"The Ladybirds", Drawing, 73 x 128 cm
L.A. Galerie Lothar Albrecht presents:
Wilson Shieh and Michael Ziegler
March 7 to May 3, 2008
You and your friends are cordially invited to the opening on Friday,
March 7, from 7 p.m.
The artists will be present.
In March and April 2008, L.A. Gallery is showing the works of Hong Kong artist Wilson Shieh (b. 1970) and Austrian artist Michael Ziegler ( b. 1960). Shieh graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a Master of Fine Arts in 2001 and has been quite successful as an artist in the former colonial city. Michael Ziegler studied painting at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg with Professor Peter Prandstetter. He lives and works in Innsbruck/Austria.
This exhibition juxtaposes two artists of totally different cultural backgrounds. In terms of technique, too, they approach their subjects in entirely different ways. And yet, this encounter between East and West promises to be enlightening for a number of reasons.
Wilson Shieh studied the traditional Gongbi (fine-line) painting technique, in which he has acquired a masterly level close to that of the great artists of the Song and Tang periods. He says that he aims at filling the classical Chinese aesthetics of his traditionally rather small-format pictures with modern or contemporary subjects and contents. Concentrating on figurative painting, he leaves out certain classical motifs (such as animals) or replaces them with modern ones, especially architecture, and often buildings that are characteristic of Hong Kong; and in doing so, he comments on the city's social and political affairs. When, for example, he has a man with a naked backside taking a shower in a skyscraper buildingturned-shower cabin complete with company logo, and calls such a picture - which is still done in classical style - "King-Sized Closet", he achieves two things: On the one hand, such a picture can be read as a call directed at a certain industrialist to do more for his city - after all, things have not been rosy for artists, and people in Hong Kong in general, since its handover to China. Yet it also quietly but clearly causes provocation in a society that is definitely still Victorian prudish.
Peter Weiermair on Michael Ziegler:
"If one wished to have pictures to illustrate the Austrian writer Robert Musil's famed adolescence novel The Confusions of Young Törless, no one would be more apt to draw them than Michael Ziegler, this reclusive artist living and working in Innsbruck. His fine pencil drawings, concentrated on the line and sometimes covering the sheet like a spider's web, take their iconographic inventory from the artist's subconscious, where pornographic photographs mingle with the drawings and paintings of old masters, where film stills merge with images evoked by literary texts and continue to have mysterious effects which at times even their creator cannot explain. Michael Ziegler, this heir of Otto Meyer-Amden and Pierre Klossowski, is at home with Pontormo's drawings just as much as with the artists of the Italian Renaissance, like Signorelli, but also with Japanese film classics. His narrative drawings, often erotic and sexual rituals full of allusions, are left to the individual viewer's interpretation.
In changing constellations, Ziegler brings together artistic worlds, linear puppet theaters and figures. It is an intimate would-be world, a web of dreams whose flimsy threads are meant to be detangled, and through which the contours of the bare protagonist on the white sheet can often just be deciphered."
The faces of both artists' figures are bare of any characteristics. They are exchangeable for different reasons, although it is up to the viewer to decide whether this is intended to serve identification or, on the contrary, non-identification.
After all, the pivotal concordance between the two are their conflicting personalities as artists: Michael Ziegler is supposed to have said that he stays away from using color in his pictures because as soon you lay hands on color, you situate yourself within the framework and the history of painting.
From this art historical-general reasoning he draws the legitimatization for his drawings with their remarkably intimate and private subjects. Shieh directly and affirmatively draws on the classic painting technique, but in terms of his subject matter he is turned towards the public and to the present, albeit in a quietly subversive way. To be sure, neither artist is drawn to sentimentality.
Texts by Peter Weiermair and Bato Prosic
L.A. Galerie, Frankfurt:
Liu Ding, "Plato's Scalp", May 9 - July 5, 2008
Zhao Liang, 5th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art,
Berlin, Germany April 5 - June 15, 2008
Liu Ding: "Contemporary Art from China",
Groninger Museum, The Netherlands,
March 23 - October 26, 2008
Tracey Moffatt: "All inclusive - die Welt des Tourismus",
Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Germany,
January 30 - May 4, 2008
Julian Faulhaber: Kunstverein Recklinghausen,
Germany, April May, 2008
Art Cologne, April 16 - April 20, 2008
Art Melbourrne, July 30 - August 3, 2008
Wilson Shieh und Michael Ziegler Press Release as pdf-File 461 KB