The Art of Appropriation
Appropriation Art (AA) refers to art that appropriates – for its own creation – found image material, elements from other works of art, paintings, photographs, from magazines, advertising and – in the age of the internet – from the World Wide Web. It is appropriation in order to develop something new.
Steve Jobs attributed the statement to Picasso: “Good artists copy, great artists steal. There is no proof of the sentence as a Picasso quote. But the statement itself has something to it, as a general comment on innovation. Art always creates something new, however, without the impulses of others it is unthinkable. Past grandmasters of AA: Marcel Duchamp, Richard Prince, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Arnulf Rainer, Franz West. In this exhibition AG18 presents a new generation of Appropriation Art: Simon Hezel, Andreas Nader, Ben Reyer, Sebastian Schager, and Stephan Schwarz.
AA is both a concept and an avowal that one’s own art is inspired by the art of others as well as the diverse visual messages of one’s own life. It is a conscious process. Influenced by subjective perception, feelings, thoughts and the assignment of meaning. The artists refer to the existing, extract, quote, paraphrase, rearrange, create new context, create new art. It is re-discovery and new-discovery. Re-creation and even more creation of something new. A different creativity.
The exhibition shows diverse approaches, stylistic devices, techniques, variations in painting, photography, printmaking, collages, sculptures. Artificial Intelligence” (AI) is also applied. It gives an idea of what AA will offer us in the future through the additional use of AI.
Sebastian Schager quotes unselfconsciously from classical art, “steals”, as he says self-ironically, for example from Leonardo or Raphael, combines comics, photos, mangas with wit, cleverly deconstructs handed-down stories and creates – also with “Artificial Intelligence” – new narratives.
Ben Reyer shows collages, images in which the various elements transport messages and expectations that we are confronted with every day, that want to pretend what we find attractive, appealing, desirable, indeed, how we should feel and think at all. Through his arrangements, new contexts emerge in which the manipulative intention of these messages is reflected.
Simon Hezel refers to Manet in his paintings and draws inspiration from old photographs. He detaches individual elements from found contexts, presents details with a new perception and in a new perspective. In the background of his depictions we recognize, in a new freshness, quotations from the works of the artist Blinky Palermo.
Stephan Schwarz condenses life stories in his heads. He leads us to the sculptor FX Messerschmitt, whose sculptures with their grotesque emotionality give us insights into turbulences of the soul life. Also on display is an ensemble of boxers’ heads, designed around old boxing gloves. Sculptures of fighters, of people who had to fight their way through.
Andreas Nader shows us in his own way the virtuosity that an artist can unleash with the means of artificial intelligence. In his photographic works, designed like traditional Tyrolean tourist advertisements, he plays with references to Austrian painter icons such as Herbert Brandl, Gustav Jahn and Alfons Walde. Presented in glossy prints, which, however, on closer inspection, no longer pretend to be idyllic, but reveal how human intervention exposes nature to the danger of destruction.
For this exhibition we published a high-quality catalogue as a limited edition of 200.
Printed with a combination of digital-print and risography.
Including an essay on Appropriation Art by Jan Svenungson.