Beck & Eggeling is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of the Cologne-based photo-artist Tobias Grewe (b. 1975 in Arnsberg) in their gallery on Bilker Str. 4-6 in Düsseldorf. Grewe‘s enigmatic, abstract photo works were already well received by the public and the press in the group exhibitions “KONSTRUKTIV!” (Nov. 2010 – Jan. 2011) and “Just a Facade? Architecture as Abstraction” (March – April 2012). The current exhibition will be accompanied by a full-colour catalogue with a text by the Cologne-based art historian Barbara Hofmann-Johnson.
“Who’s Afraid of Photography?” With this provocative title, Grewe attempts to overcome the biases against photography, which are still present among large parts of the art audience. Within the past 20 years, the interdependency between photography and painting has reached an entirely new dimension. In mid 2011, Grewe began a new series of photo works that take the process of abstraction, which is characteristic of the artist’s oeuvre, one step further. The original architectural sources for his so-called “Colourfields“ are not only no longer recognisable, but also completely irrelevant for the understanding of his works, since he is in no way interested in documentary or architectural photography, but rather in a theoretical and sensual analysis of the interrelationship between painting and photography.
The title of the exhibition makes conscious reference to the American painter and sculptor Barnett Newman (1905-1970), pioneer and main protagonist of the so-called “Colourfield Painting” of the 1950s and ‘60s in New York. As with Newman’s icon of American art of the post-war period, “Who’s Afraid of Red Yellow and Blue” (1966, Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin), Tobias Grewe’s photographic “Colourfields” are radically reduced to pure form and colour. In Grewe’s abstracted photographs, the viewer is confronted with large areas of pure colour, occasionally interrupted by thin stripes, which are closely related to the “Zips” of Newman’s compositions on canvas. In both cases, the stripes serve, on the one hand, to define or delineate the graphic structure of the composition and, on the other hand, to imply inherent spatial relationships. The fields of colour are thus visually separated from one another and, at the same time conceptually united with each other.
Grewe explains his unique approach to photography as follows: “My goal is to explore the boundaries between photography and painting, as well as between photography and drawing. In my previous works, I already attempted to push the medium of photography to its borders.
Without any additional digital or manipulative means, but rather purely through the control of light, perspective and cropping, I was able to influence the perception of my pictures to such an extent that the viewer can no longer discern whether he was viewing a painting, a pencil drawing or a photograph.” This explorative approach culminated in the Spring of 2012 in his first threedimensional photo work,“Colourfields| Chinese Whispers” (RAUM, Düsseldorf). With the current exhibition, Grewe wishes to raise the viewer’s awareness of the explorative and pioneering potential of contemporary photography in order to open new possibilities for the medium in the 21st century.
For further information please contact:
Dr. Antonia Lehmann-Tolkmitt, Beck & Eggeling Düsseldorf,
Tel: +49 (0)211 210 79 10 or +49 (0)151 270 96 232