RICHARD ARTSCHWAGER AT GUGGENHEIM BILBAO

RICHARD ARTSCHWAGER

RICHARD ARTSCHWAGER – Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (SP) – February 29–May 10, 2020 -Curators: Germano Celant and Manuel Cirauqui, curator of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Halfway between painting and sculpture, Artschwager develops a unique language using the new domestic materials of his time, always working toward the fusion of figuration and abstraction, artistic innovation and design, and ironically seeks to combine the functional and the useless.

Designed as an open labyrinth, the exhibition features a comprehensive selection of paintings and sculptures dating from the early 1960s to the first decade of this century.

Artschwager represents places, scenes from everyday life, and common objects such as tables, chairs, and dressers, interpreting them in ordinary, standardized industrial materials such as Formica, Celotex, acrylic paint, and rubberized horsehair.

Artschwager’s work continually questions appearance and essence, offering us a delicate and realistic, humorous yet monumental interpretation of the world.

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents the exhibition Richard Artschwager, a unique occasion to survey the creative career of Richard Artschwager (Washington, D.C., 1923 – Albany, New York, 2013), an artist who worked halfway between painting and sculpture and who developed a unique language using the new domestic materials of his time. This ambitious project, conceived by world-renowned curator Germano Celant and co-organized by the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and MART – Museo d‘Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, comprises some 80 pieces alongside a selection of rarely-seen archival documentation.

Designed as an open labyrinth highlighting the main nuclei of Artschwager’s œuvre, the exhibition features a comprehensive selection of paintings and sculptures dating from the early 1960s to the first decade of the 21st century: from his first wood and Formica structures and paintings on Celotex to his nylon-bristle sculptures and “corner pieces,” including works in horsehair and so-called blps, which the artist began making in 1968 and displaying individually or on a citywide scale. Artschwager, who had a crucial experience as a cabinetmaker at the beginning of his career, always worked toward the fusion of figuration and abstraction, artistic innovation and design, and ironically sought to combine the functional and the useless.

Image: Richard Artschwager – Door }, 1983-84 – Acrylic and lacquer on wood and glass, metal, two parts – 207.6 x 165.1 x 24.8 cm – Collection Kerstin Hiller and Helmut Schmelzer, on loan to Neues Museum Nürnberg – Photo: Annette Kradisch © Estate of Richard Artschwager, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2020

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