Catherine Wagley reviews Tim Berresheim's Aus Alter Wurzel Neue Kraft at Meliksetian | Briggs in LA Weekly.
Aus Alter Wurzel Neue Kraft
313 N. Fairfax Avenue
Meliksetian | Briggs is pleased to present Aus alter Wurzel neue Kraft new works by German artist Tim Berresheim. The show is Berresheim’s first solo exhibition in the United States since 2010’s Future Gipsy Antifolklore (What?!) in New York City.
The title of the exhibition, which translates to New Strength from an Old Root, can be read as a programmatic affirmation of the present for Berresheim’s entire oeuvre; more precisely, Berresheim’s transformation of traditional pictorial and representational concepts by means of the technological media-oriented possibilities of a present that is largely determined by the ongoing process of digitalization. At the same time, it concerns a motto employed in the early 20th-century by German shooter's guilds that is usually illustrated by a new twig sprouting from a tree stump.
The “old root” referenced by the works is not only the panel picture that is still the most prominent presentational format in the field of fine art, but also the computer, which for the past fifty years has been available as a tool to generate images. According to Berresheim, it is still primarily being used in the sense of a “doubling of the world” or simulating the world as standardized by one-point perspective, and thus not used to the full extent of its potential. The root cited above is symbolized by a lemon with male attributes – still fragrant but, as can be seen on the exhibition poster, simultaneously dependent on a walking aid and notepad. Like the figure of the wanderer that appeared as the symbol of Berresheim’s in the 2014 solo exhibition Auge und Welt at the Düsseldorf Kunstverein, a transitional exhibition, the lemon figure was also prepared by the illustrator Andi Thissen. In conjunction with Aus alter Wurzel neue Kraft, the figures conceived by Thissen typifying central aspects of Berresheim’s aesthetic concept (such as ambiguity, coherence or additive knowledge) will be presented for the first time in the form of a separate group of prints.
These figures furthermore appear on the body surfaces of one of the aspettatori in Berresheim’s large-scale works. These “waiting figures” are typical of Berresheim’s most recent work, and like the other distinctive figures appearing in the earlier works are surrounded by selected objects, in this case from the subject area of “strength training” (for example, boxing gloves or protein supplements). In the case of the liner notes for the reissue of Stürmer, the 1981 debut album of the West German band F.S.K., power and strength were associated with cheerfulness and optimism. It is by no means coincidental that the resulting specific form of modernity by an “anti-folklore” band that had already emphatically said “yes!” to the modern world on their first single could be transferred to Tim Berresheim’s present miserabilism-defying works.
The concentrated, largely abstract printed works in this exhibition further develop the already complex representations from the previous groups of works to the extent that the objects, which are identifiable here for the first time, are incorporated into the dense formations of fixed cone-shaped and linear traces as well as gaseous volumes. Differently characterized motion blurs are now woven together, not only resulting in the forgoing of an exclusive point of view and hence a de facto expansion of one-point perspective but the images simultaneously also represent the attempt to respond to the challenges of a present marked by an overwhelming and eminently complex concentration of data and an incessant flow of information by means of a traditional form of aesthetic production, the panel picture.
Berresheim calls himself a “maker of images” and willfully ignores the traditional genres of fine art practice, blurring the lines between various media, making everything from all encompassing installations and architectural projects to unique art works and larger editions. His collaborations include his project space, record label and publishing house New Amerika and his latest band Die Wait Watchers to collaborations with other artists like Jonathan Messe and consumer brands like Carhartt and Mercedes Benz / Maybach. Berresheim’s 2D works follow an arc of German image making using technological sources from his mentor Albert Oehlen’s Computer Paintings of the 1990s to Sigmar Polke’s Machine Paintings of the early 2000s, while defining his own aesthetic and breaking new ground in his use of sophisticated, state of the art CGI and DGI technologies.
Based in Aachen, Berresheim (b.1975) studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and recent solo exhibitions include a retrospective”2003-2015” at the Ludwig Forum for Contemporary Art, Aachen (2015/ 2016) (cat.), the Düsseldorf Kunstverein (2013) (cat.), Kunstmuseum Celle, (2011) and Kunsthalle Gießen, Gießen, Germany (2011) Other recent exhibitions include Better than De Kooning at Villa Merkel Esslingen, Germany (cat.), “In the Apartment” organized by Albert Oehlen, in collaboration with Fredi Fischli and Niels Olsen at the Gebert Foundation, Rapperswil, Switzerland (cat.), and a two person show with Matthias Schauffler at Corbett vs Dempsey, Chicago. His most recent catalogs 2003- 2015 and Auge & Welt (2015) both published by Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne are available and a limited edition publication about the exhibition will be forthcoming.
Berresheim has created an Augmented Reality app to accompany the exhibition. Download it here: