Heimo Zobernig: Monochromes

Posted by Fabio 10 November 2009

14 OCTOBER 2009 – 21 NOVEMBER 2009

Simon Lee Gallery
12 Berkeley Street, London, W1J 8DT.

Heimo Zobernig: Monochromes, is the gallery’s first solo show of the highly regarded Austrian artist, and includes paintings, sculptures, and video installation in a survey of monochrome works. Since the 1980s, Zobernig’s practice has playfully married minimalist objects and monochrome colour schemes, with theatrical use of space and a subversive approach to gallery architecture. Among the selected works for this exhibition, a number of Zobernig’s monochrome paintings spanning two decades are featured.

Zobernig’s early work in the 1980s can be linked with the latter constructs of the modernist movement, and manifested itself most commonly in the form of grid painting. This recurring geometric motif, a direct reference to the work of modernist painters Mondrian and Palermo, explored themes of objectivity, minimalism, and abstraction, through a reductive formal language. His monochrome canvas paintings are a further reduction of this language, and can be strongly linked with abstract modernism as well as Twentieth Century colour theorists Wassily Kandinsky and Josef Albers.

The paintings maintain a level of objectivity through their aesthetic simplicity, and the same can be said of Zobernig’s sculptures. The body of work chosen for this show shares a simple monochromatic theme. His sculptures are minimal, playful and inquisitive, and include a recurring reference to the void; a plexiglass box set on the floor encases nothing but air; a green painted box with the lid left slightly ajar reveals only darkness inside; wall mounted cabinets designed to contain nothing; part painted sheets of particle board lean uncomfortably between painting, sculpture and plinth. The choice of materials is no accident, with a nod to the clinical, highly polished works of Donald Judd, Zobernig constructs minimal forms, but chooses inexpensive common-use materials.