SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Cain Schulte Contemporary Art
presents One, the American debut solo show of Berlin artist Lars Theuerkauff. The show opens on Friday, January 28 with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 with the artist in attendance. The show runs through Saturday, February 19.
For his first exhibition in the United States, Theuerkauff's solo show will include paintings from several series he has worked on in the past year: the "L'Origine du Monde" suite (a male version of Gustave Courbet's ground-breaking painting of the same title), the "Anonym" series, as well as the most recent "Islands" series.
The title "One" --obvious reference not only to a first exhibition in an American gallery and to a solo show-- it's mainly a pointer to the number of subjects in each of his paintings - a single human being in each canvas. The singular figure in Theuerkauff's oeuvre is a repeated element, which together with the nudeness of the subject, provides a window on the visual vocabulary of intimacy, and examines the link between classical homoeroticism and contemporary art. The subjects force us into a tension-filled position, somewhere between privacy and voyeurism, where we are never certain of what this intimate world might reveal. Theuerkauff invites us to look at categories such as closeness, sensitivity, desire, lust, intimacy and passion from an entirely new perspective, as habitual assumptions are formidably questioned.
Each of Theuerkauff's paintings is like an intense snapshot of a greater narration, amplified through his photographic technique of painting similar to a film still. Many layers of color washes and acrylic paint are sponged, smudged and sprayed onto the canvas, until the surfaces resemble highly grained silver gelatin print, also suggestive of the cinematographic aesthetic of film, or the pixilation of computer-generated imagery.
The 16-part suite "L'Origine du Monde" emerges from the previous "Anonym" Series: the view between the legs so often found on the Internet - an invitation to chat - becomes here a compositional principle. Contrary to Courbet's original female nude from 1866, in Theuerkauff's work the overt image has been somewhat blocked. Hands are placed to conceal, thus negating the pornographic element: the view is de-centralized and diverted back to the surrounding space.
In its seriality, 'L'Origine du Monde' simultaneously allows the individual details of the model to come to the fore and to blur into a multitude. It also leaves us to search the background, the lighting, and the physical anatomy for differences and clues. In its totality 'L'Origine du Monde' poses the question: how does the reception of a singular intimate image change in a context of serial inter-changeability?
Lars Theuerkauff has exhibited recently at Cain Schulte Berlin. Born in 1968 in Lüneburg, Germany, he lives and works as a painter, screenwriter and director in Berlin. He studied painting at the academy of art in Munich with Robin Page and sculpting with Cristina Iglesias. He studied film at the UdK Berlin with Heinz Emigholz.