Thomas Scheibitz: Abacus: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

October 28 - December 19, 2020
Installation Views
Press release

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is pleased to announce Abacus, a solo exhibition of new works by Thomas Scheibitz in New York. This will be the artist’s ninth exhibition with the gallery.


Over the past two decades, Thomas Scheibitz has developed his own conceptual language that bridges the realms of figuration and abstraction, at times dissolving them entirely. By using language and forms that suggest numerous meanings, Scheibitz challenges the viewer to consider multiple perspectives.


From an ancient counting device, the uppermost division of a column in architecture, a software for banking systems, a research consortium, to a cult object, Abacus is a word with many different definitions and uses. Beginning with a vocabulary with multiple perspectives, Scheibitz uses this as a parallel to his painting and sculpture practice. Drawing from classical painting and architecture, the contemporary urban landscape, and popular culture, Scheibitz deconstructs and recombines signs, images, shapes, and architectural fragments in ways that question traditional contexts and interpretations.


Consistent with his oeuvre, Scheibitz’s new works bring together selections culled from his vast collection of found imagery. By layering, refining and expanding upon these images taken from the common lexicon of contemporary experience, Scheibitz synthesizes the various forms into compositions that superbly distill the amalgamation of relationships in the final tableau.


Fama, which can be translated from Latin as gossip, fake news, alternative facts or half-knowledge, captures and references the uncertainty and instability of the current political and social moment, but also suggests a general social phenomenon.


The accumulation of recognizable motifs from the artists’s visual lexicon - substitutes of droplets, eyes, vaguely familiar animal forms, and minimally rendered figures - appear throughout Virus 5, Fama and Speicher 1072. Gestural markings are held in a delicate balance by rigorously rendered geometric forms and compositions. Once again, Scheibitz shows his mastery of colors, from steely grey to lurid turquoise, strokes of powdery blues and peach hues contrast the harsh and subtle forms. Consistent with Scheibitz's work over recent years, one can see the layers of paint that have been applied and intuitively painted over in search of the perfect composition. While the final subject matter might appear to be rendered as a flat surface, the complexity and depth created by the interaction of the geometric and abstract forms exhibit an intriguing dimensionality.


At the center of the show, a multifaceted sculpture titled Magnet hangs from the ceiling. The forms that constitute the work are found materials from the artist’s studio - an image of planet Earth positioned between a magnet that corresponds to the renderings of droplets found throughout Scheibitz’ paintings, and an abstract geometrical form resembling a gate. Layers of icons, symbols, materials and techniques act as a simulacrum for the paintings that surround this hanging aggregation.


Born in 1968 in Radeberg, Germany, Scheibitz is currently based in Berlin. He studied at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts (Hochchschule für Bildende Künste Dresden) from 1991-1998, where he received an MFA under Professor Ralf Kerbach (1998).


In 2005, Scheibitz represented Germany at the 51st Venice Biennale in a two-person pavilion presentation with Tino Sehgal. More recently, Scheibitz had a two-person exhibition with Pablo Picasso at Museum Berggruen in Berlin (2019-2020). He had a major solo exhibition at Kunstmusuem Bonn entitled Masterplan\Kino (2018). The exhibition traveled to Wilhelmhack Museum in Ludwigshafen (2018). Other notable solo presentations include ONE-Time Pad at Museum Für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt, which traveled to the Baltic Centre in Gateshead, UK (2012-2013), Der ungefegte Raum at Galerie im Taxispalais in Innsbruck, Austria (2010), and about 90 Elements/TOD IM

DSCHUNGEL, which opened at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin (2007) and traveled to Camden Arts Centre in London and Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean in Luxembourg (2008).


Scheibitz’s work is well represented in private and public collections worldwide, including those of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, Tate Modern in London, Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart in Berlin, Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean in Luxembourg, Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, Sammlung Goetz in Munich, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, among others.




All installation images above: Photo by Genevieve Hanson



A Walkthrough of Thomas Scheibitz, 'Abacus' at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery in New York, 2020.