Loredana Sperini | Martin Disler

30 Aug - 27 Sep 2014

Martin Disler
Untitled, 1983
Acrylic on canvas
200 x 180 cm
Loredana Sperini
Untitled, 2014
Wax, cement
30 x 21 x 4,5 cm
30 August - 27 September 2014

We are pleased to announce „Il cielo in una stanza“- the second solo exhibition of Loredana Sperini in our new exhibitions space, and are also very honored to present for the first time works by Swiss painter Martin Disler (*1949- 1996) in the context of the gallery.

The Italian chanson „Il cielo in una stanza“ („The sky in a room“) from 1960 describes the momentariness of an intense encounter of two people, which only lasts a few moments and yet in these signifies the whole world. The atmosphere Loredana Sperini evokes with her works could be described quite similarly existential and at the same time extensive.

The body on the verge of an entirely immaterial state- a body that is understood in its dissolution and yet reverberates its surrounding space is a recurring motif in Sperini‘s work. Body fragments relating to sensual experience- mouths, ears, eyes but also hands and their skin- penetrate surfaces and extrude from spacial figures or disappear completely in them, while the space as a structure of surfaces and angles dominates yet other works. Their coloring varies from lurid and almost aggressive tones to sometimes diffuse and shimmering effects and into entire darkness.

The impression of a world removed and yet full of inner tension is further enhanced by the use of material with very different tactile qualities all at the same time. Sperini has extended once more her formal vocabulary also with these latest groups of works- using not only concrete and wax that are known materials in her oeuvre, but also ceramics and bronze and hence continues to explore her interest in traditional materials and their application within the field of sculpture.

An idiosyncratic pairing of almost outmoded, half forgotten techniques with a contemporary iconography has distinguished Sperini‘s oeuvre from an early stage on. Examples are manual embroidery or the use of (found and damaged) bibelot but of course also encaustic- the painting with hot wax, which had founds its use long before oil painting in antiquity and of which the artists at the time believed would materialize and anneal their own thoughts into the surfaces through the mixing of pigments with wax heated over the fire.

Such an idea of transference of the human spiritual world through material onto inorganic entities seems an accurate description also for Sperinis‘s work. Despite the symbolic charging of the applied forms suggesting a world of sublimation, the power of her works seems to be achieved much more through her own, physically exhausting handling of a multitude of materials, which lets the artist herself insolubly tangle back and forth between painstaking control and inevitable coincidence.

Such working processes are tedious and technically challenging and in which every step has to be proved and tested as the smallest detail decides over failure of success.

Especially in her latest works though, the repetition of a form also represents a central element as it displays both working processes as well an abstract formal language that is less concerned with individual subjective moments.

Themes as the body and sexuality but also its vulnerability and caducity become really only truly graspable through this literal friction of materials. Never reduced to easy effects of beauty, drama or illustration, Sperini‘s works persist in an occasionally grotesque state of transcience and at the same time heavy physicalness, full of contradictions and fervor.

Referring to some similar themes as Loredana Sperini today, even roughly 30 years after their creation (1983- 1989), Martin Disler‘s works in our second exhibition space are compellingly existential in their intensity. The movement of the artist over and on top of his canvases are almost intimately sensible in his three large formats and in comparison to Sperini are extraordinarily large, fast and fierce gestures of excessive dynamics and tension.

A maelstrom of colors and movements that partly manifest in intertwined extremities capture the body, the painter himself and with him the viewers. Although the three exhibited works are untitled , they propose to be read in the correlation of Disler‘s recurring topics that understood the body always in relation to eroticism but also violence. Many works- such as „Opening of a mass grave“ (1982), „Garden of lust“ („Garten der Lüste“, 1986) or the series of works „Theater of surviving“ („Theater des Überlebens“ from 1989) refer directly into one direction or the other, or also take up the topic of physical dissolution through drug addition or illness, especially Aids.

Almost physically wanting to transfer their urgency onto the viewer is what all works seem to have in common; they are relentless and challenging and make the paintings nearly a holistic experience allowing hardly any distance.

Participations at the Venice Biennale, Documenta and -among many other venues- solo exhibitions at Kunsthalle Basel, Musée d‘Art Moderne Paris or Marian Goodman in New York made Martin Disler an absolute international star of painting in the mid 1980s, even though he was mistakingly perceived as part of the German movement Junge Wilde. However towards the end of his career, he also experienced the mercilessness of the art market, when the hype around this group had waned.

It is his comprehensive, uncompromising claim to himself and his work which demanded all of his physical and mental attention that makes Disler so important also for today‘s generations of artists. A practice which, apart from his large canvases so appreciated by the art market, included countless works on papers, print works, prose and poetry. Even though the three exhibited works are only fragments of an oeuvre and life much larger, they however permit an impression of the intensity of Disler‘s legacy and through that also draws another bow to Loredana Sperini. They represent a anachronistic archetype of art and artist that develop their force far aways from the conditions and strategies of today‘s art world and only from an existential, austerulous confrontation with personal topics and the intimacy of the studio.

Tags: Martin Disler, Loredana Sperini