Boban Andjelkovic: und das ist erst der Anfang

Boban Andjelkovic: und das ist erst der Anfang

Britta Rettberg

View of Boban Andjelkovic, und das ist erst der Anfang, Galerie Rettberg.

May 5, 2020
Boban Andjelkovic
und das ist erst der Anfang
March 13–May 29, 2020
Britta Rettberg
Gabelsbergerstraße 51
80333 Munich
Hours: Tuesday–Friday 11am–6pm

T +49 89 51110015
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An intensive grappling with issues of pop culture and art history in the neo-expressive painting of Boban Andjelkovic is just as essential as his self-reflective, painterly experience. In his art, the artist raises basic questions concerning painting’s meaningfulness as a contemporary medium that, for him, functions as an antipode to the digital world. His painting, sometimes grotesque and unbridled, sometimes humorous and naïve-seeming, stands in the tradition of “Bad Painting”. At the same time, new aesthetic connections are developed and combined with conceptual approaches.

For his solo exhibition und das ist erst der Anfang at Galerie Rettberg, Boban Andjelkovic has achieved a painterly conception of the exhibition spaces. The individual positions go beyond the single panel painting, and begin to communicate with one another in terms of their composition and colors before going on to conquer the exhibition display. All of the works shown at Galerie Rettberg come from the series “I paint for Dora”, in which the artist formally and thematically approaches the painting The Weeping Woman (1937, 60 х 49 cm) by Pablo Picasso. This painting is considered to be a portrait of the surrealist photographer and painter Dora Maar, with whom Picasso had lived together for eight years until 1943. Although the artists influenced each other mutually, Dora Maar never attained the institutional recognition she deserved during her lifetime. Even today, for many people, she is known merely as the “weeping” muse behind the great artist personality of Pablo Picasso. (1)

For quite some time already, Boban Andjelkovic has been intensively grappling with identity and the gender inequality between male and female artists. The series “I paint for Dora” stands as a personal attempt to create an antithesis to Pablo Picasso’s “weeping woman”. In terms of both composition and theme, Boban Andjelkovic approaches Pablo Picasso’s cubist portrait by taking up individual elements, such as the hand placed before the face, which is visible in nearly all works in the series. In a next step, the artist departs from this basic compositional framework by dissolving facial features into black, oval linear structures against the rough painting surfaces that are sometimes sprayed, other times painted manifestations on the canvas. Due to their wave-like movements, they remind us of paintings by the American artist Brice Marden. By repeatedly interrupting this network with organic forms, Boban Andjelkovic brings the composition back again to the genre portrait. This procedure makes us think of jazz improvisations where the theme is interrupted at the beginning, only returning to its basic form again at the end. Although the intensity of Boban Andjelkovic’s expressive painting makes us suspect an impulsive paint application, it is a reflective process and a deliberate placement of the brush he uses in building up the painting structure. By means of the dense, sometimes runny, paint application in several layers, the materiality of the painting is emphasized and we sense a reflection on painting as a medium.

Because of their glaring colors, the works initially seem to contradict any critically reflective engagement. Contrasting to the large-format portraits, we find works that show a bird-like creature with cowboy boots, sideburns and baseball cap. Anyone familiar with Boban Andjelkovic’s work in general will know that these are the artist’s typical painting subjects, hinting at self-portraits and betraying a certain measure of self-irony. In contrast to the large-format portraits, these naïve-seeming figures may be regarded as a renunciation of the myth of the great, male painter genius.

(1) The exhibition on Dora Maar at the Centre Pompidou, at the Tate Modern and at the J. Paul Getty Museum is to date the artist’s most comprehensive monographic retrospective. See the exhibition catalogue Dora Maar, Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern & J. Paul Getty Museum, London and Los Angeles, 2019.

Exhibition videoOnline showroom.

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Britta Rettberg
May 5, 2020

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