artist / participant
We are pleased to announce the first solo exhibition in Germany of U.S. artist Fred Tomaselli. In order to give a first impression of his work we have choosen part of an interview with James Rondeau from the Art Institute of Chicago. The complete interview can be found in the catalogue, which we are publishing for his first solo exhibition at the gallery. Fred Tomaselli´s next exhibition will be a single exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in the autumn.
James Rondeau: From the beginning, your work has dealt with artificial or hyper-mediated realities, including, but not limited to, drug experience. Can you relate these interests to the culture of your native Southern California?
Fred Tomaselli: I grew up so near Disneyland that I could sit on my roof and watch Tinkerbell fly through the air. Artificial, immersive theme park reality was such a normal part of my everyday life that when I saw my first natural waterfall I couldn´t believe it didn´t involve plumbing or electricity. As I became further immersed in seventies stoner culture, my confusion over what was nature and what was culture - the smearing of the boundaries between the authentic and the artificial - was further compounded.
JR: Your deployment of drugs in psychedelic, op-inspired compositions recalls the counter-cultural movement of the sixties, when drug consumption was romantically associated with personal exploration, mind expansion, and other utopian pursuits. Are you suggesting that the failed rhetoric of the drug culture might contain a metaphor for painting, or for art-making in general?
FT: Well, we now know what happened to the forward, utopian momentum of both modernism and neo-transcendentalist hippiedom : it crashed and burned into post-modernism, cocaine and disco. Punk made sense to me for awhile, but I eventually got tired of the orthodoxies of nihilism. That´s when I began to investigate the rubble of sixties utopianism to see if there was anything worth saving. This inquiry into utopia/dystopia, framed by artifice, has turned out to be the primary subject of my work.