Running from 21 June - 10 August 2019, BASTIAN announces the first London presentation of German artist Ulrich Erben for over three decades. Showing new and recent works, the exhibition offers a timely insight into the artist’s later oeuvre and coincides with a major solo show at Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop, Germany.
Regarded as one of the masters of colour field painting, Erben’s early works - informed by his interaction with landscapes, having spent years in Italy and Germany’s Lower Rhine region - gave way to an artistic practice rooted in exploring the relationships between colour, light, tone and harmony. Erben’s founding interest in landscape plays a crucial role in the understanding of his later, more reductive works which are similarly contextual; much as the landscape is a ‘vessel of memory’ for the changing world around it, recent works experience various lives through multiple interpretations.
Characterised by varying colour intensity and structural compositions, these two pillars of Erben’s work are inextricably linked. Interior forms float within the picture plane, creating subtle contrasts in tone and hue with their surroundings. Often illustrating slight gradients in light, the motion of these elements appear to fluctuate and vibrate, as though at once drawn together yet repelled apart. The artist explains: “My intention is to express a certain involuntariness, a spontaneity with my paintings. Even though they’re not painted in a spontaneous manner, I don’t want them to be static. Life itself is full of spontaneities.”
The exhibition coincides with Mayfair Art Weekend, 28 - 30 June 2019.
About Ulrich Erben
Ulrich Erben (b. 1940) lives and works in Düsseldorf. Between 1958 and 1965, Erben studied at art academies in Hamburg, Berlin and Venice. His has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions across museums in Germany, including: Farben der Erinnerung, Museum DKM, Duisburg (2011); Was ich sehe - Bilder aus Italien, Von der Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal (2004); and Retrospektive, Museum Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden (2003). Erben has exhibited internationally, having works shown at the Villa Borghese, Rome (2006) and the Shiga Museum of Modern Art, Osaka (1992), amongst other public institutions. The artist is represented by BASTIAN in Germany and the United Kingdom.
Founded in 1989 by Céline and Heiner Bastian, the gallery is dedicated to representing and exhibiting modern and contemporary art. Under the direction of second-generation Aeneas Bastian since 2016, the London gallery space opened in February 2019. BASTIAN’s core exhibition programme includes 20th century artists such as Pablo Picasso and Jean Dubuffet, as well as German and American post-war artists including Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol.
As well as publishing exhibition catalogues, artist monographs and catalogues raisonnés, BASTIAN participates at international art fairs including Art Berlin, Art Düsseldorf and Masterpiece London.