Unhelpful Hunt (Ze hat is not mine - I´m just trying it on for size)
CHAPLINI is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of the Belgian artist Manor Grunewald (born 1985) in Germany.
Manor Grunewald considers himself first and foremost as a painter, although he is also active in the fields of sculpture, installation and prints. His work is characterised by the constant analysis of the development of the pictorial in our daily environment. He finds and collects the sources of his images everywhere in daily life: in newspapers, advertising, books, comics, digital media and even illustrations of biological microcosms and macrocosms. His image archive serves as a source of inspiration, and his found pictorial material is often altered, partially on purpose and in some cases arbitrarily, by copying, enlarging or collaging. The artist thus creates new pictorial information, which is largely free of cognitively controlled processes and which reveal the unfamiliar, allowing this to become the content of his painting.
In his exhibition title, “Unhelpful Hunt”, Manor Grunewald quotes an excerpt from the 1960s cartoon “Loopy De Loop” by Joseph Barbera, the story of a wolf with a French-Canadian accent, who tries to do good in an attempt to disprove the cliché of the “bad wolf”, but constantly fails and is always misunderstood. With the subtitle, “Ze hat is not mine – I´m just trying it on for size”, Grunewald quotes the protagonist of the cartoon in a play on the ideological significance of the artist’s dilemma and the source of the viewer’s criticism: The artist in general is constantly juggling new ideas in a continuously flowing process of wrestling with trends, without however, in the words of Grunewald, “coming to results or finalising anything”. This, in turn, gives rise to the preconceived criticism of the viewer with regard to the meaning and significance of art.
Grunewald’s current exhibition, “Unhelpful Hunt”, in which he presents large-format works on canvas and sculptures, which closely correspond with each other, addresses this process of the artist’s experimental search for image content.
In these recent works, his painting is concerned with the optics, visual conformity, imperfection and arbitrariness of the phenomenon of the black-and-white copy. On the canvases are superficially dark colour gradients, which, like the “colour” produced by a black-and-white photocopy machine, oscillate between shades of black, grey, violet and dark blue. The artist also transfers onto his canvases the “blackening”, distortion and layering of the photocopy process, which leads to colour stains, reflections, white edges and blurred objects, such as fragments of the cartoon character “Loopy De Loop”. The artist sees the sculptures on view – created on the basis of opened wooden transport crates, which are then spackled, taped and collaged to become supports for painting – as a continuation of his painting in space.
Grunewald’s work is thus characterised by an experimental process, with which the unseen and the visually irrational are able to emerge and develop in his work.
Manor Grunewald was born in 1985 and lives and works in Ghent, Belgium. In 2014, he will participate as a fellow in the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York.
Text by Berthold Pott