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Zilkha Gallery

Perspectives 166: Torsten Slama

On View: June 15 – August 2, 2009



The first solo museum exhibition of the work of innovative, Berlin-based artist Torsten Slama, Perspectives 166 will feature a selection of approximately 35 large drawings, paintings, and works in airbrush on paper. Slama's architectural and landscape scenes and his figurative images are filled with meticulous detail and mysterious narratives. The works often depict post-apocalyptic worlds filled with abandoned avant-garde architecture, esoteric technology, and humans engaged in symbolically charged psychodramas.

Employing an unsettling and captivating style of Magic Realism, Slama's works share the vertiginous perspectives of traditional Chinese landscape painting and the scathing satire of German Neue Sachlichkeit, or “New Objectivity,” painters and drawers like George Grosz and Otto Dix. Slama's concerns, however, collapse past and future to reflect the perennial forces shaping individuals and civilizations.

Often featuring titles referencing psychology and poetry, works like Wilhelm Reich Cryogenic Institute (Kryogenisches Institut “Wilhelm Reich”), Encounter with the Authority Figure (Begegnung mit der Autoritätsfigur), and The Walt Whitman Memorial Refinery (Walt-Whitman-Gedenk-Raffinerie) propose uncanny worlds and encounters saturated with meaning and menace. They share the eerie stillness of Surrealist landscapes by Yves Tanguy and the sardonic humor of portraits by Christian Schad. Slama's images of failed utopias and eternal interpersonal struggles, conjure a mood that is at once grandiose and abject.

“Slama's wryly humorous and archly symbolic objects and characters present an original and irreverent take on the brave new worlds imagined by generations of radical thinkers,” says exhibition curator Toby Kamps. “His works are cutting emblems for our post-industrial, post-Freudian, and post-Modernist era.”


ABOUT THE ARTIST 

Torsten Slama was born in 1967 in Schwarzach, Austria, and educated at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Germany. His work has been included in solo exhibitions at the Vera Gliem Gallery, Cologne; Hotel Gallery, London; and Galerie Karin Guenther, Hamburg. He has also been featured in group exhibitions at Museum de Hallen, Haarlem, The Netherlands; Deichtorhallen, Hamburg; and Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. Slama lives and works in Berlin, Germany. 

 

images + video

Installation view of "Perspectives 166: Torsten Slama." Installation view of "Perspectives 166: Torsten Slama." Installation view of "Perspectives 166: Torsten Slama." "Walt-Whitman-Gedenk-Raffinerie (Walt Whitman Memorial Refinery)," 2005. Torsten Slama, "Die Geheimnissvolle Erfindung/Das Positronengehirn," 2005.


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