Magazine article Artforum International

Adrian Schiess

Magazine article Artforum International

Adrian Schiess

Article excerpt

GALERIE ROLF RICKE

Strangely, this exhibition immediately piqued my interest though the works on the walls--in a visual sense--were paltry. Hung at about the same height, there were almost abstract, gestural watercolor-formations painted on torn pieces of paper pasted directly on the wall. They were without content, divorced from the space, requiring neither meditation nor close inspection. The whole show was nailed to nothing, fastened to nothing. And it doesn't help to say these paintings refuse to represent the concrete or the explicable. In fact, Schiess uses the simplest methods, but they create what one could call an extreme sensitivity that is stated directly and without heavy didacticism. Schiess converts "unpainting," "undrawing," "unwall-drawing" "uninstallation" with a stroke of the hand into their opposite through his use of a style that lies somewhere in between. Schiess claims that he is concerned with painting as a joyful activity, but most of his works are not even initially recognizable as paintings. Painting is the central reference, and in earlier exhibitions Schiess filled rooms with pieces of wood painted in monochrome colors. Formally, these wood pieces parallel the water-colors in that they too had roughly broken ends. But in the watercolors Schiess paints gesturally. Coupled with his statement about the joyful activity of painting, both sets of work have an obsessive, open effect, and both use paintings as a metareference.

The viewer entered the gallery and submitted himself to this effect. …

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