Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Marco Breuer, Condition @Von Lintel 

JTF (just the facts): A total of 16 works, framed in white and unmatted, and hung against white walls in the single room gallery space. All of the works are made of chromogenic paper, which has been alternately exposed, folded, scratched, scraped and burned. Physical dimensions range from roughly 10x8 to 39x29, and each work is unique. All of the works are dated 2012. A small catalog of the exhibition is available from the gallery. (Installation shots at right, along with two up-close detail images.)

Photography and drawing are two disciplines that don't seem, at first glance, to have much natural affinity for each other. While some photographers have experimented with long exposures to "draw" with light (using flashlights, candles or even lasers) and others have manipulated darkroom chemicals to produce handmade gestural effects, for the most part, these artistic methods have generally tended to stay separate. There is something intrinsically expressive and immediate about putting pen or pencil to paper that the multi-step mechanical process of photography wasn't really designed for.
Marco Breuer is one of the few photographers who has consistently tried to make these two artistic circles overlap, merging the light sensitivity and chemical processes of photography with the physicality of direct interaction with the paper of drawing, via countless unexpectedly ingenious methods over the years. His newest works find him tinkering with electric hot plates and frying pans, which he has uncoiled and straightened out into magic wands that glow with intense heat. Using these makeshift tools like a conductor's baton or a calligrapher's brush, he has mixed hand-drawn motion with the effects of heat and light on photographic paper to create works that explore interlocking layers of line, texture, and color.

The two up-close image fragments at left and right provide samples of how Breuer has used the wands to interact with the paper. Horizontal and vertical lines are etched and burned into the surface (sometimes after a step of folding the paper into grids of rectangles), while light from the orange heat turns some of the backgrounds a bright, shifting, swimming pool blue. The movement is often all-over expressive and passionate (almost manic in some cases), then receding to something more subtle, dispersed and melancholy. Burn marks, cat scratches, and thin scars create a spectrum of chance colors when interacting with the chemical coated papers: yellows and browns give way to misty light blues and wispy greys, with splashes of vibrant red or purple scraped away like a Richter squeegee. A few add another layer of colored exposure, an unexpected hint of green underneath the jittering lines.

Breuer's unconventional methods bring rough physicality back to photography, where the final image object shows the literal signs of its making. These abstract works have a sense of touch, of surface topography, of finger driven carving. Overall, I was impressed by the innovative originality in the range of elegance and complexity in these works, and Breuer has clearly shown once again that the idea of merging photography and drawing is altogether less improbable and foolhardy than we might have assumed.

Read full review @ DLK COLLECTION

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

MARCO BREUER | 'Condition' — Review in The New Yorker

Goings On About Town: Art

Marco Breuer

Although Breuer works with a certain amount of darkroom chemistry, he doesn’t use cameras or take pictures in any conventional sense. Instead, he folds, burns, scratches, and mistreats photographic paper—both exposed and unexposed—often wearing through it in spots. The results are agitated abstractions, some of which look like a computer screen gone haywire. Others, including several sensational blue pieces made in a larger scale than Breuer’s usual work, resemble Gerhard Richter’s scraped canvases or a painted board after a frenzied knife attack. If there were an Olympic event in extreme photography, Breuer would take home the gold. Through June 23.

Read more @ The New Yorker

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

MARCO BREUER | Modern Art Notes — Interview with Tyler Green [Podcast]

This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features New York-based artist Mickalene Thomas. An exhibition of Thomas’s recent paintings, “Mickalene Thomas: Origin of the Universe,” is on view at the Santa Monica Museum of Art through August 19.

Thomas has exhibited in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Her work is in the collections of numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.
On the program Thomas and I discuss:
  • Her earliest memories of seeing art;
  • How she came to make art history a key subject of her work;
  • Her relationship with her mother and how her mother came to model for her; and
  • The importance of photography in her process.
Marco Breuer, Untitled, 2012.

This week’s second guest is New York-based photographer Marco Breuer, whose latest work is on view now at Chelsea’s Von Lintel Gallery. Breuer’s manipulations of photographic paper create fantastic, often surprising abstractions.
His most recent museum exhibition was last year’s “Marco Breuer: Line of Sight,” which was organized by Julian Cox at the de Young in San Francisco.His work is in the collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art, MoMA, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Harvard Art Museums and SFMOMA.

To download or subscribe to The Modern Art Notes Podcast via iTunes, click here. To download the program directly, click here. To subscribe to The MAN Podcast’s RSS feed, click here. You can stream the program through the player below.

The Modern Art Notes Podcast is an independent production of Modern Art Notes Media. It is released under this Creative Commons license. This week’s show was edited by Wilson Butterworth. For images of the works discussed on this week’s show, click through to the jump.

MARCO BREUER | 'Condition' — Review on Aperture's Exposures Blog

Footage from the opening reception at Von Lintel Gallery. Courtesy NYC Gallery Openings.

Marco Breuer, otherwise known as the “photographer without a camera,” has built a strong reputation over the course of the last 20 years exploring lens-less “photogenic” art. While many photographers today are employing more and more complex technology in their work, the German conceptual artist and 2006 Guggenheim fellow says his is an “ongoing attempt to strip down the photographic process, to remove the distractions of equipment, and to force imagery out of photographic paper itself.”

His latest solo exhibition Condition (on view at Von Lintel Gallery through June 23, 2012) presents work he made in and out of the darkroom, stressing photographic paper by exposing it to heat, light, and physical abrasion with “coal, sandpaper, heat guns, burning swaths of cotton, electric frying pans, and other unexpected objects,” as one interviewer catalogues.

Ranging from small photographic sketches, to larger 30 by 40-inch prints, “every individual piece constitutes a search, a move away from the given, a test of the materials’ limits,” the press release states. He fuses image and medium, “rendering them inseparable, one and the same.”

In 2007, Aperture published his monograph Early Recordings, the first comprehensive look at his boldly experimental work, alongside a limited edition slip-cased book which comes with a unique-to-each-edition Polaroid print. His work is also featured in Lyle Rexer’s sold out book, The Edge of Vision (Aperture 2009).

Read John Yau’s review of Breuer’s solo exhibition on HyperAllergic. View installation shots and photos from the opening reception on May 10, 2012 on the Von Lintel Gallery blog. And read interviews with the artist about his work on ARTLOG and on MPR.

Read more @ Aperture