July 28–August 29, 2015
The visible also always conveys the invisible. All the more so in the cheerful world of consumerism, in which we live today. The more perfect its surfaces, the more its opposites also seem to resonate – the suppressed and the absurd. No painter has understood this better than Andreas Schulze. The Cologne based artist, who has been associated with the gallery since 1983 and a professor at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf since 2008, examines the most mundane objects from his personal surroundings. He arranges trompe l’oeil peas or geraniums in humorous tableaus, and places sofas, plastic windows, or Mars bars in the spotlight, gleefully distorting fundamental forms that today are usually the realm of architecture and abstract painting. With a wink and in a non-judgmental manner, his cryptic pictorial repertoire exposes the previously invisible. Locating itself somewhere between affirmation and irony, Schulze’s painting makes both the traits of our bourgeois life and its blind spots visible.
Schulze’s new exhibition ‘Stau’ (Traffic Jam) is dedicated to the typology of post-Fordian automobile design, advancing a project the painter has repeatedly returned to since the end of the nineties. Eight abstract paintings, their forms vaguely reminiscent of exhaust pipes or tools, are flanked by life-size paintings of a variety of ‘cars’ arranged in a classical frieze. A frieze of images however where the traffic has come to a standstill. Despite the overwhelming size of the pictures, which are 160 to 300 cm high and 180 to 500 cm wide, they appear surprisingly free of pathos. Instead, it is their forceful colouring that catches the eye and the fact they are fundamentally flawed. The cars look like a painterly collection of car doors, bumpers and windscreens that have nevertheless been composed by the mischievous hand of a child. Whilst none of these sport cars, family cars or camper vans would in reality be remotely driveable, they nonetheless remain clearly recognisable as cars. They are works that exploit our collective pictorial comprehension of the ‘car’ as an everyday object, whilst humorously destabilising it in the same breath. Works that seem to ridicule the fetishizing of this industrial product, nevertheless place great value on the need for such fetishes.