In Between Views
Urban Zellweger In Between Views 17.09.–24.10.2020
Opening: Thursday, 17.09., 10am – 9pm
Oskar Weiss and Oliver Falk are delighted to present Urban Zellweger In Between Views on the occasion of the Kunsttage Basel. This is Urban‘s second solo exhibition at the gallery – accompanied by the re-launch of his 2018 artist book Grass Glue, published by Hacienda Books.
In Between Views shows everyday and mundane objects. Recurring motifs such as chairs and curtains, trees and window facades, all emerge. The human body remains absent, even if one is permitted to look through its surroundings. The pictorial world seems to both tackle the view of, as well as the veiling of domestic space.
How much to reveal, how much to keep for oneself?
This inevitable question, which arises not least in every artistic production, Zellweger negotiates in distinctive ways, through the formal visual language and motifs used in his work:
Our visual access to facades is limited, since trees restrict the view. If we, nevertheless, catch a glimpse of the windows, the interiors remain unexposed in a persistently opaque cuboid. The curtains too, present in both the paintings and the exhibition space itself, are ordinarily used (in everyday life) for providing visual protection. What is notable however is that from a formal point of view, the individual motifs always remain recognizable. Drawing on the overall inviting images, it seems as though Zellweger wants the viewer to participate in the process of image production.
O O O O The painting In Between Views I opens up something worth protecting, something private in a completely different way:
In addition, a small thought experiment: Assuming that one thing about an artistic practice could be found in an individual aesthetic expression, one way to achieve this would be through abstraction. Directing the conventional form of an object into something particular, can mean creating one’s own shapes, colours and gestures, and occupying it with something personal. The result no longer refers to a visual reality, but to the intimate „translated“ representation of it. In the painting In Between Views I of the current exhibition, Zellweger reverses this play by starting off from the „abstracted personal“ and taking it as the figurative: While in a previous series at Weiss Falk he used a grid (which in that context served more as a structure than a surface), here, as a potential way out of the two-dimensional sphere, one gets the impression he goes even further – by questioning the structure itself. A „structure” builds up a precondition for any expression, or in other words: as we communicate through a symbolic system, every statement or figure is preceded by a (personal) translation. For In Between Views I Zellweger starts off by painting a spontaneous, uncontrolled and expressive subterranean skeleton that later flickers through the foreground. This skeleton can be seen as an analogy for something, we find in literary theory under the name „Genotext“, which is not reducible to the linguistic system; it remains invisible but is decisive for the latter emergence of a concrete text. So even though the grounding brushstrokes in this particular painting are not linear, Zellweger paints them as a structure, a very raw expression that forms a base for the latter figurative painting. Where thus is the moment or location of the private/personal/intimate? Is there not a fallacy here? Would not the personal lay in the translation or shall we say, the conversion forming the first spark into expression, be it figurative or abstract? All individual constitutions - with their very own imagination and desires - mark starting points for subsequent translation into something symbolic. Therewith opening an access to the personal in terms of taking more decisions in the process of translation towards the concrete, conventional, versus the raw, unfiltered. This allows us to ask what remains opaque, what becomes visible and if abstraction is really the key to the personal or if it may not be the other way around? Not least it should provoke us to question our (automated) viewing habits and openness towards something supposedly (un)familiar. O O O O
The dancing chairs in When toes touch under the table bring to light an interest in questioning the abstract – and do so by means of the self-conception purposes of every day mundane objects assigned by humans, rather than by means of using an illegible idiosynchratic painterly language. This gives the pieces a necessary characteristic for collective negotiation.
That domestic sphere remains private becomes clear again in In the Dark, as we enter the only canvas showing interior space. Literally in the dark we may distinguish the contours of a painting on the wall. The expected individual artistic expression is missing; the canvas stays empty or maybe just open for our own imagination.
The pizzaboxes… yeah the pizzaboxes are a whole other topic…