bis (to follow) | #3485ARTatBerlin | Semjon Contemporary presents from 10. June 2022 the exhibition Kleiner Rückblick by the artist Klaus Steinmann.
The artist has long since said goodbye to the geometric austerity of his earlier, often large-format works. Concrete art, which from the 1950s to the late 1980s underwent bitter disputes over direction and was not unimportant for the artist, but also not the ultimate, had to open up over the decades.
For Klaus Steinmann, however, American colour field painting and Minimal Art were also important.
The current solo exhibition by Klaus Steinmann brings together examples from the early 1970s to the 1990s in combination with his small-format work in the new millennium up to the studio-fresh production.
A large and powerful painting outshines the entire exhibition space through its reduction into red, white and blue stripes, which are staggered next to each other as broad lines following a right angle. The centre line of the unusual and large triangular format (height 173 cm, width 202 cm) is also the mirror axis. The artist recently aptly named the work Tricolore, which has been untitled for decades. However, it is also at least the colours of the national flags of Great Britain and the USA. The temporal distance makes it possible, which, for better or for worse, allows a new fresh (and strict) look at the same time. With the consequence that what was previously less appreciated suddenly takes on a new quality, that one as the creator suddenly (re)understands and appreciates it, but also, conversely, that the previous ‘gods’ can be knocked off their thrones.
In recent years, the artist has concentrated mainly on smaller formats. This enables him to occupy himself daily in his studio flat in Berlin or in Walsrode with the recurring themes of geometry, the basic forms of the rectangle and triangle as well as the circle. And he does this in the field of tension of his experience from the high times of Concrete Art and the overcoming of its strict regularity. With a twinkle in his eye, he counteracts this strict spirit in order to grow further, to explore new possibilities and their limits.
By sawing open the small-format plywood panel, following the silhouette of the painted forms, he deliberately allows them to tilt forward from the plane of the canvas and its counterpart, the other half, to sink into the depths. This creates an intriguing conundrum of front and back and allows a further, added actor in his painting, the shadow, to break up the strict geometry of the painted forms, to breathe a delicate modulation into them.
The paintings thus take on the haptics so typical of Steinmann from the painting material, the colour and the relief-like structures.
It is time for Klaus Steinmann’s work to be renegotiated on the art market, after a long hiatus caused by the closure of the Walzinger Gallery in Saarlouis, which had represented him for many years, brought a severe slump in reception, which only began to turn around tentatively in 2016 thanks to the mediation of his long-time colleague and friend Ursula Sax. The Encounter exhibition together with Colin Ardley in my rooms in 2016 and the solo exhibition Bildtafel – Tafelbild in 2019 were able to stop the reception vacuum. However, there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of mediation. The oeuvre, on the other hand, is substantial, although many of the large formats were destroyed by the artist himself for reasons of space.
Semyon H. N. Semyon, June 2022
Opening: Friday, 10. June 2022, 7:00 – 9:30 pm
Exhibition dates: Friday, 10. June to Saturday, 16. July 2022To the Gallery
Image caption title: Foto Semjon + Jürgen Baumann
Exhibition Klaus Steinmann – Semjon Contemporary | Zeitgenössische Kunst – Contemporary Art – Exhibitions Berlin Galleries – ART at Berlin