Focusing on four outstanding artists, Hauser & Wirth’s Art Basel OVR:2020 presentation features a total of 24 works, each live to view for 24 hours only. The paintings and drawings by Rita Ackermann, Phyllida Barlow, Jenny Holzer, and Mika Rottenberg give a unique insight into the work that each artist has created over recent months and the themes which emerge from this period of intense creative focus.
Rita Ackermann, Mama Study 16, 2020 © Rita Ackermann. Photo: Lance Brewer
Six paintings on paper by Rita Ackermann from her recent Mama series reveal her persisting interrogation of line, color and form. Applying oil and china marker to paper, these works are smaller incarnations of her canvases from the series. Here Ackermann focuses on details of her Mama paintings, obscuring various pencil-drawn figures through thick veils of brightly colored oil paint. The works in the presentation coincide with the current exhibition ‘Rita Ackermann. Mama ‘20’ at Hauser & Wirth Zürich.
Phyllida Barlow’s works on paper are closely related to the set she has created for the Prinzregententheater in Munich, the stage for Mozart’s ‘Idomeneo’, which will premiere next July. The space alludes to the stage, but also, one can imagine, a cityscape and the man’s interaction with the natural world. The period of lockdown gave the artist an opportunity to focus on making works in her home studio. In a text that Barlow has written about her time in isolation, she describes London in lockdown as a ‘theatre waiting for the curtain to rise and the action to be kick started’.
Also on view are a selection of drawings from Jenny Holzer’s Redaction series, whereby the artist reproduces declassified but heavily redacted US state and military papers. The titles of the documents allude to current political affairs, including ‘Russian Government Efforts’ (2020) based on a document from October 2016 which grants an order and warrant for Carter Page in connection to last presidential election. In the works, Holzer has introduced circular forms blended with bold colors in watercolor and ink, pushing these ready-mades into the realm of abstraction. By bringing government documents released by the Freedom of Information Act into the gallery domain, Holzer ensures they receive another public hearing.
Mika Rottenberg’s drawings are playful and colorful expressions of this period, whilst also reflective of the chaotic atmosphere of lockdown. Predominately working in video and installation, this time allowed the artist to explore her drawing practice. Rottenberg begins her process with frenetic mark making on the paper, which is developed into a larger ecosystem of symbols and motifs that gradually fill the page. The works are a joyful encounter with the possibilities of drawing.
Ackermann, Barlow, Holzer, and Rottenberg in Art Basel OVR:2020 Hauser & Wirth: New works daily. Art Basel OVR: 2020 23rd – 26th September 2020