Ars Viva 2014/2015

Ars Viva 2014/2015

Bonner Kunstverein

Aleksandra Domanović, Things to Come, 2014. Installation view, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow International, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Glasgow International. Photo: Alan McAteer.

February 24, 2015

Ars Viva 2014/2015: Aleksandra Domanović, Yngve Holen, James Richards

In the foyer: Klaus Merkel: Écart Arrière
7 March–17 May 2015

Opening: Friday, March 6, 7pm

Bonner Kunstverein
Hochstadenring 22
53119 Bonn
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 11am–5pm, 
Thursday 11am–7pm

As one of the institutions with the richest tradition within the entrepreneurial promotion of culture in Germany, the Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft im BDI e.V. has been granting the Ars Viva Prize to young visual artists living in Germany since 1953. Bonner Kunstverein shows in an exclusive for Bonn new conceived exhibition this year’s Ars Viva awardees: Aleksandra Domanović, Yngve Holenand James Richards.

For Aleksandra Domanović (b. 1981, Novi Sad, Serbia; lives and works in Berlin), electronic and digital media are simultaneously topic and tool. In her sculptures and videos, she analyzes how the internet and technological innovations have shaped her social environment and have molded the history of her native former Yugoslavia. Science fiction and media history from a feminist perspective are further topics that play a central role within her work. In his films, James Richards (b. 1983, Cardiff, Wales; lives and works in Berlin) uses appropriated material—from anonymous internet finds to old collected VHS tapes—alongside his own video and sound recordings. Just like a painter with his pigments, he configures items from his abundant material archive into a developed narrative composition, focusing on rhythm and texture, flow of images and colors, and atmospheric moods. In this sensual and associative narrative, he searches for images evoking memories and emotions. Digitization, laser scanning, CAD, CNC systems and 3D printing are techniques that Yngve Holen(b. 1982 Braunschweig; lives and works in Berlin) utilizes in the creation of his works. Combined or associated with other readymade objects like washing machines or model aircrafts, he creates sculptural arrangements that maintain a hyperrealist aesthetic. In his application of new technologies alongside unexpected combinations of form and material—for example, a replica of a raw piece of meat carved from a marble block by the help of a 3D scan—Holenopens up a reflection of everyday visual codes. 

Following its presentation at the Bonner Kunstverein, the exhibition of the Ars Viva Prize of the Kulturkreis der deutschen Wirtschaft im BDI e.V. will be presented in modified form at the Grazer Kunstverein (13 June to 2 August). The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog, as well as by an artist’s edition portfolio (limited to an edition of 20 + 3 AP) consisting of one work each by Aleksandra Domanović, Yngve Holen and James Richards. 

On occasion of the Ars Viva presentation in the main hall, Klaus Merkel (b. 1953, Heidelberg) presents his exhibition Écart Arrière in the foyer of the Kunstverein, a series of equal-sized canvases that the artist has realized over the course of the last 22 years, all conforming to the same pictorial system. Merkel conceived his Katalogbilder in the early 1990s: seven large panels on which he presents in a linear sequence all of his work realized from 1988 to 1995, replicated in a scale of 1:10. From this archive of miniature paintings, he appropriates his own work in order “to paint pictures with pictures.” Comparable with abstract rectangular playing card formats, these miniatures can be repeated as such from painting to painting, or can take new shape within the work. Painted on a rich variety of backdrops—from monochromatic fields to perspectival grids to flowing gradients or traces of palette-like brushstrokes—they can appear individually, in sequence, overlaid or freely applied on the picture plane. This self-referential system allowing pictures to be read individually or as an ensemble unleashes a horizon of possibilities detached from any obvious chronology.

While Merkel’s work strongly inscribes itself into the history and theoretical discourses of painting that raise the question of context, organization and framing, the exhibition Écart Arrière provides a current and direct reading of his works in connection to those tendencies of contemporary art utilizing the internet and digital technologies as a tool. Layered planes, links and cropping reminiscent of computer windows; an endless archive of information; a language related to mathematics that we can’t directly understand; vibrant colors that turn the canvas into a flickering screen; compositions that could have derived from Photoshop—all these examples of painting elements evoke virtual reality on the one hand; and on the other, the synchronicity and simultaneity of the internet. Although Klaus Merkel’s painting does not narrate stories, it displays an aesthetic formulation that clearly reacts to the technological developments of its time.

Co-operation partner for Ars Viva 2014/2015:  

Ars Viva 2014/2015 at Bonner Kunstverein
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Bonner Kunstverein
February 24, 2015

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