An Appreciation – Gesso Art Space & Andreas Reiter Raabe

We all make assumptions about the future of art and painting – especially at this moment in time. With AI changing the way we communicate, the way we see and the way we understand the world we are ushering in a brand new culture. We haven’t a crystal ball to see how this will all turn out, but one thing is already apparent – algorithms and machine learning have massively changed our experience of the world. Economics, politics, war, medicine, and even our most intimate relationships have been forever changed by our rapidly evolving programs. And because of their ubiquity and presence in our lives they are an obligatory component of existing in the world.

Mit Jai Inn Rudolf Polanszky Andreas Reiter Raabe – Gesso Art Space 2023

Contemporary visual arts are becoming more and more influenced, if not dominated, by the new media and nontraditional modes of creative expression. How come then, contemporary artists, even the ones who do not necessarily call themselves painters, still do paint? In what ways has painting become irrelevant and why does it still matter? How is painting possible today? As the objective at Gesso Artspace is the constant questioning of what art actually is, the aim of the current exhibition is to explore the above mentioned questions in order to negotiate the position of painting in contemporaneity.” [From The Good the bad and the ugly (part 3) @ Gesso Art Space]

This “manifesto” from Gesso Art Space is a challenge for painters who are trying to really confront this particular moment. What is our new media doing to us? How do we see the world around us? What is painting supposed to be? What’s it supposed to look like? How do we understand the legacy of Modernism at this moment in time? There are not many asking these kinds of questions. Instead most of us are content to ape the internet without understanding how it actually works, how it is fundamentally changing our physical beings.

“It was the turn of the 20th century and the disciplines of Art and film were about to converge in a way that would change our perception of the world forever.” [Martin Scorsese setting the premise for innovation in the movie “Picasso and Braque Go To The Movies”]

Many American painters and artists have found that Europe is the place to go in order to engage in difficult discussions about the future of painting in general and abstract painting in particular. Most of the really interesting abstract painters, who have survived and prospered over these last years, have done so because they went to Europe. They tested their work and ideas there. They’ve made connections there. And these artists have gotten better and stronger because of it. Europe is once again pushing the legacy of painting into something new, something that might change our perceptions.

Gesso is run by Andreas Reirer Raabe. In his own work he has been following a career-long path through conceptual abstraction. He is an abstract painter who has taken on the legacy of Late Modernism and Conceptualism.

“Reiter Raabe’s art lies in seeing, in manipulating what is seen, and the discovery of new seeing experiences. For me, a fascinating, adventurous enrichment of perception that deals with the order of things, which is faced with the challenge of also being another order, indeed, whose other order actually makes the familiar one visible. Each positioning of the elements (that are often there to begin with) produces or provokes analogies: “a spanner has been thrown in the works” of reality – or what one believes to perceive as such.
The process, no matter how constructive and rational it seems, or how verifiable each individual step appears, is not only constructive or even constructivistic. The stock of possibilities, the possible forms are so great, that chance, or what is discovered by chance, plays just as great a role. This is what makes this art light, and oscillating, alerting.” [From the Andreas Reiter Raabe catalogue]

ARR o.T. / Untitled, 2016

Reiter Raabe is what many of us call an “artist’s artist.” His work encompasses every aspect of being an artist. He’s a painter, a sculptor, a theorist, a critic, a curator, a connector, and an entrepreneur. His curations at Gesso Art Space show his interest and respect for challenging art and painting no matter where they might originate from. These kinds of cross-cultural encounters are essential to progress. They broaden our ideas, break through our provincialism and open our eyes to a new and changed world.

Over the COVID years trapped at home as we all were, I did a lot of reading and thinking about the challenging painting and the complex ideas about painting being brought to us from Europe. This post is an appreciation of the contemporary European Art World for taking on the task. And in particular this is a special thank you to Gesso Art Space and to artists – like Andreas Reiter Raabe – who are engaged and willing to listen, debate, push, exhibit and take chances for the sake of art.

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Instagram Andreas Reiter Raabe:

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