until 28.07. | #2011ARTatBerlin | Galerie Brockstedt presents from 27th April 2018 an exhibition with Assemblages, Collages and Objects by the artist Paul Joostens (1889-1960).
Absurd reality – then as now
Objects, Collages and Drawings by Paul Joostens (1889 – 1960)
When in 1917 he exhibited his first abstract collages (made of colored paper because there was no painting utensils during the war) in Antwerp, he was regarded in progressive circles as the hope of the European avant-garde, as a pioneer of abstract art. When he died in Antwerp in 1960, he was almost forgotten. That one is now interested again in Paul Joostens probably depends on the fact that since then Dada has been rediscovered and reassessed. His works were shown in 1966 at the great Dada exhibition in Paris and Zurich. Also at the Berlin Dada exhibition 1977 (“Tendencies of the twenties”) Joostens was represented with collages and objects.
In 2005/06, the Center Pompidou in Paris, the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Museum of Modern Art in New York exhibited six works by Joostens, which can now be seen in this exhibition. The large solo exhibition in Oostende 2014 underlines the international significance of this artist. The Brockstedt Gallery displays a selection of some forty works from the period 1917 to 1958. The works collected here confirm the rank and originality of the Belgian hermit, who renounced early artistic activity and buried himself in his Antwerp studio, in his total solitude would have.
A Dadaist? Certainly, his collages and assemblages are made in the best Dada manner. His early works, in particular, reflect the prevailing currents of art from the dawn of modernism – Cubism and Constructivism, Dadaism and Surrealism. They sometimes seem soul-mates with Kurt Schwitters, the same age boy he never met.
But Joostens distances himself from the noisy excesses of the Dadaists, he has internalized the wild Dada, who runs like a red thread through his work. He has charged him with his own despair, his nihilism and challenges the viewer with his allusive symbolism – no matter whether it is abstract works or collages of representational fragments. Again and again he emotionally captivates us with his very personal statement, brings us into his universe, in which the mystical on the one hand and the eroticism of the feminine on the other hand prevail.
His wooden boxes filled with rubbish and finds in a striking selection radiate a kind of nostalgic intimacy in their earthbound transience – but they are not friendly shrines of remembrance and no aesthetic objects, but mirror images of an absurd reality.
Text: Barbara Brockstedt, April 2018
Vernissage: Friday, 27th April 2018, 06:00 – 09:00 p.m.
Exhibition period: Friday, 27th April to Saturday, 28th July 2018Zur Galerie Brockstedt
Exhibition Paul Joostens -Galerie Brockstedt | Opening Berlin | Contemporary Art | Zeitgenössische Kunst | Exhibitions Berlin | Kunst in Berlin | Galleries Berlin – ART at Berlin