Featured in the South Gallery in his first New York solo exhibition is Leipzig painter Hans Aichinger. Aichinger continues his fascination with the troubling ties between old world traditions and new world orders by incorporating aspects of German social-realist painting, that combined with western iconography, culminate in works that depict a visual discord in the canvases themselves.
In many of his large-scale works, young figures
- siblings, in fact - are depicted against empty black surfaces. These provide a somber backdrop for them to stand, staring up into the empty abyss, strangely poised in empty anticipation. These surreal works “reveals a cognizant or uncertain expectation” while other paintings like “Bauhaus” and “Old Economy 3”, seem to operate in direct contrast. While also figurative, the cacophony of images that permeate these works bridge ties between trends of early nineteenth-century German history such as “growing urbanization and industrialization leading to a new urban middle class, and with it a new kind of audience [and] the growing political oppression following the Napoleonic wars prompting people to concentrate on the domestic [that is] the non-political” as the artist states. Overall, Aichinger’s works provide a telling aspect of what he qualifies as an “impossible” state of being, and one that has as much to do with facets influencing Germany today as the impact still being felt since turn-of-the-century industrialization.