Visitors to Art Basel Miami will have to add a stop on their itinerary to complete the feast of contemporary art, because in its tireless efforts to remain one of the trailblazing art institutions of the hemisphere, the Museo de Arte de Ponce
announces the opening of the exhibition Matthias Weischer: New Work on Saturday, November 26, at 2:00 pm. This is the first individual exhibition in the Americas of one of the principal representatives of the New Leipzig School, which critics have called the first art phenomenon of the twenty-first century. The exhibit will remain open to the public through March 26, 2012, and will be accompanied by a selection of works from the museum that have a connection with Weischers works.
That phenomenon that we know as the New Leipzig School is not a formal or structured collective of artists, but rather a loosely connected group of individuals whose works have certain characteristics in common, such as, for example, formal art training and a special admiration for classical art. Their similarities and diversities have culminated in work whose blend of Pop with a strong influence of post-reunification Germany has revolutionized the world of contemporary art. Weischers will be the second of three exhibits by which the museum recognizes the importance of this new movementthe first was a show by David Schnell in 20072008, and the third will open in November of 2013 with the work of Neo Rauch, the New Leipzig Schools central figure.
With this exhibit we continue our work as pioneers of art in the Americas, where the work of Weischer is not very well known and where therefore the New Leipzig School may not have been given the importance it deserves on the basis of its worldwide influence. It is our firm intention to present shows that free our visitors imagination and allow new and exciting encounters with art. We urge visitors to Art Basel to make a detour to Puerto Rico, which is so very close and so very attractive as a place to visit, and which now offers this wonderful exhibit composed entirely of the latest work by this compelling artist, noted Agustín Arteaga, director and chief executive officer of the Museo de Arte de Ponce.
Matthias Weischer: New Work is composed of 11 oil paintings in medium and large format and 45 prints, this being the first time that such a large number of works by this artist have been exhibited at the same time. In the exhibit, visitors will see gardens, landscapes, and interior spaces decorated with furniture, art objects, and many shapes and forms that constitute Weischers personal pictorial idiom and through which he attempts to recreate in the viewer the sensations and experiences of the potential occupants of those spaces. Eliminating human figures from his work is the strategy by which Weischer turns the viewer into an occupant, participating in countless situations, confrontations, or sensations, both concrete and imagined.
I go outside of the studio with my sketchbook. This is a fundamental part of my work. It is during these moments that I experience the greatest joy in my creative phase. I sit down in a place and try to sound out the space. I do not compose at this moment but only search for my viewpoint as an observer and react with the pencil to the place. At this moment a lot happens to my work. Drawing in front of an object, in the garden, or in the room creates an open space for me. It is a moment of openness that drives me like a motor, says the artist, who often visits museums and gardens in search of ideas for his paintings.
A 40-page catalog with full-color reproductions of the works complements the exhibit. The catalog also contains an essay by Cheryl Hartup, the Museo de Arte de Ponces curator-in-chief, who points out that the roots of Matthias Weischers work lie in the landscape painting, interiors, and still-lifes characteristic of the Western pictorial tradition. His work explores the structure of the space, and also presents an enigmatic collection or grouping of objects that inhabit the space, and his paintings resemble stage sets while also reminding us of nineteenth-century artists studios. Likewise, his technique evokes the pleasure in sumptuous materials, richly decorated rooms, and the play of light and shadow that we associate with the Baroque. Weischers curious images open the doors to worlds that contain a past that is familiar, but that we never knew.
Matthias Weischer has had individual shows at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst and the Museum der Bildenden Künste, both in Leipzig, and at the Kunsthalle in Mainz, Germany; the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo in Malaga, Spain, and the Gemeentemuseum den Haag, in the Hague. He has been the recipient of a fellowship to study at the Villa Massimo German Academy in Rome, and he is part of the select group of participants in the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, where he worked under David Hockney.