Goethe komischer Mann
January 19 – March 2, 2019
Nino Mier Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of recent paintings by André Butzer in the gallery’s newest space located at 7277 Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles.
Goethe komischer Mann marks the third exhibition of the artist’s work at Nino Mier Gallery. The first, which opened late summer of 2017, showcased black paintings from the artist’s ‘N series’ accompanied by one of Butzer’s emblematic large-scale, cartoon-like portraits of a . The second exhibition opened in the summer of 2018 at Salon Nino Mier in Cologne, Germany and included small works on paper from 2011. Goethe komischer Mann exhibits large-scale works on canvas and works on paper from 2018.
Butzer is explicitly an expressionist painter, although the breadth of his oeuvre reveals a tremendous amount of evolution in practically all aspects of his craft: style, medium, composition and subject matter. Butzer’s act of painting is inextricably linked to the experience of life and death itself, so much so that one becomes a self-reflection of the other in a seemingly endless cyclical paradigm. Every new iteration of style or subject is influenced by what came before it – the past always brings us to the present and future of painting.
Goethe komischer Mann is an exhibition about the dimensions of time. Comprising the entirety of the exhibition is work created throughout 2018, upon Butzer’s move from his native Germany to California. At times reaching over eight feet tall, these new works exude monumental presence. Originating from acrylic, oil, and spray paint, the color is bold and sometimes saturated, a reflection of the climate in Southern California. Yet in typical Butzer fashion, within this pandemonium of color comes a reinvention his familiar gestures of line and figures of representation. Goethe komischer Mann, the piece that the exhibition is named after, is the artist’s first portrait of the German writer, yet both the portrait and its title depict the subject in a less than salutary manner: komischer, or “funny,” has a negative connotation in German that is lost in the English translation. Therefore, Butzer portrays the writer in a crass fashion, urinating into the blue aether of the painting itself.
This exhibition marks a point of rebirth both in Butzer’s life and career, and although the work departs from the paintings of his past, they nonetheless remain informed by them. In 1999 Butzer produced work wherein he experimented with a comparable usage of color and established the chaotic play between form and composition that would define what he calls “Science-Fiction Expressionism.” The new works of Goethe komischer Mann are similar, but the inevitable change that comes with time, the lessons learned by age, and the new perspective that follows a move across the globe make them distinct. Thus, Butzer’s new work is less characterized by Science-Fiction Expressionism, but rather, more indicative of an Expressionist Pop Art – destroying everything that the 20th century established as Ready Made.
Although the works of Goethe komischer Mann come alive with color, they withhold the knowledge gained by creating works influenced by times or themes of darkness. Therefore, these works serve as a universal representation of Butzer’s life in painting; a culmination of years filled with an endless investigation of painting itself.
André Butzer (born 1973, Stuttgart) has had work presented in several solo exhibitions at institutions such as Kunstverein Reutlingen, Germany (2016); Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover (2011); Kunsthistorisches Museum – CAC Contemporary Art Club at Theseustempel, Vienna (2011); Kunsthalle Nuremberg (2009) and Kunstverein Heilbronn (2004). He has furthermore participated in numerous important international group exhibitions, including Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2015), Kunstmuseum Stuttgart (2014), Kunsthalle Emden and MoCA – Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (both 2013); Museum für Konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt; Kunstraum Munich (2012); Kunstmuseum St. Gallen (2011); mumok, Vienna; ZKM – Museum für Kunst- und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe (both 2008); MUMOK, Vienna (2008); Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2007); Sammlung Goetz, Munich (2006); Museum der Moderne Salzburg; Carré d’art – Musée d’art contemporain de Nîmes (both 2005); Staatsgalerie Stuttgart; Kunsthalle Hamburg (both 2003) and Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (2002) among others. Butzer lives in Altadena, California