Preview: Tuesday 9 February 2010, 6-8pm
White Cube Mason’s Yard is pleased to announce an exhibition of new work by Franz Ackermann, his third with the gallery. Ackermann will transform the ground-floor gallery with an installation entitled ‘Wait’, while in the lower-level gallery the artist will exhibit a group of interconnected but standalone paintings that continue to explore his themes of borders, travel and globalisation.
The anchoring presence in the installation ‘Wait’ is a large painting titled 'Citizen' that depicts the goggled face of a military pilot. This character, immense and disembodied, seems to watch over the ground-floor gallery, in which the viewer is surrounded by a vertiginous, fragmented environment. Ackermann fills the space with a variety of media and surfaces: a freestanding painting that spins, drawings, video and found objects are all possible focal points that compete for the viewer’s attention. Facing the pilot, a painting that is 5 metres across, its surface composed of architectural fragments, flashes of riotous colour and allusions to Biblical narrative, engulfs the space. While ‘Wait’ offers a space where the viewer can reflect on the instability of signs and symbols in everyday life, the installation also generates a mood of surveillance, as if this visual abundance were simultaneously festive and sinister.
In the centre of the lower-level gallery, Ackermann will install a freestanding, three-dimensional painting flanked by two cube-like structures, with every side of these works completed by drawings of vortexes and patches of vibrant colour. This intervention will break up the space into two parts, with each further demarcated by the dominant cold and warm colour schemes of the paintings that suggest the division of global hemispheres. In the ‘warm’ section, the paintings have façade-like surfaces, with geometric blocks of interlocking colour patterns interrupted by organic forms. The paintings in the ‘cold’ section are more atmospheric, evoking contrasting climates and landscapes with broader colour fields and large swathes of blue that act like glimpses of sky. The divisions and borders in Ackermann’s work are both formal and thematic, alluding to everything from the vast interiors of Tintoretto’s paintings to the generic architecture of global mega-cities and the jagged abstractions of the American painter Stuart Davis. This serves to create a space in which the history of art and our urban environment seem inextricably intertwined.
Franz Ackermann was born in 1963 in Neumarkt St Veit, Germany, and lives and works in Berlin. He has exhibited extensively internationally, including solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Bonn (2009), Kunsthalle St Gallen, Switzerland (2008), Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2005), Kunsthalle Basel (2002), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2002), Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2000) and Portikus Frankfurt am Main (1997).