Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to present Saturnine Swing, an exhibition of new works by Matthias Bitzer. Saturnine Swing is the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery since joining in 2013, and his first solo exhibition in New York.
For Saturnine Swing, Matthias Bitzer will use both the uptown and Chelsea gallery spaces to present his drawings, paintings, and sculptures, and multi-part installations, ultimately engaging the two spaces and the works contained within to achieve his larger project: a metaphysical space that weaves history, memory, and narrative into a multi-layered realm that addresses the issues activated by our comprehension of reality.
Bitzer frequently looks to varied scientific and literary sources as departure points for his projects, from Euclidean geometry to Emily Dickinson. For this exhibition, Bitzer’s particular references include Aby Warburg's Mnemosyne Atlas and Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's notion of the rhizome - eclectic, complementary concepts that offer rich philosophical and aesthetic holdings pertaining to the organization and presentation of reality. Bitzer mines these notions to convey and explore the idea of a network that bridges gaps in our perception of time and space.
In this case, that network collapses art historical and compositional divides - traditional portraits are disrupted by Constructivist patterns, image and text become one, light and form unite. Through the juxtaposition of varied references and mediums, Bitzer highlights the pendulum that swings between disparate realms, erasing boundaries precisely through his emphasis on them.
The exhibition’s title alludes to this gesture; the grand celestial system that governs the universe becomes a descriptive metaphor for the microcosm of the artist's own thought process. A delicate pencil work on wood that shares this title exemplifies Bitzer’s task. Here, the artist displays his technical virtuosity with a ghostly hand-drawn geometric pattern that oscillates between two and three dimensions. This liminal sense of perspective is further emphasized by the initially incongruous text at the bottom of the work: "Saturnine Swing" in small, anachronistic typewritten letters. The juxtaposition of the graceful, expert hand of the artist and the mechanically reproduced text produces an aesthetic and conceptual tension, and the engagement between the two elements – image and text – is strong but non-linear. It is not clear which describes the other, only that they both participate.
The discrete tautology of this work epitomizes the artist's greater endeavor. Indeed, the works in Chelsea will coexist with and ultimately realize the works uptown, where Bitzer's allegorical, trace-like archive of the downtown works will reside. In this reflexive, symbiotic relationship, spatial and conceptual hierarchies are collapsed. The result is a poetic meditation on the fluid nature of reality and the structures imposed to define it.
Matthias Bitzer was born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1975. He graduated from the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Karlsruhe, Germany in 2004. Since his first solo exhibition at Galerie Iris Kadel, Karlsruhe in 2004, Bitzer’s work has been included in a number of international exhibitions at venues including the Kunsthalle Krems, Austria (2009); the Rosenblum Collection, Paris (2011); and the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012). Bitzer received the Nordhorn City Art Prize in 2007 and the Otto Dix Award (Gera, Germany) in 2010. In 2013, the artist was included in Jump Cut at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York. Bitzer currently lives and works in Berlin.
All images: Marianne Boesky Gallery, 118 East 64th Street, installation views