October 4, 2008
August 1, 2008, New York—For his second solo show at Anton Kern Gallery, German artist Bendix Harms has put together a body of paintings and drawings called Lebenslieben or Loves of Life. The exhibition opens September 5 and continues through October 4. A 32-page, fully illustrated catalog will be available.
Harmsʼ paintings confront the viewer with their nakedness. Stripped down to the bare essentials of painting, each work displays one image-idea, a precise title, a reduced palette of one color and black on white ground, loose and swift brushstrokes. They are typically done in one session, without corrections, but with a whole lot of determination. Each painting unveils the emotional bare skin, the life-story of the artist, while elevating it to a universal level where the viewerʼs subjective response to this psychological nakedness can stimulate feelings of liberation, and even shame. Love, grief, yearning, and a pointed zest for life define the artistʼs world, a quest for the naked truth and paradisiacal bliss.
Of course, the title Lebenslieben, the artistʼs Loves of Life, underlines this desire for life, for the new, for the future. Like tropical birds, the paintings strut like the cocky male of the species, brightly colored — red, purple, green, blue. Their beauty ensures ongoing life, attracting a mate for procreation, and waiting for the female to help protect the nest of eggs and offspring.