Gallery owner and curator Yasmine Benhadj-Djilali’s first exhibition at the new location of the Benhadj & Djilali Gallery in Villa Heike is the exhibition USEFUL OBJECTS by the artist and trained architect Olaf Winkler. On display are objects, drawings and paintings.
Olaf Winkler might be the newly discovered modernist artist of today. His works are explorations, battles of acceptance and denial, alluding to the most formative periods of the 20th century. However, they do so never in a literal sense but through transformations that anchor them in the very present. His works are abstract and figurative at the same time. They tend to start from memories, of the city, of landscape, movements, that do not distinguish between one or the other. Everything is of equal value and reappears transformed.
Within this body of work, the collage series Useful Objects has its own character: it does not create new pictorial spaces, but manipulates found images, stallings, poses. Created over the years parallel to paintings and drawings, it thus remains closer than those to objects and actions. The extent to which the appearance of the world around us is describable through quasi-architectural settings could be one of the topics. But then it is again not about objectivity, but about how our individual perception deviates from it. The collages overstretch this space of deviation by inserting enigmatic objects into press photos. The forms, reminiscent of modernist relics, lend new, completely functionless meaning to visible actions.
The last modernist alive
In this sense, it is a characteristic of Winkler’s works that one can never completely rely on them as the reliability of what they refer to has long since turned out to be questionable – without being completely erased. In earlier works, installations, lectures with titles such as „Welt ohne Liebe“ (World without Love), „Io sono il Timpano“ (I am the Tympanum), „Teil der Landschaft bereits“ (Part of the Landscape Already), „Ich ein Diagramm“ (I a Diagram) or „Die Hüpfburg“ (The Bouncy Castle), cleareyed disappointment about the failure of modernity is combined with irony and the romantic hope that something might still to be gained there. At the same time, Winkler draws, paints and assembles in all seriousness, creating works that elude these short-winded questions.
The exhibition Useful Objects by Benhadj&Djilali Gallery shows for the first time prototypes produced after the collages of the same name, takes them out of their assigned contexts again, so to speak. The result is a heterogeneous series of objects that move between sculpture and model, between proposal and autonomous existence. The exhibition brings them together with Winkler’s large- and small-format paintings and drawings and thus returns them, in the form of an open juxtaposition, to the wider space of their creation.
Olaf Winkler studied architecture in Aachen (D) and Vienna (AT). He works as artist, author and architecture critic and guides through buildings and cities. Early, architectural-conceptual works explored spatial or more abstract relationships of coexistence through models, texts and sketches. In recent years, small and large-scale paintings, drawings and collages have come to the fore, combining the genuine exploration of line and colour with the transformation of everyday perceptions and, at times, the integration of found imagery and typography. Concepts such as drawing, line, memory, realism and the re-integration of architectural as well as physical aspects into these works are some of the topics.
Winkler is founding member of the artists collective Level Five in Brussels.
Supported by StiftungKunstfonds | NeustartKultur
Solo Show Olaf Winkler – USEFUL OBJECTS
Opening: Saturday, 13 November 2021, 6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Speech 7:00 p.m.
Finissage: Monday, 6. December 2021, 6:00 – 9:30 p.m. (due to the pandemic situation)
Exhibition period: Saturday, 13. November – Monday, 6 December 2021
Opening hours: Tue-Sat 2:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Benhadj & Djilali Galerie, @Villa Heike, Freienwalder Straße 17
Yasmine Benhadj-Djilali, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel +49 163 1654275