For his New York debut, André Butzer will show 12 new brilliantly-colored paintings that survey the ongoing motifs of his work. Butzer’s paintings reference German and American history, culture and politics (both historical and contemporary), art history, science fiction, comics and animation.
The four large figure paintings in the first gallery integrate Butzer’s family of familiar characters with enhanced, exaggerated styles of abstract painting. The cartoon-like figures with their signature heads—Frau, Wanderer, Roter Man (Edvard Munch), and Heinrich Butzer—were invented in honor of Walt Disney and Edvard Munch. The characters are embedded and submerged in bright, thick, gestural paint superimposed with linear markings.
The main room holds three large paintings in varying degrees of abstraction. In the 30-foot long painting, a crowd of Butzer’s disembodied head types—death mask, the scream, smiley face, grimacing blob—vie for space amidst a spectral field of chaotic fiercely-applied paint that is brushed, splashed, sprayed and dripped. Another of the paintings, where abstraction seems to have won the battle, is an explosion of thick masses of color that merge with shapes and forms which are only obscurely identifiable. The third painting is a field of thickly-layered gray tones, overlaid with graffiti of sparse lines in pure color.
The paintings in the third room, a kind of portrait gallery, show Butzer’s repertory cast of characters that include a boy, a girl, a cat, cartoon-eyed heads, a group portrait, and a couple in a landscape with a house. The house that reappears in Butzer’s paintings is monogrammed with the letter ‘N’ in red for Nasaheim, Butzer’s fictional location that is a combination of NASA and Anaheim. Anaheim, the home of Disneyland, was originally founded and named by German immigrants in the 19th Century.
André Butzer was born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1973, and lives in Rangsdorf near Berlin. In 1996 he co-founded the “revolutionary” Akademie Isotrop in Hamburg with about 20 other young artists and writers. The academy remained active doing exhibitions and publications until 2000. Butzer has since organized “Kommando” exhibitions that include many of the same artists and pay tribute to different real or fictional people. Butzer has a personal organization he calls FRIEDENS-SIEMENSE CO. which is dedicated to abstraction. His work was recently seen in the group exhibition “Euro-Centric” at the Rubell Family Collection in Miami.