“The World is Bound With Secret Knots”
April 17 – May 26, 2007
Berlin’s Gallery Weekend hosted an astonishing number of extraordinary exhibitions. Twenty-nine of the cities top galleries were officially taking part in the weekend and scores more opened their doors for the weekends’ visitors. As all well prepared gallery goers do, I drew up a list, barely managing to narrow it down to 12 openings to attend on Friday night. My first stop was Christopher Wool at Galerie Max Hetzler. Years of admiration of Wool’s work sparked my hopes of having a brief exchange with the artist. However, after watching two ladies resolutely walk out upon hearing he wasn’t there yet, I also decided it was time to move next door to the Hirschhorn opening. Along the way I made a turn into the Hof, deciding that even though I had eleven galleries to go, I wanted to take a peek in Klosterfelde.
It was there that Stefan Hirsig’s “The World is Bound With Secret Knots” unexpectedly blew me away. The exhibition of new works by the Berlin based artist is mainly comprised of paintings with several sculptural and collage works also on display.
Walking in to Klosterfelde the eye is pulled to “Mönch” on the back wall. The large painting adopts Pollock style poured paint sharply contrasting the pop of the vibrant hues emerging and flowing over it. Individual colors detach themselves swirling out of the surrounding melee. The colors pop but the eye is repeatedly drawn to the forms from which they are emerging. Geometric patterns overlay geometric patterns. Paint bristles creating geographical ridges. The eye sweeps to the black forms underlying the piece, as though they offer potential access to the metaphysical.
Stefan Hirsig's paintings generate outer forms enclosing inner constructions. Geometric configurations burst out over thickly laid paint while color fields and organic forms are asserted as the central motif. It is as though the icons and advertising we absorb daily have been pushed, pulled, and sucked across the canvas and are still bubbling out in an attempt to reach us. Hirsig has added patterns of pins and needles, piercing several of the paintings creating an additional depth to the already thickly laid paint. Many of the pins have colorfully rounded plastic heads dotting the canvas in undulating sequences. However, even though such an aggressive act as piercing the paint has been committed, the end result is not destructive. The pins suture the canvas, keeping the viewer wrestling for its subtextual discourse.
The three sculptural works on display smoothly offer many of the same characteristics as the paintings. With titles “Der Große”, “Der Bucklige” and “Der Elegante” one can only project human qualities onto the stacked and painted cubes. These works are reminiscent of the clean glossy pages of a magazine with grids of color and carefully planned running paint overlying geometric additions.
Hirsig’s label as a pop artist is clearly marked in his collages. The works in square frames are largely made up of Punk and Psychedelic records from the 70’s and 80’s. However the content of the records is only hinted at by the patterns of album covers cut and laid over them. The records are coated in layers of paint and interspersed with geometric grids. Hirsig’s arrangement of records evoke a calm not felt in the painted works, the records themselves placed in spinning patterns as though they have floated off the player and entered the collage.
There is something arcane in Hirsig’s work. It is as though layers should be peeled away and microscopically examined to understand the whole. Perhaps it is these layers he refers to in the exhibitions title, secretly knotted together, binding the world.
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Alicia Reuter is a freelance art historian and critic living and working in Berlin. She is currently working on a project examining the use of contemporary art in advertising. firstname.lastname@example.org