December 7, 2005 - Saint Louis Art Museum - Currents 96: Tim Eitel
December 7, 2005

Currents 96: Tim Eitel

Currents 96: Tim Eitel
9 December 2005 - 5 March 2006

Saint Louis Art Museum
One Fine Arts Drive, Forest Park
St. Louis, Missouri 63110

Image: Lying Figure (Liegender), 2005; oil on linen; 250 x 190 cm; courtesy Galerie EIGEN ART, Leipzig/Berlin

Artist’s Lecture and Exhibition Preview
Thursday, December 8, 7:00 pm

Tim Eitels canvases combine two dominant strains in contemporary paintinggeometric abstraction and photographically influenced realism. In the dialogue between these two idioms, Eitel creates works that possess a preternatural stillness. His pictures are also rife with references to the histories of photography, film, and modern painting, lending multiple points of entry into the work. In the four years since Eitel completed his studies at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst in Leipzig, he has become known for large (and sometimes tiny), crisply painted work featuring young, hip protagonists framed by modernist architectural interiors. For example, several works from 2001 and 2002 take the Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt (MMK) as a backdrop and portray visitors encountering spaces within Viennese architect Hans Holleins acutely angled building. Coolboth in terms of palette and sensibilitythe works often depict figures in profile or seen from behind. Even when pairs or clusters of people are shown, each individual appears utterly self-contained. Their sole activity seems to be the act of looking, whether out of windows, at paintings, or, occasionally, through lenses to shoot photographs.

Representations of work by other artists (ranging from Piet Mondrian to Takashi Murakami) inflect some of Eitels MMK paintings and others set in exhibition spaces with a Pop sensibility. However, the works in the present exhibition, particularly the four large canvasesLying Figure, Trailer, Helicopter, and Flagdemonstrate a marked shift in tone. The degree of isolation represented in these works has moved beyond garden-variety alienation to a dispassionate exploration of existential themes.

Tim Eitel condenses a range of sourcesincluding the work of Edouard Manet, Thomas Demand, and Jeff Wall along with snapshots he takes himselfto create archetypal images. Each of the large paintings in the exhibition feature a central, iconic figure or object inhabiting a dark, murky zone evocative of fog or a formless void. Subdued in palette, expansive in scale, the monumental paintings in this exhibition are profoundly austere; they convey a sense of emotional twilight, of anticipation, of tenuous suspension within the eye of a storm.
Currents 96: Tim Eitel is part of a series of exhibitions featuring the work of contemporary artists at the Saint Louis Art Museum. The exhibition is curated by Robin Clark, associate curator of contemporary art.

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