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Johannes Wohnseifer, New Alphabet

Casey Kaplan Gallery
525 West 21st Street, 212-645-7335
January 27 - February 25, 2006
Reception: Friday, January 27, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

In new paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and video, Cologne-based artist Johannes Wohnseifer combines and abstracts a matrix of references in the interest of exploring the aesthetics of politics, war, and the communication of messages.

The title of the show, New Alphabet refers directly to the typeface created by Dutch designer Wim Crouwel in 1967. At a time when electronic typesetting was emerging, New Alphabet was developed to be easily read on computers. Crouwel based the highly abstract font on the dot-matrix system and incorporated it into his exhibition poster and catalogue designs for the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

Using Crouwel’s aesthetic principles as a starting point, Wohnseifer created a body of work that forms new associations in a meeting of histories, places, and personal influences. The artworks are inspired by and reference such historical figures as the civil rights leader Malcolm X, Horst Mahler (an original member of the 1970’s Germany terrorist group Red Army Faction, who later became a Neo-Nazi), film director Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and rapper Snoop Dogg.

Wohnseifer uses images of helicopters, stealth fighters, armored vehicles, and camouflage to pictorially represent contemporary depictions of war. In a series of computer “Spam” paintings, camouflage schemes obscure and transform appropriated text.

Collectively, Johannes Wohnseifer’s artworks highlight the malleable nature of visual perception where ideas and symbols quickly shift meaning and new relationships are formed.

Since his last New York exhibition, Johannes Wohnseifer has participated in shows including Regarding Terror: The RAF-Exhibition, Kunst-Werke Berlin, Germany and The Triumph of Painting: Part 3, The Saatchi Gallery, London, England. He has also exhibited at: Commes des Garcons Guerrilla Store, Köln, Germany; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, Japan; ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany; Ausstellungshalle, Münster, Germany; and Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen, Germany.
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