Galerie Michael Janssen is pleased to present Donkey Embrace, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Emil Holmer. Machos and girls, there are fixed roles for both in the world of painting: the one makes large paintings for which the other sits as a model. When the art tends more towards abstraction, the latter can also simply just hang out at the studio. Emil Holmer’s paintings so far seemed to fulfill this cliché precisely. Collages of pornographic materials encountered total abstraction, while crazy paint orgies and aggressive symbols mixed with text fragments on huge canvases. Just before this kind of dialectic mimicry consumes itself and loses itself in a kind of grotesque exaggerated aestheticization, Holmes reminds us in his new works of the beginnings of his anti-aesthetic attitude. This was first and foremost an expression of protest and resistance against dominant formalisms. Speaking in Hegelian terms, their tendency towards the negative revealed a kind of continuous dark side of modernism. This is precisely where Holmer starts, because he knows that a continuous breach of taboos is merely tiring and by no means a subversive category for a different approach to works of art.
Even though every attempt to bring order to his collapsing visual worlds is still in vain, nowadays harsh painterly gestures meet fragments of advertisements and meandering silkscreen prints that exude an appealing retro chic. The formats actually have not become smaller, but the apotheosis of the ostensibly repulsive or at least confusing has reached its obvious end. A look at Pawn I and II, which were at the beginning of this new series, reveals that Holmer remains convinced that a new formulation of the notion of a picture on the basis of intensity, pain, and love is still possible; that he can be radical in terms of content and at the same time make pop art—large, colorful things that have an immediate appeal. At the same time we can see in the painting Wrong Forest how subliminally the boundaries in the attribution and reproduction of gender relations in Holmer’s art have for quite a while now become fluid.
Emil Holmer (b. 1975 in Karlstad, Sweden) lives and works in Berlin. Holmer's solo exhibitions have been at the Prinz Georg Raum für Kunst, Berlin (2014), Galleri SE, Sweden (2014), Rättvik Konsthall, Sweden (2013), the Norrtälje Konsthall, Sweden (2012), Galleri 21, Sweden (2011), Galleri Thomassen, Sweden (2011) Art Museum of Gotland, Sweden (2011), Michael Jannsen, Berlin (2010). Recent group exhibitions include Animal re-structure, Prinz Georg/Raum für Kunst, Berlin (2013), Unknown (Paintings) . Galerie Michael Janssen, Berlin (2012), Paper does not blush, Galerie Michael Janssen, Berlin (2012), Fear!Fear?, Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium, Norway (2011), Magma, Autocenter, Berlin (2011), Picnic, Galleri Thomassen, Gothenburg, Sweden (2011).