Artists: ART N MORE (Paul Bowler & Georg Weissbach)


Venue: SPERLING, Munich, Germany

Date: May 4 – June 16, 2018

Photography: ©the artist. Courtesy of SPERLING, Munich. Photos by Sebastian Kissel

In their second solo show at SPERLING, Paul Bowler and Georg Weissbach a.k.a. ART N MORE show new works as a series of painting and text diptychs. As in the past, ART N MORE make use of popular visual imagery, however this time radically reduced. The artist themselves step out of the picture and no longer reference the image world of advertising. Instead, they pick another creature from popular culture: THE DINOSAUR.

In their large-format paintings, ART N MORE illustrate the story of a new world, whose protagonist – the dinosaur – is depicted in all its shapes and forms. The paintings are illustrated by smart-aleck Latin quotes of different origin, with statements such as “De omnibus dubitandum“ (Doubt all) or “Gaudeamus igitur“ (Let us rejoice), which sound like commandments or invocations from this new world.

But of which “New World“ do these artists truly speak? The extinct dinosaurs and dead Latin language have more long-gone and forgotten-time connotations than anything else. The temporal dimensions seem shifted and throw up questions surrounding man’s self-conception, cultural history and art.

In mass media and pop culture, the image of the dinosaur has its special standing. The dinosaur – actually a scientific object – has, since its first artistic depiction of 1837, a prominent place in our image universe and imagination. The fact that dinosaurs are extinct (an examination of a living object is therefore not possible) and that only part-finds of fossils exist, explains the fascination and immense subsequent image production and visual assemblage of their image. As only one idea on the appearance of dinosaurs exists, the imaginations of scientists and artists, as well as children, go rampant wild. The dinosaurs are the ideal cultural object and symbol to be loaded up with a myriad of meanings and take on countless manifestations. In these pictorial depictions, such as in films of dinosaurs, we can find highly cultural contextual values, wishes and fears of society.

The image of the dinosaur is therefore an especially assembled image, which can hardly be topped in its artificiality. ART N MORE carry these constructions to the extreme, building their vision of a new world from an array of 600 different dinosaur images and objects, in drawings and digital form. This new world also acquires a pseudo-legitimation through the application of well known and lesser-known Latin quotes, which convey an historical aspect, whilst also summoning one.

The impending danger of the downfall of this new world is very clearly illustrated in ART N MORE’s imagery. The long extinct dinosaur is consistently placed in danger by spitting volcanic lava. The title of the exhibition, in combination with the depiction of extinct creatures and together with the text, make the absurdity of historicity and its inherent constructed nature clear – which in addition is also always time-dependent. Especially the cultural image of the dinosaur, in its assemblage, is ideal for questioning visual depictions and subsequent truth content. That also goes for the postcard image of the exhibition – a snapshot of Forum Romanum, which is actually a papier-mâché movie set of the Cinecittà in Rome.

Alongside revealing the cultural symbolic value of the dinosaur image, ART N MORE repeatedly play with the expectations of art. By referencing eclectically different image worlds in their work and expanding on numerous epochs of history, the artists release themselves from all expectations and create a freedom of working, which allows for anything and is therefore, so radical in its nature.

As is often the case with ART N MORE, the viewer asks him/herself: “Is this meant seriously or are they taking the piss?“ In their humorous, as well as critical work, ART N MORE question art and art production itself. Where does art start and where does it end? And: Is there even a border?

ART N MORE, ART N MORE AUS DER NEUEN WELT, 2018, exhibition view, SPERLING, Munich

ART N MORE, ART N MORE AUS DER NEUEN WELT, 2018, exhibition view, SPERLING, Munich

ART N MORE, ART N MORE AUS DER NEUEN WELT, 2018, exhibition view, SPERLING, Munich

ART N MORE, ART N MORE AUS DER NEUEN WELT, 2018, exhibition view, SPERLING, Munich

ART N MORE (Paul Bowler & Georg Weißbach), Audere est facere (to dare is to do), 2018

ART N MORE (Paul Bowler & Georg Weißbach), Boni viri lacrimabiles (good men cry easily), 2018

ART N MORE (Paul Bowler & Georg Weißbach), De omnibus dubitandum (everything ist to be doubted), 2018

ART N MORE (Paul Bowler & Georg Weißbach), Gaudeamus igitur (So let us be happy) 2018

ART N MORE (Paul Bowler & Georg Weißbach), Meum propositum est in taberna mori ( It’s my wish to die in a pub ), 2018

ART N MORE (Paul Bowler & Georg Weißbach), Pecunia non olet (money does not stink), 2018

ART N MORE (Paul Bowler & Georg Weißbach), Quis, quid, ubi, quibus auxiliis, cur, quomodo, quando? (Who, what, where, with what, why, how, when?, 2018