Werner Büttner - Galerie Max Hetzler

Galerie Max Hetzler is pleased to present early paintings and drawings by Werner Büttner in the gallery Zimmerstraße 90/91.

The exhibited works from 1981/82 are typical examples of a painterly attitude called "Bad Painting" that at the same time was also cultivated by Albert Oehlen and Martin Kippenberger.

"Bad Painting" was the renounce of the conventional attributes for ´high´ art like sublimity, elegance, refinement and taste. According to a strategical negation Büttner´s works fascinate through their calculated shabbiness: blunt canvas surfaces don´t show any signs of brilliance, the poor colour range is mostly limited to grey and brown, visual motives are painted with spontaneous and clumsy brush strokes. Besides, many paintings are framed with cheap roof-laths. These procedures stand for the return of an artistic medium that in the 70ies, in the time of Concept- and Minimal Art, was seen as antiquated and outmoded: the painted narrative canvas.

In its contents the materiality of the paintings is equivalent to the reflection of repressed and neglected aspects of the everyday life. At the same time Werner Büttner´s paintings deal with traditional genres and subjects of art-history like landscape and still life, that often show strange and prosaic objects and operate with anecdotic metaphors.

Painted metaphors also appear in the supposed self-portraits, that question the artist´s role model and refer to his possible influence on society. Werner Büttner doesn´t present any heroic artist poses or attitudes but shows in his Selbstporträt "mit gefangenen Gänsen" (Self portrait with captured geese) what is left: to have a ridiculous power over animals.

Other pictures are related to the political atmosphere of the time and according to the artist reflect a desolate and latent violent world that hides behind the facade of the social situation of Germany at the end of the 70ies and early 80ies, to be seen in the painting Stilleben mit Sessel und Erinnerungsfoto (Still life with armchair and memorabilia photo) where a newspaper cut-out with two hanged partisans appears in a middle-class bourgeois living room or in the insignificant ensemble of "Düsenjäger, Kind und Seevogel" (Jet-fighter, child and sea-bird) on the painting of the same title.
Significant for Werner Büttner´s sociopolitical interests is also his 1981/82 series of drawings "Desastres de la democracia" (Desasters of democracy) that dialectically combines image and text and informs about the absurdities of a community that labels itself as democratic.

Werner Büttner was born in Jena (Thuringia) in 1954 and since 1989 holds a professorship at the Art Academy in Hamburg. This is not his first exhibition in the Galerie Max Hetzler. Werner Büttners artisitc career is closely related to the gallery, where he had his first one man show in 1981. Through the 80ies a lot of solo and group shows followed, often accompanied by publications.

For this exhibition the gallery publishes a book in collaboration with Holzwarth Publications and texts by Georg Herold, Wolf Jahn, Jonathan Meese, Albert Oehlen and an interview with Werner Büttner by the editor Thomas Groetz.

For further information please contact the gallery under 030 229 24 37 or visit our website at www.maxhetzler.com.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11 – 18.