Johannes Albers: Deutsche Briefmarken 1925 - 1985 15. January 2016 - 16. April 2016

It happens that the stage sets collapse. Rising, Metro tram, four hours in the office, Stulle, four hours of work, Döner, Bierchen, Metro tram, sleep and Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday and Saturday according to the same rhythm – this path is easily followed most of the time. But one day the „why“ arises and everything begins in that weariness tinged with amazement. *    

Albers’ new exhibition at the Michael Fuchs gallery titled Deutsche Briefmarken 1925 - 1985 lures unsuspecting viewers in. Pondering they stare. And then it happens - the „why“. This very basic question is at the core of Albers’ artistic conviction. „Why?“ is probably the most profound philosophical dilemma – we are obsessed with it and thus eternally tormented in our futile efforts to determine this indeterminable question. Yet we believe that through logic and technological advances we shall one day be able to decipher the „why“. The world, however, is absurd. Albers’ art is concerned with coming to terms with the „why“ and whatever secrets it conceals.  

His multi-facetted œvre encompasses paintings, installations and found objects to name but a few. The new works are characterized by both their austere nature and their sensory and physical quality. Many of his works question human perception. He achieves this by playing with the scale of regular objects. Found objects, however, are not merely put on a pedestal as in the tradition of the readymade (Marcel Duchamp), but rather these objects undergo transformation. Albers removes found objects from their normal environment, morphs them into something different altogether (attributing new meaning to the object in the process) and confines the object to new space. Wachstum (2010, stone, cardboard box, display, 162 x 67 x 60 cm with plinth) is a prime example of this procedure. Contrarily, Albers is also well known for constructing objects, which create the illusion of space. With Healing (2010, Perspex, miniature street lamp, battery for lamp, artificial snow, water, 152 x 140 x 140 mm) Albers stages a scene; a miniature landscape so small it can be held in both hands. Resembling a snow globe, Healing is a testament to time – time through which we hope things to become better. 

Johannes Albers, born 1966 in Emsland, lives and works in Berlin. At the tender age of 21 he chose to venture to London where he enrolled at the Goldsmiths College, studying under the supervision of none other than the renowned conceptual artist and lecturer Michael Craig-Martin. During his time at Goldsmiths Albers witnessed first hand the birth of the Young British Artists. Similarly to YBA Albers’ work questions the foundation of contemporary art and culture.

Albers is invested in pushing boundaries. His experiments with contrasts, staging and transformation are always accompanied by the element of surprise. The new exhibition Deutsche Briefmarken 1925 - 1985 delivers yet more conceptual works, which focus on showing off a particular moment – that moment when the mind realizes the insanity of it all. For the artist insanity starts when people try to function in a dysfunctional world. 

*Adaptation: From Albert Camus "The Myth of Sisyphus"(Original text 1942)

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