KÖNIG SEOUL presents the solo show GRENZGÄNGE 2 by Conny Maier, it's her first solo show in Asia. On view is a cycle of works that deals primarily with the relationship between humans and nature.
Conny Maier negotiates complex socio-cultural and social narratives in her paintings: relationships, power structures, environmental issues or the relation between rich and poor. In contrast to these critical subjects, the intensely coloured canvases populated by doll-like figures and animals have something playful and light about them. Maier is not trying to lecture her viewers, but rather acts as a careful observer of her surroundings.
Maier often places her protagonists amid nature, especially in the forest. Pristine nature has long served as a symbol for an idyllic utopia, a safe haven for humankind to find peace and tranquillity. Maier exposes this idea as hypocrisy. The protagonists of her works strive to subdue nature as they cannot stand its impenetrability and mystery. The relationship between humans and animals remains equally ambivalent. Are they engaged in play or in battle?
The image of the wild landscape is contrasted by the recurring cut flowers, single or tied in bouquets. The bouquet is nature in its tamed form, dominated by human impact. The domestication is reinforced by the vases placed on the forest floor: nature has been decorated with elements snatched from it only moments before.
Characteristic of Maier's work is the de-individualisation of humans and objects, which is expressed in a sketch-like painting style. The people in her paintings are reduced to silhouettes and vague facets. They are not the image of a particular person, but rather an idea of them. Particularly striking are the large round mouths, with red lips framing a black or pink hole. Even the eyes are often nothing more than black sockets. Just as little information is provided through the clothing, which mostly consists of uniform-like, monochromatic full-body suits. As a result, the emotions of the characters remain indeterminate, as does their age, origin, and gender. The lack of individualization turns the figures into a projective surface for the viewer, who can freely decide what to read into them.
GRENZGÄNGE 2 bears witness to how humanity eventually destroys itself in its striving for a utopian idea of peaceful coexistence, leaving it undetermined who ultimately defeats whom.
CONNY MAIER lives and works in Berlin and Baleal/Portugal, and has had shows in Berlin, Paris, Lisbon, Cologne, Memmingen, Ulm, Vienna and Los Angeles. DOMESTIC, her first solo show with KÖNIG, was held in the summer of 2020. Conny Maier is amongst the three artists and the first German artist to win the prestigious Deutsche Bank Artist of the Year Award in 2020. As part of the prize, her work will be shown in the group exhibition Artists of the Year at Palais Populaire in fall 2021.
Press release courtesy KÖNIG GALERIE.