Till 15 January 2011

For his first solo exhibition in Germany, Scottish artist ANDREW GRASSIE (b. 1966, Edinburgh) went through the gallery archive and selected various images, some detailed shots of individual works, some exhibition views. Instead of putting the focus on the gallery history’s ‘highlights’, Grassie was rather interested in the different modes of photographic documentation and all questions that arise by transforming them into paintings.

This exhibition opens different layers of a discourse, one layer dealing with documentation, another with the fact that the artist turned photography into painting. What is the relationship between reality and illusion? Another question debates the potential of documentation as a perfect surrogate for the original: At first glance it is hard to tell Grassie’s egg tempera paintings apart from photographs. When looked at from up close they gain very subtle painterly qualities. Their small format invites the viewer to come closer and study them very thoroughly. Tension exists between the ‘softer’ painterly surface and its quality as a handcrafted object. 

There is an area of conflict between the depiction of a random photograph that can be reproduced anytime and the pictured art works and exhibition space. Grassie decided against perfect documentary photographs, and rather chose amateur shots of works by Dan Graham, Martin Creed, Jan Merta, Ian Wallace, Stephan Balkenhol and James Welling, as he is interested in their small flaws and missing perfection. The extinction of any personal hand opens up an area of ideas reaching much further than the artist’s subjective world. The pictures are visually attractive and, caused by their book-like size feel at the same time close to the virtual world of thoughts and language.

This exhibition is the third and final show celebrating the 25-year history of the gallery. The first was titled ‘We are stardust, we are golden’, and focused exclusively on the female artists shown over the years by the gallery. The second exhibition ‘Conversation Pieces’ was curated by Jens Hoffmann and ‘staged’ both historical, and current artistic positions represented by Johnen Galerie. This ‘chamber play’ was also inspired by the gallery’s close proximity to the Deutsches Theater.

On the occasion of Andrew Grassie’s first exhibition in Germany, the gallery will publish a catalogue with an essay by Raimundas Malasauskas und a dialogue between Malasauskas and the artist.

Andrew Grassie (b. 1966 in Edinburgh, UK), studied at St. Martin’s School of Art, London 1984-88 and received his M.A. at the Royal College of Art, London in 1990. Solo Exhibitions include „Andrew Grassie: Painting as Document“, Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh, 2008; „New Hang“ Art Now, Tate Britain, London, 2005. His work was also presented at Whitechapel Gallery, London, in 2009. Selected publications: „Andrew Grassie: Private, Tate New Hang, Group Show, The Making of the Painting“, Sperone Westwater & Maureen Paley, 2006; „Art and Photography“, Phaidon, 2003.

Andrew Grassie’s works are held in the collection of Tate Britain and the United Kingdom Government Art Collection. He is working on ongoing commissions for the Goetz Collection, Munich and Rennie Collection, Vancouver. Andrew Grassie lives and works in London.

Marienstrasse 10
10117 Berlin
T +49 30 27 58 30 30

Image Credits: Andrew Grassie: Tate New Hang 8, 2005

Graphic Design by Ishmael Annobil /  Web Development by Ruzanna Hovasapyan