Solid Signs

January 23 – April 26, 2015

New Frankfurt Internationals: Solid Signs takes up the theme of the interest, evident for some time now, in the physical presence of artworks and the revival of traditional artistic techniques.

According to conceptual artistic approaches, the artwork as representation refers to something absent; it symbolizes an artistic thought or an idea and does not necessarily have to be realized (by the artist him/herself). At the forefront of this shift from the visual to the semantic aspects are concepts and ideas that may be available as sketches or instructions for instance – and above all are intended to appeal to the viewer’s imagination. In this sense the materials or techniques used predominantly have a supporting function and wherever possible are not prominently evident or indeed recognizable. Around the same time as the development of conceptual art trends in the 1960s, a shift in the evaluation of material and technique began to occur in other areas too, such as the economy, ecology as well as in the humanities and social sciences. The focus on communication processes, the gathering and presentation of data and information, virtualization and digitalization led to a change in the evaluation of the relationship between form and material and still result in a broad »de- and rematerialization« of our world.

A renewed change has come to light recently: The material means available in the world, their technologies and physiology are again the subject of interest in various fields of knowledge. Even a younger generation of artists is exploring the materiality of visual means and their respective expressive qualities in their artistic practice and therefor mainly use analogous procedures. They design their own pictures and visual worlds and,as artistic archeologists, use more than just the visual material available. Here, the material dimension is just as important as the realization and content of an artwork and can itself also become the starting point of processes of perception and (going beyond that) interpretation. Emphasizing the physical presence of objects and things appears to be a palpable alternative proposition in the age of digitalization.

This development is a key underlying theme for New Frankfurt Internationals: Solid Signs. The artists in the exhibition take analog photographs of their environment, develop pictures themselves on paper or combine photochemistry and development processes with unusual materials and situations. Largeformat landscape scenes are captured with pencil and paper in the big outdoors and thus also reference a decelerated production process; instead of digital cameras, Super 8 cameras are used in order to take atmospheric and not technically perfect shots, and simple basic materials such as wood and plaster are being rediscovered as diverse bases for sculptures. The artists featured in the exhibition also use new materials and methods and explore their aesthetic and physical qualities.

Lilian Engelmann (Curator Frankfurter Kunstverein)

Elke Gruhn (Curator Nassauischer Kunstverein Wiesbaden)


upcoming events:

Saturday, April 25, 2015 | 7 pm – 2 am
Frankfurter Kunstverein

and stay up to date on all the activities of New Frankfurt Internationals: Solid Signs!