post-title Machines‘ Trophies | Thomas Helbig | Guido W. Baudach | 14.01.-25.02.2023

Machines‘ Trophies | Thomas Helbig | Guido W. Baudach | 14.01.-25.02.2023

Machines‘ Trophies | Thomas Helbig | Guido W. Baudach | 14.01.-25.02.2023

Machines‘ Trophies | Thomas Helbig  | Guido W. Baudach | 14.01.-25.02.2023

until 25.02. | #3770ARTatBerlin | Galerie Guido W. Baudach presents from 14 January 2023the exhibition Machines’ Trophies by artist Thomas Helbig.

“Historians and sociologists inform us that the mystical heritage of the West (…) has been shattered on the scientific shores of the modern age. According to this view, technology has helped to disenchant the world and replace the time-honoured symbolic networks of the past with the factually secular rules of the game of economic development, sceptical enquiry and material progress.

ART at Berlin - courtesy of Guido W. Baudach 2 - Thomas HelbigCourtesy the artist & Galerie Guido W. Baudach, Berlin, Foto/Photo: Roman März

But the old phantasms and metaphysical longings have by no means disappeared completely. In many cases, they have merely donned disguises and sought their way underground, creeping into the cultural, psychological and mythical motivations that form the foundations of the modern world.” Eric Davis, Techgnosis Guido W. Baudach Gallery is pleased to present Thomas Helbig’s ninth solo exhibition with the gallery at the beginning of 2023. Entitled Machines’ Trophies, the Berlin-based artist will be showing new paintings and wall objects. The exhibition makes clear what a remarkable development Helbig’s multidisciplinary practice has once again taken in recent times.

ART at Berlin - courtesy of Guido W. Baudach 3 - Thomas Helbig-minCourtesy the artist & Galerie Guido W. Baudach, Berlin Foto/Photo: Roman März

His sculptural work, for example, is still characterised by a highly distinctive formal language and continues to be based on assemblages of deliberately produced fragments of selected found objects, which only acquire their uniform appearance by being painted over over the entire surface. But while up to now it was mostly kitschy decorative figures that Thomas Helbig deconstructed into fragments in order to create completely different appearances with the help of foam glue and spray paint, now components of mechanical and technical equipment are increasingly used. The new materiality lends the works a decidedly technological dimension and at the same time expands their context. If the sculptures previously often seemed like fossilised metamorphoses of strange-grotesque entities, craggy hybrids between human and animal, they now appear as animistic transformations of modern industrial design or, as it were, as totems for AIs. Criticism of technology and consumerism are not negotiated here. Rather, in Helbig’s wall objects, the promises of the fetish of progress, as inherent in the futuristic design of the machine parts processed in them, merge with the aura of quasi-religious transcendence, which is fed by their similarity to ritual artefacts of the most diverse origins; An amalgam effect that functions not least by activating the viewer’s cultural image memory, and which is further enhanced by the pointed incorporation of certain elements from Helbig’s rich fund of set pieces of cheap deco kitsch, such as the baroque-looking little hand of a putto figure. The sculptures oscillate constantly between figuration and abstraction.

ART at Berlin - courtesy of Guido W. Baudach 4 - Thomas HelbigCourtesy the artist & Galerie Guido W. Baudach, Berlin Foto/Photo: Roman März, Gerät, 2022 Öl auf Leinwand / Oil on canvas 160 x 100 cm Unikat / Unique

The same applies to Helbig’s new paintings, in which individual representational pictorial elements also appear without these concrete details significantly affecting the indeterminacy of the whole. There is something mysterious about these paintings. Very soft, almost buttery, rich in contrast and full of the finest nuances, they are painted in oil on canvas. Dark, amorphous bodies in the centre, appearing like holes in a light cloudy sky, dominate the scenery. Their hovering evokes a strangely frozen dynamic, a comatose standstill of the moment, which, however, seems to be able to suddenly start moving again at any time. One is reminded of certain tendencies of Abstract Expressionism, but also of Rococo painting. At the same time, these paintings, just like Helbig’s sculptures, are surrounded by a playful distance to their manifold references and their promises. Behind this is an artistic attitude that is familiar not least from some positions of Surrealism.

ART at Berlin - courtesy of Guido W. Baudach 5 - Thomas Helbig-min

Courtesy the artist & Galerie Guido W. Baudach, Berlin Foto/Photo: Roman März, Shamans Know Nothing, 2022 Verschiedene Materialien / Mixed media 114 x 16 x 19 cm Unikat / Unique

In this respect, the paintings and wall objects on display also have something of a backdrop. As if they had been taken from the set of a fantasy film, a vision of the future that bears traits of bygone eras. There they could belong to the furnishings of a temple dedicated to a cult that humans, replicants or other intelligent life forms possibly even cultivate together. In any case, the works have a sacred, magical-energetic feel. And it doesn’t matter how serious they ultimately are: In their transformative presence, the new sculptures and paintings by Thomas Helbig seem literally magical.

ART at Berlin - courtesy of Guido W. Baudach - Thomas HelbigCourtesy the artist & Galerie Guido W. Baudach, Berlin Foto/Photo: Roman März, Faun, 2023 Verschiedene Materialien / Mixed media 90 x 50 x 30 cm Unikat / Unique

Thomas Helbig was born in Rosenheim in 1967. He studied at the Munich Art Academy and at Goldsmith College in London. Helbig has lived and worked in Berlin since the late 1990s. His work has been shown in numerous important exhibitions at home and abroad. He is represented internationally in various important private and institutional collections. Currently, his sculpture Maschine, created in 2004, can be seen as part of a new presentation of the Modern Art Collection of the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen under the title Mix& Match at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich.

Vernissage: Saturday 14 January 6:00

Exhibition dates: Saturday, 14 January – Saturday, 25 February 2023

To the Gallery

 

 

Caption Title: Courtesy the artist & Galerie Guido W. Baudach, Berlin Foto/Photo: Roman März

Exhibition Thomas Helbig – Galerie Guido W. Baudach | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Ausstellungen Berlin Galerien | ART at Berlin

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