Tick Tack, Antwerp, Belgium
16 July - 28 August 2021

Inspired by Old Masters and invited for a show in Antwerpen, home of Baroque and Rubens, Drange is showing new works with strong reference to early modern age painting & symbolism.

Selfies are now part of life like breakfast. Everyone makes and sends selfies, camera rolls and family chats are full of them, but they are as little socially accepted as smoking in closed rooms. You feel bothered by it, by people who take and post selfies, because it’s a sign of vanity and self-expression. The profiles of influencers on Instagram show the same selfies with repetitive poses and facial expressions: pouty lips, big eyes, innocent look. Cute and sexy, that’s how young women all over the world present themselves and attract followers. Likes and followers are social capital that is converted into financial capital through advertising deals. Selfies empower women and at the same time turn them into objects of desire.

Chris Drange, concept artist and student of Anselm Reyle, appropriates selfies from well-known influencers and transforms them into classic oil paintings. He doesn’t paint himself, he lets paint, a manufacturer in China: portraits, one of the most traditional genres in the history of art, he remixes with emojis, a revolutionary addition to the written language in the digital modern age. Emojis and selfies are means of communication that are used like language to convey feelings and to provide a status update. They are quick and fleeting, whereas painting on canvas seems to be made to last.

With his works, Drange literally turns the idols of the smartphone generation into icons by snatching their selfies from the stream of images and placing them in a context that demands attention. Instead of fast scrolling, he calls for contemplation, which is missing on social media because the next selfie is always waiting. Kylie Jenner, the 23-year-old influencer from the Kardashian clan, made her fortune by selling cosmetics. “It’s the power of social media.” This is how Jenner explains her success, because she herself promotes her products on Instagram. Young women become entrepreneurs and brands, they advertise what brings in advertising money, be it luxury items or detox tea. “In the past, worshiping relics promised healing. Today, however, we no longer have healing problems, but rather validity problems,” says Drange.

Drange understands his works as allegories of youth and beauty, but also of transience. At the beginning of the 15th century, it was suddenly not only saints and kings who were worthy of a picture, but normal citizens who could afford commissioning artists to paint their portraits. Even then, a portrait had to fit the image and fulfill the wish to make the person that is being portrayed look better than in real life. A portrait ensured presence and duration, the person being portrayed was supposed to live on after death. While Richard Prince uses the selfies taken by influencers for his own purposes, Drange exaggerates them in the medium of painting. And all of this without an order.

Anika Meier

Installation view: Vanity, Tick Tack, Antwerp, Belgium, 2021
© Tick Tack

The Artist Is Online

The Artist Is Online.

Painting and Sculpture in the postdigital age

KÖNIG, Berlin
18 March - 18 April 2021


KÖNIG presents the international group exhibition THE ARTIST IS ONLINE. PAINTING AND SCULPTURE IN THE POSTDIGITAL AGE curated by Anika Meier and Johann König. In the gallery around 70 works are shown by 50 artists, who are at home on social media. In the media of painting and sculpture, they react to the mechanisms of the attention economy and to technological innovations. They digitize painting, visualize data sets and reflect the mobility of images.

Art critic Isabelle Graw writes that today’s new found interest in painting – has it ever gone away? – can be explained by internet platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.  In her essay “The Value of Liveliness” Graw notes: “I believe that painting is particularly well positioned in such a society because it gives the impression of being in life of the author.” After artists have used Instagram to perform over the past ten years, painting now is able to redeem what social media has triggered: the longing for limitless individuality. Which is what it’s all about on the screen: the pursuit of individuality and indulging in consumption accompanied by a greed for attention.

For the generation of artists born around 1990, painting in the post-digital age has become a mashup of art-historical references, most evidently, when the styles of the Old Masters, Surrealism, Pop Art and Post-Internet Art are sampled. The result is portraits of people, bodies and animals that lose themselves in pathetic poses.  Femininity is deconstructed (Sarah Slappey, Rosie Gibbens) and masculinity is over-performed (Pascal Möhlmann, Evgen Copi Gorisek). The cult of self-expression is celebrated (Chris Drange) and consumerism is exhibited (Oli Epp, Travis Fish).

While content-related access to painting in the post-digital age is one possibility, formal access via the integration of technology is another. Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence can all be used to digitise painting. Ai-Da is a humanoid robot and an artist who arguably proves that an artificial intelligence can produce a creative achievement. According to her creator, the gallery owner and art dealer Aidan Meller, that means creating works that are new, surprising and have value. She has cameras in her eyes and paints and draws what she sees.  Is Ai-Da creative? Is her art good?  And is the question of whether her art is good even relevant? The French artist Ben Elliot meanwhile creates PERFECT PAINTINGS generated by software based on data about the most popular contemporary works, while American Gretchen Andrew hacks Google to fulfil her wishes and dreams: a cover story in Artforum, winning the Turner Prize, participating in Art Basel Miami Beach and now an auction record.

Artists: Trey Abdella, Ai-Da, Gretchen Andrew, Daniel Arsham, Banz & Bowinkel, Aram Bartholl, Arno Beck, Lydia Blakeley, Ry David Bradley, Arvida Byström, Damjanski, Stine Deja, Rachel de Joode, Maja Djordjevic, Chris Drange, Johanna Dumet, Hannah Sophie Dunkelberg, Ben Elliot, Oli Epp, Liam Fallon, Travis Fish, Rosie Gibbens, Evgen Copi Gorišek, Cathrin Hoffmann, Andy Kassier, Nik Kosmas, Brandon Lipchik, Jonas Lund, Miao Ying, Pascal Möhlmann, Rose Nestler, Hunter Potter, Grit Richter, Rachel Rossin, Manuel Rossner, David Roth, Aaron Scheer, Pascal Sender, Sarah Slappey, Fabian Treiber, Theo Triantafyllidis, Anne Vieux, Amanda Wall, Fabian Warnsing, Thomas Webb, Jessica Westhafer, Anthony White, Chloe Wise, Hiejin Yoo, Janka Zöller

Installation view: The Artist Is Online. Painting and Sculpture in the post digital age
© Roman März

Der River

Der River

Baumwollspinnerei, Leipzig
21 February - 04 April 2020

Im Februar 2020 präsentiert die Bildhauerei-Klasse von Michael Sailstorfer (AdBK Nürnberg) gemeinsam mit den Malerei-Klassen von Gregor Hildebrandt (AdBK München) und Anselm Reyle (HfBK Hamburg) ihre Werkschau „Der River“. Die genreübergreifende Gruppenausstellung in der WERKSCHAU Halle 12 und im INTERGESCHOSS 14 zeigt mehr als 30 ausgewählte, künstlerische Positionen der jeweiligen Akademieklassen aus den Bereichen Bildhauerei, Malerei, Grafik und Zeichnung. Neben der Förderung des akademischen Austausches und der Netzwerkbildung fungiert die Ausstellung als spannendes Experimentierfeld für künstlerische Produktion und Präsentation.

Teilnehmer_innen: Tizian Baldinger I Marie Boiselle I Federico Braunschweig I Natalie Brehmer I Merabi Danelia I Julia Emslander I Erik Esso I Philipp Eyrich I Peter Feermann I Moritz Haas & Robert Bergmann I Jakob Harms I Josepha Hartmann I Brigitte Hoffman I Christian Holze I Kaoru Hoshino I Angelika Huber I Lou Jaworski I Daniela Koch I Lara Koch I Lisa Marie Konietzny I Jaemin Lee I Sophie Lindner I Katsuhiko Matsubara I Frank Moll I Maria Moritz I Matthew Muir I Eva Maria Neubauer I Ly Nguyen I Peter Oberloher I Anton Ostler I Liting Pan I Jonathan Regen I Chris Drange I Merlin Reichart I Boris Saccone I Christian Schreiber I Gemma Solà I Ludwig Stalla I Franz Stein I Anna Steward I Milen Till I Daniel Vier I Xiyao Wang I Albrecht Wilke I Kay Yoon I Esther Zahel

Link in Bio

Link in Bio.

Kunst nach den sozialen Medien

Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig
17 December 2019 — 15 March 2020

Die Nutzung der sozialen Medien ist Alltag geworden, etablierte und junge KünstlerInnen können und wollen nicht mehr darauf verzichten. Sie arbeiten damit. Sie sind dort, wo ihr Publikum ist. Einst waren es Websites, heute sind es die sozialen Medien, allen voran Instagram, wenn es um visuelle Künste geht.

Nachdem die Protagonisten der Net Art, die Technik-Utopisten der frühen 1990er Jahre, bald erkennen mussten, dass das Netz die klassischen Kunstinstitutionen als Ausstellungsort nicht aushebeln wird, übernahm die nächste Generation von KünstlerInnen, die auf das Internet reagierte. Schnell verbreitete sich das Schlagwort der Post-Internet Art. Den Begriff prägte die Künstlerin und Theoretikerin Marisa Olson: „I’m going to toggle back and forth between video and internet because some of the internet art that I make is on the internet, and some is after the internet.“ Was nach einem Lebensgefühl klingt, wurde zu einer Sammelbezeichnung für KünstlerInnen, die statt Kunst im Browser wieder Kunst für den Ausstellungsraum machten.

Social Media Art wiederum greift die Utopie der Net Art auf, die Kunstwelt demokratisieren zu können. Über Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr und Twitter kann das Publikum direkt erreicht werden. Junge KünstlerInnen reagieren auf die sozialen Medien und ihre Inhalte, auf neue Features und Technologien.

Die Schau „Link in Bio. Kunst nach den sozialen Medien“ im Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig kuratiert von Anika Meier präsentiert mit über 50 Arbeiten, wie sich Produktion und Rezeption von Kunst im Zeitalter sozialer Medien verändern. In der Ausstellung werden Installationen, Fotografien, Skulpturen, Videos und Gemälde gezeigt. Die Schau ist als Folgeausstellung von „Virtual Normality. NetzkünstlerInnen 2.0“ (2018) konzipiert.

Beteiligte KünstlerInnen: Thomas Albdorf, Lisette Appeldorn, Jeremy Bailey, Cibelle Cavalli Bastos, Viktoria Binschtok, Aram Bartholl, Arvida Byström, Nadja Buttendorf, Petra Cortright, Filip Custic, Stine Deja & Marie Munk, Chris Drange, Constant Dullaart, Hannah Sophie Dunkelberg, Anna Ehrenstein, Oli Epp, Séamus Gallagher, Tom Galle, Adam Harvey, Lauren Huret, Johanna Jaskowska, Andy Kassier, Hanneke Klever, Florian Kuhlmann, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Brandon Lipchik, Jonas Lund, Echo Can Luo, Ines Marzat, Jillian Mayer, Florian Meisenberg & Anna K.E., Rosa Menkman, Marisa Olson, Andy Picci, Sebastian Schmieg, Leah Schrager, Kristina Schuldt, Thomas Webb, Selam X und Steffen Zillig.

Die Ausstellung wird gefördert von der Kulturstiftung des Bundes.

Installation view: Link in Bio, Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig, 2019/20