Press Release of the Exhibition
Tatjana Doll (Burgsteinfurt, 1970) presents “Recession II”, her second exhibition at Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, in Lisbon.
The title chosen for this show implies a sequential relation between the work that was first presented at the gallery (“Recession”, in 2008) and the paintings and drawings composing this exhibition. Concurrently, the title – the use of words – represents a line of thought and reflection within the artist’s body of work, in which the titles are an element present in the works that determines their relation with objects, everyday references, or geometric patterns – often graphically striking – that expand, to the viewer, their diverse field of observation.
One of the artworks, titled “PICT_Glasurit”, is exemplary of the relational structure built by Tatjana Doll. Glasurit is a particular brand of industrial enamel paint that the artist uses in her paintings. The self-referential relation indicates an affinity for materials – such as spray paint or acrylic – that allow the body to have greater technical versatility when painting. On the other hand, as a semantic tool, language opens up a field of possibilities in the prolific network of meanings occurring between the image and the set of words that compose its title, as it happens in the case of “PICT_Seeds” and “TECHNICS_Nintendo.”
Within this complementary relation between word and image, the recent works Tatjana Doll now exhibits traverse an opposite path to the one suggested by her previous show in the gallery. The images represented by the paintings are subjected to a transmutation, sometimes almost spectral, as it happens with the painting “DUMMY_Angelina Jolie”, and in other cases fragmented and stripped of their resemblance to the objects or characters they refer to – both in what concerns their scale and proportion, and in their apparent proximity to the real model, or its context.
As it is visible in the drawings, the titles suggest a numeric and temporal seriality, and the word is integral to the work, incorporating seemingly decontextualized references and self-referential memories.
“Recession II” is a provocative exhibition in the sense that it makes us closer to painting (to its haptic dimension) as the artist reflects on the social universe of the images we are permanently faced with (symbols, signs, typography). Tatjana Doll proposes a confrontation between what is essential in the immediate acknowledgment of a referent and her active capability – as an artist – to distill and transform the symbols of a collective imaginary into fragmented, quasi abstract elements. Within the conceptual framework of this exhibition, painting is a thought process through which pictorial objects are reclaimed by time and action and become autonomous within strong and expressive chromatic compositions, never losing sight of an analytical intention that demands our physical and emotional presence.
Her oversized enamel canvasses of everyday objects put Tatjana Doll’s name on the map: Cars, trains, containers, pictograms, babushkas... And yet, the pictures do not show reality. Instead they retain their independence. This is also true of her fine drawings – often done in pencil – that make an interesting contrast to the massive paintings. Although the viewer is immediately reminded of commercial photographs typically seen in fashion magazines, they are disembedded from their “instrumentalization,” i.e. the sale of goods. Like the objects in her paintings, Tatjana Doll lends her figures an independent existence. By transforming them into the drawing medium, on the one hand Tatjana Doll reveals the figures’ desires and on the other hand she shows precisely what they can trigger in the spectator. At the same time, she exhibits a part of herself, which is cleverly hidden behind the drawn element.
Tatjana Doll was born in 1970 in Burgsteinfurt. In 1998, she graduated from Düsseldorf’s Kunstakademie. After working as Visiting Professor for Painting at the Kunsthochschule Weißensee, Berlin (2005–2006), she was made professor at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Karlsruhe in 2009–2010. Tatjana Doll lives and works in Berlin.
Press Release of the Exhibition
Jun 27th > Sep 6th 2008
Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art presents “Recession”, the first solo show in the gallery of the German artists Tatjana Doll (Burgsteinfurt, 1970).
Tatjana Doll is best known for her large-scale paintings in which she employs a vocabulary assembled from images of life in the contemporary cities. Always figurative, and using recurrent motifs, her work can be broken down into several thematic groups: vehicles, containers, seats (stadiums, cinemas) and urban signage. Common places, easily recognizable, that think the visual repertoire of our contemporary society.
Her painting is clear and direct. Admittedly bi-dimensional, Doll moves away from a key characteristic in painting, illusion, to present canvas upon which a sole element is portrayed on a white background. This choice to employ pre-existing images is interrelated with the artist’s will to deny the originality drive. The immediate reading that the works make possible, allow Doll to empty the signs of their meaning allowing the artist to concentrate solely on the image itself. By not making the decision on the content, Doll limits her subjectivity to her intervention in the search for the most intense way to paint.
At Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art Tatjana Doll presents a group of 70 paintings of road signs. The artist decided to extend the poles in order for the sign itself to be located close to the ceiling. This decision bores two consequences, a violent encounter with a forest of bars (a grid that reminisces some minimalist interventions), which encloses the spectator within the space of the gallery; and the effort-making necessity to find the focus of the painting.
This installation, specifically conceived for Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, reflects the artist’s observation of the profusion of signs on the Portuguese roads and materializes her rumination about a society that, in seeking sophistication, needs to implement more and more rules of conduct. A society, which is increasingly oppressive of its citizens and that constantly imposes the paths they are to circulate.
Tatjana Doll presents as well a group of paintings portraying one truck, three Lamborghinis and a couple of Dollar rolls. The whiteness of the canvas representing an erasure of the original context, allows the spectator to locate the object in an imaginary setting.
The title of the exhibition although with a clear economical association (which is also true for the paintings themselves) relates not to the art market but more towards a stagnation of growth (road signs) as well as a suspension of content of the paintings.
Until July 13th the work of Tatjana Doll can also be seen in the exhibition “Institutional and Poetic Violence” at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves, Porto.