For this year’s edition of Art Cologne, we aim to conceive a booth that shows our core value: a strong dialogue between our 20th century artists, originating from different continents, and whose work all seek for universality and infinity. Especially these two ideas influenced the international avant-garde of the ‘50s and ‘60s. In Europe, members of the ZERO movement were inspired by natural “materials” like light and movement in order to eliminate subjectivity and to merge art and nature. We will present some historical works by Günther Uecker, Heinz Mack, Otto Piene, Raimund Girke and Jef Verheyen, all breathing the spirit of ZERO and its belief to start anew by concentrating on pure abstraction.
In a similar way, the Japanese Gutai group wanted to break away from tradition and dogmas in order to start from scratch. Gutai’s founder Jiro Yoshihara, as well as later members such as Norio Imai, Sadaharu Horio, Ryuji Tanaka and Yuko Nasaka, all show a highly creative and personal approach with great respect for the material in all its purity.
In addition to this interplay between Gutai and ZERO, between East and West, our booth will devote a solo space to the work of Yun Hyong-Keun. Yun was a member of the Korean abstract painters movement Dansaekhwa, and his work can also be seen as an embodiment of a quest for infinity and universality. Yun is known for his paintings with superposed umber and ultramarine oil paint, works with dark, rectilinear forms enveloped by lighter areas. This practice became his lifelong project, and during Art Cologne, we will present his last paintings, remarkable for their simple, minimal structural shapes, and clearly under influence of his Western contemporaries.
In order to further bridge artistic expressions, we will bring one of our most contemporary artists to the fair, the Ghanaian-born artist El Anatsui. Intimation is a recent monumental installation consisting of hundreds of bottle tops woven into a tapestry-like sculpture against the wall. Loaded with references to the artist’s origin and his African cultural background, his work is rich in interpretation and a constant reflection to the past, as well as an attempt to be aware of the future. The artist transforms everyday materials into a work of art by seamlessly incorporating the cultural, historical, philosophical context of his origins, and yet enables it to speak to global audiences.