THOMAS SHEIBITZ: ABOUT 90 ELEMENTS/TOD IM DSCHUNGEL: IRISH MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, DUBLIN
The first solo exhibition in Ireland by the leading young German artist Thomas Scheibitz opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday 14 November 2007. about 90 Elements/TOD IM DSCHUNGEL comprises some 30 new paintings, sculptures and works on paper, all direct from the artist’s studio. It also includes a new architectural build made especially for IMMA. The exhibition will be officially opened by the leading Irish playwright Mark O’Rowe at 6.00pm on Tuesday 13 November.
The title of the exhibition provides a key to the essential ideas underlying Scheibitz’s work. about 90 Elements is taken from the periodic table of chemical components, of which 90 exist in the natural world, and refers to man’s desire for order and knowledge. TOD IM DSCHUNGEL translates literally as Dead in the Jungle and refers to two different jungles, the urban and the wild. The double title expresses something of the tension between man’s desire to expose nature’s secrets and nature’s reluctance to reveal all. Scheibitz seeks to convey the underlying principles of our seemingly well-ordered world, disentangling them into abstracted scenes to reveal something of the unpredictability that lies beneath.
Scheibitz’s painting, which he began to produce in 1994, are composed of highly geometrical cube-like formations which are carefully arranged in tightly connected compositions. Although seemingly abstract these works contain often recognizable and reoccurring signs and symbols. Broken and fragmented these images are deconstructed into minimal geometric shapes, organic masses and flat colourful components firmly fixed in a shallow pictorial space. Returning to sculpture as a mature artist, Scheibitz juxtaposes painterly sculptural forms against expansive backdrops, using form and colour to create a dialogue between his paintings and sculptures. This combination of abstract geometrical landscapes and architectural components result in Scheibitz fresh and often startling vision of reality.
Scheibitz’s works are filled with contemporary and historical references derived from images collected from the media and elsewhere – Japanese comic books, Playboy magazine, Hollywood films, 15th-century lithographs. These images have been carefully collected and edited to form a vast image bank of source material and, along with his other reoccurring motifs, present a cross section of our visual world. Scheibitz uses these references to question the world and the ways in which man views it.
In the large landscape-format canvas, 90 Elements, 2007, we see Scheibitz command of architectural space. A seemingly disorderly pile of box-like coloured shapes, flatly rendered in a shallow pictorial space, are featured against a painted grey ground. The awareness of spatial dimensions is evident in this creation of dancing cubes and rectangles which convey a sense of movement and fluidity that evoke the work of Braque and Picasso.
Born in Radeberg in 1968, Thomas Scheibitz currently lives and works in Berlin. In 1991 he attended HfBK Dresden and in 1996 was a student of Professor Ralf Kerbach. He quickly gained international recognition exhibiting extensively in solo and group shows across Europe and America. Recent solo exhibitions include Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, 2006; Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo, 2004, and ART PACE, San Antonio, 2002. He represented Germany in the 2005 Venice Biennale and participated in the 2004 Bienal de São Paulo.
The exhibition is organised by IMMA and Camden Arts Centre, London, where it will be shown from 21 February to 20 April 2008. The exhibition at IMMA is curated by Rachael Thomas, Senior Curator: Head of Exhibitions, IMMA.