Arturo Herrera - Galerie Max Hetzler

Over the past decade Arturo Herrera has developed a multilayered body of work that includes collages, painted wood sculptures, photographs, paper cut–outs, cut felt pieces and wall works. Herrera often uses a fragmented language – whose references range from animated films to art history – to decontextualize inherent narratives without eradicating the coded referentiality of the image. The resulting works are hybrids that exist between the explicit and the implicit. Herrera`s works elude expected readings to create a liminal space between order and disorder, where aesthetics and ambiguity rule and resonate.

For the daadgalerie, Galerie Max Hetzler at Holzmarktstraße 15-18 and the western wall of the building in Zimmerstraße 90/ 91, Herrera has created three temporary wall works specifically designed for each of the spaces.

At the daadgalerie in Zimmerstraße, Herrera addresses the strong verticality of the architectural space by creating a wall painting that emphasizes patterning, form and opticality. Straight lines and free hand drawings are homogenously painted in the same color. The painstaking process to obtain the exact shade of red was achieved by layering coat after coat of paint on top of a specially prepared white wall. The painted space perversely recalls a three-dimensional kinetic structure that is now flattened on the wall and completely motionless. It is up to the viewer to create her or his own choreography when looking at the wall painting.

For Galerie Max Hetzler in Holzmarktstraße, Herrera developed a large scale wall drawing made entirely with dry pigment. The complex image was transferred to the existing wall using the traditional method of a perforated paper cartoon. Thousands of curvilinear lines echo the strict linear arrangement of the brick layered white vault of the space. Both, the wall drawing and the space, seem intimately connected. The viewer needs to move to and fro the wall to inspect the seemingly ephemeral but carefully constructed image. Tiny points, barely hanging to the wall surface, bring forth a monumental drawing of painterly drips suggestive of abstract expressionism while at the same time evoking images from animated films.
The left over pigment at the bottom of the wall reveals the colors and the quantity that was used in the making of the drawing.
Finally, on the western wall of the building in Zimmerstraße 90/91, Herrera has proposed a poignant dialogue with the patched wall and an abstract black shape.
The resulting, frieze like, wall painting brings to mind the formal language of 20th century`s modernism. The narrow image claims the entire surface and architecture of a wall that is filled with historical resonance.
The painting becomes a giant collage where image and naked wall are one exposing interpretation, the construction of meaning and multiplicity of associations filled with lingering references. The topographical distance makes it impossible to see and compare the three wall works simultaneously. The viewer is invited to participate in threading connections between the conceptual/ physical similarities and contradictions of each of the three wall works.

Arturo Herrera
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, 1959
University of Tulsa, Oklahoma (BFA, 1982)
The University of Illinois at Chicago (MFA, 1992)
Lives and works in Berlin and New York


Opening hours: Galerie Max Hetzler, Holzmarktstraße 15-18 
Tuesday to Saturday 11 am – 6 pm; Tel.: +49 30 240 456 30 
Duration of the exhibition: September 9 – October 29, 2005

daadgalerie, Zimmerstraße 90/91
Monday to Saturday 11 am – 6 pm; Tel.: +49 30 261 26 40
Duration of the exhibition: September 9 – November 19, 2005

Western wall, Zimmerstraße 90/91
Open viewing
Duration of the exhibition: Ongoing