Andrea Bender and Heiri Häfliger
Opening: February 2nd, 2018
Duration of the exhibition: 03.02.–07.04.2018
ANDREA BENDER – ABSENT
HEIRI HÄFLIGER – ODEUR
The Galerie Michael Sturm is presenting new paintings by Andrea Bender as well as pictures and objects by Heiri Häfliger in the two current exhibitions. We look forward to seeing you at the opening or during the exhibition.
Andrea Bender’s exhibition brings together works from the past three years. Her painting spans a wide range from the Baroque to Romanticism to the present day. Putti float through the picture, chasing death with soap bubbles. They feast on cherries in a Dionysian way, but Andrea Bender has long since driven them out of them. A kind of elf stands lost between tendrils with a broken screen and stares out of the picture through dark eyes. And even the sweet sleep of a girl gives birth to those “monsters” that Francisco de Goya already knew about. The fact that Andrea Bender uses baroque motifs and romantic subjects does not mean that she transfigured the past in order to block out the present. But on the contrary. Her painting is astonishingly contemporary in the way in which she simultaneously asserts and denies its authenticity: between hubris and skepticism, presumptuousness and impertinence, cheerful to cloudy – and of outstanding painterly quality.
Heiri Häfliger’s exhibition is called Odeur. And whoever realizes that the city of Vienna, in which the artist lives and works, has always been said to have a tendency to be morbid, can imagine that his art does not necessarily smell of roses or violets. The beautiful appearance is alien to Häfliger. He trusts the life of the material with which he works and grants “chance a priority over the plan”, as he himself says. Therefore the abject, the seemingly misshapen and resistant, is always an integral part of his objects. His pictures are mainly made of paper mache, some of them are not even hanging on the wall, but are on bowls. Sometimes Heiri Häfliger works everyday objects such as socks or foam into his works. This may not reveal true art, but the true greatness of the artist: namely, that he confidently pushes the creative to the extreme with seemingly simple means and materials, until our conventions and conditioning evaporate completely.