Galerie Richard

Sven-Ole FRAHM - Stefan HOENERLOH - Short History of the Modernist Painting

Press release

Galerie Richard in New York is pleased to present “Short History of the Modernist Painting”, a duo show by Sven-Ole Frahm and Stefan Hoenerloh from March 17 to April 30, 2017. This is Stefan Hoenerloh’s first show in Galerie Richard in New York. This show delves into the theory of Post-Modernist artistic expression, something that Hoenerloh has closely identified with throughout his career with his depictions of fallen utopian societies and worn out, weary buildings they leave behind. Sven-Ole Frahm deconceptualizes Suprematism, Constructivism, the Bauhaus Movement the same way as Stefan Hoenerloh for Figurative painting.

Sven-Ole Frahm’s exhibition is only composed of medium and small sized paintings made as a patchwork of some geometrically shaped sewed canvases with the natural beige color of the raw linen, some white paint, some geometrical sewed wood panels filling sewed canvas pockets. By cutting painted canvases and sewing them together, the artist develops a new role for the canvas by using the material itself to replace the pictorial paint gesture.

The composition respects all standards of pure geometry, although the sewed process involved and the three dimensional wood panels does not allow him to promise perfection. The wood panels can appear for almost half of their length or can be completely covered and appear as three dimensional additions on the canvas. There is a sense of playfulness in his creations which surprisingly does not contradict a sense of perfect balance in the compositions and arrangement of colors. He invites the viewer to fill the sensuality of raw materials and techniques as well as the post- modernist revisit of Art History, in particular in Central Europe in the XX century.

The first important aspect to the style of Hoenerloh is his adherence to the qualities of photorealism. By painting images of buildings in this style, he is able to comment on the real life symbols that architecture represents for society. For man, architecture is often an indication of status, a mark of his achievements in life. However, in these barren, photo-realistic cityscapes, the viewer is made to see the humor in this idea of architecture as a status symbol. The wear and tear that his buildings show also give the viewer a sense of how long they have been around. Along with the age of the buildings comes a sense of dignity from the notion that they have been around much longer than we have and will continue to outlast us after we are gone. This idea further reinforces how small we are in the grand scheme of the world. Architectural ruins have been the visual way by painters to represent the passage of time.

Perhaps even more important than photorealism is the fact that these spaces come from the imagination of the artist. His imagination gives these spaces a ghost-like luminosity, gradualness of color, and those small greens grow out of these architectures, Hoenerloh truly impressed that they were once inhabited by humans and is now just the remnants of a society that is long gone. These unidentified, meticulously detailed areas, dramatic shadows cast on these buildings and the variegated surface speak of what can be to come of us and therefore have a personal and haunting effect on every viewer. Stefan Hoenerloh shows a developed civilization now in ruins and virtually no longer in existence. Through this process, he makes us aware of the arrogance of man and the side effects of wanting too much, while providing a way to be masters of our own destiny.

Sven-Ole Frahm (b.1972) lives and works in Berlin, Germany.  He graduated from the Art Academy in Dusseldorf in 2001. Frahm has won the prestigious German prize for painting, the ‘Bergischer Kunstpreis’ at Solingen Art Museum in 2006. He took part in the exhibition Compilation III at the Kunsthalle in Düsseldorf in 2007. His work has been exhibited in galleries throughout Europe including Paris, Berlin, Düsseldorf, New York, Amsterdam.

Born in 1960 in Karlsruhe, Stefan Hoenerloh has had exhibitions in both Europe and the United States. Last year he participated in the London Art Fair and Art Madrid. He also had two solo exhibitions in Milan and Karlsruhe.


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