06 July – 03 October 2010

Painting and Concept

Julian Opie, Monique, housewife businesswoman, 10, 2004
Dialogues – this is the form of presentation at the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein. For this purpose, the works of art are again and again arranged in new combinations with each other. Pleasure in the dialogue stands in the foreground.

Since the early 20th century, artists have increasingly exploited painting as a means of visualizing conceptual ideas. Hard-Edge painters like the Americans Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko around 1950, the affichistes Raimond Hains and Jacques de la Villeglé, and such single artists as Lucio Fontana and Yves Klein are among those who radically changed the understanding of painting, on one hand questioning its premises and on the other seeking to establish a fruitful relationship between intellectual models and painterly practice.

David Reed was one of the first to explore the mutual impact of painting and the media of film and television, particularly in terms of the translucence of moving images. The British artist Julian Opie, whose work makes unabashed reference to pop art, and Fabian Marcaccio are also representatives of this tradition. Marcaccio, born in Argentina and based in New York, gives the basics of painting – canvas, paint, frame, plane and space – a radically new and contemporary turn, viewing them in the light of a civilization in decline that defines the picture as the unity of all these means. He uses the single components as instruments with which to point out the inherently ideological trajectory of images. The visually expressive nature of his paintings substantially reinforces these controversial concerns. In contrast, Rütjer Rühle and Jean-Michel Basquiat would seem to espouse the immediacy of emotions and expression. Even so, a closer look reveals an unmistakably conceptual approach: Rühle bases his work on a standardized formal canon and Basquiat’s rudimentary style as a draftsman subtly attributes subjective values to the Pop art that his drawings evoke.