TRIALOGUE – Delicate Strength at Galerie Biesenbach, Cologne

 ‘TRIALOGUE – Delicate Strength’ / Vittorio Bianchi, José Gomes, Beate Höing

January 13  25 February, 2023

Galerie Biesenbach
Zeughausstraße 26
50667 Köln, Germany

Images courtesy of the artists and Galerie Biesenbach

This year, all our physical presentations are titled MONOLOGUE, DIALOGUE or TRIALOGUE – they are single, 2-person or 3-person exhibitions. A subtitle explains the respective thematic focus according to which the artistic positions were selected. In the case of “TRIALOGUE – Delicate Strength”, we juxtapose painterly and sculptural works by three artists who express themselves formally and/or conceptually through strength, but also delicacy – for example, based on the materials used or the content told.

Vittorio Bianchi (*1982, lives and works in Milan) acts within the spatial dimension of the surface of the fabric, his privileged artistic medium. The artist goes beyond its limits through a gestural scraping action that attacks the material, in a way that upsets its structure without betraying it: not an act of rupture, in fact, but of revelation, aimed at supporting the urgency of the underlying layer to break onto the surface from the depth that holds back it. He investigates the sleeping spaces of memory that flow inside the fibers, reviving them in the relief of a breath that regains possession of its legitimate interlude. His is a deaf gesture in which the phrasing woven into the voiceless history of the material echoes. The surface becomes sensitive skin, caressed by the revealing vehemence of the action that exposes its filaments, as if they were the rib of the anatomy of the eternal flow of history. In doing so, he restores a truce in the opposition between tradition and innovation, a calm that invites a delicate reconciliation in the relationship of interdependence between the persistence of a collective cultural identity and the one of the warp that generated it.

José Gomes (*1968 in Brazil, lives and works in Cologne) artistic work is characterised by two elements – nature as the main motif and its inexhaustible ductus. The environment reveals itself as a sensitive, delicate, fragile, seductive, necessary, imperishable part of life. The works created by José Gomes for this exhibition were created as part of his work as a scholarship holder in a residency programme at the Botanical Garden and the Institute of Biology at the University of Rostock. The research and discussions, the immersion and observation of plants that the artist experienced there flowed into the series Firmitas – a Latin word meaning permanence, solidity, durability, stability, strength, resistance and reliability. These characteristics are also found in the plants analysed there. Based on these characteristics, man and science will promote not only human but also technological development in the course of climate change. The result is a series of collages made up of photographs of these plants. These were transferred to paper using a transfer technique and supplemented with drawings and watercolour. In the background are the natural aquifers that exist in Brazil and sustain the ecosystem. The works are a compendium of the diversity of natural resources that should show us the way to the future. (Tereza de Arruda, curator)

Inspired by ornaments and materiality as cultural-historical components of folk art, by fairy tales and myths as well as traditions and rituals, these influences appear in the work of the painter and ceramic sculptor Beate Höing (*1966, lives and works in Coesfeld) in a completely independent iconography. What actually exists, what is associated and what is remembered come together in an ambivalent play of reality and fiction, in which dream and nightmare, relaxation and fright lie close together. Content, materiality and form are inextricably linked. The artist’s oil paintings, ceramic sculptures  and installations also convey an enthusiasm for the beauty, delicacy and aesthetics of things as well as a delight in playing with the creative possibilities. […] The same is true of the ceramic works, which are created as an independent medium in interplay with painting. The ceramic material indirectly conveys the idea of kitsch, but also of traditional craftsmanship. This “mortgage” accommodates the content of the statement and is almost provocatively heightened by the artist. Incorporated knick-knacks and porcelain figurines, for centuries the epitome of bourgeois preferences, loved as decorative articles or souvenirs or dismissed as kitsch, offer scope for the imaginary and the fantastic. Figures of girls and boys, dreamers and sleepers, fairy-tale and mythical creatures and animals – the figures emerge fragilely from floral, opulent plinth elements, stand on their own or present themselves in figure arrangements, also in interaction with the painting. Beate Höing’s works show a very poetic, sometimes ironic view of the past, tell of memories, dreams and surreal worlds, also with a humorous wink. (Jutta Meyer zu Riemsloh, curator)