Colors and shapes galore in winter exhibitions

An installation view of German artist Christoph Ruckhäberle’s first and largest-ever retrospective, titled

As the year draws to a close, Seoul’s art scene is once again sizzling with swirling colors, textures and shapes to liven up the wintry streets .Heading to these two exhibits in the city will immerse you in the midst of it all. Stepping into Christoph Ruckhäberle’s first and largest-ever retrospective at the Seouliteum in Seongsu-dong feels like crashing a party populated by dancing marionette-like figures and a kaleidoscopic explosion of color. The 51-year-old burst onto the international art scene two decades ago as an artist associated with the New Leipzig School — a loosely defined group of Germans who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Leipzig after the country’s reunification and are known for their revival of figurative paintings .But Ruckhäberle’s Seoul show, titled “Waking up the Pictures,” isn’t really concerned with confining the artist within that box. Instead, as hinted by its title, it focuses on bathing visitors in his lively interplay of colors, forms and patterns across different mediums, all tinged with playful wit.“ It’s the first time that a show brings together so many aspects of my work,” the artist said during a recent press preview at the gallery filled with more than 160 of his pieces.

“One thing that is important to me is the dialogue between printmaking and painting, and I think this is the first show where you can really see how my artistic process works.” His variously textured paintings — completed with enamel, gouache, oil and spray — as well as silkscreen prints, woodblock prints and geometric sculptures of expressively cartoonish subjects pop against patterned wallpaper designed by the artist himself.“ I started with paintings (and then began) translating these images into printmaking, where I had to work with the simplification of form and color,” he noted. “Watching these changes is the pleasure that I get out of making these works. ”The exhibition aims to highlight the musical quality of Ruckhäberle’s oeuvre by hosting a silent disco inside the gallery every Friday and Saturday evening .“I think music can reach you on a more subconscious level,” the artist added. “You would feel the work in a different way than the usual exhibition experience, where you’re more distanced… It’s new to me, but it will be interesting.” That was British artist Toby Ziegler’s snappy introduction to his own paintings, which are, to him, simultaneously figurative and abstract .In fact, Ziegler’s works are all sorts of in-between — between representation and abstraction, analog and digital, reason and intuitive spontaneity.“ For me, it’s about this layering of different painterly languages that happen at different speeds,” he noted.

On display at his latest solo exhibition, “Broken Images,” at PKM Gallery in central Seoul, are eight new canvas works filled with fragmented visual references to art history and the artist’s own subjective memory that are hovering above grid patterns made with 3D modeling software. Take, for example, his “Harvest,” whose color palette and composition recall, in a strange way, an anonymous late 14th-century panel painting, “The Wilton Diptych.” The detailed depictions of English King Richard II and the Virgin and Child with Saints witnessed in the original diptych are reduced to abstract, gestural brushstrokes traversing freely within a warped coordinate plane on Ziegler’s canvas.“ The diptych wasn’t an image I was thinking about when I started the painting, but at some point, I realized that I had accidentally used its colors (and to some extent, composition),” he said. “You have this brain that is full of images, and sometimes, you realize that you’ve been influenced by things that have just soaked into your subconscious.” Such seemingly random images dredged up from his memory — a “messed-up” family photograph taken when he was around 7 years old, Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s “The Beggars” at the Louvre and even the Holy Grail — are broken down into vaguely recognizable shapes and colorful brushstrokes on his geometric screen. By combining his textured, painterly interpretation of memories with digitally manipulated grid patterns, he strives to give the hollow, massless 3D image “something 스포츠토토존 corporeal, something bodily, something visceral.”

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