„The Happy Fainting of Painting #2”
curated by_Hans Jürgen Hafner & Gunter Reski
KünstlerInnen / Artists:
Art & Language, Olga Balema, Josef Bauer, Tim Berresheim, Lutz Braun, Sabeth Buchmann & Hong Zeiss, HC Dany, Helmut Draxler, Heinrich Dunst, Christian Egger, Fabian Ginsberg, Ellen Gronemeyer, Hans-Jürgen Hafner, Rosa Hausleithner, Stefan Hayn, Christian Höller, Elke Silvia Krystufek, Claudia Kugler, Ulrich Lamsfuss, Christine Lemke, Birgit Megerle, Anna Meyer, Ariane Müller, Robert Müller, Vanessa Joan Müller, Kito Nedo, Chris Reinecke, Berthold Reiss, Gunter Reski, Pieter Schoolwerth, Lin May Saeed, Avery Singer, Dominik Sittig, Paul Sochacki, Catharina Szonn, Anke Völk, Marcus Weber, Claudia Zweifel.
“The Happy Fainting of Painting #2” is a deliberately didactic image/text arrangement based on a grid purloined from the compositional register of modernism: within this matrix, artworks and theoretical contributions find themselves on a level field, their interplay generating discursivity in a striking manner. This essay-exhibition continues a discussion about and with painting that has previously been documented in the anthology “The Happy Fainting of Painting” (Walther König, 2014) and that was initiated in a first exhibition at Berlin’s Zwinger Galerie (2012).
In the past (on its path from technique to art) painting has always been able to integrate new art forms and technical resources brought to it from outside in a productive way, gaining something from them. This applies (in different ways for painting, picture and art respectively) to its modes of production and usage, alternative image technologies and visual industries, its history as a medium or tool for capturing pictures and knowledge with regard to a possible collective memory. Whether as a historical meta-level or a traditional picture medium, it is still capable of critically reflecting on and sometimes transcending even dominant visual cultures like advertising. To date, each of its predicted deaths has proved to be, even if only temporarily, an injection of new life. If there is one medium that is kept alive by crises, then it is painting.
Correspondingly, the traditional medium of painting has not been rendered obsolete by new digital technologies and their use in art, as shown by the exhibition “Painting 2.0 – Expression in the Information Age” (Museum Brandhorst, Munich / MUMOK, Vienna, 2015/16). However, the canonization associated with this show needs to be critically revised and followed up. With a narrow focus on painting (and the art business) as a veritable institution, the show blocked access both to the art and to the pictures – pictures here meaning visual-cognitive potentials that take effect within an art-specific and/or social framework, not being limited to painting itself.
This is the intention of the five categories introduced by “The Happy Fainting of Painting #2” as working hypotheses to stimulate discourse on art, painting and picture theory from within current painterly production. With no claim to covering their theme completely, the sections “The Painted Word/The Word ‘Painting’”, “After the Abstraction of Abstraction“, “Post-Irony”, “Combine Painting/Anything Goes Anything” and “Realisms/Documentary Painting” are filled to equal degree with artistic and theoretical contributions by artists, theorists, and others interested in this media situation. However much it may break down into individual cases of picture and opinion, the exhibition adds up to a many-voiced tableau of new points of reference and interrelations.
(Translated by Nicholas Grindell)