William N. Copley and Andreas Slominski – X-RATED

30.01.2011 to 15.05.2011 

Copley’s (1919 – 1996) paintings are being presented in Europe for the first time in 30 years. As the title implies, X-RATED deals with “adult” content.
“The “X-RATED” pictures are loosely, even crudely, rendered images of couples and trios engaged in sex, their contorted bodies and attenuated limbs tangled together in bold arrangements of interlocking, almost abstract forms. The subjects’ languid carnality, Buddhalike smiles, and insistent individuality are frankly erotic. The colors—vibrant pastels, rich, off greens, browns, and yellows, midnight blues and brooding purples—are sensational.“ (Anne Doran in ‘The French Connection’, CPLY, X-RATED, Paul Kasmin Gallery, 2010)

When over 30 of his works were put on exhibit in 1974 at the New York Cultural Center, the response ended up being rather restrained. Yet from today’s viewpoint, Copley was one of the most independently-minded personalities of the art scene at the time. Starting in the mid-1940s he emerged an important mediator – as gallerist, artist, author, and publisher – between the Surrealists and the Pop Art movement. After having exhibited important representatives of Surrealism like Man Ray, Roberto Matta, or Max Ernst in Beverly Hills in his brief role as a 27-year-old gallerist, he moved to Paris in 1951 with Man Ray in order to pursue his career as a painter. Inspired by the Surrealists and by Matisse, Copley developed his own distinctive style. Throughout his creative period he was an „artist for artists“ and was admired by groundbreaking personalities of the 20th century, including Duchamp, Warhol, and Magritte. His friend Man Ray described him as follows:

“He is absolutely sincere in his pursuit of joy and of liberty, in his love of life and his refusal of cliché. He is the wisest of us all, carefully hiding his sophistication under the guise of a simple man” (Man Ray).

In parallel to Copley’s works, the me Collectors Room is displaying most recent works from the series “xyz. erotic vol.” by Andreas Slominski (*1959). Slominski’s use of polystyrene as the material for his ‘canvases’ is an aesthetic decision made from the outset. In contrast to its conventional use as the material in insulation sheets, in this series polystyrene forms the base for erotic images, created with sprayed-on acrylic paint and glitter.

Andreas Slominski is a conceptual artist. Simple, common actions are deconstructed in a ‘circuitous’ method and subsequently presented in a new light. The many fruits of this method could be seen at his shows at the Fondazione Prada in Milan in 2006 and the MMK in Frankfurt in 2006/2007. With his new series “xyz. erotic vol.”, Andreas Slominski, the expert trap-setter, subverts all expectations again.
The ‘trap’, for Andreas Slominski, is the perfect form in which to strip an action’s complexity down to its essentials; however the strategy that charts the way towards this goal itself also leads to a sometimes confusing profusion of possible divergent courses of action. “Slominski’s objects, and especially his pictures made of polystyrene, demonstrate a proud, almost bold disregard for questions of taste” (Massimiliano Gioni).

Common to the work of Copley and Slominski, aside from the topic and an emphasis on lines and ornamentation, is a particular humor as well as the sense of irony evident in the directness and clarity of both artists’ works.
Presented in parallel to the exhibition X-RATED, in the café and lounge area, are works by the two artists from the Olbricht Collection.

View here some selected press reviews about X-RATED William N. Copley & Andreas Slominski.