With their exhibition Tüv Ocka, die Huldigung, the two Brussels-based artists somewhat create a ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’: paintings and framed works on paper are arranged on self-designed wallpapers in clusters at various heights. Authorship is not always clear: some made by Auer, some by Jurczak, some jointly by both artists, the works mirror the intimate studio situation in which they were perceived. Sculptures that to some extend appear like furniture add to the antiquated atmosphere of the room.
Auer’s and Jurczak’s imagery, however, perverts the intimate impression induced by the exhibition setup. Here, bizarre bearded figures trudge through psychedelically coloured landscapes, which in turn are crowded claustrophobically with plants, multicoloured stones and oppressive blue skies. Perspective alternates between graphic depiction and flat ornamentation, between monochrome colour fields and floral framings; then again an ourphe’s grotesque face appears, or a bashful-melancholic female figure. The abundance of colour and pattern drives the visual contents towards the gloomy and uncanny. Folkloristic tendencies turn into their opposites, the absence – or parody – of “Heimat”, the concept of home.
Abel Auer: “I like to see art, especially something old fashioned like painting, as a medium for sentimental needs. A substitute for something that is lost forever (like nature for example)”. The cultural and art historic influences on Auer’s and Jurczak’s work are versatile: from allusions to eastern European folklore, folk tales and arts and crafts movements, as well as the art of Etruscan, Roman, medieval and Biedermeier periods, they reach towards the classic avant-garde, the pop aesthetics of the 1970s, and the American counter-culture of the 1980s. Auer adds: “really everything but Expressionism”. At first sight, Auer’s and Jurczak’s imagery appears seemingly naïve; it is, however, interspersed with precise critique, of which the artists do not exclude themselves: their own heritage and lifestyle is contemplated in their work.
Abel Auer (*1974, Munich) and Dorota Jurczak (*1978, Warsaw) live in Brussels. In addition to their joint projects, both also exhibit independently. Joint exhibitions: Michael Benevento, Los Angeles (2008); P.S.1 MoMA, New York (2007) and Gabriele Senn Galerie, Vienna (with Armin Krämer) (2005). Solo exhibitions by Abel Auer: Etablissement d’en Face Projects, Brussels (2010); Galerie der Stadt Remscheid, Remscheid (2010); Corvi-Mora, London (2009); Künstlerverein Malkasten, Düsseldorf (2009) and Gabriele Senn Galerie, Wien (2008). Solo exhibitions by Dorota Jurczak: Loraini Alimantiri Gazonrouge, Athens (2010); Dépendance, Brussels (2009); Corvi-Mora, London (2008) and Brachmanns Galeron, Hamburg (2007). In 2006 Dorota Jurczak participated in the Second International Biennial for Contemporary Art in Seville and in the fourth Berlin Biennial „Of mice and men“.