Mellow Yellow, 2004, Acrílico sobre tela, 170 x 180 cm
More Statments in the Spirit of Militant Agnosticism
Opening: Saturday, 20th of September, 10pm
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art presents More Statements in the Spirit Militant Agnosticism, the third solo show at the gallery by Swiss/American artist Michael Biberstein (Solothurn, 1948).
Since his last solo exhibition at Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Biberstein has worked on two large scale projects: a mural-size painting for the executive dining room of the new FIFA headquarters in Zurich (completed last year) and a monographic museum for a suite of works, part of the Hess Collection in Colomé, Argentina, with the opening planned for 2010/11.
The current exhibition presents a group of paintings from 2007/2008. Those familiar with Biberstein's work will discover a clear evolution, mainly chromatically, but also in the transformation of the interior space of the paintings. Those not familiar with the work will discover one of Portugal's (Biberstein has lived here for over thirty years) most consistent artists.
The work centers on the investigation of how the language of painting (and within that the language of landscape-painting in particular) as an expression of the metaphysical and the sublime affects us physiologically - even after the end of faith and religion.
In one of the exhibition rooms a space of emersion is staged. In the centre of the room, the spectator is encircled by three paintings that fill his horizon. As on a cliff, the horizon stretches beyond the boundaries of the gaze. It is an encounter with something bigger, sublime maybe.
The landscape is deconstructed, saturated, dissolved in order to have a retinal effect. From a distance it presents a depth that extends the painting into the wall, at close proximity the paintings are absolutely flat. This paradoxical situation induces a meditation focus for some and imposes an oscillating movement for others, both stimulated by a search for the intensity of the act of seeing.
Biberstein's paintings are 'psycho-physiological' the artist says, as they aim to impinge on the spectator a subliminal effect in the sense of relaxing him (or her) and allowing him to enter a state of contemplation. They are projection canvases, dialogue membranes open to different ways of seeing and feeling painting. A landscape that surpasses the mere image of nature to present a chromatic space in permanent transmutation, which changes with the light and with the position of the spectator.
These paintings are atmospheric, almost evanescent. The presence of an aerial element is intensified by titles such as Glider. The titles of the works are inspirations for the creation of an environment. Attractor, for example, reinforces the idea of an invisible force of attraction (be it between elements of the painting, be it of the spectator itself).