18 Feb — 1 Apr 2017 at the Galerie Judith Andreae in Bonn, Germany
With Tobias Grewe and Heiko Räpple the exhibition POSIITIV brings together two artists at Galerie Judith Andreae, who could not be more different at first glance: Tobias Grewe is a self-taught artist and works as a photographer, while Räpple graduated with a master certificate in Sculpture at the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts. For the one camera and computer are sufficient, while the other requires considerable material supplies, a large studio and various equipment for his artistic process.
At a second glance, however, one can see why these artists have been brought together: There are structures that allow Tobias Grewe in the form of photography and video and Heiko Räpple sculpturally to emerge as a visual result. Along these structures there are formal reflections in both artistic processes, which are based on opposites: What is inside, what is outside? What is negative, what is positive? What is hard, what soft? What is small, what is great? What is stable and flexible? What is static and what is moving? What is easy and what is difficult? The list could be written down as desired.
The title of the exhibition is also to be understood in this context. The uppercase letters placed in the middle also yield the Roman numeral two: two artists, two genres and dialectics as the basis of the artistic work process are expressed here. The design of the card automatically supplements the word "negative" as a counterpart to "positive". The word as such, however, does not occur with full intent, it is not manifested.
The artistic work of Grewe and Räpple is determined by a process of eliminating opposites (such as over- and under-exposure, or the question of the exterior or interior of a work of art). This process leads to images that invite the viewer to actively interrogate the work. In particular, the work of Tobias Grewe raises the question: When does a photograph turn into a painting? When into a drawing? Where is the border, if it exists at all? Structures here are visual results of a formal discourse that ultimately goes far beyond the medium of photography as an image of reality. At the same time, during the course of the structures Heiko Räpple is always confronted with the question: What is sculpture capable of and what is sculpture even supposed to be?
We are therefore in the middle of the discussion about the artistic genres and whether these are still important at the present time - where it has become quite common to practice sculpture in the academy class of a renowned photography professor as a student.
Heiko Räpple and Tobias Grewe examine formal aspects by contrasting thesis and antithesis until a solution or a new understanding emerges in the form of synthesis. This leads to compositions by both artists, which ultimately generate the same gain in knowledge for the viewer through different media.
Another striking commonality - more on a sensual than on an intellectual level - is the feeling of both artists for a certain monochrome aesthetic, which, however, is not an object or a motivation for their work. Both lack the fear of beauty that occurs many times in the modern (art) world.
Text by Julia Ritterskamp