In his first solo exhibition at Sies + Höke, Berlin-based artist Andi Fischer is exhibiting large-format paintings, drawings, and sculptures.
Fischer’s works focus on the study, investigation, and re-evaluation of a general art history—especially of classical mythological and historical paintings and scenes. The painter attempts to find a new approach to this subject by consciously deconstructing the art of old masters such as Albrecht Dürer and Peter Paul Rubens. The renewed composition of the painting in and of itself—its tradition and transmission to subsequent generations—unfurls a new connotative freedom. This diversification in Fischer’s paintings allows re-observation of artworks’ fixed statements and traditional historiography. At the levels of appearance and interpretation, this permits the viewer an independent understanding gained via unconstrained appraisal. Fischer’s artistic practice treats drawing and painting equally, thereby critiquing traditional hierarchies of art history.
By playing through and exaggerating various modes of museum exhibition—for example in the form of tinted walls, homemade frames, and museum benches—Fischer expands his interrogation of art history methods to include institutional critique and simultaneously provides a commentary on artistic perfectionism.
For his exhibition Er dachte alles 3, Andi Fischer challenges tradition via the motif of hunting.
Alongside referencing Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), the majority of the works in the exhibition tangibly borrow from the works of Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). In his drawings and paintings, Fischer reveals an intellectual continuation, transferring Baroque allusions to the Italian Renaissance into our present day. Ruben’s paintings tell of myths, heroic deeds, and battles. Through light and color, they create a pictorial language that carries within it a specific statement by the artist, who has previously made use of art theory discourse of previous centuries, having studied this discourse extensively. Andi Fischer seizes upon both the theoretical basis and Rubens’s painting style. Thus the young artist works simultaneously with and against the apparent exclusivity of the famous historical genre referred to as history painting. Largely by dissolving that which is depicted, Fischer rejects the requirement that the painting contain an interpretation of a mythological, historical image. It is only the components that are key to his own understanding of the image that are adopted within his own, starkly reduced visual language.
Ruben’s arrangement of Prometheus (1618) is based on an enormous artistic freedom that permits the demigod to appear as a hero. In AAA LEBER SCHMERZT (2019), he deconstructs mythology by reducing it to just an eagle, a figure, and a liver. Through his seemingly naive painterly practice, Fischer consciously refers to the patriarchal structures of historical representations and the intellectual demands they make on the viewer. Thus he retains the basic coloration of Peter Paul Rubens: Prometheus is also staged here in his blue coat as a reclining figure, while the eagle is depicted in dark brown and black. However, he evades interpretation by reducing any incidence of light to an interpretation of the individual figures.
The painter also depicts traditions that sometimes seem absurd, such as the glorification of hunting or the struggle between human and animal. Hunting—as a symbol of historical pathos—becomes a circus for him in which the hunter and the hunted appear equally animalistic on the canvas. In these hunting scenes, the hunters—via their reduced gestures—acquire qualities such as helplessness and dressage poses that would otherwise be proper to a circus animal.
With this apparently simplicity, Andi Fischer creates a new understanding and an original perspective on classical art historical topoi while simultaneously building upon them for contemporary art.
Text by Marlene A. Schenk