Mark Dagley & John Nixon in Elementary Painting, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland


Installation view with works by Olivier Mosset & Mark Dagley (left to right)

September 20, 2014 – January 25, 2015

Curator: Konrad Bitterli

Participating Artists:
John M. Armleder, Beni Bischof, Reto Boller, Mark Dagley, Urs Frei, Bernard Frize, Marcia Hafif, Imi Knoebel, Joseph Marioni, Oliver Mosset, John Nixon, Carl Ostendarp, Steven Parrino, David Reed, Patrick Rohner, Christoph Rütimann, Karin Sander, Adrian Schiess, Bernard Tagwerker, Günter Umberg, Michael Venezia, Christian Vetter, Günther Wizemann, Heimo Zobernig

An orange surface on a baking sheet with a simple white frame, or an orange accent on a small-scale canvas…? What is the deciding factor that differentiates painting and crafts as art forms? How do today’s artists deal with the starting point of painting since this problem appeared to have been long resolved but is challenged once again by each generation? These are the kind of questions to which the Elementary Painting exhibition at the Kunstmuseum St. Gallen devotes itself: It confronts the classic colour field paintings with situations which initially determine the paintings by their borders.

The exhibition makes reference to the legendary Radical Painting exhibition that took place in 1984 at the Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The term was established for a type of painting which concentrated on the study of colour and paint and mainly within the monochrome, wherein the abandonment of representation can also be seen as the common denominator of various artistic attitudes. The starting point of the Elementary Painting exhibition is a collection of works by John Nixon (*1949 in Sydney, lives and works in Melbourne), generously donated by the artist and the Galerie Mark Müller, Zurich, which strengthens the considerable stock of monochrome paintings in the Kunstmuseum St. Gallen’s collection.

John Nixon is the most well-known Australian artist of his generation who has seized and re-defined the traditions of constructivism through to minimal art. His work is associated with that of Marcia Hafif (*1929), Imi Knoebel (*1940), Olivier Mosset (*1944) Steven Parrino (1958-2005) and others who are also represented with major works and are confronted by situations in the exhibition which to some extent comment on painting from an external perspective – ironic and fun!