Mamiko Otsubo / cuts - Wolfgang Flad / encounter
Opening: Saturday, 5th May, 6 p.m.
Exhibition date: 5th May - 28th July
With the double exhibition cuts/encounter, Spielhaus Morrison Galerie presents for the first time the New York-based Japanese artist Mamiko Otsubo (born 1974) together with Wolfgang Flad (born 1974), who, after studying in Stuttgart, now lives in Berlin. Otsubo and Flad not only have their birth year in common: both artists, through use of innovative materials - above all in the field of sculpture - find new solutions in the search for aesthetics in reduction.
Mamiko Otsubo, who grew up in California and studied in Yale, has recently come to the attention of the European public through exhibitions with Galerie Mark Müller in Zürich. In her drawing-like collages and sculptures she balances finely between representation and abstraction. Her perfectly-handcrafted sculptures are extremely restrained in their use of materials yet are broad representations of the elements of nature. The work Untitled (Tree) depicts clouds and the firmament, hanging in the fork of a tree. as a metaphorical abbreviation.
Otsubo'stension-filled play between naturalness and artificiality has a further dimension through her crossing over the border to design, in particular to furniture design: a sleek iron table-construction is metamorphosized into the base of a sculpture and the tabletop into a representation of a landscape, the finely-sanded walnut curves possessing an enormous sensual magic.
Wolfgang Flad works in the classical genres of pictures and sculpture: for both his chosen material is wood. The pictures consist of composite wooden boards, the enamelled surfaces of which are then carved into, in some cases with elegant grace and in others abruptly, like scars from shrapnel. As a basis for the carving Flad uses sketches from paint-splatters on paper, the quick spontaneous gestures being transposed through a lengthy process into wood. As with Mamiko Otsubo, these gouges into the shiny surfaces of the enamel are elementary impressions of landscapes which remind one of satelite photos of the earth.
In his second group of works, the sculptures, Wolfgang Flad concerns himself not with the extraction of material but with the construction of it: raw pieces of wood and branches are screwed together to form complex or elegantly simple structures. The corners are pasted with paper and sprayed with chrome enamel and are then sanded back into rounded organic forms, painted and sanded and planed again till the coarse pieces of wood take on a natural, almost skeletal, structure. As with the haptic of the carvings and the enamel surface of the pictures, the contrast of the severe geometric black enamel pedestal and the biometric forms of the sculptures is very pronounced.
Flad's and Otsubo's works present a sovereign discourse on the contemporary conceptions of artificiality and naturalness, of representation and abstraction, and in both bodies of work a huge amount of beauty manifests itself.