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Exhibition with works by Ulrich Pester, Ralph Schuster, and Anna Virnich opens at Sprüth Magers Berlin
Ulrich Pester, Dots, 2012. Oil on wood, 28 x 35 cm., 11 x 13 7/8 inches. Copyright Ulrich Pester. Courtesy Thomas Rehbein Galerie: Köln / Sprüth Magers Berlin London.

(BERLIN).- Monika Sprüth and Philomene Magers present an exhibition with works by Ulrich Pester, Ralph Schuster, and Anna Virnich. These three former students from the class of Walter Dahn at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Braunschweig are represented in the gallery's project room with recent and newly created works.

Ulrich Pester's pictorial worlds are based on precise observation which recognizes the peculiarities of everyday’s triviality. In his artistic works, motivic points of departure get distorted, reinterpreted, and twisted. The possibilities of painting are examined and put to the test. Among the many levels in this complex oeuvre are a broad selection of motifs, the activation of the two-dimensional surface by such means as trompe-l'oeil effects, references to art history, the use of graphic patterns, and plays on words. The alternation between abstraction and figuration, the arrangement of levels and objects in a pictorial space freed from conventional rules, and an ensuing logic immanent to the respective picture are peaks in Pester's artistic practice.

Born in 1980 in Hannover, the artist studied from 2004 – 2010 at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Braunschweig with Walter Dahn, whose master pupil he was in 2011. Today, Ulrich Pester lives and works in Cologne. In 2009, he received the Förderpreis für Bildende Kunst from the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, and in 2010 he was granted the Marianne-Defet- Malerei Stipendium from the city of Nürnberg. Arising out of the latter award was the presentation Goodbye Old Paint at the Kunsthalle Nürnberg (2013); in 2010 the Galerie der Stadt Remscheid presented the solo exhibition Peanuts.

Ralph Schuster works, among others, with colored pencil on wood or MDF – unpretentious means for creating a pictorial world that gets its inspiration from everyday life and focuses on the absurdity and simultaneous normality of our familiar surroundings. The mostly small-format paintings move between surrealistically implied space, intellectual games, abstract distortion, and constructed reality. Schuster develops his work in the diverse media of painting, film, and sculpture. Hidden behind the title Donuts is an archive of short films which the artist rearranges in a situational order. The partially presented, superficially structured slapsticks of the films is directed against the numbness resulting from the diversity and superabundance of the media in our everyday life. Familiar elements are uprooted as isolated aspects from their original context, are transferred through directed vision into another medium, and are pushed into new spatial and temporal frames of reference.

Ralph Schuster was born in 1982 in Freiburg; he lives and works in Cologne. From 2007 – 2013, he studied with Walter Dahn and Hartmut Neumann at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Braunschweig. He recently won the 21st Federal Competition, held at the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn. His solo exhibitions include Fünf Hanf Senf at PROVINZ Editionen Projekte, Bochum (2013) and The Bees' Nest in the Buffalo's Chest at the Galerie der Stadt Remscheid (2012).

The artistic practice of Anna Virnich is characterized by an extremely precise, sensitive handling of selected materials and techniques. Her photographs seem like the snapshots of a story. The sites, interiors, or situations of her surroundings are peeled out of a narration. Fabric is the material which Virnich uses in her sculptural works and large-format wallpieces. Highly diverse types of textiles and various colors appear in an additive procedure of layers, reversals, hangings, or sewn-together panels. The overlapping of the fabrics create flowing transitions of color which, in the haptic quality of the textiles, give rise to a form of seemingly fragile equilibrium. A superficially assumed randomness is countered by a deliberate compositional concept. Variable parameters of space, light, color, and materiality, as well as visual experience, are constitutive aspects of the immediate quality of Virnich's works.

The artist was born in 1984 in Berlin, where she lives and works today. Anna Virnich studied from 2007 – 2012 with Walter Dahn and Hartmut Neumann at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Braunschweig; she graduated with the honouring of being a master pupil. Since 2010, she has been a stipendiary of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. In addition to solo exhibitions such as Ambergris at the Galerie der Stadt Remscheid (2012), she recently developed a large-format wallpiece for the foyer of the Bonner Kunstverein.

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