Pius Fox / Gereon Krebber THANK YOU ERROR

19.11.2021 - 28.01.2022

Galerie Christian Lethert is delighted to present the exhibition THANK YOU ERROR, showing new works by painter Pius Fox and sculptor Gereon Krebber. Painting, an art discipline that has been declared eternally dead, and sculptures made of clay, long considered merely tools of trade, come together in this exhibition. Both artists consciously deal with the tradition of their mediums and at the same time show what exciting power and unconventional possibilities these disciplines allow them.

In his painting Pius Fox deals with the abstraction of reality. The mostly geometrically structured picture surfaces are based on real existing forms and structures. However, it is not about their visualization, the paintings rather open up spaces and unfold their own narratives. The works are created in a painting process in which layers are applied and partly sanded down again or scratched out until the right balance, the right moment of friction arises. This approach allows him to work in many layers to evoke intriguing depth without creating an pastose surface. While some lines or shapes can be corrected, moved and slightly adjusted, others are irrevocably set and constitute the image, like the three dots in the work »Standpunkte {Viewpoints/ Standpoints}«. Spaces dissolve into forms and fragments, and instead of clear colors, Pius Fox chooses a delicate, muted color palette, of egg tempera and oil. The artist skillfully negotiates art historical references not only with his choice of color, which gives a familiar feeling of having already stood face to face with the painting or of vaguely evoking a memory.

While the paintings by Pius Fox vary between 24 x 17 cm and 150 x 110 cm and hang partly in pairs or individually on the gallery walls, Gereon Krebber’s sculptures are placed on the floor of the gallery space. Exciting perspectives arise from the curation of the exhibition, which evokes a dialog between the materials, artistic processes and different discourses. A visual axis wanders from the work »Solarnacht« to the sculpture »Derelikt II« placed in front of it. The vertical stripes of the painting against a cosmos of blue tones are echoed in the grid structure of the sculpture and in the glaze of green and ocher tones solidified in the flow: the rushing, the flowing contrary and yet united with geometric, static shapes.

The sculptures of Gereon Krebber are characterized by abstract forms and biomorphic structures. All of them have in common a living, vibrating moment, as if they were only petrified for a short time under the gaze of the viewer. The exhibited works were partly created at the European Ceramic Workcentre (EKWC) in Oisterwijk, NL, a singular institution in Europe in terms of knowledge and possibilities in dealing with ceramics. Gereon Krebber, who is known for pushing materials and dimensions to the limit, has used this instructive time productively to challenge advisors and himself. We are pleased to show his so-called »Tnösis«, which he built with reference to beehives. The sculptures are made of glazed ceramic and luster, inside they actually house inserts for keeping bees. The expressive colors of the glazes recall the rich flora, and also the fact that bees are proboscideans seems to be reflected in the shape. The »Smavos« a group of 12 unique pieces on a steel ramp, are reminiscent of shells in which lie twitching, vortex-like organic impositions. The surfaces shine smoothly and fascinate, but the deformed shapes inevitably make you cringe. As a sculptor of ambivalence, Gereon Krebber allows both highly aesthetic and disturbing moments to converge in this floor sculpture.

We are also pleased to present guest artist William Cobbing, whose artistic practice spans a wide range of media, including video, photography, and installation. During his residancy at the European Ceramic Workcentre (EKWC) this year he produced a series of wall-based, mask-like, ceramics. In these works, the clay is prodded and pockmarked by fingerprints, emphasising the tactile process of making by hand. Besides the ceramics he contributes to the exhibition Thank You Error, video works from the 20-part series »Will.je.suis« are shown in the basement of the gallery space. In some videos his head is covered in a large clay mass, the surface of which is scraped away to expose an interior of brightly colored liquid. In others, glazed ceramic masks are smashed to reveal stony cavities and texts are scrawled onto clay facades with oversized clay hands. The videos are short, intense physical works that show his bodily engagement with the material clay and color, thus entering into direct dialog with the works of the exhibition.

The exhibition title referes to the book »Antifragile« by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, in which he explains how things gain from disorder, or how unpredictable events hold the chance for creative spontaneity. But to react well and appropriately to situations for which you are not prepared takes a lot of practice, that means Improvisation doesn’t just happen out of ›nowhere‹.

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