Christof Mascher - Alley Cat
11 September—23 October 2010
Galerie Michael Janssen Berlin
Galerie Michael Janssen is pleased to present Alley Cat, the second solo exhibition by Christof Mascher. Mascher was born in 1979 in Hanover and studied with Walter Dahn at the Braunschweig University of Art until 2009.
On display are new works on wood and paper, and a shadow play installation.
A large format diptych lends the exhibition its programmatic title and is one of the central works of the show. Mascher took this title from the eponymous song by the British band Hot Chip from the year 2010. The term „alley cat“ refers to a stray cat, usually with somewhat disreputable connotations. For Christof Mascher the idea of vagrant or stray animals is in the foreground – i.e. someone who is mainly out and about at night, without any predetermined destination. This approach represents his artistic approach as well as his own sense of independence and his life as an artist. Influenced by his active experience in the hip-hop and graffiti scene during the 1990s, his painting is associative and collage-like, much like a dub DJ who takes elements of sounds and pieces of music – so-called samples – and reassembles them as a new composition. As such, the „alley cat“ can be seen as a contemporary, hip-hop version of the flaneur.
Mascher‘s pictures and drawings are pervaded by contradictions and unexpected interruptions – or breaks, in keeping with musical terminology. Finished-painted elements are found alongside the implied and gestural next to the ornamental and abstract beside the representational. Ethereal remnants of landscapes and architecture are still under construction or are already in decline. Nothing seems to make sense in his visual world, and pictorial spaces virtually dissolve, leaving all options open. Mascher‘s visual language follows its own iconography, and he makes equal use of in uences from both high and mass culture alike. Scenarios out of adventure games from the late 1980s are just as meaningful as works by Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, Edvard Munch, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner or Phillip Guston. One is also reminded of Per Kirkeby‘s paintings on masonite from the late 1960s. His recurring architectural elements are partly borrowed from old cartoons, Expressionist silent lm and East German DEFA films from the 1970s.
In addition to canvas and paper, Mascher uses unusual surfaces and media such as old plastic-laminate kitchen tables, copper plates and found woods. His works range from miniature sizes up to large formats and often have a dull, glazed, almost transparent surface, or are thickly coated with shiny shellac. In his shadow installation Valley Cat, graphic elements are combined with a light installation. The carved wooden lamp sits in a darkened projection room like a set piece from a bygone era, reinterpreting the old German tradition of shadow play.
Christof Mascher, Alley Cat, Installation view, 2010, Galerie Michael Janssen Berlin