Römer + Römer: Party-Löwe

20 Mar — 26 Apr 2014 at Freight and Volume Gallery in New York, United States

Römer + Römer, Face to Face, 2010, Oil on canvas, 79 x 104 inches
Römer + Römer, Face to Face, 2010, Oil on canvas, 79 x 104 inches
7 MAR 2014

Freight + Volume is pleased to announce Party-Löwe, the debut solo exhibition in NYC of Römer + Römer at the gallery. Nina Römer and Torsten Römer work together as an artist couple and collaborative. The exhibition Party-Löwe will present recent paintings the duo has created which reflect a style painting that is distinguished by a particular attention paid to the interplay between the individual and the collective. As a duo they are attracted to situations where strict constraints have been lifted, ie: festivals, public gatherings, demonstrations and other moments of freedom. Their paintings echo travel, carnivals, youth culture and a bohemian lifestyle.

Their motto is all or nothing. They do not sit back and flip through magazines to find source images that reflect their subject; the artists need the experience first-hand, they are mobile and traverse destinations and socio-political landscapes to take thousands upon thousands of photographs of liberated and excited people who are celebrating, dancing, interacting and embracing. Out of these 10,000 or so images ten or fifteen a year become paintings.

The duo’s work reflects the surroundings they live, breathe and participate in. Their paintings present inspiring moments that trigger elaborate psychological connections in the viewer. The associations remind us of the past, present, and current events, the work portrays our basic sense of humanity. The subjects depicted are often people enjoying life in the face of oppression. They are gutter punks, kids playing games, flamboyant performers, musicians, people swimming and couples embracing. Throughout the work there is a sense of celebration and defiance. This artist duo captures the rebel spirit that is not going to accept injustice and/or bullshit. They portray the individual as a collective fighter, partier, protester and activist. These paintings are filled with subjects enjoying a lack of respect for authority, clearly stating: “Fuck it, I am doing things my way.”

These paintings are pixilated, and are analogous to a glitched or frozen screen. Through their use of pixilation they have created an image, which is both specific and universal. This universal quality allows the space to be filled and linked to the countless stories of their excursions. The faces and people are interchangeable; the artists are speaking to the defiant human spirit, one that will not be quelled by rules, restrictions, limitations, laws, borders or boundaries.

The work celebrates life on the edge; it starts off as an experience, then is captured in a photograph, and finally morphs into a painting. Like twin sponges the artists absorb their surroundings, whatever the circumstances might be: conflicts, parties, love, or wild absurdity. They create paintings that act as a kind of Polaroid. The colors are warm. The pixilation produces an aura-like quality that emanates from the figures. This quality harkens to the collective spirit and sense of humanity that the artists explore. Their work deeply investigates – and resonates with – what it means to be a human being today and how we act collectively.

The duo offers us, the viewer, just a glimpse of what has been experienced; a taste of life lived on the wild side. There is always more going on then what is seen on the surface. There is a backstory to every image albeit the narrative is frozen in place. It is left for us to imagine what, where and why. These paintings are moments preserved and remembered. These fleeting experiences of reality are transformed into the eternity that the art historical canon has made out of oil painting. A Polaroid will fade. It will eventually disintegrate. RÖMER + RÖMER creates a lasting reminder of our humanity. They focus on both positive as well as problematic situations of social life. They find it illuminating; working as artists in tandem, they act as mediums, transforming the fleetingness of reality via photography into the longevity of paintings.

The title of this exhibition translates to Party-Lion. The work deals with human experience, and in particular focuses on how we as individuals come together as a collective. We shake off the shackles of laws, regulations, rules, oppression, domination, tyranny, totalitarianism, dictatorships and repression. It is up to us to liberate ourselves by throwing a party, celebrating, and having good time. The work celebrates the spirit of the Occupy Movement and the Arab Spring. It relishes the space that Burning Man creates, where there are no rules, where people are allowed to do, act and be whatever and whoever they want to be. It is a celebration of the human spirit breaking free from the dullness of the day-to-day, while saying enough is enough to authority and corporate bullies. It is time to party with the ferocity of a lion.

Römer + Römer are a Russian-German artist couple. Their main focus in their artistic practice is painting and performance. Nina Römer, born in 1978 Moscow, Russia, and Torsten Römer, born in 1968 Aachen, Germany, have both studied and graduated at the Art Academy Duesseldorf. Since 1998, they have been working together as an artist collaboration and couple in all their art works, movies and projects. In 1999 they founded the international art project M°A°I°S. They have lived and worked in Berlin since 2000.