Friday October 29, Hans Alf Gallery invites everyone to celebrate the opening of Christian Lemmerz’ new exhibition “20/21”. The show consists of a new series of paintings and 10 imposing marble sculptures that were all – as the heading implies – conceived in the shadows of the past two, turbulent years.
In recent years, automated marble carving technologies have become more and more refined and precise. As a classically trained marble sculptor, one would assume that Christian Lemmerz swears off this new technology’s blatant attempt to cut out human craftsmanship from the equation. But Lemmerz is also – in addition to his classical virtues – a relentlessly curious artist, who throughout his long career has experimented with everything from meat sculptures through performance art to virtual reality. So maybe it’s no surprise, really, that this adventurous renaissance man has decided to take on 3D technology and make it his own.
For the exhibition “20/21”, Christian Lemmerz has created 10 sculptures by utilizing a very personal method, in which he 3D scans a human being or an object, then distorts the digital model and manipulates the algorithms, before he finally has a machine transform his sketch into a physical artwork in marble. One of the dogmas of the method is that Lemmerz, as a sculptor, cannot work on or touch the finished product: All manipulation must happen digitally – when the machine puts its drill to the stone, the artist’s hands may no longer interfere with the process.
Lemmerz explains the works and his new approach to sculpting:
“The sculptures are new archetypes for our digital era. Intentionally, I excluded my own hands in the sculpting process, allowing the computer to manifest itself in the carving of the works. I wanted to redefine the potential of the ancient material of marble, which carries such a long tradition throughout history. Marble is no longer a pure and timeless material. It has been contaminated with and through art history, kitsch, and myth.”
“20/21” also consists of a series of figurative paintings that in many ways act as counterpoints to the show’s sculptures. While the latter spring from meticulous planning, digital processing, and robotic intervention, the paintings have materialized through a spontaneous discharge, in which the artist’s hand has worked its way across the canvas in an uninterrupted movement, until a (subconscious) motif has finally manifested itself. Being an incorrigible polemic, Lemmerz offers his audience two seemingly incompatible approaches to producing art and insists that both have a place in his universe.
Overall, Christian Lemmerz’ new exhibition represents the artist’s own personal attempt to understand and convey his thoughts on a tumultuous and defining period in our shared history, while with his method and approach he simultaneously charters a new road for both his own career and for the visual arts as a whole.
“20/21” opens on Friday October 29 and will be on view through November 27. Everyone is welcome.