The title of Christine Streuli’s new solo show, NightShadowPlants, can be seen as cryptic and mysterious, but in fact the artist looks at the medicinal and spiritual importance of this plant family. The plants are commonly used for traditional healing and mysticism due to their high content of alkaloids and steroids. The work addresses the use of their hallucinogenic and extended reality properties during pivotal times of stress or exhaustion. By depicting these psychedelic flowers on large format canvases in an explosion of forms and colors, the artist further bends the boundaries of reality.
The works are inspired by Andy Warhol’s 1964 Flowers series. Streuli often appropriates these plant motifs, along with pop art or advertising aesthetics, only to reconsider and develop them in her paintings. Recognizable forms, compositions, and motifs are emulated by the precise application of color, while a tension between figuration and abstraction within the layers of paint and patterns is created. This perplexed reality is further emphasized in her new works. The artist releases the work from strict composition constraints allowing more space for the paint to splatter and spill, and the surface of the canvas becomes conceptually extended.
The new works will be combined with the Warpaintings series, with works inspired by the camouflage patterns. The forms of these military patterns, directly transferred to canvas, lose their earth tones and military appeal to luminous, radiant colors, transforming militant utilitarianism into abstract-expressive painting. Behind the formal color facades, the images suggest the artist's inner struggle with art, a worn-out battle between colors and canvas.
Christine Streuli, born in Switzerland in 1975, lives and works in Berlin. She completed her studies at the University of Design in Zurich and at the University of the Arts in Berlin, where she now teaches as a visiting professor. In the spring of 2017, the artist was awarded the Fred-Thieler Prize of the Berlinische Galerie. Her works have been exhibited in the Haus am Waldsee in Berlin, the Kunsthalle Zürich, the Kunstmuseum Luzern and other renowned institutions in the past few years. In 2007, she represented the Swiss Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
Stanislaw Lem describes in his book Solaris from 1961 the strange, correspondent planet, which escapes the understanding of mankind. This masterpiece of science-fiction literature, the story of a world based solely on the author's fiction, has already been filmed several times, adapted for the stage, and has inspired numerous artists. Also stimulated by Solaris, Moritz Altmann explores in his new works the subject of the incomprehensible, the unprecedented, whose representation appears to him comparable to the search for the image of gods. Without clarity about their existence and appearance, their own remembrance material, the possibilities of what is imaginable, are accessed, and so it is not surprising that most gods visually correspond to the physiognomic tradition of humans.
With the approach to form the fiction, Moritz Altmann works with plasticine, intuitively and with both hands at the same time. The symmetrical modeling defines the finished objects and makes them associative: from organic structures to masks and faces, much is recognizable in the many-color ceramics. Ultimately, the incomprehensible ends in an almost archaic form and its visualization remains captured within the own remembrance material.
While the Symmetriaden, so the title of the series described above, try to create a form which has not yet been comprehended, the work of the series Fragments retain the moments of deconstruction. The initial forms, which are a kind of tube systems or even lattice patterns, are modified and transformed in the artistic process into seemingly organic forms as well as objects which are attributed to a rather technoid aesthetic.The self-evident nature of the execution of both works points to the familiar relationship between the artist and the medium and the material. At the beginning of his artistic career, the new works of Moritz Altmann unfold in a more abstract direction, which will be presented in the current exhibition.
Moritz Altmann, born in Marburg in 1975, lives and works in Munich. He studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and at the College of Fine Arts in Hamburg. In 2010, he received the price Neue Kunst in Hamburg. In recent years, his works have been shown at the Herbert-Gerisch-Stiftung in Münster, in the Agathenburg Palace, and in the Museum of Fine Arts in Leipzig.