Fritz Bornstück: Nevermore Ranch / Herrmann Germann Contemporary, Zürich

A few weeks ago, German artist Fritz Bornstück participated in the SWEAT SHOP project in Berlin during the Gallery Weekend. His work has been shown in several solo and groupshows throughout Europe. Now he has his first solo exhibition in Zürich (Switzerland) at the gallery Herrmann Germann Contemporary. The show presents a new series of still lifes that feature seemingly everyday objects, which Bornstück depicts in a combination of textile collage and impasto oil painting. The exhibition runs until July 15, 2016.

Fritz Bornstück: Nevermore Ranch. Solo exhibition at Herrmann Germann Contemporary, Zürich (Switzerland). Vernissage, June 3, 2016.

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Press text:

Nevermore Ranch, Fritz Bornstück’s first solo exhibition at Herrmann Germann Contemporary, is an excursion into an imaginary, abandoned theme park of painting. Combining textile collage and impasto oil painting, the new series of still lifes transforms seemingly everyday, recognisable objects into strange works of fiction. Compositions of debris and intrinsically valueless objects such as tins, rods, lightbulbs and scraps of food become protagonists, stand-ins for human presences, and on the image’s stage they perform a grotesque cabaret that eludes clear interpretation but instead encourages the viewer to pose their own questions and find possible answers.

In The Imbeciles (Meet the Stars) fragile scarecrow-like forms, assembled from everyday rubbish, drift across the idyllic breadth of a mountain lake, seeming to dance the minuet. Upon second look, the subject can be read as a system of painterly signifiers: the objects are associated with explicit stereotypes and play on the omnipresent abyss that lies within consumer society. The romantic landscape could be taken from the title sequence of a Hollywood blockbuster; the mountains, reflected on the blue lake’s surface, become the logo of Paramount Pictures, the longest-running American film studio, and the figures characters in the latest rom-com blockbuster. Get closer to the work and the surface reveals it was made by a tightrope walk between painting and collage. Oil paint squeezed from the tube is drawn like a rope over thinner layers of colour and fabric fragments that are adhered to the canvas. Powerful, spontaneous gestures bind together otherwise fragile transfigurations of junk. Bornstück’s images are thus collages both literally and figuratively: through the combination of disconnected elements from daily life and pop culture, and the surface interaction of painterly moments and textile scraps, adhered to the surface.

Bornstück views each individual image as a part of an extended landscape which – like in a theme park – is constructed around a specific motif. The still lifes are like snapshots. They are direct and immediate, wreathed in an atmosphere of ambivalence. Some are sweeping and colourful, others dark and vague. The viewer is confronted by expressive, romantic orgies of clutter/trash, injected with black humour. The pictures manifest a playful spontaneity and offer room for the viewer’s own interpretations.

«Expressive intensity and then almost sublime, light vibrations.»

Fritz Bornstück, born in 1982 in Weilburg, DE, lives and works in Berlin, DE; 2010-12 De Ateliers residency, Amsterdam, NL; 2009 BA in Fine Arts, Universität der Künste, Berlin. DE, where he was in Thomas Zipp’s masterclass. Selected previous exhibitions: Die Geschichte hat einen Fehler, zuviele Erzähler!, Kunstverein Gütersloh, DE; Where Are We Now, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, DE; Art Rotterdam, NL, with Herrmann Germann Contemporary; 2015 One for the Birds, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Copenhagen, DK; 2014 Painting causes Paintings, Schwarzwaldallee, Basel, CH; Candy Colored Clown, Herrmann Germann Contemporary, Zurich, CH; 2013 ENDLESS NAMELESS, Galerie Mikael Andersen, Copenhagen, DK; Enter the Space, The Space, Berlin, DE; 2012 When the sun comes up, I promise, I’ll be true, SPG, Stockholm, SE.

A publication will appear at the end of June on the occasion of this exhibition.

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