Sean Kelly Gallery is delighted to announce an exhibition of new photographs by German artist Frank Thiel. The opening will take place on Thursday, May 7th from 6pm until 8pm. The artist will be present.
These new large-scale color photographs extend Thiel’s photographic repertoire, yet continue to address the recent history of the city of Berlin. On this occasion, Thiel collects curtains found in abandoned East Berlin buildings, where they had remained for the last 15 years, becoming mute witnesses to the decline of East Berlin’s industrial sector and the disappearance of its political system. The curtains, removed from their original setting, were archived, steam-ironed and photographed in a studio. By hanging them in front of windows during daylight, Thiel recreated the atmosphere of the original sites. The artist painstakingly arranged the fabric into rigid folds, working against the limitations of the inherent pliable nature of the material. The monumental photographs, enlarged to three times life size, take on an abstract character as a result of the carefully manipulated fabric, detaching them further from the original subject matter. Highly elaborate and textured, this new series of work brilliantly explores the intimate and evolving relationship between geometric abstraction and photography, whilst also being encoded with a strong socio-political context. In this new body of work, Thiel confidently positions photography and painting on common ground.
Thiel describes the spaces that interest him “as the kind of beauty that a normal eye is often too blind to see and is usually abandoned from our perception.” Due to the range of fabrics employed, Thiel’s new series is comprised of widely varied imagery. This noteworthy new body of work extends Thiel’s almost twenty-year preoccupation with post-wall Berlin, its social, political and cultural transformation.
Thiel has exhibited extensively in museums and galleries worldwide; his works are included in the collections of many major international museums. Thiel’s works have been exhibited at the Portland Art Museum, the Austin Museum of Art, the Phoenix Art Museum, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Canada, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, Spain, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan, the Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland, the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, the Centre National de la Photographie in Paris, France, the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, Germany, and the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. Thiel has been invited to various international biennales like the 48th Biennale of Venice, Italy, the XXV Biennale of São Paulo, Brazil, the 14th Biennale of Sydney, Australia, the 4th Biennale of Mercosul in Porto Alegre, Brazil, the 2nd Biennale of Valencia, Spain and the 49th October Salon in Belgrade, Serbia