Frank Gerritz, Interstellar Lowway, 2001/02, Photo: Gunter Lepkowski
Exhibition | 29.01.2008 EXTENDED UNTIL 4.05.2008

Frank Gerritz

Further down the line
The Weserburg is presenting the first comprehensive museum exhibition dedicated to the oeuvre of Frank Gerritz. Born in 1964 in Hamburg, Gerritz is one of the most outstanding artists of an abstractly operating art. The American art critic Donald Kuspit calls him the last “abstract hardliner.”

In Germany, Frank Gerritz is known more in a smaller circle of art enthusiasts, even though his works can be found in such important private collections as the Lafrenz or Felckenberg collections. Up to now, reception of his work has been by far greater in the United States than here—this is one of the reasons for organizing this exhibition, which will be the first comprehensive presentation of works by one of the most outstanding artists of our time in Germany. At a first glance, especially if one is only familiar with the works through illustrations in publications, one feels an inclination to categorize Frank Gerritz’s oeuvre as a retracing of the path of Minimal and Conceptual Art. But as is so often the case, such a viewpoint would be far too one-dimensional. Like scarcely another oeuvre of contemporary art, Gerritz’s works lay claim to the live character of individual perception. Frank Gerritz is a sculptor. A sculptor, however, who for years has developed his sculptural ideas principally in the form of drawings that nonetheless emanate a markedly space-encompassing energy. Using a Faber Castell 9B pencil, the artist places layer upon layer of graphite onto the smooth surface of industrially manufactured MDF panels. The different hatching results in a precise mesh of lines that lends the painting initial structure. What is decisive is that the precision of these geometric formations is taken to a completely different level of perception due to the material effect of the graphite: the graphite that has been applied to the surface catches light in completely new and different ways. The viewer’s gaze thus takes an exciting journey through a light-filled world of ostensible darkness in these in part specular works on MDF.

In another work cycle, Gerritz works with a black paintstick directly on anodized aluminum. That these surfaces yield a black of penetrating beauty and in the concise characteristic style of rigid precision nevertheless leave space for the echo of living experience, which cannot be reduced to a measurable denominator but does not become perceptible until it has been seen—this, too, can only be experienced directly in front of the works in the exhibition.

Frank Gerritz has created a new wall drawing especially for his exhibition at the Weserburg, something he has done in the past for New York galleries and the Hamburger Kunsthalle. The artist works with a graphite pencil directly on the wall of the exhibition space. After weeks of applying layer after layer, he produced a drawing that is directly incorporated into the exhibition space. The wall drawing for the Weserburg takes up on an experience the artist had in his youth when he played in a Punk band in Hamburg—its content makes reference to the stage of the legendary Roxy in London, where the band Wire performed the song “Lowdown” in a way that is impossible to follow. These connections also reveal that Frank Gerritz’s oeuvre arises from sources we at first glance do not suspect, but which become perceptible the more intensely we look at his works. In short: an outstanding artist is waiting to be discovered at the Weserburg.

With its works on MDF and aluminum, sculptures and drawings, as well as the wall drawing done for the museum, the exhibition provides the first comprehensive survey of Frank Gerritz’s work. The accompanying catalogue, which will include texts by Donald Kuspit, Alison Green, and Carsten Ahrens, will document Gerritz’s recent work and the exhibition at the Weserburg.

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