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Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide Ocula Conversation Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide

Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...

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Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See Ocula Report Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See 20 Sep 2019 : Tessa Moldan for Ocula

London's galleries and museums are gearing up for a lively October, with Frieze London and Frieze Masters running between 3 and 6 October 2019 at Regent's Park, along with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, taking place across the same dates at Somerset House; and the tenth anniversary of the Sunday Art Fair, showcasing new and emerging artists...

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Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

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David Ostrowski

b. 1981, Germany

David Ostrowski's large scale paintings are often monochrome and minimalist, with a single spray-painted line or rectangle slab of paint occupying a small section of an otherwise empty canvas. The Cologne-based artist abandons painterly codes in an attempt to analyse the nature of painting, and to visualise emptiness and nothingness, or the improbable. Ostrowski studied at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf—under Albert Oehlen and Rosemarie Trockel—between 2004 and 2009, and has been exhibiting since 2006.

Ostrowski's iconography has undergone significant changes over the course of his career. Das Goldene Scheiss (The Golden Shit), an early work of 2004, depicted a boy with a rolling pin next to a white van against an abstract background. The title, which he reused for a 2014 exhibition at Almine Rech in Paris, satires the double nature of painting and by extension art itself: gold or 'art' on one hand, but easily 'shit' on the other. Since then, the artist has completely abandoned figuration, opting instead for abstract shapes and minimal colour palettes. He favours red, blue, black, green, and yellow, despite his indifference verging on dislike of them for their banality—'Everyone uses blue', he once remarked—and does so to reveal new ways of using it.

Although Ostrowski firmly identifies himself as a painter, materials other than paint make their way into his paintings, including lacquer, paper, strips of wood, newspaper, and dirt. He stopped using oil paint in 2014 because it 'offered too many possibilities' in allowing him to correct mistakes. Spray paint now frequents his canvas. Ostrowski works quickly, painting layer upon layer, allowing the spray paint to create coincidences, errors, and mistakes. If the resulting painting fails to meet his standards he starts anew. The new painting is inherently different from its predecessor; there is only one chance to get each painting right.

The ongoing F Series is perhaps the most representative of Ostrowski's vast body of work to date: monochrome, large-scale, and empty. F series, which consists of numerous smaller series, dictates that the artist uses his right hand as he would his left—in other words, forget all painterly traditions and employ abstract non-motifs and repetitive movements to contemplate painting's nature. His use of emptiness and abstract shapes may recall Robert Rauschenberg's White paintings of 1951 or works by the post-war French abstract artist Martin Barré. Conceptually however, Ostrowski rejects the notion of the canvas as a space for self-expression. Rather, the canvas is a medium through which he enters into a critical conversation with painting.

His favourite letter in the alphabet, F, yields various names and interpretations. F stands for Foot, as seen in an episode of series F (Even the most beautiful woman ends at her feet) which was derived from the artist's obsession with women's feet. F also stands for Failure, which alludes to his use of spray paint to consciously generate mistakes; F stands for Flying and at times Ostrowski hangs the canvas from the ceiling to allow his paintings to fly. F also stands for Frame, which Ostrowski considers part of painting itself. He takes great effort to frame his works, normally using simple baseboards that he paints himself. Sometimes he leaves them unframed such as those in the series Outline Paintings, subtitled F (A thing is a thing in a whole which it's not). For Ostrowski, F presents endless possibilities to be manifested in painting.

Ostrowski has been consistently featured in various exhibitions in Europe and the US. Selected solo exhibitions include To Lose, Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Düren (2016); I want to die forever, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Innsbruck (2015); The F Word, Arken Museum, Copenhagen (2015); How Do To Things Left, Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2014); Das Goldene Scheiss, Almine Rech Gallery, Paris (2014). In 2016, he notably exhibited with his fellow Düsseldorf graduate and sculptor Michail Pirgelis in Nothing Happened at Sprüth Magers, LA. Ostrowski has also been subject to group exhibitions such as My Abstract World, me Collectors Room, Berlin (2016); You've Got To Know The Rules...To Break Them, de la Cruz Collection, Miami (2015); Beware Wet Paint, ICA, London (2014) and ordinary freaks, Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst und Medien, Graz (2014).

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2017
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Featured Artworks

View All (14)
F (Freischwinger) by David Ostrowski contemporary artwork
David OstrowskiF (Freischwinger), 2018 Digital pigment print
119 x 180 cm
Sprüth Magers
F (The Truth Dawned Upon Him) by David Ostrowski contemporary artwork
David OstrowskiF (The Truth Dawned Upon Him), 2017 Acrylic, lacquer and paper on canvas, wood
241 x 191 cm
Sprüth Magers
F (red) by David Ostrowski contemporary artwork
David OstrowskiF (red), 2018 Acrylic and wood on canvas, wood
41 x 31 cm
Sprüth Magers
F (The thin red line) by David Ostrowski contemporary artwork
David OstrowskiF (The thin red line), 2018 Acrylic and lacquer on canvas, wood
66 x 141 cm
Sprüth Magers
F (Bauhaus) by David Ostrowski contemporary artwork
David OstrowskiF (Bauhaus), 2017 Acrylic, lacquer, dirt, paper, plastic and cotton on canvas, wood
276 x 221 cm
Sprüth Magers
F (A thing is a thing in a whole which it's not) by David Ostrowski contemporary artwork
David OstrowskiF (A thing is a thing in a whole which it's not), 2017 Acrylic and paper on canvas, wood
181 x 131 cm
Sprüth Magers
F (Sunset Boulevard) by David Ostrowski contemporary artwork
David OstrowskiF (Sunset Boulevard), 2016 Acrylic and lacquer on canvas, wood
181 x 131 cm
Sprüth Magers
F (A thing is a thing in a whole which it's not) by David Ostrowski contemporary artwork
David OstrowskiF (A thing is a thing in a whole which it's not), 2016 Lacquer, paper and glass frame
100 x 70 cm
Sprüth Magers

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, David Ostrowski, The Thin Red Line at Sprüth Magers, London
Closed
28 November 2018–19 January 2019 David Ostrowski The Thin Red Line Sprüth Magers, London
Contemporary art exhibition, David Ostrowski, Michail Pirgelis, Nothing Happened at Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles
Closed
15 November–23 December 2016 David Ostrowski, Michail Pirgelis Nothing Happened Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles
Contemporary art exhibition, David Ostrowski, Das Goldene Scheiss at Almine Rech, Paris
Closed
15 March–19 April 2014 David Ostrowski Das Goldene Scheiss Almine Rech, Paris

Represented By

In Related Press

Independent fair delivers on diversity and quality with early sales Related Press Independent fair delivers on diversity and quality with early sales The Art Newspaper : 3 March 2017

'What’s amazing is that in this climate, all these fairs—the Armory Show, ADAA, Independent—are the best they have been in years,' said Sandy Rower, Alexander Calder’s grandson and the head of the artist’s foundation. 'The dealers are just trying harder.'He was just off the lobby at Spring Studios, where Independent, as iconoclastic as its name...

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Michail Pirgelis and David Ostrowski's visual affinities come into focus Related Press Michail Pirgelis and David Ostrowski's visual affinities come into focus Wallpaper* : 28 November 2016

Despite being good friends since college, and sharing a studio for a time, Cologne-based artists David Ostrowski and Michail Pirgelis rarely exhibit together. 'We each take on extremely different contextual issues in our work,' Ostrowski explains, 'and our working methods couldn’t be more different.' A joint exhibition in...

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