"Nazi Gas Chambers; From me

Contemporary and Old Art Reviews

"Nazi Gas Chambers; From me

Postby jasperjoffe » Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:01 pm

the worst art press release ever: "Nazi Gas Chambers; From memory to history "
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Re: "Nazi Gas Chambers; From me

Postby CAP » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:17 pm

When all else fails (and I mean the trite pastel/coloured pencil sketches from old photos dealio) play the Nazi Guilt Trip.

Hans-Jürgen Syberberg he aint. :lol:

Robert Priseman: Nazi Gas Chambers; From memory to history

Opening Reception 19 January 18:00 - 21:0020 January - 3 February
Artist’s talk - 2 February 19:00

Robert Priseman is a British painter whose work is held in a number of major public art collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, The Northern Ireland Collection, Abbot Hall, The University of Hull Art Collection, The Royal Collection, Windsor Castle, Hertford Museum, Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Cranfield University and Corpus Christi College, the University of Cambridge. In addition, a body of five paintings and twelve drawings known as 'No Human Way to Kill' will be entering the permanent collection of the Mead Art Museum, Massachussets in January. His work has been shown around the world in solo shows in New York, Paris, London, New Zealand and San Francisco.

Arch 402 Gallery is pleased to present Robert Priseman's 'Gas Chambers'

The ‘Gas Chambers’ series comprises six small delicately coloured pencil drawings and five large scale oil paintings. The drawings depict the outsides of the mental hospitals where the Nazi euthanasia program took place in the 1930's. They are presented as similar in feel to hand coloured post cards and are designed to appear attractive in a way which belies their intent.
The five large scale paintings showing the interiors of five Nazi gas chambers, each measures 183cm x 274cm and is painted in black and white, oil on linen. Each painting shares the same horizon line and has a perspective which pulls gradually out over the course of the five works from a closely cropped angle in the first painting, to a very wide angle in the final painting. They also progress from a very thinly painted surface in the first picture of the interior of Bernburg to an increasingly heavily applied application of paint in the final depiction of Auschwitz. This application of paint creates a metaphor of a falling away of the ‘shower room’ pretense.
This body of work, which is devoid of the human figure, aims to act as a meditation on the simple question – Why would an advanced society who produced Beethoven, Goethe and Schiller conspire to create the mechanisms of genocide?
The series is prefigured and influenced by the work of three major painters; Mark Rothko and both his Seagram paintings and the ‘Rothko Chapel’ in Houston which offer a beautiful and profound meditation on the eternal void, and the work of contemporary artists Luc Tuymans and Anselm Keifer who have each tackled the major subject of the Holocaust in their painting output.

'Gas Chambers' is accompanied by an essay titled ‘On Robert Priseman and the Possibility of Painting' by renowned art historian Professor Peter Vergo. Vergo is one of Britain’s leading experts on modern German and Austrian art.* His exhibition Vienna 1900 was the centrepiece of the 1983 Edinburgh Festival and led to the award of the Golden Order of Merit by the Republic of Austria for services to Austrian art.
*Vergo's essay is attached to this email for further reading.

Priseman is also to be featured as one of the 45 interviewed artists in Robert Peppiatt's upcoming highlyacclaimed book 'Interviews with Artists, 1966-2011'
A renowned curator and respected insider of the international art scene since the mid-1960s, Michael Peppiatt has spent his professional life with many of the greatest artists of the 20th century. His close friendships and frequent studio visits with Dubuffet, Sonia Delaunay, Francis Bacon, Henry Moore, Balthus, Oldenburg, Brassai and Cartier-Bresson, among many others, have produced an incredible archive of interviews, from formal question-and-answer sessions to off-the-cuff conversations. These interviews combine to give a unique perspective on art from the Second World War to the present day. Peppiatt has selected forty-five of the most noteworthy and fascinating of his conversations with artists, from the worldfamous to the under-recognized. The author approaches his subjects with a characteristic mix of passion, insight and humour in a book that is consistently entertaining and informative, as the artists open up in unexpected ways about their work and their lives.

Praise for Robert Priseman

“The acclaimed cutting-edge painter took over the gallery with his searing meditations. This had to be one of the Dazed Gallery’s most talked about shows and is one we are proud to have exhibited.”
John-Paul Pryor, Dazed and Confused

“a strange new beauty” Professor Margaret Iversen, Art historian, The University of Essex “Beautiful and memorable work”
Alain de Botton, Philosopher

“…people-less pictures of a disquieting, surreal intensity. They are mysterious images to which each individual will contribute his own emotional response.”
David Buckman, Author, The Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945

“I and the team at large feel in-graced by the power of the images and the creative capital attached to the meaning.”
Juan Puntes, White Box, Manhattan, New York

“…deeply affecting work.”
Francis Di Tommaso, Director, New York School of Visual Arts

“Priseman’s hospital interiors may be constructed with photorealist precision, but that belies the emotive power of the paintings. There is an enormous sensitivity for the measured pragmatism of the welfare architecture and a reverential silence for those whose lives hang in the balance within these spaces. Priseman attempts, like an archaeologist, to understand the nature of life that exists amongst the apparatus and the warm grey interiors, feeling the resonance of humanity within the indifferent walls.”
Dr. Ben Cranfield, Art Theorist, Birkbeck College, University of London

“Priseman’s interiors are symptomatic of a long history of artists, particularly Surrealists such as Giorgio de Chirico and René Magritte, attempting to re-create psychological ‘portraits’ of individuals or places, but reconstructed from the visible world. What Priseman’s work shares with Surrealism is a sense of being deep inside the psyche, with each interior (and the objects within) representing alternate, yet intrinsically related, psychological conditions.”
Dr. John Finlay, Writer and Art Historian, formerly of the Courtauld Institute of Art

“A fascinating idea expertly conceived. I’ve always been scared of hospitals but the paintings seem to be an invitation to participate – to climb the stairs, walk the corridors etc. – but still with trepidation. Lonely places yet familiar, the colours cold, attractive and surprising. No need to place humans in this context, these clinical institutions become their own characters, creating in my case, fearful speculation. Not alienating, somehow strangely moving.”
Sir Derek Jacobi, actor

“(these) immense canvases contain a precise and engineered stillness. Any sense of activity or impending movement has departed lending these transitional spaces a curiously peaceful quality. The absence of pattern and pared down colour intensify the sharp perspective and lead into the environments depicted, cleansing the mind of visual noise.
… the chaos of human behaviour must lay beyond the calm.”
Andrea Hadley-Johnson, Curator, Derby Museums and Art Gallery

“…powerfully moving, sometimes quite uncomfortable but always intellectually stimulating.”
Professor Colin Riordan, Vice-Chancellor, The University of Essex

“…extremely moving and informative. I think many people would want to hear what you have to say. Your paintings are very strong, compelling.”
Joyce Horman

Michael Peppiatt, Art Historian

“…to have you here – and your work had us talking for the rest of the day – and night (I stayed till 9pm discussing your presentation with some of my students who were totally blown away) – they said that they had first felt rather negative about the subject matter but were then drawn in with the beauty and simplicity of your paintings.”
Cherry Sandover, SEEC

“These are places of transition which we all pass through. Geometric spaces waiting for the chaos of human activity. With their stillness and emptiness they have that atmosphere of enigma and unease found in metaphysical art like the work of de Chirico.”
Paul Rumsey, artist

“…view Robert’s series in its entirety rather than as individual images – not only the paintings but also, of course, the coloured drawings. Only then does one begin to appreciate how skillfully the artist has addressed those same profound contradictions: for example, the tension between beauty of depiction and the horror that resides in the subject-matter, or the jarring disjunction between knowledge and memory on the one hand and, on the other, our own perceptions of the here-and-now.”
Professor Peter Vergo, Art Historian

“Beautiful and strange.”
Dr. Christine Stevenson, the Courtauld Institute of Art

Visitor information

Gallery opening times:
Wednesday - Friday 11:00-6:00
Saturday & Sunday 11:00-3:00

Admission: Free

Tube: Liverpool Street, Old Street
Overground: Hoxton Station
Buses: 55, 48, 149, 67, 242, 26
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