dr. julius | ap is pleased to announce the exhibition „Anschauungen“, showing work by British artist Douglas Allsop. The title refers to the artist’s interest in the viewer’s perceptive process and its interaction with his work: “I am interested in the thought that while we are looking at this vertical mark moving across a surface, it might also be looking at us. In other words I am interested in a form of communication. It may be unstated but at a certain point you become aware, as you are watching, that you are also being watched.1”
Allsop’s concerns as an artist can be summarised as reflection, repetition and serial development. Using a restricted number of materials and geometric forms, he has designed site-specific works that act in relation to the space of their environment and conceives this relationship between work and space as a process of either interrupting, editing, screening or framing of architectural surrounding. He points out that “Questions of space, reflection, symmetry, geometry and repetition have occupied me for many years. Working with minimal forms, I make installations which interact with the architectural space of their specific location. To achieve this, I have worked in several media but most recently with cast acrylic sheet [the ‘Reflective Editor’ series], constructed screens [the ‘Blind Screen’ series] and photography [the ‘Fast Surface’ series].”
Thus he offers the viewer a unique opportunity to consciously experience his personal perception of the artwork, the surrounding space and the process of looking at them. ““My approach as always is”, Allsop states, “to design the installation in advance working with architectural drawings of the actual space. In this sense the design of the show is an integral part of the work itself. Not only the positioning of the works in relation to each other, but also the ways in which they reflect, edit and cut into ‘real’ space is of paramount importance to me.”
Allsop has frequently exhibited throughout Europe since the 1960s, with a particular focus on Germany. His work has received a high degree of exposure and recognition through public museums, Kunstvereine [independent art associations], Stiftungen [civic art foundations] as well as commercial galleries. Of note was a major retrospective that ran simultaneously in two museums, the Städtisches Museum, Gelsenkirchen and Emschertal Museum, Herne 2001. In parallel to his practice as an artist he has taught art and design for forty years in in colleges and universities.
Surprisingly enough though, “Anschauungen” will be Douglas Allsop’s first exhibition in Berlin. This also underlines dr. julius | ap’s specific profile, exclusively offering the public to see the sector of non-objective art. However, and like all artists in previous exhibitions of the gallery, Douglas Allsop’s takes an independent, individual and personal position in this field of contemporary art: “My work is located within the minimalist/modernist tradition but is also informed by [and in part acts as a response to] a number of other discourses, most importantly photography, cinema, typography, engineering/architectural detail and product design. My critical concerns lie with vision and visuality – light, colour, visual interferences such as masking, screening, editing, obscuring and distorting.”
In the words of Allison Green, art historian and critic, “These works confound critical approaches to contemporary art practices based in recent art history; they’re not Minimalism, not a Duchampian intervention into art’s institutions, not a revival of Constructivism or geometric abstraction, not a Pop-related embrace of consumerism. In a sense, Allsop’s works are the products of a very old set of questions – like how do we perceive and can we trust what we see? – embodied in a relatively new set of materials and contexts. They offer a concentrated visual experience, but [...] they also insist that this experience is mediated by the specifics of the place where they are sited.”2
1 Douglas Allsop in an interview with Nickolas Lambrianou, writer and art historian. From: Douglas Allsop – blind screen [exh. cat.]. Bergisch Gladbach, 2008, p. 18
2 From: Douglas Allsop at Kettle’s Yard [exh. cat.]. Cambridge, 2004, p. 16