Our continuing partnership with Marlborough Contemporary focuses on Hamburg-based artist Werner Buttner. Two volumes on the artist's work will be published in February 2015 - the first substantial books in English for many years. The first volume, Coincidence in Splendour, will present an overview of his paintings and sculpture from the 1980s until the present. The second volume, My Looting Eye, is dedicated to Buttner's long relationship to collage - a medium which informs much of his practice.Together with Martin Kippenberger and Oehlen, Buttner has exerted a sustained and provocative impact on the European art scene since the late 1970s when, as the 'Junge Wilde', they sought to renounce the dominant modes of conceptual and minimal art through a return to painting. Buttner's work has continued to be marked by irony and critical distance, with its import often amplified by his combination of words and images.The artist is best known for drawing out deeper layers of meaning from daily scenes that, at first glance, may seem banal. He creates surreal assemblages that question our systems of value and contradict our understanding of what elements or images may be brought together.
His work confronts social norms with both irony and satire; while retaining a firm understanding of the history of painting, Buttner is constantly testing convention. His large-scale neo-Expressionist and neo-Dadaist works address social issues with a biting and wry humour. In doing so, Buttner uses all genres of painting, including still life, self-portraiture and history painting.While the artist uses collages as the starting point for his paintings, the former are not only preparatory studies but a strategy that enables juxtaposing realities and unexpected associations, which are major characteristics of his extensive oeuvre. In this combination of the everyday and the commonplace, a sceptical perspective becomes manifest as a critical method. With cutting wit, Buttner breaks the spell of daily social events and renders their values relative and benign.The books will present newly commissioned texts as well as key essays relating to Buttner's practice that will appear in English for the first time.
Buttner was born in Jena, Thuringen in 1954 and achieved prominence in the early 1980s as one of the "Jungen Wilden", a group that included Martin Kippenberger and the brother Albert and Markus Oehlen. In contrast to the then dominant minimal conceptual and video art, they produced expressive figurative paintings that have been described as a "politically motivated realism". In 1960, Buttner's family fled from the GDR to West Germany. His experience of two opposed political systems has provided him with the advantage of being able to look at both with a degree of scepticism.Buttner has exhibited internationally since the early 1980s. In 2013, he was the subject of a major retrospective at ZKM in Karlsruhe and Weserburg Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Bremen. Werner Buttner lives and works in Geesthacht. Since 1989 he has been Professor of Painting at the University of Fine Arts, Hamburg.
Publisher: Black Dog Press
Number of pages: 144
Weight: 1406 g
Dimensions: 325 x 265 mm