5 Nov 21 — 6 Mar 22
Meticulous drawings in coloured pencil, large-scale watercolors — the work of Slawomir Elsner (born in 1976) is as unusual as it is multifaceted. Museum Wiesbaden presents the first comprehensive museum show devoted to this artist, who studied at the Kunsthochschule Kassel (master student of Norbert Radermacher) and lives today in Berlin.
In his coloured pencil works, Elsner translates aspects of old master painting into the drawing medium. Stroke by stroke, he approximates the historic paintings, superimposing short lines to form increasingly dense webs of colour. In the abstract watercolours, he generates luminous colour spaces through innumerable monochrome or multicoloured layers.
This exhibition honours Elsner as the recipient of the Otto Ritschl Prize for 2020.
For the first time, it provides an overview of the artist's decisive milestones, focusing on his current works.
As a result, using his exceptional drawing technique, Elsner explores and examines genuine painting qualities — he also doesn't refrain from manipulation of the viewer's perception and memory of the paintings. Such an example is his presentation of two new versions of the Girl with a Pearl Earring by Jan Vermeer: One version aligns in terms of its composition and colouring with the original while on another version, Elsner portrays what appears to be the same person en face. One’s memory of the painting of the girl is recalled and fundamental questions are raised such as: What do we remember? What does this memory trigger in us?
The series Windows On The World (2008—2010) was created based on private photographs from the epynomous bar on the 107th floor of the World Trade Centers in New York. In dashed colour gradients, Elsner translates his photographs into large drawings (168 x 110 cm). Since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, the World Trade Center has been strongly anchored in the collective consciousness with images of collapsing towers in the wake of the attack. Elsner uses the medium of drawing to confront this collective memory of these iconicized horrific images depicting his own image of the reality. The result is a productive dialogue between photography and drawing in addition to contrasts between one's individual memory and collective consciousness.
In a second series of works, the artist dedicates himself to another supposedly subtle medium — watercolour painting. In his non-representational watercolours entitled Just Watercolors, he applies countless monochrome layers of colour to exceptionally large canvases, which open up or converge into fascinating colour spaces. Unlike in the controlled coloured pencil drawings, he leaves interaction between the colour material and paper to chance and only guides the relationship between water and colour as well as the time between the individual layers as in the layered watercolours. Overall, this series of works also urgently raises the question of colour spaces. Despite obvious differences in terms of subject and technique, watercolour and drawings are based on the same artistic principle: the light source(s), that is, those woven into the image which make it radiate from the inside out. This is why they are shown alongside the drawings in coloured pencil.
A bilingual (German/English) accompanying catalogue with installation views of the show and contributions by the curators Dr. Andreas Henning and Lea Schäfer as well as Dr. Anne-Marie Bonnet and Dr. Nils Ohlsen was published at DCV Verlag in December 2021 (ISBN 978-3-96912-061-3) and is available in our museum shop.
Hier finden Sie das Begleitprogramm zur Ausstellung, sobald es im Veranstaltungskalender veröffentlich wurde.