Who's Afraid of Red...compiled and arranged by Daniel PfauFebruary 5 to April 10, 2021
The exhibition Who's Afraid of Red... brings together works from a wide variety of artistic genres, such as painting, sculpture, photography, drawing or design, all under a single premise–their colour. Saâdane Afif's series of seven chairs, spread across the exhibition space, borrows color and form from Donald Judd's furniture design, while Sylvie Fleury uses red as a signal color in her „Flag". Furthermore, the clenched fist with painted fingernails–presented in the center of the room–is reminiscent of social acts such as the Black Power Movement or feminism from the 1960s to today. In Hans-Peter Feldmann's painting, the artist applies a red intervention through a clown nose that brings the historical image into the present with a wink of the eye. At the same time, the depicted toddler with his red nose, placed directly at the large window, stops passing pedestrians, like a traffic light in road traffic. Mathieu Mercier photographed 100 cars on Berlin's Karl-Marx-Allee, a boulevard of socialism, and shows how the sky is reflected in the red paint. In John Armleder's "Puddle Painting," whose creation is strongly influenced by chance, the red enters into a symbiosis with other hues and seems to dissolve into them. Gerwald Rockenschaub and Bernd Ribbeck each contrast red with the primary colour blue, creating a similar object-like effect with different materials.
Barnett Newman titled a series of four large-format paintings created between 1966 and 1970 with the question Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue? and also quotes Edward Albee's well-known play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. While red still has strong connotations of presence and aggressiveness in Newman's work, the color has different meanings in different cultural circles. In Asia, for example, it is associated with happiness, and in Russia with beauty. In Europe, the color red was reserved exclusively for kings and popes for a long time. To this day, it is considered the color of love and passion. It is shown in the exhibition that the restriction to one color does not at all lead to monotony. On the contrary, since red unites all the exhibited works, other characteristics, such as form, subject or materiality, are brought to the fore. An even more intensive examination of the works is encouraged, which, especially in times of lockdown and the associated closure of the gallery to the public, allows a moment of pause in front of the large window in Mommsenstrasse.
– Daniel Pfau