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"PHOTOME", 2015

17.04. -  27.06. 2015
With his sculptures and, above all, with his paper folds, Simon Schubert has meanwhile assured himself a firm place in the young contemporary art scene. He has dedicated the current installation to his keen interest in the Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864-1916), who became one of the most well-known painters of his time with his atmospheric canvases of deserted interiors. On the occasion of Hammershøi’s rediscovery at Hamburg’s retrospective in 2003, the curator Felix Krämer wrote: “As though in an ongoing interior monologue [Hammershøi], with a few muted colors and great geometric severity, depicts his sparsely furnished rooms.” This sentence could just as well serve as a description
of Simon Schubert’s work.
 
On the gallery’s upper floor, Schubert has designed a lordly room whose walls are made of paper, furnished with folded paneling and mouldings. The panes in the latticed windows are overlaid with paper and the floor is of varnished wood, producing a completely white room. On the main wall he has arranged a voluminous ensemble of folded paper whose motifs, mounted on folded frames of paper, seem to be reminiscences of Hammershøi’s paintings. The major theme of these new works is the angle of incidental sunlight that throws a geometric pattern on and into the rooms. It is magical the way these planes of light have a brighter/whiter effect than the blank paper. Moreover, Schubert then proceeds serially: he evokes sequences of spatial situations in which the trajectory of the sunlight is reproduced. Thus the aspect of time enters the work. Light and time are not only the motifs, but are at the same time the factors that make Schubert's folds visibly apparent. Without light, their subtly molded surfaces with the many, minimally raised edges, creases and crinkles would be imperceptible and merely white sheets of paper.
Likewise within the paper installation, new sculptural works are on view:  they too take up the theme of time, as well as the formula of chemical elements that constitute a human body. Exhibited in a table display case, however, they simultaneously form an alchemist’s self-portrait of the artist. Similarly enigmatic is the white polyhedron cast of Dürer’s Melencolia. Both objects inspirit the room in a disconcerting and mysterious way. Schubert continues to extend this "imaginary" house, which grows a further limb as it goes from exhibition to exhibition.

On the ground floor the gallery is showing a new monumental graphite drawing by Simon Schubert, a technique that he has been developing for the past two years: for which the artist rubs graphite powder into large-scale sheets of white paper before he then, by removing and gently erasing the dark gray color, allows spots of brightness and light to emerge. These works are quasi a counterweight to the paper folds that, contrarily, do without any kind of drawing medium. Up to now, the graphite works have been dedicated to illustrating fire and flames: in 2013 he devised a series inspired by the film Last Year in Marienbad. The latest graphite drawing now on exhibit shows the fireball of the sun with its surface eruptions against the utter darkness of outer space. Almost 5 meters long, it is the largest work that Schubert has produced in this technique.

Born in 1976, the artist lives and works in Cologne. Participation in current exhibitions: “Walk the Line. Neue Wege der Zeichnung”, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, April to August 2015.
In conjunction with its exhibition, the gallery is issuing the monograph »SIMON SCHUBERT, Grafit« from the publishing house of STRZELECKIBOOKS (Price: € 36, de/en)

 

Press Release, Van der Grinten Galerie, 2015

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