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Morgan Falconer

(b Frauenberg, Nov 11, 1951).

German painter and sculptor. He studied sociology, politics and educational theory at university (1970–76). Bömmels became known within the context of German Neo-Expressionism in the early 1980s: he was a member of the Cologne-based group Mülheimer Freiheit, and his vigorous, fluid technique and symbolist leanings led him to be associated with the ‘wild’ painters or New Primitives. Break with History (1984–5; see Faust, 1990, pl. 22) is typical of his early style: intense, expressionistic facture combines with a striking palette of brown, yellow and red to depict a cryptic scene of fleshy but ghost-like figures in a torn landscape; the scene could be read as referring to the contemporary political divisions within Germany. Bömmels’s interest in history and love of hermetic allegories gradually led him to be influenced by the medieval and Roman art of Cologne. Scales of Justice (1984–5; see Faust, 1990, pl. 22) is characteristic of the early stages of this development: two old tradesmen’s signs, painted with obscure symbols, hang from a crooked wooden cross which stands in the stump of a tree. Towards the end of the 1980s his handling shed its vigour and came to resemble the faintly comic style of Romanesque sculpture; he also began to employ a variety of new formats, including relief carving and paintings on wood. ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Jena, Thüringen, March 15, 1954).

German painter and sculptor. He studied at Berlin University but was self-taught as an artist. He came to international prominence in the early 1980s along with a generation of young German Neo-Expressionist painters. In particular, he was associated with a group from Hamburg that included Albert Oehlen (with whom he had a long and formative association) and Martin Kippenberger. Like many of the Hamburg painters, his work was characterized by satirical attacks on the bourgeoisie, while its fantastical and infantilist dimensions were informed by a distaste for the excesses of contemporary mass culture. Still Life with Ray and Special Offer (1983; see 1987 exh. cat.) is in many ways typical of his early work: a comical image of a frowning ray, it is executed in thick, vigorous strokes and dominated by the dark palette favoured by Büttner during this period. The title, which appears to offer little with which to interpret the image is also characteristic of the way in which he counterposed image and title. His sculpture took a number of forms, but appears to be predominantly inspired by Dada traditions. ...

Article

Sook-Kyung Lee

One of the characteristics of Korean contemporary art is a continuous effort in employing and interpreting international art practices and discourses. Art movements from Europe and North America in particular, including Abstract Expressionism, Art informel, Minimalism, Conceptual art and Post-modernism, have influenced many Korean artists’ styles and ideas since the 1950s, providing formal and conceptual grounds for critical understandings and further experiments. Whilst some artists who maintained traditional art forms such as ink painting and calligraphy exercised modernist styles and abstract forms largely within the norms and conventions of traditional genres, a large group of artists proactively adapted to Western styles, employing new materials and techniques as well as the notions of avant-garde and experimentalism (see fig.).

A major critique of the reception of Western art and aesthetics came from ‘Minjung art’ (People’s Art) in the 1980s as part of instigating a nationalist and politically charged art strategy. Several art historians and critics who emerged in the 1990s also expanded the scope of the debate with postcolonial and pluralist points of view. The shift in social, economic and political environments played an important role in changing sensibilities in art, along with the advances of technology and new media in the 2000s. The high degree of diversity and sophistication of Korean art in terms of media and subject matters became widely acknowledged within and outside the nation, and an increasing number of artists started to work on the cutting edge of international art....