Art|Basel|Miami Beach

Miami Beach

03.12.15 – 06.12.15
Positions with Thomas Wachholz
Booth P10

Art Basel online catalog

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At Art Basel | Miami Beach Positions 2015, RaebervonStenglin presents a new project by the young German artist Thomas Wachholz. Part exhibition, part performance, it will evolve over the duration of the fair.

Wachholz’s art sets scenarios in motion, exploring the nature of the artistic process in works that are meticulously conceived and then devolved to other people and chemical reactions in their execution. Each project is an experiment conducted according to fixed parameters, ostensibly scientific in operation yet yielding poetic reverberations.

At Art Basel | Miami Beach, Wachholz presents a booth with facing walls, each a support for monochrome paintings. One of these will feature three of his ‘Alcohol works’, canvases which have been industrially printed all over with a single colour from the CMYK model and then erased by the artist with ethanol to annihilate the colour at their centre, leaving spectres of radiant energy. Despite the seriality of their process and the use of machine and substance to make them, these pieces differ from one another substantially. Wachholz eradicates the mechanical perfection of the printed surface by hand, using a brush that comminutes the colour, reducing it to minute particles. Effecting a kind of disappearance at the heart of his canvases — a shimmering void that suggests a metaphysical dimension — Wachholz performs an inversion of traditional painting to reveal the ghost in the machine.

In direct opposition to the subtraction involved in these digitally printed dissolved canvases, the other wall of the booth will change over the course of the fair through a process of accretion. Four times a day, every two hours, a professional workman will come to the booth and paste onto the wall a layer of blue-backed paper printed with CMYK primary and secondary colours which have been supplied by the artist as a stack on the floor. This repetitive action will change the colour of the wall every few hours forming a new monochrome, each subsequent layer hiding the colour beneath. The fair-goer witnesses the process of this collaged painting and the increasing thickness and crinkling of the papered wall – the only intimation of its earlier incarnations.

Rules rather than gestures dictate Wachholz’s monochromes, which, with their machine-coded colours and the delegation of their creation, suggest an emphatically unromantic role of the artist. Yet in observing these rules his art proposes an aesthetics of individuation, drawing attention to the quirks and subtleties that infiltrate systems.

Thomas Wachholz was born in Germany in 1984. He lives and works in Cologne and is studying under Katharina Grosse and Marcel Odenbach at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Germany. His solo exhibitions include: ‘Whiteout’, Nymphius Projekte, Berlin, Germany (2015); ‘Alcohol Works’, Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles, US; ‘Reibfläche’, RaebervonStenglin, Zurich, Switzerland (both 2014); and ‘Alkoholarbeiten’, An der Shanz 1A, Cologne (2013). His recent group shows include: ‘Frist Flush’, Bayer Kulturhaus, Leverkusen, Germany; ‘20 Jahre Kunstgruppe’, Kunstgruppe, Cologne, Germany (both 2015); ‘TAU’, KIT – Kunst im Tunnel, Düsseldorf, Germany; ‘Not Abstraction’, Yves Klein Archive, Paris, France; ‘Backward/Forward’, New Galerie, Paris, France; ‘daseinsamegenie...’, Baustelle Schaustelle, Essen, Germany; and ‘Shortcuts, Videos in Art’, Chu Galerie, Cologne, Germany (all 2014).


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