The Shape of Things to Come is German artist Paul Schwer’s first solo exhibition at Pi Artworks London and features eight of the artist’s arresting sculptures embedded within an intervention on the gallery’s walls and ceiling. Schwer is a painters’ painter, concerning himself primarily with the relationship between colour, space, light, and movement. His work, however, is far removed from the traditional two-dimensional canvas.
With a profoundly spatialized mode of painting, Schwer produces iconic sculptures charged with light and colour that appear to expand like evolving creatures on the verge of a luminous burst. He begins with flat sheets of PET-G, a material similar to Plexiglas, which are painted with broad-brush strokes of coloured pigment or screen-printed with ambiguous patterns. Then, in one transient moment, through high heat and considerable force, they are spun, twisted, and folded into complex labyrinthine forms. With this gesture, the two-dimensional picture plane is transformed into a dynamic, three-dimensional body of colour that captures the performativity of its making. The work reflects a tendency in contemporary painting practice to move beyond the two-dimensional plane and to situate itself within the context of the postmodern obsession with materials of the modern city and works that interact with the viewer’s sphere.
The inspiration for his intervention at Pi Artworks London is a photograph of the roof of a pergola in Istanbul. This piece of public furniture, which allows people to take cover from the sun, has been transposed into a geometric web of spray paint, fluorescent tubes, and aluminum rods. The structure colonises the gallery with its luminous presence and nestled within are the PET-G sculptures that punctuate the interventions’ angular matrix like nodes of frozen liquid.
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