Reading Rämistrasse #8: Mitchell Anderson on Wolfgang Voigt at https://suns.works

Since Lorenzo Bernet’s https://suns.works opened late last year it has become an active and experimental gallery inclusive of art practices beyond what Zurich’s art scene and the wider artworld traditionally accommodate. Last winter a survey of self-taught artist Hans Krüsi was a small historical discovery and the space generally has an open showroom of dense collage paintings by the legendary musician and producer Lee Scratch Perry, whose works Bernet has promoted into art conversations and institutional exhibitions these past years. The current exhibition of Wolfgang Voigt continues in this vein of renaissance musicians and I’m excited by it, in part, by not fully grasping, or having the tools to be able to, the taste levels and background behind it.

Wolfgang Voigt exhibition installation view

Voight is a well-known and historically important German music producer, chiefly for his contributions to minimalist techno and trance. The works on view here were produced or conceived from the late 1990s through today, and all appear similar to the iconic MagicEye autostereograms popular three decades ago. These digital abstractions are mounted on di-bond panels in a large variety of sizes and formats floating off the wall. Where a MagicEye grants the viewer a hidden image on close focus, Voigt’s works achieve something stranger, as the total image one initially views appears with more clarity and, perhaps, magnified. In this way these works line up well with what I know about trance music.

Wolfgang Voigt work

The radicality of presenting such ‘tacky’ works in a bourgeois way is not just in its punk gesture, but also its exhibition of an artistic candor that is very much out of fashion today, yet it’s hard to label what’s here as popular, given the focus and interiority it demands. Platine 3 (2008) and Geduld (2009), both large scale paintings executed in repeated patterns and gestures, as with the digital works, confuse and advance the total idea. The effect of focus within is the same, whether they be hand or computer made: core compositions with repeated embellishment forcing a directness and lucidity increasing over time.

Wolfgang Voigt: Wald / Loops, https://suns.works

1–28 August 2020

Images: Waldloop 3.10, 2016; exhibition view Wolfgang Voigt solo show «Wald/Loops» at Suns Works, Zurich, 2020; Nah und Fern 2, 1997-2008; all photos: Simon Baumberger courtesy: the artist and Suns Works

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If art criticism is losing ground, we must act. That’s why we created space for criticism – Reading Rämistrasse – on the Kunsthalle Zürich website and publish reviews of current exhibitions. What is published here does not represent the opinion of the Kunsthalle Zürich. Because criticism has to be independent. Feedback or questions? Email rosenmeyer@kunsthallezurich.ch

11.08.2020