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>> Interview with Ellen Gallagher
>> Portrait of Marlene Dumas
>> New Acquisitions 2005
>> Exhibition Highlights 2006

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Creative Unrest:
The Latest Acquisitions at Deutsche Bank

Evil flowers, provocative formats, reflections on a globalized world: in 2005, the new acquisitions at Deutsche Bank once again demonstrated a wide spectrum of artistic approaches to the medium paper in all sizes and formats. Christiane Meixner introduces a selection of the most recent highlights.

Guinea pigs do not swim. Nor do moles or rabbits, for whom a dip into water constitutes a sheer nightmare. The fact that they do this nonetheless in the works of Katja Eckert in what looks like a drift through fluid matter has more to do with technical skill than with reality. Eckert expands upon the facts of everyday life to include views that are altogether possible – if only one regarded them with the same peculiar sense of curiosity as the young artist does.

Katja Eckert: Hase from the series "Umwelt/Untitled", 2000, Deutsche Bank Collection

Eckert's digitalized drawings on photographic paper count among the most recent new acquisitions at Deutsche Bank. Following an intensive meeting of the purchasing committee, the firm has appropriated hundreds of new works of international origin into its corporate collection, which is generally considered to be the largest worldwide. International artists born between 1960 and 1975 have once again profited from the fact that the bank has been concentrating mainly on works on paper for the past quarter of a century; they have investigated the medium in all its various facets.

Drawing has long since ceased to restrict itself to a more or less abstract motif that is then recorded on paper. The current discourse carries both into the immediate art historical past and into concrete space, which can be occupied and interpreted by means of tape, plywood, or other inexpensive materials that are added as part of the piece. Markus Amm works in this vein; his installations refer to historical Constructivism as well as to design and current pop music – without, however, allowing the viewer to fully comprehend these references to any degree of satisfaction.

Markus Amm: Nr. 9 from the series "Untitled", 2005,
Deutsche Bank Collection

A trace of uneasiness remains, as it does with the proliferating work Mistletoe 2 by Simon Periton or Christoph Schellberg's Fleurs du Mal, a drawing in ballpoint pen and colored pencil on paper that has been drenched in coffee and on which eyes, faces, and tiny skulls can be detected upon concentrated scrutiny. Here, too, while the iconographic connection proceeds from the vanitas symbol to the psychedelic drawings of the sixties, it does not lead to any one exclusive interpretation of the motif.

Simon Periton: Mistletoe 2, 2003,
Deutsche Bank Collection,
Copyright Simon Periton, Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London

Christoph Schellberg: from the series
"Fleurs du Mal", 2004,
Deutsche Bank Collection

Abounding in quotes, multiple layers of association, and visible references to an aesthetic that investigates art's development from the sixties to the eighties, these strategies appear to be seminal for the generations represented here. Thomas Werner counts among these, whose flowing female figures could easily date from the seventies, but who on the other hand confronts the viewer in contemporary manner with a provocatively oversized format.

Thomas Werner: Girl (Pathosformel), 2005,
Deutsche Bank Collection, Copyright: Galerie Bärbel Grässlin, Frankfurt a. M.

Nina Bovasso and Maria Brunner also belong to this category. While Bovasso fills her meter-sized paper surfaces with abstract bubbles, Brunner combines human eyes, mouths, and bright red cherries to create brilliant ornamental blow-ups. Yet what looks like a loud Easyfun-Ethereal series by Jeff Koons, whose work turns consumerism into fetish, the works of the 1962-born artist bear titles such as Of Faggy Flowers and Heavy Scents . This doesn't really fit in with the pop cultural elements and undermines their otherwise flawless impression.

Nina Bovasso: Eyeballs, 2005,
Deutsche Bank Collection
Maria Brunner:
Von schwulen Blumen und schweren Gerüchen, 2005,
Deutsche Bank Collection

Collage is also the theme of Werner Büttner's c-prints, who already began working with similar means as the Neue Wilde in painting two decades ago in response to the reduced language of conceptual art prevailing at the time. Similarly to Martin Kippenberger and Albert Oehlen, with whom he co-founded the "League for Combating Contradictory Behavior" in 1976, the artist always sought a certain distance to his motifs. Since that time, Büttner's trademark has been an ironic criticism of conventions of any type, even if the untitled drawings depict seductively beautiful motifs such as a colorful snake in the grass or a head from antiquity with a tube of paint held to its temple in pistol form.

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