Kunstverein Arnsberg

Painted Matter

Jeewi Lee, Marco Bruzzone, Sarah Kirsch, aaajiao

22 Sep - 19 Nov 2023

photo credit: Heiner Lieberum
Jeewi Lee, Ashes to Ashes (Purifying), soaps/ash, charcoal, organic oil, photo credit: Heiner Lieberum
Jeewi Lee, Ashes to Ashes (Purifying), soaps/ash, charcoal, organic oil
Field of Fragments /Sandbilder, (Tae-an Bando) 2023, sand and mixed media on canvas 80,4 x 60,7 cm
Field of Fragments /Sandbilder, (Tae-an Bando) 2023, sand and mixed media on canvas 80,4 x 60,7 cm
Marco Bruzzone, Untitled (Glub-Club, Dancing Algae, Bergen Arkitekthøgskole)
acrylic on canvas, Acrylic paint, canvas, algae, barnacles, clams, sediment
264 x 215 cm
installation view, photo credit: Heiner Lieberum
installation view, photo credit: Heiner Lieberum
Sarah Kirsch, Treibgut, 2023, acrylic on canvas, 145 x160cm
Sarah Kirsch, Treibgut, 2023, acrylic on canvas, 145 x160cm
The exhibition at Kunstverein Arnsberg, Painted Matter, explores the medium of painting from a contemporary perspective. Painting has been around since the dawn of mankind and yet it never ceases to dominate the stage.
What is the fascination with the practice of applying paint or pigment to a solid surface? What role does painting play in today's flood of images? And does this way of dealing with the painting surface and colour allow us to address the pressing issues of our time?

We have chosen a fine selection of artists who are pushing the boundaries of what painting can be today and who, through the act of painting, are questioning the changing world, from the effects of climate change to the digital revolution where artificial intelligence is invading our daily activities.
Painting is a way of observing, of revealing the invisible or the cracks of the in-between. It makes the unconscious visible, to the point of a kind of dreaming. It needs its audience as a form of transmitting knowledge.
Does the public still need painting today? In what form?

Jeewi Lee explores the medium of painting through concept and material, through presence and absence. A huge apocalyptic forest fire that she witnessed first-hand in Italy became the starting point for the project Ashes to Ashes (2018). She made soap sculptures from natural oils and particles from the burnt trees of the Tuscan forest.
Ashes, a symbolic, purifying element, and charcoal, a pigment for the soap sculpture.
We are also showing another of Lee's works, Fields of Fragments, a series of sand paintings in which the artist creates monochrome fields of colour gradients from sediments from Dakar to Korea. In the meditative artistic act of painting with sand, Lee also emphasises the nature of the individual grain: each has its own long history, is always in motion and therefore free to cross the borders of states and continents. The finer and rounder a grain, the longer it has been in motion. By contemplating these tiny archives of the world and the constantly shifting ground that grains of sand form, Lee questions the definition of territory, borders and, ultimately, belonging.

Marco Bruzzone collaborates with living ecosystems in his work, allowing for the unpredictability of the outcome. His most recent paintings are the result of a series of "underwater protests",
which took place in the depths of the ocean around Bergen, Norway, among other places. They resemble drawings in the long tradition of protest art, but also refer to the comparatively long history of marine iconography in painting. Above all, however, they literally offer a subdued glimpse of the future - or of what much of today's art might look like in the not-too-distant future: as part of a 'water world'.

The basic mood of Sarah Kirsch's paintings is one of ambivalence: she confronts an ambiguous kind of mirror of the inner world with the outer environment of each person. The origin of her works usually lies in a (personal) memory, a photograph found by chance, an observed scene, an absurdity or simply an interesting surface or a particular light. She gives these fragments space to tell a new story. Her works are poetic, combining an abstract concreteness with a dreamy world of real feelings and everyday surroundings.

aaajiao is the virtual persona of Shanghai and Berlin-based artist Xu Wenkai, who is active online as a media artist, blogger, activist and programmer. Much of aaajiao's work engages with new thinking, controversies and phenomena around the Internet, with specific projects focusing on data processing, the blogosphere and China's Great Firewall. aaajiao's most recent projects expand his practice to include silk printing and digital painting. Aaajiao uses artificial intelligence to create digital paintings, which he complements with hand drawings on canvas and manual screen printing. The works combine ancient cave paintings with Buddhist temples, data centres, wireframes and Chinese landscape paintings.

Tags: Aaajiao, Marco Bruzzone, Sarah Kirsch, Jeewi Lee