In his exhibition Decorate., Swiss artist Roman Gysin shows wall works and a floor work scattered over two floors. The material wood forms the basis of all the exhibited works, from roughly hewn to artificially covered. This staging contrasts standardized ideas with a further space of possibility.
While Frank Stella's so-called shaped canvases exploded the traditional rectangular picture format, Gysin adds asymmetrical edges to the sides of his white canvases titled Shaped Edges (display) and Shaped Edges (two). In addition, he divides the canvas into several parts, fills the empty spaces with wooden logs or fastens straps made of cotton fabric with metal loops around the work. The special wall mounting allows the works to protrude into the room, which reinforces their sculptural character and opens exciting perspectives that oscillate between revealing and concealing. The works Deep Decor III and Broken Branches also seem to float in front of the wall like sculptural objects. The found timbers are painted with a thick layer of paint that no longer allows the natural wood grain to show through. For Deep Decor III, Gysin chose a metal primer based on synthetic resin, which gives the wood a very peculiar shade of grey, and drapes chiffon over it to create colorful accents. Contrary to the title, Broken Branches shines in a squeaky blue and a poison-green tone, which lends the work an artificiality and can almost be read as rebellion or longing. The Satin Sticks attached directly to the wall are not dipped in paint, but wrapped tightly in satin, and play skillfully with visual and tactile stimuli.
Gysin has scattered the Bodenstreumischung Nº 4 over two floors of the gallery and provided it with small pieces of wood, which in turn are connected with blue strips of fabric and serve as a kind of ›decorative guidance system‹. Carved sticks lie next to the resulting wood remnants in equal measure, and scraps of fabric and pieces of metal can also be found there, providing an insight into the artist's studio situation. They raise the questions: What is valuable, what is the work, what is elevated to art? For a limited moment, they are united and lie side by side on an equal footing.The works in the exhibition Decorate. skillfully play with the materiality of wood and the act of decorating: an exciting, queer reactivation of the polarities between art and decoration.
At this year's Art Cologne (16.11-19.11.2023) we are presenting works by the artist Roman Gysin as part of New Positions. The funding program has been organized by the BVDG since 1980 and, in conjunction with Art Cologne, offers an exciting field of experimentation for selected artists. Gysin has created a large-format, free-standing installation. The wooden slatted façade is reminiscentof a romantic country shed, while the rear reveals a ›white cube aesthetic‹ with wall and floor works. The result is a kind of stage set that invites active observation and allows visitors to become part of the production.
Press release courtesy Galerie Christian Lethert.