Art Cologne 18. - 22. April 2012 Booth E021
Johannes Wohnseifer Cold War Paintings
Galleri K is pleased to announce a further solo presentation at Art Cologne.
After having shown Darren Almond, Candida Höfer and Till Gerhard in the past we are happy to exhibit Cologne based artist Johannes Wohnseifer this year.
Johannes Wohnseifer makes use of the existing wall module system of the fair and designed a special booth shaped after a large letter 'K'.
Referring to his first solo exhibition at Galleri K, Oslo in 2006 where he showed The K-collection and an eponymous artist book published in collaboration with Miami based graphic designer Richard Massey the 'K' is now connected to the German term 'Kalter Krieg' meaning cold war.
For the booth he produced a new series of paintings entitled Cold War Paintings.
The complete group of works comprises eight paintings which are all on view at the fair. With these new paintings Wohnseifer continues his reflection on the conflict of the Cold War-era and its effects on painting during that time.
The western world favored and as we know since a while also massively propagandized abstract painting. Frances Stonor Saunders has presented this matter of public record in her well documented book, The Cultural Cold War - The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters. Saunders informs us that during the height of the Cold War in the 1950’s, the CIA secretly promoted abstract expressionism as a means of discrediting the socialist realism of the Soviet Union.
The doctrine in the communist countries was a social realistic painting style and abstract art was considered as bourgeois and reactionary. This tension which appears as a general struggle between nonrepresentational and realistic artworks is thematised in the new works.
All of the portraits are showing the R'n'B singer Rihanna one of the most successful recording artists of our times. She was hardly born when the Cold War era ended in the beginning of the 1990's but Johannes Wohnseifer summarizes the cold war history with most contemporary means. Rihanna is depicted in constructivist and collaged matrix dots patterns which only appear realistic when seen from a distance. The closer one gets to the work the more abstract it becomes.
Another uniting element of this series is the grid structure known from minimalism which are also evoking topographic maps. Many details of the paintings can be traced back to art, design, pop culture and atmospheric phenomena of the Cold War Era. Johannes Wohnseifer's paintings combine the readings of abstraction and realism and synthesize their conflict in an painterly essay.
Johannes Wohnseifer lives and works in Cologne. In the recent past Wohnseifer's work has been shawn at Casey Kaplan, New York, Almine Rech, Brussels and Simultanhalle Cologne. At present he has a solo exhibition at Linn Lühn in Düsseldorf and a solo show coming up at Johann König, Berlin this Summer.
He exhibits regularly at Galerie Capitain, Cologne.
Forthcoming book projects include the release of the books Teile and Canon, both published by Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Köln later this year.