DIRK STEWEN: PAPER EYE COLLECTION: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is very pleased to present Paper Eye Collection, an exhibition of new work by German artist Dirk Stewen. For his second solo show with the gallery Stewen continues his exploration of form and material, meaning and emotion, creating compositions that resist strict classification as sculpture, installation, collage, or photography. Juxtaposing found text, watercolors, confetti, thread, streamers, his own photographs, gentlemen's accessories, and various other sculptural elements, the works that comprise Paper Eye Collection are evocative and compelling compositions that seduce the viewer with layered references and suggested narratives, and reflect upon the process of artistic creation itself.
At once hard-edged and precise and simultaneously subversive and alluring in their unorthodox use of material, Stewen's works demand interpretation and draw the observer into a visual dialogue. Combining elements that are vaguely illicit—thin black wooden rods and metal hardware, with more traditional materials like watercolors on delicate paper and lushly vibrant color photographs of pristine locations—Stewen creates unexpectedly stunning combinations. Each object in Stewen’s compositions has been stripped of its original function and repurposed, “giving the viewer the possibility to rediscover its materiality” and focus on its formal properties: ladders become grids that define the space, vertical rods balance horizontal sequences, and suspenders create an abstractly figurative silhouette. The formal precision of Stewen’s works divorces the individual elements from their original context, allowing them to recombine into a new and more poetic narrative. The elusive significance of this new narrative draws the viewer in.
All installation images above: Photo by Jean Vong