Vogt Gallery’s fourth exhibition to date, Eyes Wide Shut, is a focused overview of contemporary German drawing, featuring thirty-three works by some of the country’s brightest stars, including: Jonathan Meese, Andreas Hofer (aka Andy Hope 1930), Ralf Ziervogel, Hansjoerg Dobliar, Marc Brandenburg, Ulla von Brandenburg, Claudia Wieser, Bo Christian Larsson, and Florian Meisenberg.
More than any other art form, drawing is traditionally understood to be an inherently intimate and direct means of expression. Confronted with an increasingly connected yet fragmented world, drawing has been enjoying a resurgence as of late with many contemporary practitioners rediscovering its original function of bringing the world into view. With the title’s cheeky nod to the 1999 Kubrick film of the same name, Vogt’s show strives for a perceptual consciousness achieved from within—an eye without constraint in a constant state of re-awakening. Working in a variety of media from pen on paper to bleach on cloth, the artists featured use drawing to skirt the edge of perception and cognition, subtly recalibrating our ways of seeing. For instance, in Claudia Wieser and Bo Christian Larsson’s abstractions, the vast power and poise of geometric forms send one’s mind in search of figurative equivalents in nature; and though the gradual appearance of things perceived results from our innate attempt to make sense of the world through the profiles and colors that shape how we conceive of it, the viewer is also armed with an observable reality suffused with infinite interpretations.
Other artists use figuration to create uneasy confrontations between fact and fiction; good and evil. Take for example, Andreas Hofer’s fantastical, hybrid figures—half god, half criminal—drawn alongside recognizable comic superheroes, arch villains, dragons, and dinosaurs. Lines are crude, details vary from meticulous to haphazard, and perspectives are imperfect. Ralf Ziervogel, who works almost exclusively in ink, obsessively depicts absurd, partly perverse, and even terrifying images of people and their movements. His black-and-white drawings offer an arcane glimpse of subconscious fears. And, for the more sinister at heart, Marc Brandenburg’s meticulous graphite drawings of morbid imagery do not disappoint. Made from photographic negatives, so that black and white are reversed, the works create a disarmingly, ghostly effect. Fraught with complex and often subliminal allusions as well as an unusually fastidious approach, Brandenburg questions and twists traditional drawing practices.
With all of the artists featured in Eyes Wide Shut, the drawn line becomes the basis for their formal and conceptual explorations of optical experience. The exhibition presents a world that is omniscient in dreams, fears, histories, and culture, yet this vision has been refreshingly updated in offbeat and humorous ways, celebrating a true lust for drawing. – Joanna Kleinberg, Assistant Curator