24 January – 18 April 2004
Michel Majerus, a key figure amongst a generation of artists emerging from Berlin in the 1990s, came to international prominence following shows in Basel, London, New York and through his participation in the 1999 Venice Biennale.
Painting was Majerus’ preferred medium and this exhibition features a group of large-format works from an ambitious series began during time spent in Los Angeles in 2001. Completed in Berlin the following year the series includes some of the most dynamic and complex paintings produced by the artist.
His creative horizon includes the myriad manifestations of popular culture – computer games, digital image manipulation, television, videos, pop music and its associated visual cultures, trademarks and corporate logos – all coexisting in a democratic fashion that does not value one source over another. At the same time his works display an appreciation of the history of painting in the twentieth century – his use of geometric pattern, scribbles and bright acrylic colours link Majerus with the work of Willem De Kooning while his appropriation of graphics and advertising styles pay homage to the master of Pop, Andy Warhol.
As a group the LA Series provide a powerful structured narrative not unlike the action sequences in Hollywood film, the ascending levels of a computer game or the irresistible composition of a pop song. Car chases are interrupted by commercials, followed by blank screens which suddenly burst with the loud graphics of the latest special offer. The works can be shuffled around to result in new configurations and changing meanings, like the media images and impressions that constantly mix and conflate in our minds.
The paintings are complemented by a short animated video of the artist’s constantly changing and morphing signature, illustrating Majerus’ creative interaction with the music and club scene and his conception of painting as a fluid medium.