1984—like almost all works of Schulze painted in acrylic on muslin, and like many of them executed at a relatively large size (in this case 230 x 340 cm)—is dominated by abstract forms that nevertheless suggest objects and a three-dimensional lookout. Red spirals—rosebud lollipops?—overlap and rub up to one another as if shuffling for attention from behind a rubbery brown, triple-rim frame with rounded corners somewhat reminiscent of a concertina lens hood. I have to think of a fairground hypnotizer’s peep box: Step right up, folks, and look at the turning spirals! The whole thing rests on four grey stumps, sausage-rounded like the legs of a Duckburg-style chair, against a background of what looks like blue horizontal airbed tubes. All of that is painted in Schulze’s typical shorthand for space and volume—i.e. every rounded structure comes with a dark shadow on one side and a white glistening shine on the other, in the purposefully simplified manner of a children’s animation. The light has no discernible direction; it’s as if everything glows from within like painted-over neon tubes.

One year later, Schulze paints another, same-sized canvas that seems like a bonkers retort to an already eccentric first. This time, the round-cornered painted frame is reduced to one rubbery tube that sags at the lower end, as if giving way to the weight and pressure of the many different-sized spirals—this time more reminiscent of snails, and coming in different hues of mint, lemon, beige etc.—squeezed inside of it. The four grey stumps are replaced by six pairs of animals’ legs: The four zebra limbs may perhaps belong to the same body, but the two camels’ legs to the left of it and the rhino (?) legs to the right don’t match up, or would have to belong to a beast casually standing on its hind-legs. As to the four remaining legs to the right, it’s hard to tell what kind of creature they belong to: a springbok, a llama, a reindeer, a horse? In any case, this time these legs clearly don’t serve as support of the sagging frame but instead suggest that these shy, stage-fright-ridden circus animals are hiding behind a painted screen. That very suggestion is what inevitably makes the impression of a three-dimensional peep-box brimful of turning spirals collapse into two-dimensional decoration mode: Effects of shifting between flatness and illusional space that other painters achieve with laborious painterly allusion, Schulze achieves with simple semiological puns.

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1985
Acrylic on nettle cloth
230 × 340 cm (2-teilig)
90 1/2 × 133 7/8 inches (2 parts)

Details
Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1985
Acrylic on nettle cloth
230 × 340 cm (2-teilig)
90 1/2 × 133 7/8 inches (2 parts)

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 1

One year later, Schulze paints another, same-sized canvas that seems like a bonkers retort to an already eccentric first. This time, the round-cornered painted frame is reduced to one rubbery tube that sags at the lower end, as if giving way to the weight and pressure of the many different-sized spirals—this time more reminiscent of snails, and coming in different hues of mint, lemon, beige etc.—squeezed inside of it. The four grey stumps are replaced by six pairs of animals’ legs: The four zebra limbs may perhaps belong to the same body, but the two camels’ legs to the left of it and the rhino (?) legs to the right don’t match up, or would have to belong to a beast casually standing on its hind-legs. As to the four remaining legs to the right, it’s hard to tell what kind of creature they belong to: a springbok, a llama, a reindeer, a horse? In any case, this time these legs clearly don’t serve as support of the sagging frame but instead suggest that these shy, stage-fright-ridden circus animals are hiding behind a painted screen. That very suggestion is what inevitably makes the impression of a three-dimensional peep-box brimful of turning spirals collapse into two-dimensional decoration mode: Effects of shifting between flatness and illusional space that other painters achieve with laborious painterly allusion, Schulze achieves with simple semiological puns.

Between these two paintings, we have a whole spectrum of modulations leading from decorative abstraction to surreally absurd figuration, and back. The reversible effects bespeak, of course, a playfulness and a receptive eye for pop-cultural tropes, from play-toy-aesthetics and cheap optical tricks to Neo-Dada punk naïve—all of which are tropes that were abound in West Germany in the 1980s, with bands like Der Plan (Dusseldorf) dressing up in papier-mâché costumes and putting out songs like “Da vorne steht ‘ne Ampel” (over there is a traffic light), or Foyer des Arts (West-Berlin) singing their “Eine Königin mit Rädern untendran” (A queen with wheels attached to her underside).

Was Punk/New Wave about being extremely cunning or playing dumb? A false contradiction. The point was to switch incalculably between the two attitudes, simultaneously circumventing aloof academic posturing and lowly entertainment demands. Martin Kippenberger, as an artist and social animal, was the master of that skill in art circles, using it as a rotary engine to incite new ideas and polemics. But Schulze, not such a social animal, came up with his peculiar, more subtle approach: He didn’t switch but hopelessly, mysteriously entangled cunningness and playing dumb into one perfect mess, a conundrum he managed to transfer straight onto canvas.

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Nelly), 2019
Acrylic on nettle cloth
160 × 140 cm
63 × 55 1/8 inches

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Angus), 2002
Acrylic on nettle cloth
90 × 90 cm
35 3/8 × 35 3/8 inches

Details
Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Nelly), 2019
Acrylic on nettle cloth
160 × 140 cm
63 × 55 1/8 inches

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Nelly), 2019
Acrylic on nettle cloth
160 × 140 cm
63 × 55 1/8 inches

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Angus), 2002
Acrylic on nettle cloth
90 × 90 cm
35 3/8 × 35 3/8 inches

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 2

Between these two paintings, we have a whole spectrum of modulations leading from decorative abstraction to surreally absurd figuration, and back. The reversible effects bespeak, of course, a playfulness and a receptive eye for pop-cultural tropes, from play-toy-aesthetics and cheap optical tricks to Neo-Dada punk naïve—all of which are tropes that were abound in West Germany in the 1980s, with bands like Der Plan (Dusseldorf) dressing up in papier-mâché costumes and putting out songs like “Da vorne steht ‘ne Ampel” (over there is a traffic light), or Foyer des Arts (West-Berlin) singing their “Eine Königin mit Rädern untendran” (A queen with wheels attached to her underside).

Was Punk/New Wave about being extremely cunning or playing dumb? A false contradiction. The point was to switch incalculably between the two attitudes, simultaneously circumventing aloof academic posturing and lowly entertainment demands. Martin Kippenberger, as an artist and social animal, was the master of that skill in art circles, using it as a rotary engine to incite new ideas and polemics. But Schulze, not such a social animal, came up with his peculiar, more subtle approach: He didn’t switch but hopelessly, mysteriously entangled cunningness and playing dumb into one perfect mess, a conundrum he managed to transfer straight onto canvas.

Schulze’s paintings, underneath that patinized veneer of 80s pop zeitgeist, indicate a trenchant awareness of the achievements and contradictions of the late avant-gardes. An obvious example would be his 1983 series of large paintings involving a painted, boxy structure with a central rectangular recess in which someone has placed an apple, or a pair of glasses. This series of works—arguably “prolonged” by another series with a similar structure in which the uniform boxy structure has mutated into a fitted kitchen with a service hatch (Kitchen, 1983)—has been discussed numerous times in terms of how it relates to the work of Donald Judd. Schulze played it out on three levels: One level would be somewhat equivalent to the fantasy that Kippenberger realized with his Modell Interconti (1986), for which he obtained a small grey abstraction by Gerhard Richter, fastened legs to it and thus turned it into a coffee table, heightening the effect of profanation through a title that suggests, by way of the reference to the luxury hotel chain, faux-sophisticated corporatism. Similarly, though not as recklessly, Schulze profaned the somber aura of the proverbial Judd box by painting it with an everyday object placed on it, thus, like Kippenberger, turning it into a support, a piece of furniture. On a second level, however, the Judd dogma of anti-illusionism comes into play: The box was after all, painted—quickly and nonchalantly, not virtuoso, not really perspectivally correct, but still in “illusionist” mode.

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Apple), 1983
Acrylic on nettle cloth
220 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
86 5/8 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Glasses, 1984
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Kitchen 1), 1983
Acrylic on nettle cloth
220 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
86 5/8 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Bookshelf), 1983
Painted wood
180 × 360 × 60 cm
70 7/8 × 141 3/4 × 23 5/8 inches

Details
Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Apple), 1983
Acrylic on nettle cloth
220 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
86 5/8 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Glasses, 1984
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Kitchen 1), 1983
Acrylic on nettle cloth
220 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
86 5/8 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Bookshelf), 1983
Painted wood
180 × 360 × 60 cm
70 7/8 × 141 3/4 × 23 5/8 inches

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Bookshelf), 1983
Painted wood
180 × 360 × 60 cm
70 7/8 × 141 3/4 × 23 5/8 inches

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 4

Schulze’s paintings, underneath that patinized veneer of 80s pop zeitgeist, indicate a trenchant awareness of the achievements and contradictions of the late avant-gardes. An obvious example would be his 1983 series of large paintings involving a painted, boxy structure with a central rectangular recess in which someone has placed an apple, or a pair of glasses. This series of works—arguably “prolonged” by another series with a similar structure in which the uniform boxy structure has mutated into a fitted kitchen with a service hatch (Kitchen, 1983)—has been discussed numerous times in terms of how it relates to the work of Donald Judd. Schulze played it out on three levels: One level would be somewhat equivalent to the fantasy that Kippenberger realized with his Modell Interconti (1986), for which he obtained a small grey abstraction by Gerhard Richter, fastened legs to it and thus turned it into a coffee table, heightening the effect of profanation through a title that suggests, by way of the reference to the luxury hotel chain, faux-sophisticated corporatism. Similarly, though not as recklessly, Schulze profaned the somber aura of the proverbial Judd box by painting it with an everyday object placed on it, thus, like Kippenberger, turning it into a support, a piece of furniture. On a second level, however, the Judd dogma of anti-illusionism comes into play: The box was after all, painted—quickly and nonchalantly, not virtuoso, not really perspectivally correct, but still in “illusionist” mode.

Thus on a third level, Schulze, with a sense of literalist deadpan—or even teasing glee—reduced Judd to being the box-guy; just as he syphoned from Ernst Wilhelm Nay and Anselm Kiefer—in reference to his own series of “ball paintings” (1982)—the idea of, well, painting balls in space.

I should correct myself: Rather than Schulze’s playful comments on his artistic predecessors’ works being a separate aspect from his work’s resonance with the Punk/New-Wave attitude of combining cunning and playing dumb, it’s precisely that attitude that he cultivated on the canvas, as a means to confront the question of what can still be done with painting space, ornate figures and reduced forms, in the postmodern age. It’s a way to pay homage and parody in one go, a way to ask: We thought we knew what this canonical work was all about, but do we? We thought it had all been done, but has it? Can it still spark intellectually entertaining and visually stimulating comment, rather than trite self-perpetuation?

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1983
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1982
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Hängende Kugeln), 1983
Acrylic on nettle cloth
160 × 520 cm (2-teilig)
63 × 204 3/4 inches (2 parts)

Details
Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1983
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1982
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Hängende Kugeln), 1983
Acrylic on nettle cloth
160 × 520 cm (2-teilig)
63 × 204 3/4 inches (2 parts)

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 3

Thus on a third level, Schulze, with a sense of literalist deadpan—or even teasing glee—reduced Judd to being the box-guy; just as he syphoned from Ernst Wilhelm Nay and Anselm Kiefer—in reference to his own series of “ball paintings” (1982)—the idea of, well, painting balls in space.

I should correct myself: Rather than Schulze’s playful comments on his artistic predecessors’ works being a separate aspect from his work’s resonance with the Punk/New-Wave attitude of combining cunning and playing dumb, it’s precisely that attitude that he cultivated on the canvas, as a means to confront the question of what can still be done with painting space, ornate figures and reduced forms, in the postmodern age. It’s a way to pay homage and parody in one go, a way to ask: We thought we knew what this canonical work was all about, but do we? We thought it had all been done, but has it? Can it still spark intellectually entertaining and visually stimulating comment, rather than trite self-perpetuation?

Hence, it’s no coincidence, in relation to his painterly practice, that object making and what Schulze calls Rauminstallationen (room installations) have been a constant in his work from early on. When he was refused admission into Gerhard Richter’s class at Dusseldorf Academy, in 1978, Schulze joined the then-new class of painter Dieter Krieg, with just a small group of co-students. In 1979, at the suggestion of Krieg, Schulze together with Cordula Güdemann, Bernd Jünger and Ulrike Westerhoff, collaborated on an installation of three human-size teddy bears joining hands (manufactured by Steiff, the German company that had made Schulze’s own childhood teddy that had served as a blueprint). Apart from the piece being an installation of objects, it anticipated two further traits of Schulze’s later work: Its inwardness betwixt and between irony and sincerity and its coziness–gone-awkward by way of sheer size.

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1982/2010
Acrylic on nettle cloth
250 × 320 cm (2-teilig)
98 3/8 × 126 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1982
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Wandmalerei – Zeichnungen 1988
Installation view, Monika Sprüth Galerie, Cologne, November 11, 1988–March 4, 1989

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Flowers and Landscapes, Installation view, Sprüth Magers London, June 3–August 28, 2009

Details
Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1982/2010
Acrylic on nettle cloth
250 × 320 cm (2-teilig)
98 3/8 × 126 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1982
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Wandmalerei – Zeichnungen 1988
Installation view, Monika Sprüth Galerie, Cologne, November 11, 1988–March 4, 1989

Wandmalerei – Zeichnungen 1988
Installation view, Monika Sprüth Galerie, Cologne, November 11, 1988–March 4, 1989

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Flowers and Landscapes, Installation view, Sprüth Magers London, June 3–August 28, 2009

Details
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1 of 4

Hence, it’s no coincidence, in relation to his painterly practice, that object making and what Schulze calls Rauminstallationen (room installations) have been a constant in his work from early on. When he was refused admission into Gerhard Richter’s class at Dusseldorf Academy, in 1978, Schulze joined the then-new class of painter Dieter Krieg, with just a small group of co-students. In 1979, at the suggestion of Krieg, Schulze together with Cordula Güdemann, Bernd Jünger and Ulrike Westerhoff, collaborated on an installation of three human-size teddy bears joining hands (manufactured by Steiff, the German company that had made Schulze’s own childhood teddy that had served as a blueprint). Apart from the piece being an installation of objects, it anticipated two further traits of Schulze’s later work: Its inwardness betwixt and between irony and sincerity and its coziness–gone-awkward by way of sheer size.

After embarking on a series of bold paintings, from 1980 on, featuring simple forms (ball-like, or stone-like, boxy forms, sometimes lined up on a line like chunks on a bent cocktail stick, arranged against sky-like backgrounds), an early highlight of Schulze’s work is his 1982 installation Untitled (Polaroid-Raum, Polaroid Space). Three large paintings hang on the walls, featuring the primary colors—an obvious nod to Barnett Newman’s Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue (1966–70)—as a background to grey, fluffy, bulbous forms that dominate the picture as if a furry-fetishist plumber had gone nuts. These imposing canvasses form a kind of enclosure for the key element of the installation: A strange table-like podium covered in red, yellow and blue fabric which serves as support for a rather strange plaster object painted in shades of grey. The thing looks as if it had fallen out of one of the canvasses, as if it was either one piece of the plumping—or in fact a freaky crossbreed between a cactus and a sea cucumber. Roughly human-sized, it has something of a strangely defaced body lying in state on a bier, or worse, of a threadbare remnant of a reclining nude on a pedestal. The piece is situated in a no man’s land between comforting and disgusting, like fake-fur slippers dipped in peppered cream. The yuck effect is of course intended, creating a strange cognitive dissonance not only, simply, of an object in space, but also in regard to painterly history, as the installation road-tests the Barnett Newman’s sublime in the expanded field of the preposterous.

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Interview, Werkschau, 
Installation view, Leopold-Hoesch Museum, Düren, September 5–November 21, 2010

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Forms), 1982/ 2010
Acrylic on nettle cloth
190 × 440 cm (2-teilig)
74 7/8 × 173 1/4 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1982
Acrylic on nettle cloth
240 × 360 cm
2 teilig
94 1/2 × 141 3/4 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1982
Acrylic on nettle cloth
270 × 600 cm (3-teilig)
106 1/4 × 236 1/8 inches (3 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Form), 1982
Styrofoam, plaster, paint, cloth
65 × 215 × 265 cm
25 5/8 × 84 5/8 × 104 1/4 inches

Details
Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Interview, Werkschau, 
Installation view, Leopold-Hoesch Museum, Düren, September 5–November 21, 2010

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Forms), 1982/ 2010
Acrylic on nettle cloth
190 × 440 cm (2-teilig)
74 7/8 × 173 1/4 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1982
Acrylic on nettle cloth
240 × 360 cm
2 teilig
94 1/2 × 141 3/4 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1982
Acrylic on nettle cloth
270 × 600 cm (3-teilig)
106 1/4 × 236 1/8 inches (3 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Form), 1982
Styrofoam, plaster, paint, cloth
65 × 215 × 265 cm
25 5/8 × 84 5/8 × 104 1/4 inches

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 5

After embarking on a series of bold paintings, from 1980 on, featuring simple forms (ball-like, or stone-like, boxy forms, sometimes lined up on a line like chunks on a bent cocktail stick, arranged against sky-like backgrounds), an early highlight of Schulze’s work is his 1982 installation Untitled (Polaroid-Raum, Polaroid Space). Three large paintings hang on the walls, featuring the primary colors—an obvious nod to Barnett Newman’s Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue (1966–70)—as a background to grey, fluffy, bulbous forms that dominate the picture as if a furry-fetishist plumber had gone nuts. These imposing canvasses form a kind of enclosure for the key element of the installation: A strange table-like podium covered in red, yellow and blue fabric which serves as support for a rather strange plaster object painted in shades of grey. The thing looks as if it had fallen out of one of the canvasses, as if it was either one piece of the plumping—or in fact a freaky crossbreed between a cactus and a sea cucumber. Roughly human-sized, it has something of a strangely defaced body lying in state on a bier, or worse, of a threadbare remnant of a reclining nude on a pedestal. The piece is situated in a no man’s land between comforting and disgusting, like fake-fur slippers dipped in peppered cream. The yuck effect is of course intended, creating a strange cognitive dissonance not only, simply, of an object in space, but also in regard to painterly history, as the installation road-tests the Barnett Newman’s sublime in the expanded field of the preposterous.

Getting carried away with aroused associations to everything from great painters to Hollywood directors and sea cucumbers is a bit of a pitfall with Schulze. At least one shouldn’t forget the way his pieces are, to use a phrase that Frank Stella introduced with his eponymously titled Harvard lectures of 1983-84, working space. Schulze almost always is working on how to paint space without merely depicting it, as he adheres to what Stella called “pictorial illusionism,” as opposed to “depicted illusionism.” (“Hands On,” frieze d/e, Autumn 2012.) While the latter creates the seeming evidence of actual, mathematically “correct” perspective, the former is freer, opened up to a sense of spatial coherence despite “incorrect” perspectives—an anti-illusory illusionism (that is not to be confused with Daliesque surrealism, or M.C. Escheresque optical paradox). Rather than immuring yourself in the endgame of modernist abstraction—the Greenbergian “stick to the picture plane” and “reject depth” dogmas—you branch out not into mere postmodern whateverism, but into a physico-sensual engagement with the canvas or object guided by a mixture of play and purpose, both on the part of the artist as well as, potentially, the viewer (and with this approach, of course, Schulze is not alone, and has many luminary predecessors, including the late Guston, and, to a lesser extent, de Kooning). This potential interaction is not adherent to virtuosity of handicraft (though being able to paint as quick and effortlessly as Schulze doesn’t hurt) or you-can-touch-this “interactivity” for the viewers, but offers up a detectable approachability of the work process. The outcome is the opposite of what Marx described as the characteristics of the modern product, where all the traces of the labor that went into producing that very product feel somehow mysteriously removed. Instead, and that is much more fascinating, you “see” all the labor and thought processes that went into coming up with all these pieces – and yet still there is a mystery.

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1985
Acrylic on nettle cloth
175 × 380 cm (2-teilig)
69 × 149 5/8 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Meissen Porcellain II), 1989/2002
Acrylic on nettle cloth
210 × 360 cm (2 -teilig)
82 3/4 × 141 3/4 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Flowers), 1994
Acrylic on nettle cloth
160 × 220 cm
63 × 86 5/8 inches

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Ystad), 2001
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 340 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 133 7/8 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (or Farm), 2014
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Garden), 2016
Acrylic on nettle cloth
170 × 580 cm (3-teilig)
67 × 228 3/8 inches (3 parts)

Details
Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 1985
Acrylic on nettle cloth
175 × 380 cm (2-teilig)
69 × 149 5/8 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Meissen Porcellain II), 1989/2002
Acrylic on nettle cloth
210 × 360 cm (2 -teilig)
82 3/4 × 141 3/4 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Flowers), 1994
Acrylic on nettle cloth
160 × 220 cm
63 × 86 5/8 inches

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Ystad), 2001
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 340 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 133 7/8 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Ystad), 2001
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 340 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 133 7/8 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (or Farm), 2014
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (or Farm), 2014
Acrylic on nettle cloth
200 × 400 cm (2-teilig)
78 3/4 × 157 1/2 inches (2 parts)

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Garden), 2016
Acrylic on nettle cloth
170 × 580 cm (3-teilig)
67 × 228 3/8 inches (3 parts)

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Garden), 2016
Acrylic on nettle cloth
170 × 580 cm (3-teilig)
67 × 228 3/8 inches (3 parts)

Details
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1 of 6

Getting carried away with aroused associations to everything from great painters to Hollywood directors and sea cucumbers is a bit of a pitfall with Schulze. At least one shouldn’t forget the way his pieces are, to use a phrase that Frank Stella introduced with his eponymously titled Harvard lectures of 1983-84, working space. Schulze almost always is working on how to paint space without merely depicting it, as he adheres to what Stella called “pictorial illusionism,” as opposed to “depicted illusionism.” (“Hands On,” frieze d/e, Autumn 2012.) While the latter creates the seeming evidence of actual, mathematically “correct” perspective, the former is freer, opened up to a sense of spatial coherence despite “incorrect” perspectives—an anti-illusory illusionism (that is not to be confused with Daliesque surrealism, or M.C. Escheresque optical paradox). Rather than immuring yourself in the endgame of modernist abstraction—the Greenbergian “stick to the picture plane” and “reject depth” dogmas—you branch out not into mere postmodern whateverism, but into a physico-sensual engagement with the canvas or object guided by a mixture of play and purpose, both on the part of the artist as well as, potentially, the viewer (and with this approach, of course, Schulze is not alone, and has many luminary predecessors, including the late Guston, and, to a lesser extent, de Kooning). This potential interaction is not adherent to virtuosity of handicraft (though being able to paint as quick and effortlessly as Schulze doesn’t hurt) or you-can-touch-this “interactivity” for the viewers, but offers up a detectable approachability of the work process. The outcome is the opposite of what Marx described as the characteristics of the modern product, where all the traces of the labor that went into producing that very product feel somehow mysteriously removed. Instead, and that is much more fascinating, you “see” all the labor and thought processes that went into coming up with all these pieces – and yet still there is a mystery.

One of the major pinnacles of this characteristic anti-illusory illusionism in Schulze’s work is arguably his Kölner Raum of 1995, installed at Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne, a work the artist took as a cue for numerous later variations of all-over environments including painted floors and walls fitted with objects (including “normal” furniture such as chairs and lamps), and paintings. The interior, here, becomes a literal, board-game like parcours, with painted floors suggesting winding paths amidst mowed lawns, structuring a suburban-absurdist world of cozy lampshades formed like silly hats, of armchairs with bulbous arms or gently bended legs, fitted with paintings of windows that don’t really look like windows but like blind eyes of a toy robot.

It was the 2010 incarnation of this kind of allover environment at Falckenberg Collection in Hamburg that made me first think of Pee-Wee Herman and the demeanor of an exaggerated—camp—“normalness” that tips over into a kind of brooding hysteria. I could have also thought of the absurdist interior of the chocolate factory in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), or even of the Hobbit dwellings, with their circular doors and cute front lawns, in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (1954). But these are examples of developed, elaborate narratives, and Schulze never gives in to the temptation to fill the void with story, instead leaving it all to allusive forms – to such odd details as the rounded protrusions or lay-bys in the grey winding paths that are like parking spots for chairs, as if there was a worry the chair could be in the wrong spot, or the viewer could venture off the right path, which in turn can be read as a joke about the venerable (post-)minimalist rhetoric à la “ . . . the viewer becomes aware of their movement through space by way of the relation to the work . . . ”

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Palast der Künste, 
Installation view*, Kunstverein Köln, November 11–December 21, 1995 

 

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Interview, Werkschau,
 Installation view, Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg, May 6–July 27, 2010

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Interview, Werkschau, 
Installation view, Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg, May 6–July 27, 2010

Details
Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Palast der Künste, 
Installation view*, Kunstverein Köln, November 11–December 21, 1995 

 

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Interview, Werkschau,
 Installation view, Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg, May 6–July 27, 2010

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Interview, Werkschau, 
Installation view, Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg, May 6–July 27, 2010

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 3

One of the major pinnacles of this characteristic anti-illusory illusionism in Schulze’s work is arguably his Kölner Raum of 1995, installed at Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne, a work the artist took as a cue for numerous later variations of all-over environments including painted floors and walls fitted with objects (including “normal” furniture such as chairs and lamps), and paintings. The interior, here, becomes a literal, board-game like parcours, with painted floors suggesting winding paths amidst mowed lawns, structuring a suburban-absurdist world of cozy lampshades formed like silly hats, of armchairs with bulbous arms or gently bended legs, fitted with paintings of windows that don’t really look like windows but like blind eyes of a toy robot.

It was the 2010 incarnation of this kind of allover environment at Falckenberg Collection in Hamburg that made me first think of Pee-Wee Herman and the demeanor of an exaggerated—camp—“normalness” that tips over into a kind of brooding hysteria. I could have also thought of the absurdist interior of the chocolate factory in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), or even of the Hobbit dwellings, with their circular doors and cute front lawns, in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (1954). But these are examples of developed, elaborate narratives, and Schulze never gives in to the temptation to fill the void with story, instead leaving it all to allusive forms – to such odd details as the rounded protrusions or lay-bys in the grey winding paths that are like parking spots for chairs, as if there was a worry the chair could be in the wrong spot, or the viewer could venture off the right path, which in turn can be read as a joke about the venerable (post-)minimalist rhetoric à la “ . . . the viewer becomes aware of their movement through space by way of the relation to the work . . . ”

To be sure, Schulze does not dwell only on the possibilities of painting in an expanded installation mode, or on the puns that the surface/depth games of painting allow. With a recent series of paintings with sea views in predominantly small formats – the outcome of several stays in Sicily – Schulze, while touching on these aspects of painting as an illusionist/anti-illusionist, has shifted the focus towards creating a game set of iconic, simplified forms, a sort of shorthand for simple visual elements such as sea, sky, waves, rocks. Untitled (Bett am Meer 4, Bed at Sea 4) (2013) for example is a panorama format composition in which blue horizontal tubes indicate the sea, a yellow tube the beach, and grey bulbous forms a set of rocks. But if one suspects him to drift off into the romantically picturesque, the next picture already stops one short: in Untitled (Krake Taormina, Octopus Taormina)(2013) a grey octopus-like thing fills two thirds of the canvas, but the supposed octopus limbs are devoid of sucker cups. In Untitled (Sizilianischer Bauzaun, Sicilian Hoarding) (2013) instead of a creature, a bland grey site fence blocks three quarters of the view, turning the vista of landscape into holes cut into a painted plane. By way of laconic observation, the classic tropes of romantic landscape are duped.

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Sea Vista 6), 2015
Acrylic on nettle cloth
140 × 160 cm
55 1/8 × 63 inches

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Rails by the Sea, Taormina), 2015
Acrylic on nettle cloth
150 × 110 × 4.5 cm
59 × 43 1/4 × 1 3/4 inches

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Hoarding Sicilia), 2015
Acrylic on nettle cloth
90 × 130 cm
35 3/8 × 51 1/8 inches

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Bed by the Sea), 2014
Acrylic on nettle cloth
90 × 110 cm
35 3/8 × 43 1/4 inches

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Octopus Taormina), 2013
Acrylic on passepartout cardboard
91.5 × 172.5 cm (framed)
36 × 68 inches (framed)

Details
Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Sea Vista 6), 2015
Acrylic on nettle cloth
140 × 160 cm
55 1/8 × 63 inches

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Sea Vista 6), 2015
Acrylic on nettle cloth
140 × 160 cm
55 1/8 × 63 inches

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Rails by the Sea, Taormina), 2015
Acrylic on nettle cloth
150 × 110 × 4.5 cm
59 × 43 1/4 × 1 3/4 inches

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Hoarding Sicilia), 2015
Acrylic on nettle cloth
90 × 130 cm
35 3/8 × 51 1/8 inches

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Hoarding Sicilia), 2015
Acrylic on nettle cloth
90 × 130 cm
35 3/8 × 51 1/8 inches

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Bed by the Sea), 2014
Acrylic on nettle cloth
90 × 110 cm
35 3/8 × 43 1/4 inches

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Bed by the Sea), 2014
Acrylic on nettle cloth
90 × 110 cm
35 3/8 × 43 1/4 inches

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled (Octopus Taormina), 2013
Acrylic on passepartout cardboard
91.5 × 172.5 cm (framed)
36 × 68 inches (framed)

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 5

To be sure, Schulze does not dwell only on the possibilities of painting in an expanded installation mode, or on the puns that the surface/depth games of painting allow. With a recent series of paintings with sea views in predominantly small formats – the outcome of several stays in Sicily – Schulze, while touching on these aspects of painting as an illusionist/anti-illusionist, has shifted the focus towards creating a game set of iconic, simplified forms, a sort of shorthand for simple visual elements such as sea, sky, waves, rocks. Untitled (Bett am Meer 4, Bed at Sea 4) (2013) for example is a panorama format composition in which blue horizontal tubes indicate the sea, a yellow tube the beach, and grey bulbous forms a set of rocks. But if one suspects him to drift off into the romantically picturesque, the next picture already stops one short: in Untitled (Krake Taormina, Octopus Taormina)(2013) a grey octopus-like thing fills two thirds of the canvas, but the supposed octopus limbs are devoid of sucker cups. In Untitled (Sizilianischer Bauzaun, Sicilian Hoarding) (2013) instead of a creature, a bland grey site fence blocks three quarters of the view, turning the vista of landscape into holes cut into a painted plane. By way of laconic observation, the classic tropes of romantic landscape are duped.

Amidst a willingness to explore the depths of what only seems to be just pretty and picturesque, what has become a sort of emblem of imagination in Schulze’s work is a piece that he has used several times now in exhibitions: a handmade ceramic pot in the form of Schulze’s own head, including his pair of glasses. Glazed in bright colors (though Schulze’s skin appears rather pale) the skull is open on the top, the inside filled with dirt and a decorative plant – after all, this is precisely what these kinds of ceramic “pot-heads” are traditionally made for in Sicily. The plants inevitably suggest thoughts and visions sprouting like organic, living things. In an exhibition at Sprüth Magers Berlin in early 2013, two of these self-portraits, made by a ceramicist commissioned by the artist, were positioned facing each other at a certain, duel-like distance, placed on round columns that look like fake pieces of tree trunks. The wall behind the arrangement is painted in a light pistachio hue.

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Berlin, March 2–April 13, 2013

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Installation view, Sprüth Magers Berlin, March 2–April 13, 2013

Details
Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Installation view, Sprüth Magers, Berlin, March 2–April 13, 2013

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Installation view, Sprüth Magers Berlin, March 2–April 13, 2013

Details
icon_fullscreen
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Amidst a willingness to explore the depths of what only seems to be just pretty and picturesque, what has become a sort of emblem of imagination in Schulze’s work is a piece that he has used several times now in exhibitions: a handmade ceramic pot in the form of Schulze’s own head, including his pair of glasses. Glazed in bright colors (though Schulze’s skin appears rather pale) the skull is open on the top, the inside filled with dirt and a decorative plant – after all, this is precisely what these kinds of ceramic “pot-heads” are traditionally made for in Sicily. The plants inevitably suggest thoughts and visions sprouting like organic, living things. In an exhibition at Sprüth Magers Berlin in early 2013, two of these self-portraits, made by a ceramicist commissioned by the artist, were positioned facing each other at a certain, duel-like distance, placed on round columns that look like fake pieces of tree trunks. The wall behind the arrangement is painted in a light pistachio hue.

The arrangement is, no doubt, alluding to a famous collaborative piece of Gerhard Richter and Blinky Palermo, two influential Dusseldorf artists of a previous generation whose work for Schulze – having studied at Dusseldorf Academy, and today teaching there – inevitably is closely familiar, yet somewhat distant in timbre and sense of humor (though Blinky Palermo, with his romantic wit, certainly is less distant than the soberly determined Richter). Palermo had made a wall painting at Galerie Heiner Friedrich in Munich: He had painted one wall in so-called Munich yellow, a kind of ochre, with the exception of white stripes delineating the fringes; on the opposite wall, he reversed the order of colors (Wandmalerei auf gegenüberliegenden Wänden (Mural Painting on Opposite Walls, 1971)). Shortly after, in the Cologne space of Friedrich, Palermo extended the dominating yellow color on all of the room’s walls, while Richter contributed two bronze, face-cast portraits of himself and Palermo placed on slender, cubic man-size steles, all covered in grey oil paint and facing one another (Zwei Skulpturen für einen Raum von Palermo (Two Sculptures for a Room by Palermo, 1971)). It’s hard to decide whether the work is just provocatively flirting with self-aggrandizement or actually going a step further, towards a tongue-in-cheek self-entombment: Death masks suppressing a laugh. But in any case, in his cover version, Schulze replaces the theme of male artist friendship with narcissist tautology; the restrained lead grey of Richter’s sculptures with the joyously unrestrained, bright colors of the ceramics; Palermo’s heavy ochre with a type of pistachio reminiscent of 1970s bathroom appliances; and the poised calmness of the precursors’ collaboration with a psychedelic penchant for the aesthetically unclean.

In his survey exhibition at Museum Villa Merkel in Esslingen near Stuttgart, in the summer of 2014, Schulze has given the pot-head self-portrait yet another dimension. Taking advantage of the fact that the museum is housed in a former residential villa, Schulze positioned a large table in a central room, covered it with a Schulze-canvas-as-tablecloth and put seven of his heads onto it in a semi-circle. With each of the heads sporting different plants (geranium, sunflower, aloe vera, etc.) The effect is that of a welcome committee gone awry, or of an eccentric, run-down boutique hotel’s over-eager attempt to decorate.

That’s what’s so fascinating about Schulze: He is absolutely fearlessly uninterested in appearing cool and unassailable. He offers himself and his work up for all kinds of wacky associations. And yet it’s not just a joke. It’s sometimes so simple that people don’t understand it. And yet it does have depth—the cuteness or careful ugliness of many of his motifs are almost like smoke screens diverting from his formal painterly skills at “working space,” because to show these off would just be too embarrassingly pompous. Instead of aspiring to some kind of solemn aura, his is an interior transcendence, an “intranscendence” frustrating the desire for a beyond yet finding consolation precisely in the banality of existence. It’s a romanticism of the utterly unromantic, inward in a down-to-earth way, devoid of the big demonstrative gestures of doubt and transcendence. It’s intranscendence.

 

Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 2012
Ceramic handpainted
33 × 24 × 27 cm
13 × 9 1/2 × 10 5/8 inches

Details
Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 2012
Ceramic handpainted
33 × 24 × 27 cm
13 × 9 1/2 × 10 5/8 inches

Andreas Schulze
Untitled, 2012
Ceramic handpainted
33 × 24 × 27 cm
13 × 9 1/2 × 10 5/8 inches

Details
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Andreas Schulze – Andreas Schulze

Andreas Schulze, Installation view, Villa Merkel, June 29–September 21, 2014

 

*The installation view of Palast der Künste also shows furniture by various designers including the armchair Capricorn by Gudrun Wurlitzer.