Opening: Sunday, 7 February 2010, 11.30 a.m., Museum Haus Lange
During the exhibition Alan Uglow, visitors to Museum Haus Esters will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a kind of timeless state. The artist's radically reduced imagery encourages a concentrated perception of painting and a heightening of their perception of formal details, which allows them to forget the flow of time.
At the end of the 1960s, when painting came to be regarded as a spent medium, Uglow (*1941 Luton, Great Britain, lives and works in New York) stripped the painting of all its narrative content und devoted himself to a radical reduction and economy in the means he used: simple geometrical shapes; clear lines that structure the surface or form a border round the rectangular painting; a restricted palette and materiality and an expanding white that links together painting, wall and exhibition space.
With such elements Alan Uglow, who from 1969 on has been at home in New York's lively art scene, built on the achievements of Minimal and Concept Art and worked parallel to artists such as Brice Marden, Robert Ryman, Jo Baer and even Blinky Palermo on new concepts for painting. For these artists the widely discussed “end of painting” never ever happened.
Uglow's paintings seem highly reduced, and yet they yield a rich potential for variations in form and materials. And most essential here is the position of the painting in space. Some works rest on blocks and simply lean against the wall, while others on show in Museum Haus Esters hang just above the skirting board. In this way the artist subverts the exhibition-goer's expectations that a painting will be placed at the centre of a wall. Alan Uglow's aim is to question the painting by consistently exploring the intermediate areas: his works are object and painting in one; colour for him produces visual space and has likewise its own material presence; painting and exhibition space stand in relation to one another.
The photographs that Uglow has mixed among the paintings at Museum Haus Esters point to a dialogue and reflect on the contemplation of painting. Among other things they depict people who are studying something, without the object of their studies being recognisable in the exposures.
Sixteen paintings and a number of photographic works from the last twelve years — including seven new paintings done especially for the exhibition — fit harmoniously into the clear lines of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's architecture. Thanks to the massive amount of incoming light and the large windows, the works undergo a deliberate intensification of their material effect.
Alan Uglow's work is a rediscovery that cross-cuts our visual habits that are so influenced by the new media, and offers an alternative model for seeing and understanding.
The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual catalogue.