Artist Kaspar Müller’s JMSERADZFGHDSJKFHBYCMXCFNBKLADSHJ is now on view at Société through January 31st, 2017, marking the artist’s third solo show at the gallery with a series of multimedia works exploring varied approaches to painting, printmaking and assemblage, all in an aim to represent a full year of the artist’s life. Gathering together the impressions and experiences of the turbulent months of 2016, the show emphasizes reflection on the incompleteness or incoherence that immediate historical reckonings and complex geo-political situations often imply, particularly when considered from the vantage point of a lone Swiss artists.
According to curator Tenzing Barshee, Müller’s work “attempts to delineate the world with oversimplified technique, incorporating a crass inadequacy, which, in its life-size model form, purports both fallacy and sovereignty through a hot pile of assumptions, quotes, allegations, proposals, shared understandings, misconstructions, comparisons, intrusions, and other fantasies, which fail to neither ratify nor deny what’s really what.” Müller’s work accents this incapability of communication and understanding in the face of the rapid changes and wild political situations that defined the past year, working with an equal speed that presents his work as rough-edged and quickly consumable, making time and space for more points and concepts to present over the course of the show.
The canvas is pushed to its communicative limits in Müller’s bright, brash expressions of kitsch, nationalism, and melancholy here. Bold paint strokes and feathers, familiar colors of the German flag, or the muted repetition of crosshatched hearts all manage to suggest a sort of resigned cynicism as regards the events of 2016. Much in the same way that the exhibition texts treat the show’s subjects only as abstract material, the works seem pre-packaged for consumption by an imagined audience. In one room, the German flag and the Ethiopian flag, painted in slapdash streaks of bright color, face each other defiantly.
In another work, JMSERADZFGHDSJKFHBYCMXCFNBKLADSHJ, feathers, prints, and paint come together in a dizzying and fragmented expression of the year, always bound by the edges of the canvas, and by the gallery itself. This sense of limits speaks again to Müller’s attempts at tracing the limits for art, questioning how the painting, or any art object, could potentially speak to the dizzying speed of the modern era. Müller offers few answers here, but his work nevertheless manages to feel somewhat reassuring for viewers, if only in its expression of sympathy with those feeling equally overwhelmed in this political era.
Müller’s work is on view through January 31st.
— A. Corrigan
Exhibition Page [Société]