Günther Förg, Ohne Titel, 1991, Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Estate Günther Förg, Suisse c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2017

Theory — 9 Sep 2018

On the occasion of the exhibition Günther Förg: A Fragile Beauty, The Stedelijk Museum organizes a Sunday Seminar about the work of the artist Günther Förg and modernism.
Price
Museumticket + €3
Location
Teijin Auditorium
Time
9 Sep, 3:00 PM until 5:30 PM
Main language
English
Admission
Tickets

GÜNTHER FÖRG: A FRAGILE BEAUTY

The exhibition Günther Förg - A Fragile Beauty showcases the oeuvre of Förg, who, with his love for experiment and desire for freedom, challenged the boundaries between various disciplines using materials such as bronze, lead, plaster and reflective glass. Förg's work has been interpreted in several ways: initially he was considered a postmodernist, later mainly an heir of expressionism. The exhibition emphasizes, among other things, the rebellious and critical spirit with which Förg thoroughly challenged the canon of modern art. A Fragile Beauty transcends reductive categorizations and shows the oeuvre of this autonomous and idiosyncratic artist in its entirety.

SUNDAY SEMINAR

This Sunday Seminar focuses on Günther Förg’s reflections on modernism. ‘We can go beyond the rhetoric of much of modernist manifestos’, Förg stated in an interview with David Ryan in 1997. The artist was rebelling against the prevailing view that regards classical abstract painting to be the core of modernism, which is still dominant in today’s notion of (modern) art and its history. He particularly rejected the concepts of beauty, truth and purity that are inherent to this notion. In many works, such as his photographs, the lead paintings and the plaster still-lives, Förg aimed to subvert the position of modernism. Even his seemingly neutral images contain a subversive message that questions the history and aesthetics of modernism.

Günther Förg, Ohne Titel, 1994, Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Estate Günther Förg, Suisse c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2017
Günther Förg, Ohne Titel, 1994, Collection Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Estate Günther Förg, Suisse c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2017

During this seminar we continue this discussion. The main focus is the contemporary significance of modernism within various disciplines, such as photography, sculpture and painting. What is the relevance of Förg’s legacy to this discussion?

  • Installation Views, Günther Förg A Fragile Beauty, 2018, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij
    Installation Views, Günther Förg A Fragile Beauty, 2018, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij
  • Installation Views, Günther Förg A Fragile Beauty, 2018, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij
    Installation Views, Günther Förg A Fragile Beauty, 2018, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij
  • Günther Förg, Untitled, 2008. Courtesy Almine Rech Gallery
    Günther Förg, Untitled, 2008. Courtesy Almine Rech Gallery
  • Installation Views, Günther Förg A Fragile Beauty, 2018, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij
    Installation Views, Günther Förg A Fragile Beauty, 2018, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Photo: Gert Jan van Rooij

PROGRAM

3.00
Welcome and introduction Hripsimé Visser
3.10
Keynote Max Wechsler
3.50
Q & A Prof. Rosemarie Buikema (moderator)
4.00
Lecture Kirsty Bell
4.30
Q & A Prof. Rosemarie Buikema (moderator)
4.40
Conversation Max Wechsler, Kirsty Bell, Berend Strik and Kianoosh Motallebi moderated by Prof. Rosemarie Buikema
5.25
Questions from the audience

MORE ABOUT THE SPEAKERS

Rosemarie Buikema (moderator)
Rosemarie Buikema is professor of Art, Culture and Diversity at Utrecht University. She chairs the UU Graduate Gender Programme (GGeP) and is the scientific director of the Netherlands Research School of Gender Studies (NOG). She co-chairs the UU IOS research hub Gender and Diversity: Building an Inclusive Society. She is author of 4 monographs and (co)editor of 10 edited volumes. She has widely published in the field of feminist and postcolonial theory in international journals. She also co-edited two volumes on Arts in Motion in the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds funded series Cultuur en Migratie in Nederland (SDU 2003 and 2004).
Buikema is currently the principal investigator for the Horizon2020 Cultures of Equality Innovative Training Network project where she is responsible for the work package: Textual and Artistic Cultures of Gender Equality. In her recent monograph Revoltes in de Cultuurkritiek (Amsterdam University Press, 2017), she combines theories of transitional justice, the politics of aesthetics and theories of sexual difference in order to develop new and multi-layered scenarios for change and transnational justice.

Max Wechsler 
After trials and tribulations in the field of chemistry and theatre, Max Wechsler turned to the study of the English and German languages and literatures as well as art history at Zurich University. For years he has been publishing his reviews and essays in international magazines and catalogues. He also worked as a translator of texts on art theory, including many texts by artists. Until 2005 he was Professor of Art History at the Lucerne School of Art and Design, and lecturer at the Department of Architecture of the Zurich University of Applied Sciences from 2006 to 2008. He was awarded a grant by the Swiss Ministry of Culture in 1991, and the London grant of the Landis & Gyr Foundation in 1994. A collection of his essays and reviews was published as: Max Wechsler, Augenzeugnis – Ausgewählte Texte zur Kunst, Poschiavo & Luzern (Edizioni Periferia) 2006.

Lecture 
Günther Förg's artistic approach to the fragile beauty of his art was not just an enormously ambitious project. It was also daring, for he resolved to question long-established historical and contemporary positions through an openly conducted field analysis — which was as clear sighted as it was frivolously lightheaded — and the field in question was that all too verifiable one, where art is put into actual practice. He left us an astonishing oeuvre.

Kirsty Bell
Kirsty Bell is a writer and critic living in Berlin. A contributing editor to frieze magazine, she writes regularly for publications including Art in America, art agenda and Mousse Magazine. Her essay on Günther Förg’s paintings was included in the catalogue accompanying the Stedelijk Museum exhibition A Fragile Beauty, and she has published numerous other monographic catalogue essays, most recently on Laura Owens (Whitney Museum of American Art), Martin Kippenberger (Catalogue Raisonee of the Paintings, Vol. 3), and Marc Camille Chaimowicz (Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover). Her book The Artist’s House. From Workplace to Artwork was published by Sternberg Press in 2013. She has lectured widely in European institutions, and has been a guest advisor at the Rijksakademie since 2015.

Lecture: Günther Förg and the Edges of the Visual Field
Günther Förg’s painterly oeuvre is bracketed by grey paintings: the reductive first works he made while at the Academy in Munich in 1973, and his final painting from 2009, which redacts the play of colour and form with a grey cross-hatching. Throughout his career, Förg adopted various strategies of negation or evasion to enact a conflict played out within and around the medium of painting. His works articulate doubt, irreverence and failure, reflecting what he called a loss of “moral significance” in the achievements of the avant-garde, whereby modernism was separated by the chasm of 20th century history. Förg’s body of work refuses centricity or the absolute, operating rather at the edges of the visual field. It suggests that it is precisely at these edges, or junctures, that meaning occurs: between paint and support; between one colour and the next; between wall and work; ideal and experience.

Kianoosh Motallebi
By modifying objects and information in ways that go against functionality, Motallebi’s works seek to investigate the transient and immaterial nature of understanding, and to renegotiate the relationship between art, objects and technology. The works often act as single entities that refer to a larger context inhabited by both the viewer and the work. This context creates space to explore the interconnection of experience and the physical laws that underlie it.
Motallebi studied at Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and at the Slade School of Fine art, London. He was resident at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam and A Very Real Time, Cape Town. His works were displayed at (among others) Barbara Seiler (Zürich), Juming Museum (Taipei) and the Rijksacademie (Amsterdam).

Berend Strik
Berend Strik is an artist living and working in Amsterdam. Strik has worked in various disciplines, from two-dimensional works to sculpture and architecture. However, he is best known for the photographs which he modified with needle and thread, so that stitching and pieces of fabric - gauze, velvet - become part of them. By not editing the entire image and leaving certain parts ‘open’, the artist involves the spectator. Indeed, the spectator’s role is very important within Strik’s work.
Strik was resident at the Rijksakademie/Amsterdam and at the ISCP (International Studio and Curational Program) in New York. In 2015 Strik won the Elisabeth van Thuringen Price, in 1990 Charlotte Köhler Prize and in 1987 the Prix de Rome, 2nd Prize (sculpture). Strik’s work was exhibited at (among others) the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Galerie Fons Welters (Amsterdam), and Het Nieuwe Instituut (Rotterdam).