With Jana Gunstheimer and Slawomir Elsner, Feld- buschWiesnerRudolph presents two artists with a ma- sterful understanding of the medium of drawing. Both artists are known for their unique graphic styles.
In Slawomir Elsner’s emphatically graphic works and in Jana Gunstheimer’s almost painterly ink drawings, fami- liar images confront the viewer.Taking the symbolic po- wer found in Old Masters’ works as their starting point, both artists play with the paradigm shift that changed the way pictures are understood in the era of digital hyperconnectivity: Many a context once relied on to stabilize meaning suddenly seems to blur, as though we were looking at a mirage.
Amorphous forms meet exaggerated concrete ob- jectivity; ction meets illusion. Jana Gunstheimer posi- tions enigmatic artefacts onto the white expanse of her drawing paper. Slawomir Elsner stays emphatical- ly close to the original though his distinctive graphic style gives the Old Masterly portraits an entirely new look. Quick strokes freely drawn by hand are paired with parallel strokes, taking the artist back and forth across the sheet of paper in a time-consuming man- ner. With this effor t, he attains “the utmost precision in drawing ... the highest formal blur” (Michael Hering). In a successive process of erosion, Gunstheimer cre- ates crystal-clear pictorial worlds that simultaneously deconstruct the power of pictorial representations. She operates by abrading iconic references and lls the picture with individual injuries. In an interplay between text and image, between aura, narration, ction and destruction, blank spaces are disclosed where viewers are at a loss as to how to read what they see
And yet, both artists’ bodies of work refer to histori- cal predecessors – real ones and ctional ones.There once was a time when it was essential to shed the past. Nowadays though we seem to have no tomor- row unless we continuously conjure the past.The de- sire to have a past is an expression of our inability to be wholly present. Longing exists only when something is missing.We lack a feeling for what is present.That’s why we need to evoke old spirits, myths and ideas. In their pictures, Jana Gunstheimer and Slawomir Elsner create scenarios in which the present, past and future converge.
Jana Gunstheimer (born in 1974 in Zwickau; lives and works in Jena) is a professor of experimental painting and drawing at Weimar University and was recently honored with the Falkenrot Prize (2018). Already the recipient of a scholarship atVilla Massimo,she has exhi- bited her works in various solo exhibitions including at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien (2017), as part of the Prix de dessin de la Fondation d’art contemporain Daniel et Florence Guerlain (2016), and in a group exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, Paris (2017).
Slawomir Elsner (born in 1976 in Wodzisław Śląski; lives and works in Berlin) is represented in numerous collections including the Cabinet of Copper Engravings (Kupferstich-Kabinett) of the Dresden State Art Col- lections, the State Graphic Collection in Munich, the Rubell Family Collection (US), the me Collectors Room in Berlin, and the Böttcherstraße Museums in Bremen