Star Artists at ART COLOGNE - Part II
“Museum quality art” is a label that many art fairs adorn themselves with today. If the promise is kept and the fair halls are successfully used as extended exhibition spaces, then the gallerists have done everything right. For where else does one have the opportunity to discover so many extraordinary works in one place?
Martha Jungwirth, Untitled (Fussballspieler), 2022, Oil on canvas (historical educational board), 162,8 x 162,7 x 2,6 cm, Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London Paris Salzburg Seoul © Martha Jungwirth / Bildrecht, Wien 2022, Photo: Ulrich Ghezzi
Thaddaeus Ropac is one of the gallery owners who regularly enrich ART COLOGNE with highlights.
“We’re looking forward to presenting in Cologne a diverse selection of works by artists from our program,” says the Austrian gallerist, whose ambitious program is spread out between London, Paris, Salzburg, and Seoul. This year, he will be showing works by Marc Brandenburg, Tony Cragg, Valie Export, Elizabeth Peyton, and David Salle, among others, as well as six recent works by the painter Martha Jungwirth, to whom the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf is currently dedicating a comprehensive solo exhibition. Despite her early successes, the Vienna-born artist was long known only to connoisseurs for her watercolors and oil paintings between abstraction and everyday life.
It was only about ten years ago that her career took off, and museum honors, awards, and record prices soon followed. Today, at the age of 82, she has arrived: her expressive colors, often applied directly to cardboard, and the references to mythological figures, animals, and landscapes stick in your memory.
Thaddaeus Ropac presents Martha Jungwirth, Alex Katz and Antony Gromley, whose works are part of international museums exhibitions
In addition, Ropac is presenting other artists who are currently featured in retrospectives. “We're showing a large-scale work by Alex Katz—whose major exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York just opened - from this year,” he says. “And by Antony Gormley, currently on view at the Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg, a sculpture from the series ‘Branchers’ from 2020.” Rounding out the selection are historical works by Georg Baselitz, Gilbert & George, Robert Rauschenberg, and Emilio Vedova.
Often gallerists support the development of a star artist right from the beginning
Georg Baselitz, Untitled, 13.VI.88 pastel, 77 x 59 cm, © Georg Baselitz and Galerie Michael Werner Berlin, Cologne, London & New York
Works by Baselitz can also be discovered at the booth of Michael Werner, who opened his first gallery in Berlin in 1963 with a solo exhibition of the then still unknown painter. Werner accompanied Baselitz’s career—as well as that of Jörg Immendorff, A.R. Penck, and Markus Lüpertz—from the very beginning. The story of the German art market, and especially the Rhineland art scene of the 1970s and 80s, can hardly be told without Michael Werner.
Today he runs galleries in Cologne, New York, and London, and established a new location in the Hamptons in 2020. At his stand, Werner will offer a glimpse into his portfolio, with early and late works by the aforementioned established gallery artists and selected works by Eugène Leroy, Jean Fautrier, and Louis Michel Eilshemius. The main focus this year is on works on paper.
Gisela Capitain set a focus on works on paper
Wade Guyton, Untitled (Plate 6, Figure 25), 2022, Epson DURABrite inkjet on book page, 23,2 x 15,6 cm, Courtesy Wade Guyton and Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne
The medium of paper is also the focal point at Gisela Capitain’s booth: she is presenting an extensive selection of artists, including Günther Förg, Charline von Heyl, and Wade Guyton, whose works take the white sheet as their source material.
Gisela Capitan also helped the 1980s go down in art history as Cologne’s golden years. In 1983, she moved from Berlin to the cathedral city, where she still lives and works today. Initially, she worked as an assistant at the Max Hetzler gallery, before opening her own space in 1986.
Hetzler himself will be showing new paintings by André Butzer
André Butzer, Frau – Herbst, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 200 x 178 cm, © André Butzer, photo: def image. Courtesy Galerie May Hetzler
At ART COLOGNE, Hetzler himself will be showing new paintings by André Butzer, whose childlike, expressive style has made him a darling of the art market. Butzer's large format “Frau – Herbst” (Woman – Autumn, 2022) shows one of his typical figures with oval, eyelash-less comic eyes.
The artist, who was born in Stuttgart in 1973 and now lives near Berlin, has christened these disembodied head creatures “Friedens-Siemense”; they populate his pictorial worlds and make his paintings seem like tilted images: on the one hand, the figures appear cute as they float awkwardly on the canvases, on the other, unease lurks behind their large saucer eyes.
The young artist Raphaela Simon, who is currently represented in a group exhibition at the Bonn Kunstverein, has also mastered the game of ambiguity. Her oversized textile figures are in great demand among collectors. Hetzler is presenting such a doll specimen in Cologne with “Rosa Frau” (Pink Woman, 2018) - a lady in a pink dress walking her little dog. Where will Simon’s female figure be making her rounds in the future? It will be very interesting to see.
Text: Laura Storfner