Tate Modern Level 2 Gallery
2 March – 4 June 2007
The Artist’s Dining Room is the latest in the Level 2 Gallery exhibition series which opens at Tate Modern on 2 March. The exhibition brings together more than twenty paintings and sculptures by three German artists – Manfred Kuttner (born 1937), Thomas Scheibitz (born 1968) and Anselm Reyle (born 1970) – who are working within the tradition of abstraction. Kuttner, who was active in the 1960s, is now being reappraised and his works will be shown alongside new works made in 2007 by the two younger artists, Scheibitz and Reyle. The title of the exhibition, The Artist’s Dining Room, is taken from an abstract painting of an interior scene by Pablo Picasso (1918).
Works by Kuttner on display include delicate, geometric paintings in neon which date from the 1960s and were created when the artist shared a studio with Gerhard Richter. During the early 1960s Pelikan’s Plaka paint came onto the market, and Kuttner readily adopted it. With these fluorescent colours, he began to not only paint on canvases, but also to cover entire objects, including a piano and typewriter, the latter of which is exhibited here. His paintings and sculpture reveal his interest in optics, texture, collage and the dynamic and disorientating effects of his use of form and colour.
Reyle creates large-scale abstract paintings and found-object sculptures using, for example, silver foil, neon colours, mirrors, glitter and Day-Glo paints. His paintings echo various abstract painting styles, recalling Otto Freundlich, Piero Manzoni, Kenneth Noland and Barnett Newman. In his sculptural works, Reyle takes found objects and imbues them with new life. In Harmony, 2007, he has taken a small African soapstone carving, cast it in bronze and then coated it in a high-gloss chrome-plate.
Inspired by architecture, landscape, design and flora, Scheibitz explores the boundary between figurative representation and abstraction in both painting and sculpture by using a range of visual references such as stars, flowers, circles and windows. Four roughly painted sculptures incorporating found symbols such as a head, a figure with an outstretched arm, a window and an arrow, will feature in the window space of the Level 2 Gallery.
Kuttner, Scheibitz and Reyle all move effortlessly between painting and sculpture, with an eclectic approach to both form and materials. They use brilliant paints, shiny surfaces and unexpected materials. Often using new technology, whether it is the latest developments in paint or digital image manipulation, they also play with optical illusions, shifting perspectives, tricks of the light, mirrors and reflections.
The Artist’s Dining Room is the third in a series of four thematic exhibitions located in Level 2 Gallery, Tate Modern’s dedicated space for the latest ideas, themes and trends in international contemporary art. The 2006-7 Level 2 Gallery series is conceived and led by Emma Dexter, Curator of Contemporary Art, Tate Modern. The Artist’s Dining Room is co-curated by Juliet Bingham, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern. The next exhibition in the Level 2 Gallery Series will be Learn to Read (22 June – 2 September 2007) featuring recent works by twenty-nine International contemporary artists which play with text, erasure and miscommunication.