4ever Young: International Group Exhibition of Paintings
Oct 23 – Nov 25, 2003
Nigel Cooke, Martin Eder, Nicole Eisenman, Tim Eitel, Chris Johanson, Kirsty Mosher, Alessandro Raho, Wilhelm Sasnal, Thomas Scheibitz, Dirk Skreber, Paul Winstanley, and Clare Woods
Given the generational profile of the show, it is logical that the artists continue with the traditional and divergent themes of desertion, love, indulgence and celebration and that key themes and motifs recur here, yet each painter retains a distinct individuality. Stylistically the works on view range from gestural to hard-edge, from the fantastic to the documentary, from the comic-like to old-masterly. The pluralism is itself significant for the art of our time, but it also underscores the unexhausted resources of the figurative mode. Each painting is an accumulation and fragmentation of viewpoints. The subject of some of the works come from banal daily representations: postcards, snapshots, posters, magazines, and direct impressions. They are pasted together with the outdated gesture of heroic painting, but tainted with the aftertastes of small defeats. “Forever Young“ is filled with fragmented narratives, with improbable juxtapositions, with nostalgia for childhood and adolescence, a yearning for integrity.
This exhibition allows for an investigation into the dichotomies of figure and ground – abstraction and figuration – form and formlessness. The subject matters diverse from painter to painter, so does the formal composition of their works. But the expressionistic technique in some of the cases and the narrative content in others try to bridge the gap between an abstract and realistic vision. While not detached from the canvas like Gerhard Richter or fully immersed in it like the German Neo- Expressionists of the 1980s, these young artists maintain a safe distance from their subjects to achieve simultaneously an analytical attitude and a compassionate disposition. The painting as a final product is, for these artists, simply an occasion to understand better their own position in the world.