Alfa Gallery is pleased to present Material, a curated group exhibition with works by international group of artists: Ben Rosecrans, Brenda Goldstein, Charlotte Pann, Cristiana de Marchi, Denise Treizman, Diana Jean Puglisi, Lauren Shapiro, Emily Stergar, Fabian Bürgy, Gelah Penn, Helene Koch, Ignacio Muv, Iva Visosevic, Jerzy Zajaczkowski, Keith Francis, Lara Nasser, Laura Marsh, Mo Cornelisse, Nicolas Vionnet, Paul Amundarain, Peter Manion, Vanessa Niederstrasser, Victoria Wagner and Yaara Zach..
The exhibition examines the role of materials in contemporary art. In the 1960s the definition of art was expanded radically due to the questioning and re-evaluation of various materials. For the first time, material gained ascendancy over form. After the conceptual art of the 1970s had directed attention increasingly towards text written and pictorial documents as means of expression, in the 1980s young artists turned back to the balance of material and form. However, the possibilities of digital technology led to a reduction in the importance of concrete materials at the end of the 20th century.
For a young generation of artists today, the aspect of materiality has again become a key concept. Against the background of current social and cultural developments, they are elaborating upon and transforming the approach of earlier decades. Artistic handling of materials in a social climate where added importance is being given to factors such as making things oneself, recycling with aesthetic pretensions, and possibilities for individual product design, enables inferences for the value and significance of materiality in the present age and not only in the context of fine art.
The twenty-one artists invited to participate here focus on the characteristics and narrative potential of such diverse materials as fabric, concrete, wood, ceramics, glass, plastic or paper. While it was still important during the 1960s to assimilate random materials once considered alien to art into fine art at all, and so to oppose traditional material hierarchies and art-historical conventions, today the use of such an artistic repertoire is no longer a trigger of outrage. The materials being used here are familiar – in the exhibition space as well. The artistic focus is less on the discovery of new materials and more on a re-dedication of the familiar, giving it a novel function. The artists of the exhibition Material take up artisanal traditions and industrial production methods, are occupied with recycling and do-it-yourself, devote themselves to material analysis and the reconstruction of specific places and objects, or develop fragile architectonic constructions.