Hans Alf Gallery
Wednesday, 30 June 2021 10:44

The Summer Show

The Summer Show

02.07.2021 - 31.07.2021

 

As a tribute to all the brilliant artists that Hans Alf Gallery represents, we have put together a special summer exhibition showcasing works by each of the 18 artists currently on our roster.

 

During the month of July, Hans Alf Gallery will be open Fridays, 12-17, and Saturdays, 11-16, only.

 

 

 

Exhibition view:

 

 

 

Works in the exhibition:

 

 

Published in The Summer Show
Wednesday, 05 August 2020 11:00

Christian Achenbach: Isotopes

Christian Achenbach: Isotopes

08.08.2020 - 12.09.2020

 

Christian Achenbach’s new exhibition ”Isotopes” is essentially an homage to the language and measures of early Modernism. Achenbach describes his output and process as an investigation into the emergence of Modernism subjected to the aesthetic codes of our time.

 

The style of “Isotopes” is consistently non-figurative, and most of the works fall somewhere between geometric abstraction and concrete art. The inspiration for the show is to be found in such diverse places as Harry Bertoia’s sculptures, the paintings of Leopold Survage, Willi Baumeister and Ben Nicholson, and artistic philosophies such as Constructivism, Op Art and Minimalism.

 

Achenbach refers to his loans as “visual quotes”: The exercise is to extract a specific quote from its original context and place it in an entirely new one. In this way, a singular form from a Survage painting suddenly becomes a steel and glass sculpture: An idea reintroduced in a new material; a new context. Because to Achenbach, materials are just as important as the composition of an artwork. Or rather; The two are inseparable to him.

 

Glass in particular plays a leading role in “Isotopes”, where the translucence of multicolored prisms and their ability to capture and disperse light is essential. But also steel is a recurring theme throughout the show, as even the paintings have been mounted in stainless steel floaters. And by utilizing steel this way, Achenbach highlights the purpose of his latest production, the attempt to articulate the dichotomy of material and content: Is the frame part of the artwork? Is the painting an object? Does the material inform the motif, or is it the other way around?

 

The exhibition offers no unequivocal answers, but it isn't really supposed to either. First and foremost, Achenbach wants to force his audience to look at art in a new way. And in this he succeeds.

 

Published in Isotopes
Wednesday, 26 September 2018 15:59

Aus Berlin

Armin Boehm, Christian Achenbach & Moritz Schleime: Aus Berlin

13.10.17 - 18.11.17

 

Three Berlin-based artists take on the main gallery in a group exhibition curated by the directors.

 

 

Published in Aus Berlin
Wednesday, 26 September 2018 15:15

Christian Achenbach: Kaleidoscope

Christian Achenbach: Kaleidoscope

24.05.18 - 01.07.2018

 

After nearly a decade with now defunct LARM Gallery, German painter and sculptor extraordinaire, Christian Achenbach, joined the Hans Alf Gallery team in the fall of 2017. On the occasion of his first solo exhibition with us, we asked Berlin-based curator, Philipp Bollmann, to give us his thoughts on Achenbach's practice in general and Kaleidoscope in particular:

 

A kaleidoscope is an optical toy shaped like a telescope. The turning of the tube causes the colored glass pieces to go into motion, producing an infinite number of geometric shapes and patterns. The etymology of the word derives from Greek ' καλός ( kalós , “beautiful”), εἶδος ( eîdos , “shape”) ‘ and σκοπέω ( skopeō , "to look to, to examine”), thus the word alludes to “[the] observation of beautiful forms.”

 

The title of the exhibition can be seen as somewhat tongue-in-cheek, as it is widely considered a faux pas within the community of visual arts to employ any linguistic references pertaining to the notion of beauty; let alone to have such thoughts or even pass judgement in such a category. Achenbach does not shy away from being ironic towards his art, yet there is no doubt that he has certainly developed and truly refined his own imagery over the last decade.

 

Christian Achenbach is a true painter. As banal as this statement may sound, it takes true courage for a contemporary artist to adopt a clear stance where every form of expression and every point of reference are generally permitted. Achenbach's achievement is nothing less than a continuation of the history of painting. By his own admission, ‘the subject is not as important, but rather it is a question of providing a suitable stage for painting as a process in itself.’

 

His works are built from numerous collages consisting of geometric shapes, gestural painting, color gradients, and neon shades. The static objects and dynamic elements are played against each other, testifying to a passion for material as well as his passion for process. Achenbach's material aethetics are grounded in an allure created by a fusion of different tools and techniques. The paint is brushed, scraped or sprayed. Glossy surfaces sit next to matt surfaces, rough next to smooth. Fine reliefs are derived from color spread out across the canvas.

 

In his earlier work, Achenbach mixed figuration with abstraction. In his more recent works he disengages from figurative depictions, choosing instead to develop the narrative of each painting using formal means. Associations intrude. References to futurism, to cubist elements and to concrete paintings of the 1970's are consistently ubiquitous through Achenbach’s oeuvre. Various artists come to mind: Vasarely, de Kooning, Kandinsky.

 

Achenbach associates his love for music with that of Kandinsky’s, who once claimed that he saw colors when hearing musical tones. It can be argued that the compositions and painterly rhythms give both artists' pictorial spaces respective 'sounds.' A closer look at Achenbach's art-historical quotations reveals an intelligent engagement with Modernity or more precisely with Post-Modernity.

 

On the one hand, he presents us with various quotes from the history of painting that can be considered as both a demonstration of his knowledge and his aesthetic preferences. On the other hand, he is questioning the viewer: Does “Darstellungshoheit” in art exist? Are Malevich's Black Square or the “dripping” of Jackson Pollock exclusively verified?

 

One of his intentions is a critical engagement with originality. The use of quotations serves as an instrument to encourage a discourse about aesthetic conventions and the existing conditions which constitute art. While he obviously juxtaposes various set pieces in his works, he also avoids any kind of ideological position. Such positions were inherent in works by artists of the 20th century.

 

To Christian Achenbach, Modernist painting – with its various facets, errors, and achievements – functions as an alphabet. He employs its characters to create his own language. It is here the title of the exhibition is truly grounded. Like the action of a kaleidoscope, Achenbach produces new assemblages of painterly set pieces, which in turn generate new works.

 

An extension of his reflections on the medium of painting by Achenbach can be found in his sculptures. In the case of Christian Achenbach, his sculptures can be regarded as three-dimensional paintings.The elements, cut out of aluminium and steel, are put together by the artist to form varied forms, which, in different sizes and shapes, have become their own body of works since 2013.The mechanical production of the individual parts stands in contrast to its subsequent painterly refinement. Achenbach's paintings as well as his sculptures investigate the effect of clashing colors and levels, thus demonstrating the same approach with different media.

 

For his latest sculptural works, the artist employs materials from Lalique, a traditional luxury glass brand. Looking closely at the individual parts of the sculptures shows that they combine different colors of glass created in the heating process – not mixed. Amorphous collages arise, the intergral part of which is light. The conceptual origin of Achenbach’s glass objects is to be found in the metaphysics of light - the starting point of neo-Platonism. Its doctrine says that light is the substance of all the things and effectively the whole world. Considering that God is the uncreated light that illuminates everything, it had been the reason as such for creating glass paintings in Gothic Cathedrals with chromatic and abstracted diaphaneity.

 

Finally, the reference point, the meaning and the bridge become clear. It is evident that the painting of Achenbach connects to his sculptures against this historical backdrop.

 

Published in Kaleidoscope
Wednesday, 17 May 2017 13:14

Christian Achenbach

CHRISTIAN ACHENBACH, Germany

Christian Achenbach (born 1978) is a German sculptor and painter. Achenbach studied at the University of Art in Berlin with Burkhard Held, Daniel Richter and Anselm Reyle and graduated from Anselm Reyle’s master class in 2007.

With his artistic roots in 20th century art history, Achenbach composes his own aesthetic symphony of the known isms framed in a fresh postmodern perspective. Achenbach’s creative process lends itself to the world of musical composition where the multiplicity of violent clashing of colors and shapes emphasizes the shift of tonality, thereby conjuring a materiality of sound.     

Each artwork presents the childlike joy and liberty of Achenbach’s brush with an immanent nod to the history of modern art. Modernism, Dadaism and Cubism are undeniably present in each painting where no central motif is to be found, but geometric shapes and symbols instead rhizomatically spirals in and out of each other. Much like the music in which Achenbach finds his inspiration, the definite outlines are blurry, the array of colors explosive.

Christian Achenbach lives and works in Berlin. In 2008 he was an artist in residence at Statens Værksteder for Kunst og Håndværk in Copenhagen. He has exhibited widely in Germany and Denmark as well as internationally.    

 

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Published in Christian Achenbach

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