Twenty years ago, few exhibitions focused on painting specifically as the enduring influence of conceptual art tended to focus attention on issues of framing, rather than pictures. The legacy of these conceptual practices still looms large in contemporary art practices, including much recent painting, which is characterized by an intense reflection of the medium and its history. The combination of critical and at the same time confi-dent use of paint is a defining feature of a wide variety of current artistic practices that deal with pictures either on the wall, or in space.
The concept of the „painterly,” as delineated by Heinrich Mifflin as a specific art historical category over one hun-dred years ago, forms another source of interest in recent painting: “painting is the triumph of appearance over the real”, stated Mifflin („…der Triumph des Schein iiber das Sein”) While this might sound like an endorsement of es-capist decor, Mifflin’s motto does not promote deceptive forms of realism or allegory. Instead, the statement speaks positively to the unique ways in which painting traffics with ambiguity.
Alongside contemporary paintings and works ‘about pain-ting’ from different countries and generations, abc will feature influential individual historical positions that build part of the subject’s contextual background: painting as possibility, not as ideology.
The participating artists were selected under the curatorial guidance of Rita Kersting, (former director of the Kunstver-ein fiir die Rheinlande und Westfalen), who, together with Marc Glode (film theorist and the curator of abc 2010) de-signed the exhibition’s spatial setting and presentation.
abc art berlin contemporary was founded four years ago as a new independent, hybrid exhibition format, between Cu rated show and gallery event. The initiators, a group of Berlin galleries, have succeeded in establishing the exhi-bition as an important date in the international art calen-dar.