Sebastiaan Bremer Cold Turkey

Galerie Barbara Thumm, Berlin, Berlin, 05/02/2008 - 06/07/2008

Dirckenstrasse 41


We are delighted to announce the second solo exhibition by Sebastiaan Bremer at the gallery. It is difficult to escape the subtle pull of Sebastiaan Bremer’s brush-and-ink drawings on photographs. His images are covered with fine lines and formations of countless flecks of white ink. The size of the finest needle point and the tip of a coarse brush, the spots are applied manually one by one and model significant passages of landscapes, interiors and still lifes, exaggerating their courses. They describe abstract, to some extent psychedelic, patterns and allow entirely new pictorial realities to emerge. In contrast to his last solo exhibition in the gallery in 2003, here Bremer shows drawings in white ink on almost exclusively black photographs. Due to multiple exposures and enlargements, the photographic motifs are seen as if through a haze. In the diptych “Potter‘s Field”, the picture of Bremer’s son is no longer visible at all. The superimposed landscape with a deer and a stag is a pure brush-and-ink drawing. Whereas in earlier works semi-transparent, ephemeral images were created by an interplay of photography and ink drawing, now the photographic depiction is relegated almost completely to the background in favour of the painting. Bremer employs strong chiaroscuro (light-dark contrasts) – a technique taken to its utter limits by Rembrandt – to illuminate his interiors. In Corridors-Èlysée the bright applications of ink condense to form splendid chandeliers and mirrors generating radiant highlights and reflections. In Corridors- Versailles, blinding sunlight casts dark shadows. The curtain and tablecloth in Sumptuous Venetian Interior gush over the picture like a finely frothing waterfall which refracts the light and contrasts distinctly with the black background. The depictions of the sky, sea, meadows and trees in the natural landscapes and the picnic scene Luncheon on the Grass convey a quality of atmospheric density. Milky Ways of glowing celestial bodies stretch across nocturnal skies. Amorphous bubble-like and spherical swellings with shimmering surfaces have a hypnotic effect. For his still lifes, Bremer borrows the symbols and subjects of seventeenth-century Dutch painting – a journey in time by the artist, who has been living in New York for many years, to the visual culture of his native country. Individual arrangements are juxtaposed with a painted landscape or snapshots of everyday life in his family. In Still Life with Shark on the Bosporus a group of Malaysian men is partially concealed by pictures of a dead shark as well as fragmentary drawings of a skull, a water jug and various flowers. Visual information from collective memory and the history of culture are thus united intimately with private recollections. The pictures come and go like a meditation. The large-scale superimposed drawing Whirlpool can be understood as an intentional contrast to the still lifes. If all the other works in the exhibition contain an element of quietude, here the abstract, immaterial colour surfaces, the vibrating threads, spirals and circling currents create a sense of great immediacy and restlessness. It is a mythological depiction of the beginning of time and of life.

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Sebastiaan Bremer

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