New in the West
The article looks
at the new trends emerging on the art scene in the West, focusing in
particular on the relationship between art and design, new realism and
abstract painting. The observations are based on the experience of the
art critic commuting between Vilnius and Düsseldorf.
The Austrian Heimo Zobernig (b.1958) was represented in his first retrospective
exhibition launched by the Venice Modern Art Museum, the Exhibition
Palace of Basel, and the "K21&" Art Collection of Düsseldorf,
Rhine-Westfalen. Of numerous artists utilizing the theme of art and
design relationship, Heimo Zobernig stands out as controversial and
minimalist. His artistic vision integrates painting, sculpture, video
art, and the total space of the exhibition premise, relying
on concise geometrical forms, bright fluorescent colours as well as
on the impact by music, theatre and poetry. The boundary between works
of art, other cultural production and design is obliterated. Art becomes
pragmatic and functional. Jessica Stockholders (b.1959) was featured
in a joint project by the "K21&" Art Collection of Düsseldorf
and Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg. The installation On the Spending
Money Tenderly, on display in Düsseldorf, employs vast multicolour
surfaces, smaller patches of colour, and multiple viewing points that
allow for the diversified perspective and introduce structure into the
chaotic space of exhibition hall. The artist utilizes the principle
of the diversity of the essence of things and reflects on the human
perception of colour and substance.
Of recently, painting has integrated the methods of new media, and in
this new shape is regaining its positions in exhibition venues and art
The American Eric Fischl (b. 1948) expressed his passion for voyeurism
in developing a special project for the Haus Ester, the Krefeld
Museum of Art. He photographed the German actors simulating the former
inhabitants of the Haus Ester and produced a 12-picture cycle,
exploiting the theme of intimate man - woman relationship, the
eroticism, routine and boredom of it, inducing the effect of TV "reality
show&" in his art.
Younger representatives of the new realism manifest a wider and more
incoherent scale of the means of expression.
Daniel Richter (b. 1962), a younger figure of the new realism utilizing
an eclectic set of expressive media, was also represented by the "K21&"
Art Collection in the Gruenspan exhibition. Employing the figurative
principle, he narrates violent and emotive stories, thrilling if not
dramatic, fast changing to produce the effect of flipping through TV
channels, almost devoid of colour culture, message or artistic mastery.
Abstract painting continues to be no less influential than new realism.
Jonathan Lasker (b.1948), of New York, with his synthesis of abstract,
intuitive and accidental, as well as complete reduction of colour, was
also represented by the "K21&" Art Collection of Düsseldorf
Rhine-Westfalen and the Reina Sofia National Centre of Art.
After decades of oblivion, the mural painting is emerging on the artistic
scene with a new prominence. In the form of graffiti or floral, ornamental
patterns, it is exploited by Paul Morrison, Katharina Grosse, Peter
Pettibon, and Richard Wright.