Tom Allen, Kristian Burford, Christoph Steinmeyer
3 May—14 June 2008
Galerie Michael Janssen Berlin
Heaven, Hollywood, Hitchcock
At this year’s Berlin Gallery Weekend, the Michael Janssen Gallery is showing works by Tom Allen, Kristian Burford and Christoph Steinmeyer. These three individuals are linked by their desire to experiment with motifs and media from the history of lm and European painting traditions.
Tom Allen (* 1975) transforms motivic replicas in the German Romanticist and European Baroque traditions into mystic visual worlds. In the eight works on display, the American artist fuses reproductions from the history of painting to form faithfully fashioned visual landscapes which push the very boundaries of aesthetic beauty, sometimes even verging on the kitsch. Cloud formations resembling enlarged excerpts from Caspar David Friedrich paintings are coupled with works such as “Dominion” (2007), the detailed view of a baroque sky.
The installation “Christopher”, by Australian artist Kristian Burford (* 1974) presents the eponymous, hyper-real sculpture against a filmic backdrop. Through a curtain, observers can distinguish the gure of a naked man lying on a rumpled bed by the light of a chandelier. The waxen body appears to be sleeping. One hand dangles over the edge, the fingers skimming the surface of a glass of water. The artist developed the complex plot which led up to this scene himself.
Like Allen and Burford, Christoph Steinmeyer (* 1967) also uses motifs gleaned from European painting traditions and filmic replicas in his works. Steinmeyer has adopted a multiple transformation process in order to generate images which alienate the original motif, which is submerged beneath irritatingly glaring surface structures. Hitchcock’s film “The Paradine Case” (1947) served as the inspiration for the new large format painting, “Maddalena” (2008), on display at the exhibition.
Until now, Tom Allen’s works have been on display in solo exhibitions in the Michael Janssen Gallery (2005) and at Richard Telles Fine Art (2008, 2006, 2003, 2002) in Los Angeles. Selected group exhibitions: ‘Against the Grain’, cu- rated by Christopher Russel, Lace Gallery, Los Angeles (2008); ‘666’, curated by Jan Tumlir, Roski Fine Arts Building at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles (2006); ‘Now Is a Good Time’ curated by Dean Valentine, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York (2004). Allen lives and works in Los Angeles.
Kristian Burford’s solo exhibitions include those at the I-20 Gallery, New York (2007 and 2004) and at The Happy Lion, Los Angeles (2006 and 2003), where his installations enjoyed a public audience. Selected group exhibitions: Outdoor Sculpture Project - VOLTAShow03, Basel (2007); ‘The Uncanny’, curated by Mike Kelley, Museum of Modern Art, Vienna / The Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (2004); ‘New York Calling’ at the PS1/ MoMA Contemporary Art Center, New York (2003). Burford lives and works in Los Angeles.
Christoph Steinmeyer’s works have been presented in solo exhibitions including those at the Kunstverein Heilbronn, Heilbronn (2008), the Galerie Michael Janssen, Berlin/ Cologne (2008, 2006, 2002, 1999, 1996), the Galleri K, Oslo (2007) and at Elisabeth Dee Gallery, New York (2004, 2003). Selected group exhibitions: ‘Memento Mori’ with Jona- than Meese, Arnulf Rainer, Comme ci Comme ça II, Cologne (2006); ‘Dreaming of a more better future’, curated by Stuart Horodner + Saul Ostrow, Cleveland Institute of Art, Ohio (2005). Steinmeyer lives and works in Berlin.
Tom Allen, Kristian Burford, Christoph Steinmeyer, Installation view, 2008, Galerie Michael Janssen, Berlin