11.10.12 - 22.11.12
SMAC Art Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of new paintings by acclaimed Swiss artist Uwe Wittwer. Wittwer, who was included in the major exhibition Watercolour at Tate Britain, London in 2011, debuts in South Africa with New Works. Organised in collaboration with Haunch of Venison, London, the exhibition comprises twenty paintings produced over the last year.
I wanted to put a picture on top of a picture
So that there are times when both pictures disappear
And other times when they’re both manifest
That vibration is basically, what the work’s about for me –
That space in between where there is no picture
But rather a void, a forgetting
(Why I Appropriate, 2002)
Understood broadly as “the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work”, it is 1970s Appropriation Art with which Wittwer shares leitmotif. In this new body of work the artist adopts and adapts anonymous, unfamiliar but somewhat recognizable images. These include still lifes, interiors, family portraits, genre scenes and Old Master paintings. Wittwer digitally processes these found images by mirroring, inverting, blurring, distorting, under- and over-exposing, omitting, isolating and layering the image’s original elements.
He renders these appropriations with his signature style in various media – oil painting, watercolours or inkjet prints.
New Works exemplifies the notion of the ‘image’, and therefore raises questions surrounding innovation, originality and authenticity. Entirely new spaces and ultimately new images appear. The cumulative interactions and tensions between the ‘already-there’ and the modified sit on the edge of comfort – blurring the distinction between old and new. Wittwer acquaints the viewer with a new mode of looking. His paintings avoid obvious interpretation – distant and fractured, they resonate with an intuitive intimacy and subtle beauty.
Uwe Wittwer (b.1954) lives and works in Zurich, Switzerland. He has exhibited extensively internationally. Wittwer recently had solo exhibitions at the following galleries: Void, Derry; Haunch of Venison, London; Nolan Judin, Berlin; Lullin + Ferrari, Zurich and Art+Art, Moscow. His work forms part of major international and private collections including Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht, Kunsthaus Zurich; Sammlung Ludwig, Aachen; Kunstmuseum Bern; Kunstmuseum Solothurn; Museum zu Allerheiligen, Schaffhausen; City of Bern; City of Geneva; City of Zurich; Swiss Confederation; Sammlung Bosshard; UBS Art Collection; Credit Suisse and the Caldic Collection.
A comprehensive survey of his oeuvre, Uwe Wittwer: Paintings, will be published by Hatje Cantz in November 2012.