IZO Russian art &c
|Evgeni Dybsky, Tim Head, Chris Le Brun, Ian McKeever, Mimmo Paladino, Julian Schnabel, Andrew Stahl
Painting of the 80s
23.09 - 10.10.2009
Tuesday to Saturday, 11.00-18.00
The exhibition Painting of the 80s in the Matthew Bown Gallery Berlin from 23 September to 10 October draws together some of the most interesting artists working at that time in the UK, USA, Italy and the Soviet Union, among them Evgeni Dybsky, Tim Head, Chris Le Brun, Ian McKeever, Mimmo Paladino, Julian Schnabel and Andrew Stahl.
The revival of interest in painting in the twenty-first century suggests we take a fresh look at the new painting of the 80s. This movement went under several names: in Germany it was known under the rubric of the "Neuen Wilden" and elsewhere as Neo-Expressionism, New Image Painting or Transavantgarde.
Two works by Julian Schnabel represent different aspects of the artist who perhaps more than any other characterised the spirit of the decade. Alexander Pope (1983) is a large stitched canvas that has been drenched with paint and dripped with varnish: out of the abstract forms created Schnabel has teased out recognisable images. Brooke Larson, a portrait of Schnabel's 1980s studio-assistant, is a classic work in which a portrait is imposed on a ground of shattered pottery.
Mimmo Paladino was a central figure in the Italian critic Achille Bonito Oliva's concept of the Transavantgarde (Transavanguardia). Paladino's L'Isola translates the idea of a geographical land-mass, seen from above, into some kind of human or animal forms. The materials used - seemingly raw pigment and papier-mache make clear the debt of the Transavantgarde to Arte Povera.
In the UK, Chris Le Brun's exploration of classical subjects and Ian McKeever's images of landscape were central to the New Painting of the 80s. In Andrew Stahl's painting, personal and established mythologies co-exist in a way that is highly characteristic of the period. In Russia, Evgeni Dybsky was a stand-alone painterly painter in an alternative art-world that emphasised conceptual art. Nuclear Velvet, a canvas by the British artist Tim Head who represented Britain at the Venice Biennale in 1980, is not an expressionist canvas per se, but it destroys the unity of the canvas in a way that echoes the random fragmentation of Schnabel's broken plates.