My Abstract World

16 Sep 2016 — 2 Apr 2017 at the Me Collectors Room in Berlin, Germany

31 JANUARY 2017
My Abstract World, Exhibition view. Courtesy of me Collectors Room
My Abstract World, Exhibition view. Courtesy of me Collectors Room

Moved by an enthusiasm for intense colour and bold expressive gestures, Thomas Olbricht has spent the last 30 years collecting abstract art in a wide variety of styles. At me Collectors Room, he will present a selection of his current favourites, drawn from his collection of 350 abstract works by ninety different artists.

At the same time, with the installation of new seating arrangements, Olbricht is transforming the exhibition spaces into a multi-sensory experience. This will allow the exhibition visitor to relax and have a drink while delving more deeply into the artworks on display and the reading materials or music – compiled by music and art publicist Max Dax.

My Abstract World brings together a selection of international artists, from established figures like Bernard Frize, Joseph Marioni and Katharina Grosse to representatives of a younger generation, including Ali Banisadr, Paul Fägerskiöld and David Ostrowski.

Ali Banisadr (b. 1976, Teheran, Iran) and Ahmed Alsoudani (b. 1975, Bagdad, Iraq) translate early memories of moods and sounds from their homelands, but also those of war and displacement, in colour-rich strokes that reverberate on the fringes of the figurative. While Etel Adnan’s (b. 1925, Beirut, Lebanon) delicate pastel surfaces invoke contemplative landscapes, Federico Herrero (b. 1978, San José, Costa Rica) captures urban experiences with tropical colours in geometric compositions. Herrero’s roots are in street art, like his fellow American painter Sterling Ruby (b. 1972, Bitburg Air Base, Germany), whose work contrasts Herrero’s cheerful colours with the dark tone it takes from graffiti and depicts social marginalisation and inequality. These kinds of works with an underlying thematic content are juxtaposed with others that conceptually explore colour, form and surface, as demonstrated in the inclusion of work by Joseph Marioni (b. 1943, Cincinnati, Ohio), who explores the quality of yellow paint, applied layer by layer, giving it depth and varying levels of richness. With sprayed acrylic, Paul Fägerskiöld (b. 1982, Stockholm, Sweden) creates surfaces that give the impression of being monotone, while simultaneously seeming to float and shimmer.

A pictorial world of geometric shapes and visual references that dissolves the boundaries between the figurative and the abstract and defies all classification is characteristic of the work of Thomas Scheibitz (b. 1968, Radeberg). Brent Wadden (b. 1979, New Scotia, Canada), on the other hand, breaks through the severe geometric abstraction with the soft and warm materiality of wool and yarn. In contrast, David Ostrowski’s (b. 1981, Cologne) fast, spontaneous gestures on top of monochrome surfaces undermine style and composition, allow for mistakes and leave room for chance. Meanwhile Bernard Frize (b. 1954, Saint-Mandé, France) takes the various forms of conceptual abstraction to the extreme, by merely marking the canvas with static, circular impressions of brushes dipped in bright paint, and thus taking the idea of the genius painter and following it to its absurd conclusion.

With: Etel Adnan, Ahmed Alsoudani, John M Armleder, Jo Baer, Ali Banisadr, Max Bill, GL Brierley, Jonas Burgert, André Butzer, Shen Chen, Ouyang Chun, Albrecht Demitz, Zhivago Duncan, Paul Fägerskiöld, Mark Flood, Bernard Frize, Andreas Golder, Kuno Gonschior, Henriette Grahnert, Katharina Grosse, Wang Guangle, Peter Halley, Federico Herrero, Olaf Holzapfel, Vladimir Houdek, Callum Innes, John Isaacs, Parker Ito, Robert Janitz, Sergej Jensen, Imi Knoebel, Caroline Kryzecki, Robert Longo, Marcin Maciejowski, Joseph Marioni, Sarah Morris, Loredana Nemes, David Nicholson, David Ostrowski, Daniel Pflumm, Sigmar Polke, Liang Quan, Gerhard Richter, Sterling Ruby, Thomas Ruff, Chen Ruo Bing, Adrian Sauer, Thomas Scheibitz, Martina Steckholzer, Henning Strassburger, Christine Streuli, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rosemarie Trockel, Tatiana Trouvé, Brent Wadden, Ekrem Yalcindag, Toby Ziegler, Heimo Zobernig.