HANOVER.- The kestnergesellschaft is exhibiting the latest work by David Salle, one of the most important contemporary American artists from the last 30 years. A total of 23 large-format paintings will be shown, most of which were executed between 2007 and 2009, and will be exhibited in a Germanspeaking context for the first time. Complimenting these new works will be six older paintings created between 1983 and 1998.
Since the early 1980’s, Salle has been regarded as an artistic as well as an innovative thinker. Associated with artistic movements such as »New Expressionism« or »Transavantgardia«, this work defies art historical labels and attributions, and they function only as fragmentary clarification. Salle continues to be characterized by an unmistakable and independent style which, over the last few years, he has continued to intensify.
These new paintings display intoxicating and bewildering image concepts, which do not lose their relevance over time. They exemplify Salle’s pleasure in experimentation with their surrealistic drama and new colouration. Many of the new works are made up of overlapping image planes as figure ground constructions. From the paintings’ edges, anonymous people look into the picture, as if through a distorting mirror, or they are seemingly »exposed« on a colourful ground. These compositions reveal Salle’s unrelenting and fundamental interest in painting as the leading medium for sensory perception.
The artist looks upon world phenomena with an ironic, playful and passionate gaze. For Salle, the paintings’ surfaces are the place to be, upon which he theatrically assembles the disparate elements of exorbitant visual culture, mixes them up and has them turning pirouettes. With these exhibited works, Salle turns his main focus onto the question of perspective as a passed-down representational convention which, in most of his paintings, is intuitively deployed as a theatrical instrument. However, Salle seems to have never been interested in narrative in the classical sense.
This position has already prompted the American art critic Peter Schjeldahl to write in 1985 that Salle’s work used »a method of a personal essay or manifesto«. This quality of a visual manifesto is what eludes decoding by the viewer. In every case, consideration of the vocabulary of intuition and intensity functions as an entrance accessible to the viewer through small art historical or deeply personal anecdotes.
The intensity of Salle’s works unveil themselves less through a sense of excess, expansion or raw energy than they do through the method and manner of how he deciphers the world, arranges it, and, still inside this order of things, how he takes the viewer to the limit in a display of calculated excitement and examination. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue.