press release

Spot On: Josh Smith
January 17–April 19, 2020

Since 2001, Josh Smith has placed one single motif or an isolated visual idea at the focus of his paintings series. His repertoire of subjects includes such different themes as sunsets, stop signs or his own signature. Sometimes, Smith presses two still-wet canvases together so that one picture becomes the partial imprint of the other and vice versa. Through the reproducibility of motifs by means of painting, the artist generates a feeling of equal value of pictures that actually promise to be unique.

Although the painterly gesture might at times appear dominant on the picture’s surface, the act of repetition directly disrupts its significance. For Smith himself, the resulting impression of an expressive gesture is “the by-product of a process […]. Every expression is sent through a filter, an ‘expression filter,’ in order to get a logical result. It is not only pure and free, but also somehow justified and logical.” By depriving his subjects of uniqueness through reproduction, Smith removes the personal charge from the painterly gesture. Thus painting is questioned by its own means.

Smith’s collages are also borne by this attitude. The compilation of different source material is a promise to the viewers that the subjective view of the artist is revealed in the picture. But those who hope to discover something personal behind the posters, invites or menus will be disappointed. And just like in the expressive painterly gesture, here too the technique itself becomes the central artistic concept. Even such an individual element as the artist’s handprints on bar stools seem standardised when repeated. It becomes a sign in itself, which does not aim to express anything particular, but which rather speaks about something.

Curator: Monika Bayer-Wermuth

Under the title "Spot On," recently acquired groups of works by various artists are shown in two galleries on the ground floor and in the media galleries on the lower level. These single- and double-presentations rotate over the anniversary year and the accompanying exhibition Forever Young – 10 Years Museum Brandhorst

The exhibition is supported by
PIN. Freunde der Pinakothek der Moderne e.V.