October 20, 2005 - Bonnefantenmuseum - Monika Baer
October 20, 2005

Monika Baer

Monika Baer
Paintings Works on paper: 1992 – 2005
2 October 2005 - 29 January 2006

Avenue Céramique 250
Postbus 1735
NL-6201 BS Maastricht


The Bonnefantenmuseum is opening the autumn season with the first solo exhibition by the Berlin painter Monika Baer (1964 Freiburg).

From 2 October 2005 to 29 January 2006, a retrospective of her paintings, collages and drawings will be on display in Maastricht. The exhibition has been organised in collaboration with the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich and Ausstellungshalle zeitgenössische Kunst in Münster, to where the exhibition will transfer in 2006. In recent years, the museum has paid regular attention to current trends in international figurative painting (Luc Tuymans in 1999, Neo Rauch in 2002 and Peter Doig in 2003). Monika Baer, whose individual and enigmatic visual idiom has made a major contribution to the remarkable revival of romanticism and surrealism in contemporary painting, is the next exhibitor in this series.

Since the early nineties, Monika Baer has developed a romantic and surrealist visual world in her work which appears to spring completely from the subconscious. The atmospheric paintings are built up of abstract blocks of colour, drippings and veils of paint. These staged dream landscapes form the backdrop for quite remarkable, very realistically painted motifs. There are sinister pigs heads, mysterious porcelain pipes, spheres wreathed in hair or sickly-sweet portraits of girls and kitsch flower garlands. The stylistic confrontation between realism and abstraction is heightened by the bluntness with which these motifs are put on the canvas.

Baer uses an extremely hybrid iconography of individual images, visual codes and metaphors from the world of pop culture, the mass media, the underworld and the supernatural, which she mixes with apparent ease and lack of concern. Up to 2000, her work was characterised by her abrupt changes of artistic register. It was as if she was sampling all the wallflowers of art history and the visual spectrum, creating a succession of 19th-century landscape scenes, 18th-century rococo interiors and monochrome paintings with cut-out passages. The deliberate repeated breaks in the narrative structure play with the viewers expectations, and with their desire to understand and to discover a goal or a reason. All this makes her work diffuse, open and fragmentary in nature.

A richly illustrated catalogue to accompany the exhibition (90 pages; 66 full colour images) published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König. English German with essays by Sabeth Buchmann, Ralf Christofori and an interview with Monika Baer by Paula van den Bosch.

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