CORNELIUS QUABECK & PAUL MCDEVITT

CORNELIUS QUABECK & PAUL MCDEVITT
5 – 23 December 2014

A reproduction of a photo of a beautiful young couple became the invitation to the joint exhibition of the British artist Paul McDevitt and the German artist Cornelius Quabeck at the Martin Asbæk Gallery. In fact it has no reference to the exhibition. But when we asked the artists, the answer was: Well... we thought as it is a two-­‐person show and the two people in the picture are much better looking, we might be able to create some attention and attract a huge crowd.

They are successful, humorous and innovative in their expression, but at the same time they constantly present their positions on and critiques of current political, academic and social situations. Quabeck and McDevitt, who today both live in Germany, met during their studies in 2000 at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. In the course of the past few years they have created several joint projects at among other places CCA in Andratx on Majorca. It therefore seemed an obvious choice to invite both artists to create a joint show at the gallery. This resulted in an exhibition with two halves! One side of the gallery is occupied by Paul McDevitt and his Pop-­‐Art-­‐inspired black-­‐and-­‐white paintings with references to the British recession, while the other side of the gallery pays tribute to the Día de Muertos by giving new life to painting, which has been declared dead so many times.

A new recession looms, if one listens to the British Prime Minister David Cameron after the latest G20 summit. The recession and the country’s declining growth have been the inspiration for Paul McDevitt to create a series of works that take their point of departure in the innumerable shops that have had to close because of the economic downturn of recent years. When a shop closes in England, the owner paints over the inside of the windows so it is impossible to look in. McDevitt’s charcoal drawings are based on this whitewashing of British shop windows. The works are executed in an energetic, optimistic Pop-­‐Art formal idiom. With great, expansive brushstrokes, as a tribute to painting and a gesture towards an artist’s personal, sensitive and distinctive way of painting, McDevitt has created three enormous works as an echo of the times.

Cornelius Quabeck pays homage to the death of painting. But despite the fact that painting has been pronounced dead several times, it still seems to be a central category of artistic work. The expression in Quabeck’s works is related to the Mexican celebration of the Day of the Dead. During these celebrations, on the basis of memories of the dead relatives, the most fantastic, distinctive masks and costumes are made. The works in the exhibition are all inspired by the artist’s fasci-­‐ nation with the idea of turning a day of mourning into a festive event. The works are still lifes and portraits, all set up in the studio.

With this tribute to painting based on the individual brushwork of two artists we welcome the public to the opening on Friday 5 December 5 – 7 pm.

The artists:

Cornelius Quabeck (b. 1974) grew up in Wuppertal in Germany and graduated from the Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2000 with an MA in Fine Art. Quabeck’s unique aesthetic style makes him one of Europe’s most prominent painters of his generation, which has resulted in several solo exhibitions in Europe over the past ten years.

Paul McDevitt (b. 1972) circles around media such as drawing, sculpture and performance, and has participated in several curatorial projects. Since he graduated from the Chelsea College of Art in 2000 McDevitt’s works have been exhibited at a number of international exhibition institutions as well as a variety of solo exhibitions at galleries in Europe.