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CHOI&LAGER Gallery: BERNHARD MARTIN - HOTEL 361° (Graceland, Disgracecounty)" - 21 June 2014 to 27 Aug 2014

Current Exhibition

21 June 2014 to 27 Aug 2014
Wednesday to Friday: 11-13, 14-18
Saturday: 12-6
Choi&Lager Galerie
Wormser Str. 23
T: +49 (0)2 21/16 99 25

Bernhard Martin, Cell 365, 2014
Oil on raw-canvas, 175 x 235 cm

Artists in this exhibition: Bernhard Martin

Bernhard Martin
"Hotel 361° (Graceland, Disgracecounty)"

Choi&Lager Cologne is pleased to present a solo exhibition by German artist Bernhard Martin. Hotel 361 ° (Graceland, Disgracecounty) is the title of a new series of paintings and drawings in Martin’s Diktatur der Hormone, a cycle of works he has been working on over the past three years. Originally planned as paraphrases for the iconography of theLast Supper, they changed – in the course of the work process – into table scenes, as well as hotel and bar scenes that are out of joint, reminiscent of scenes from a movie.Hotel 361 ° refers to the mood of Lunar Park and Glamorama by Brett Easton Ellis without any direct citation.
The paintings show hotel scenes of a modern traveling and consumerist society (Mindhungry Traveller). They depict episodes at a hotel. It is a portrait of a society that, according to Martin, »is suffering from its own established rules and finds no satisfactory answers to the questions of power, love, jealousy, and desire, and chooses to resort to cynicism, double standards and lack of restraint.« Bernhard Martin does not evaluate or categorize. He is interested in this phenomenon, the inherently absurd, the hilarious, crazy, abnormal, the enigmatic, illogical, the paradoxical and meaningless. This expression of absurdism culminates in one of the images showing a scene in a hotel bar (Warten auf das Andere). Furthermore, Bernhard Martin, in this work, poses the question of »whether the absurd is not the realm of the last free thought.« Sources of inspiration for Martin's images range from Otto Dix's famous triptych Metropolis (1927/28) to the shrill and merciless aspects in Quentin Tarantino's films.
In recent years, Bernhard Martin has been known for his radical way of sampling, and for the combinatorics of different styles of painting, usually resulting in exuberant visual narratives. Now, he lightly applies pastel tones in a novel way on the raw canvas, bestowing a magical atmosphere onto the images. At first glance, Martin's works appear beautiful. The subversive subtext of his encrypted pictorial worlds becomes visible only on closer inspection. The paint application is very delicate, so that the images appear strangely remote. This new technique in Bernhard Martin’s work shows his innermost need for change; change and transformation are central themes in the work of this artist; but this also always entails stylistic changes. »I am not interested in doing the same all my life when everything is constantly changing around me. It appears rather more relevant to develop a language that can withstand this, and tries to link and combine everything.«
Bernhard Martin is a chronicler of everyday life. A judicious, never spontaneous recourse to, at times, the most infantile objects is typical. »The thought of arbitrariness, without actually being arbitrary« is what he himself calls his program. »I paint as others talk« Martin concludes. »I am interested in worlds, islands, cabinets of curiosities, biotopes, colliding opposites, ergo daily life,« is how Martin describes the intention of his work, which forms a fascinating subsystem to real phenomena. »Many pictures are like vortexes, drawing in the viewer’s gaze,« as Daniel Völzke once remarked inZEITmagazin (19/2008).
Bernhard Martin was born 1966 in Hanover and, from 1983 to 1989, he studied at Kunsthochschule Kassel. He then spent several years in Frankfurt and Barcelona. Currently, Martin lives in London and Berlin. He is regarded as one of the youngest students ever to have been accepted at a German academy of arts. Martin became well-known to a wider audience through the acclaimed group exhibition of new German painting at Frankfurter Kunstverein (2003). He is now represented in major collections such as, among others, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Geneva (Mamco), the Rubell Family Collection, Florida; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Sander Collection, Berlin; the Deutsche Bank Collection, Frankfurt; Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna; and the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, Salzburg. This was followed by extensive solo exhibitions at the Villa Arson in Nice and the Arario Museum in Seoul in 2005. In the fall of 2008, Städtische Galerie Wolfsburg dedicated a comprehensive solo show to Bernhard Martin on the occasion of him being awarded the Art Prize of the City of Wolfsburg.

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