Christian Ehrentraut
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Over the course of 2014, the gallery showcases an extensive series of group and dialogue exhibitions: “Amorphophallus” brings together four artists approaching issues of sexuality and gender roles with ironical distance but lustful enthusiasm. Against the the backdrop of the data streams of interchangeable digital pornography, the framed drawings and small-format canvases emphasize the intimacy of the exhibition, which refers to the presentation of a natural history cabinet.
The exhibition borrows its title from a genus of flowering plants from the Aracea family. The “Amorphophallus Titanum”, the Titan Arum, is known as the largest flower in the world. The association of botanics and sexual debauchery is a well-known topos and popular literary motif. In Lou Hoyer’s black-and-white ink drawings, opulent floral ornaments interweave with juicy genitals of both sexes with pistils pulsating in sweeping fertility, only to wither and postcoitally collaps.
In Tilo Baumgärtel’s colored pastel- and charcoal drawings of strange interior and exterior spaces, cinema halls, lounges and backyards are filled with all sorts of decadent and licentious scenes. Baumgärtel invents metaphors of delusion, longing and fear that seem like a children’s book translation of the world into a seemingly naive and tragicomically narrative. As if windows to a parallel world, the images appear as being taken from a film plot or fin de siecle book illustrations.
Christoph Ruckhäberle’s fun and colorful gouaches oscillate between flatness and dynamic space: schematic genitals, stripes and color surfaces are woven into each other. Color and shape become protagonists in the play of proportions, contrast and space and develop a rather spatial dynamic and musical rhythm.
With apparent ease, fine brushstrokes and pastel colors, Stu Mead deals with taboo subjects such as bestiality, incest and blasphemy. His highly suggestive and ambiguous small scale paintings and drawings use innocent adolocent figures as pandrogynous placeholders for sexual identity and gender. Occasionally a girl is shown as a hermaphrodite, proudly showing off her penis and successfully using it as a symbolic weapon against adult pursuers.
Lou Hoyer, born 1985 in Berlin, studied at the University of Arts in Berlin and was a master student of Valerie Favre. In 2012 she was Frida Kahlo scholar of the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Mexico City. She co-publishes the magazine “Nichts als Schönheit”. Lou Hoyer lives and works in Berlin and Mexico City.
Tilo Baumgärtel was born in Leipzig in 1972 and studied at the Academy of Visual Art, Leipzig. He has exhibited in numerous international institutions and museums such as the Saatchi Gallery, London, the Cobra Museum, Amstelveen, the Essl Collection in Klosterneuburg (Vienna) and Mass Moca, North Adams and Frankfurter Kunstverein. Solo exhibitions include „Hydroplan“ at Museum der bildenden Künste in Leipzig in 2002 and Kunsthalle Emden in 2006. He designed multimedia stage sets for Sebastian Hartmann’s productions of Tolstoi’s “War and Peace” at the Ruhr Festival in 2012 and Fallada’s “The Drinker” at the Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin and at the Schauspielhaus Leipzig.
Christoph Ruckhäberle was born in 1972 in Pfaffenhofen. He studied between 1991 and 1992 at the California Institute of Arts Valencia, and graduated in his Master studies in Leipzig under Prof. Arno Rink. His work is part of the permanent collections of MoMA, New York and the Migros Museum, Zurich. Past exhibitions include Museo Nacional de la Estampa, Mexico City, a solo exhibition at Migros Museum, Zurich in 2009, Manifesta 7, Frye Art Museum, Seattle and “The Triumph of Painting” at the Saatchi Gallery, London. He lives and works in Leipzig where he also runs LUBOK publishing house and LURU cinema.
Stu Mead was born in Waterloo, Iowa in 1955. He studied at the University of Northern Iowa, at the Camden Arts Centre in London and graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1987. His paintings were a subject of “The Late Great Aesthetic Taboos” an essay included as part of “Apocalypse Culture II,” the controversial anthology, written by Adam Parfrey and published by Feral House in 2000. In 2004 he participated in ”When Love Turns to Poison” at the Kunstraum Bethanien in Berlin, that was made a national scandal by the yellow press.