AboutOn Saturday, February 19, 2011, from 11 AM to 6 PM, visitors of the galerie son in Berlin will have the rare opportunity of seeing works by Sam Francis, one of the most renowned American artists of the 20th century, before these works go on travel to Seoul for a big retrospective. They stem from private collections and will be shown in the context of a series of events organized by the gallery, called âDialoguesâ.
galerie son, which now moved to a new location in the Mauerstr. 80, opens its doors regularly to this event of a special kind: dialogues, not of words but visual ones of painting or sculpture, in which works of two artists are hung together for a short while. The carefully chosen contrasts or parallels in the style of both artists allow each one to unfold its particular artistic appeal even more markedly. The visitor of the gallery is invited to a deeper questioning of the pictures and of their respective visual languages. Mostly it is a gallery artist choosing a colleague which he particularly admires or by which he is specially moved, and he comments upon his choice. But this time the dialogue partners were chosen by gallery owner Mihyun Son: her option was to contrast Sam Francis (1923-1994) and Tschoon Su Kim (born in 1957).
Sam Francis, to whom Germany played a special tribute in 1993 by showing a big retrospective at the Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle in Bonn, unites in his work the art of three continents: his homeland America as well as Europe and Asia, where he spent long periods of his life. His pictures combine elements of the abstract expressionism of a Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Arshile Gorky and Clyfford Still with the French art informel and the meditative, empty and calligraphical style of Japanese Zen-painting. Reminiscences of the colourful light waterlilies by Monet and the blissful atmosphere of Bonnard come up. Little cells, body fluids, organic forms, eternally unsteady and swinging life are evoked in his often very large works, which normally don't carry a title. The Sam Francis Foundation is now preparing a Catalogue Raisonné of his work.
The famous Korean artist Tschoon Su Kim evoques similar associations with his abstract artistic language: shimmering nature in the form of leaves and waves, which cover the surface of his canvas in a fine transparent rhythmic web. He paints exclusively in blue, a colour much loved also by Sam Francis, who was very much fascinated by it. In the work of both artists, the relationship between colour and light and darkness is very important, as is also the role of empty surfaces.
To sum it up with two aphorisms by Sam Francis: next saturday you can judge whether the starting point of both artists' work really has âno dimension, not in time, not in colour, space or death, but is a uniform wave of intensityâ. And whether âdarkness is a fundamental attribute of the colour blue.â