Painting and digital meet in new Munich exhibition
The medium of painting has always been a popular part of the arts, with a number of the world’s most iconic pieces produced with nothing more than a canvas and a few licks of paint.
Yet with the rise of digital media, which has already altered many other traditional forms entertainment, including the humble book. Art has also been changed as evidenced by recent works from Yorkshire artist David Hockney, who has been known to use tools such as an iPad to create some of his trademark works.
Painting still going strong
Yet while there are many that will be all too eager to lament the perceived potential death of the painted canvas, there is plenty of evidence to suggest it is not going anywhere any time soon.
A new exhibition, ‘Painting 2.0: Expression in the Information Age’, which takes place at Munich’s Museum Brandhorst, is the latest beacon of strength for the medium, aiming to tell the story of “painting’s adaptation, absorption and transformation of information technologies in Western Europe and the United States since the 1960s”.
Indeed, painting is a type of art that has seen it all; the rise of television and computers, as well as the initial stages of the Internet revolution. All of those new trends have gone from being a threat to the world’s oldest form of artistic expression, but painting has shown time and time again it is capable of absorbing these new technologies to great effect.
Painting 2.0 uses some 240 works by around 100 artists to prove this point, showing just how painting has advanced itself as an art over the last 50 years, incorporating new materials and meeting new social and political challenges.
Beginning with a pop
The exhibition begins by look at the classic works of several big names, including Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, both of whom flourished at a time when the discourse of painting was first being truly called into question.
Yet rival art forms, including collage, readymade, photography and new media, were all absorbed into some of the most groundbreaking works to be produced in the modern age.
Even the concepts of sexuality and gender have proved somewhat problematic for many painters. Manuela Ammer, one of the organisers of the exhibition, told Art News: “Feminist and queer artists have had to, historically and politically, come up with different ideas of the body, and depictions of the body, and representations of the body—and invent subjectivity outside of the normative.”
However, there is still a widespread perception that technological advances, which have caused various systems to take prominent roles within our everyday lives, present the main threat to painting.
The power of the Internet is unsurprisingly an underlying theme to many of the works here, with pieces by Seth Price, Jutta Koether, R. H. Quaytman and others showing off the concept of “networked painting,” a term used by Joselit to describe practices that depict or point to the systems in which they circulate in some way, whether they be financial, aesthetic or curatorial.
It is the power of reflecting wider society that means the medium of painting is unlikely to wane in its popularity.