Kunsthaus Baselland

Shaun Gladwell, Storm Sequence, 2000, Courtesy the artist and Sherman Galleries, Sydney.

June 13, 2005

Space Invaders
21 May - 3 July, 2005
Opening: Friday, 20 May 2005, 7 p.m.

Kunsthaus Baselland
St. Jakob-Strasse 170
CH-4132 Muttenz / Basel
T 41 61 312 8388
office [​at​]
Opening hours: Tues, Thurs-Sun 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wed 2 to 8 p.m., closed on Mon

John Armleder, Stéphane Calais, Stéphane Dafflon, Dominique Figarella, Shaun Gladwell, Lori Hersberger, Renée Levi, Toby Paterson, Gerwald Rockenschaub

Curated by Sabine Schaschl-Cooper

Wednesday, 15 June 2005, 9-12.30 a.m.
Book launch for exhibition catalogue Space Invaders, published by JRP Ringier, on the occasion of Art_36_Basel

Wednesday, 29 June 2005, 7 p.m.
Artist talk with Toby Paterson and Felicity Lunn, curator, critic and theorist, organized by the British Council

In the past two to three years, art theory, exhibitions, and the art market in general have witnessed a renaissance of painting. Even though the demise of painting has been postulated at regular intervals in art history, this moribund discipline has survived all of those attacks leveled against it quite unscathed. Maybe because of these numerous announcements of its death – and subsequent resurrection – painting is striving for constant improvements, new pictorial and linguistic formulations, and ways of coming to terms with and relating to its past. The exhibition Space Invaders does not focus on what is touted as the return of painting, but on contemporary examples of self-renewal, inspired by what painting can genuinely offer. What started in modernity as the notion of exiting the picture, an initially conceptual and material act (Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Günther Uecker, Daniel Buren, Robert Barry, Dan Flavin, to name but a few), evolved into full-fledged discussions about interdisciplinary concepts and transgressions of individual media in the 1990s. The expansionary movements of framed spaces via conceptual spaces into realms pertaining to the outside world have struck a responsive chord with many contemporary artworks.

Hence, as an overarching curatorial topic, Space Invaders explores the relations between painting, space, and its hybrid forms by interacting with the interior spaces of Kunsthaus Baselland – a former industrial site, transformed into a white cube featuring many references to its past. Each of the artistic positions displayed is connected to the main curatorial questions this show elucidates, and each of them also addresses its own specific issues.
Stéphane Dafflon transfers decoration and design imagery into what seem to be universally valid forms with which he converts individual spaces into hyperrealistic artificial settings. Playing with things that already exist, selected in relation to their color, form, structure, spatial dimensions, and artistic or art-historical connotations, John Armleder and Gerwald Rockenschaub generate hybrid painterly entities. Dominique Figarella also paints with what exists, including the vestiges of this existence. In his most recent paintings Figarella incorporates photographs showing reflections on the surfaces of his own paintings. Stéphane Calais, more so than most other artists, admirably navigates through very different disciplines and designs collage-type spatial settings which – as for the show in Kunsthaus Baselland – include the works of his colleague Figarella. A spatial linkage is also the route chosen by Renée Levi, who has mounted her sprayed paintings on two walls facing each other. The process of spray-painting, comparable to the act of drawing, results in spatial structures displaying internal as well as external effects. They transpose a discourse on temporality, texture, ornaments, drawing, and perception into the present. By employing architectural language, Toby Paterson resorts to common socio-cultural structures and their embodiments. As a skateboarder, whose experiences are physically determined, he has penetrated various urban spaces. These experiences and his keen interest in modernist architecture are reflected in his isometric plans painted and sprayed directly onto the wall. Shaun Gladwell also explores urban situations on his skateboard. He captures them on video, and by opting for a slowed- down replay mode and deliberately choosing certain sequences he creates a video painting reminiscent of William Turner. For Lori Hersberger art is always a spatial event, in terms of music, ideas, or specific visuals. In his installation-type pictorial or video spaces he integrates elements such as broken mirrors, bales of hay, words in neon letters, processed Styrofoam bars, and phosphorescent color.

Space Invaders features artistic positions that constantly challenge the making of art, directly relate to painting, examine these connections again and again, and infer their own notions from them. Conquering and dealing with spaces is a major concern for the artists represented here.

Kunsthaus Baselland
June 13, 2005

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