On the wall or in the room?

Stéphane Biesenbach presents five artists under the motto "Sculpture or Painting"

by Heidrun Wirth in Kölnische Rundschau, 2.2.2021


Sculpture or painting? What is that small work of art by Ted Larsen, only 20 cm high, protruding eleven centimetres from the wall in yellow cubes? The yellow surfaces correspond in a frontal view with the blue staircase stringers, which then emerge when viewed from the side. This "sculpture" hangs on the wall like a picture, carefully provided with smooth colour surfaces, but still marked by traces of work.

Of course, now at the latest one sees that works of art always want to be seen in the original, especially when they change their radiance with every step the viewer takes in the room. But nevertheless, the present virtual presentation of this group exhibition at Stéphane Biesenbach's offers insights, perhaps not without anticipation of a later encounter "in the flesh".

From Finland to Hungary

Under the title "Sculptural.Painting.", the exhibition features the work of four male artists and one female artist who are spread across the globe in terms of their origins and yet all seem to pose the same question: When three-dimensional objects are attached to the wall, what are the hybrid artworks now – sculptures or paintings?

In any case, fascinating eye-catchers presented in varied hangings.

And one can see: The old argument about the end of the panel picture in painting is far from over.

In all five positions, the desire for materials is added to the diversity of forms. This is the case with Ted Larsen, who has created the work described above entitled "False Fact" with salvaged steel, plywood, silicone, vulcanised rubber and hardware.

While Larsen uses found materials, Jussi Niva, born in Finland in 1966, paints folded objects of wood – protruding up to twenty centimetres from the wall – with oil paints in further geometric divisions. The structures created by the brush strokes and the grain, where the wood is not painted, look like a fine drawing.

Bram Braam, born in the Netherlands in 1980, places new compact pictorial elements on top of underlying pictures and thus works with the appeal of the (semi-)concealed. In this way he seems to take up the theme of the multi-layered nature of the wall, already known in the Romantic period, practised in the Romanesque churches in rows of round arches (lesenes or pilaster strips). His works often consist of old materials and combine the exact and the deliquescent.


"Viewing Room"

Parallel to this exhibition, Stéphane Biesenbach has set up a virtual "Viewing Room" until 21 February, offering works on paper by the Japanese artist Hideaki Yamanobe – in a price range from 800 to 2.850,- €.


In fine "painterly" transitions, the Hungarian Árpád Forgó, born in Budapest in 1972, explores the boundaries to the three-dimensional with monochrome acrylic painting. Tautly stretched segments of canvas bulge out slightly, about 4 cm wide, and allow the finest shades of colour to emerge in the curvatures.

Ji Eun Lee, born in Seoul in 1984, works in a completely different way. Her structures, carved in walnut or limewood, are reminiscent of basketwork and given fine highlights by the oiled finish. Sometimes carved ovals are flawlessly polished, sometimes the traces of the carving iron form fine structures. Here, too, there is no more than seven centimetres away from the wall.

The varied hanging of these original works of art, which "inhabit" the walls, can already be viewed beautifully on the internet.

"Sculptural.Painting." runs until 6 March, but is expected to be extended into May, so there is still a chance to view it in the gallery space (Zeughausstrasse 26. 1st floor). Prices range from 850 to 16.000,- €.


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