Artist: Tobias Rehberger
Venue: Gio Marconi, Milan
Exhibition Title: tous pour les femmes
Date: November 18, 2016 – January 28, 2017
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Gio Marconi, Milan
Giò Marconi is pleased to present Frankfurt-based artist Tobias Rehberger (b.1966 in Esslingen, Germany) in his fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. One of the most important German artists of his generation, Rehberger regularly straddles the lines between the realms of painting, sculpture, design, architecture and conceptual art. His sculptures, environments and installations principally revolve around the concept of transformation and are always exploring the boundaries between the functional and the aesthetic.
At Giò Marconi the artist surprises with the choice of works: on display inside the gallery are more than 30 differently sized framed works on paper. The drawings date from diverse periods and therewith function as a mini retrospective on paper. The exhibited works include both watercolours, prints, pencil and crayon drawings. Some works are studies for bigger projects and environmental installations for which the artist is best known and for which in 2009 he was awarded the Golden Lion at the 53rd International Venice Biennial. Others are completed pieces and autonomous works. Even if his work on paper is initially difficult to align with his sculptural work, it fits seamlessly into an oeuvre in which there are no hierarchies.
There is a touch of humour in Rehberger naming his exhibition Tous pour les femmes – an affirmation of the eternal feminine.
The drawings are to some extent overly ironic and sometimes on the verge of political correctness: “Prejudices against white males (15)” shows a cooked chicken on a plate with bent, spread legs and folded arms, very much resembles a tanned headless reposing woman.
Other drawings openly play with political, racial and sexual stereotypes and prejudices: the girl with the protruding bottom upon which she balances sweets and a glass of milk; the man checking the contents of another man’s pants; the all naked girl band which epitomizes every man’s wet dream.
“Mehr Russen, Kongolesen, Syrer, Pariser und Amerikaner, die schon mal besser aussahen” is a series of watercolours depicting people in traditional folk costumes from all over Europe. As oftentimes with Rehberger, he puns with his titles and witty use of language. His very comic approach through language can also be seen in “Sam in Car” that is a take on a famous Daihatsu ad. The watercolour depicts a mini van jam-packed with various women and an ironic text which reads “Picks up six times more women than a Lamborghini”. No further explanation needed.
Besides the large number of watercolours on display, Rehberger has also produced two new garish neon signs. What they are advertising offers conflicting information. A flashing “Tous pour les femmes” sign with a raised fist, a symbol reminiscent of the 70s feminist movement, welcomes the visitor upon entering the gallery’s courtyard. The bright neon alternates between “Tous pour les femmes” and “RES-TO”, the Italian word for remnants (or small change), which seems to imply that all there is for women are the leftovers. A yellow arrow signposts the way into the gallery space.
Inside, in the gallery’s anteroom, the visitor is greeted by yet another neon sign: a flickering „What else?“ morphs into “S-WE-AT” and dismisses the visitor into the exhibition and Rehberger’s world on paper.
Is the bottom line of Tobias Rehberger’s fourth show “Tous pour les femmes” an affirmative “What else”?
A professor since 2001 at Frankfurt’s Städelschule, the school he attended from 1987 to 1993 and one of Europe’s most prestigious art schools, Rehberger took part in his first exhibition in 1992. Since then, he has had solo exhibitions at the Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2014); MACRO Museum, Rome (2014); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2008); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2008); Fondazione Prada, Milan (2007); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2005); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2004); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2002).
His works have been showcased at the Gwangju Biennial, South Korea (2012); Manifesta 1, Rotterdam (1996) and 2, Luxembourg (1998); Venice Biennial (1997, 2003 and 2009). In 2009, he was awarded the Golden Lion for best artist for the design of his café Was Du liebst, bringt dich auch zum Weinen (The things you love also make you cry) at the Palazzo delle Esposizione.
Other awards include the Otto-Dix-Preis (2001) and the Hans-Thoma- Preis in 2009.