In 1935, in exile in Paris, the father of modern cultural and media theory Walter Benjamin wrote the essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. He made it clear that art and its reception have been transformed by media, mass production and the altered representation of reality. According to the philosopher, materialism has caused art to lose its “aura”.
Concrete ennobled to one-of-a-kind status
Since the 1990s, Antezzo has contemplated the influence of media on art production and cultural history. His canvases (with colored yarn and stripes across them), murals and cement sculptures on display in this exhibit at Klosterfelde challenge on the one hand the familiar post-Benjamin discourse on the materiality of artwork, and the interdisciplinarity of its representation on the other. In this spirit, a pedestrian material like concrete is ennobled and elevated to one-of-a-kind status. Parameters of logic, mathematics and architecture are employed playfully and result in minimalist compositions.
Painting after “the death of painting”
The issue of materiality and interdisciplinarity brings up yet another art historical discourse, that of “the end of painting”. The boundaries and possibilities of imagery and of artistic expression per se have been explored since the emergence of abstract painting between 1913 and 1917. The requirement that one refer to the empirical world in painting has since become obsolete. Painting – as well as art in general – can be self-referential.
Antezzo is clearly committed to these discourses. But his works have not lost their aura as a result of it. On the contrary, their timelessness bathes them in a glow of grace that elevates the spaces on Potsdamer Straße 93 to a place of contemplation.
On view until January 7, 2012.