By bringing together distinct paintings and drawings of Nicole Eisenman, Friedrich Kuhn, Yuji Nagai and Trevor Shimizu the gallery wants to create a scenery of ambiguous encounters. All four artists apply the narrative as a painterly strategy by creating a mis en scene comparable to a theatrical stage setting. Fictional story-telling reappears in their work as a given vocabulary that extracts out of an overlaying narrative which intersects their individual series of works or their oeuvre as a whole. This methodology that relates the four artists reflects a general tendency that we discover in today’s painting discourse: the interest in the shift between the figurative and abstract, the formal and narrative, the naive and firm conceptualism. These painterly strategies would be discussed by contrasting and complementing works of Eisenman, Kuhn, Nagai and Shimizu that all come from a very different «schools» and generations.
Friedrich Kuhn (1926-72) is a pioneer of Swiss Pop Art. After a long period in Zurich dominated by the abstract artists like the late modernist movement Konkrete Kunst, Kuhn aspired to liberate the medium of the painting by reintroducing narrations in his work. In a unique way he perverted rural craft ornaments into expressive paintings that shift between the naive figurative and abstract conceptual. Nicole Eisenman’s oeuvre spans from the early 90’s to today and she’s a most influential painter for a younger generation. Eisenman works with sources and iconography from both classical myths and pop culture. Her unique strategy that vacillates between epic subjects of allegorical paintings, the baroque, social realism and Guston-like figures serve as a painterly role-model. Yuji Nagai presents grey paintings out of his new series on either musicians and trees. As clownesque figures the musicians seem to conduct not only their music but their surrounding and the paintings itself just like the trees seem to merge with their enclosing. Trevor Shimizu’s work often originates out of a program which as a method creates it’s own narration. In his work Shimizu doesn’t just question the authenticity of the stories told by his paintings but even his own authorship by changing his style of painting. By doing so he creates new stories which exceed the pictured motifs and refer to his working method as a narrative.