Parafin is pleased to announce a major new exhibition by acclaimed Swiss artist Uwe Wittwer, his first in London since 2011. The exhibition will include a group of new works on paper in the main gallery, and a suite of important new oil paintings after Poussin’s The Triumph of Pan (in the National Gallery) in the lower gallery.
Uwe Wittwer is widely regarded as one of the leading contemporary European painters. Wittwer’s work reflects on the nature and meaning of images. His source material is carefully chosen from digital representations — images of images — researched in the depths of the internet. Throughout his work, Wittwer is concerned with authenticity and truth, multiple refractions of reality, and the role of the artist as image hunter and voyeur.
In preparing a new exhibition for London Wittwer has been inspired by both Derek Jarman and TS Eliot. The major new work for the show, Cracking Glass (after Jarman), is a 28-part inkjet work in which each element depicts a still from Jarman’s film The Last of England (1987), interwoven with handwritten texts from Eliot’s The Wasteland (1922). Together these elements suggest a new interconnected whole but suggest fractured alternative versions of both film and poem.
If Cracking Glass (after Jarman) is the central work of the exhibition it sits at the heart of a matrix of complex connections, both cultural and autobiographical. Other watercolours depict Jarman’s cottage at Dungeness, and the famous white border at nearby Sissinghurst. Ruin Negative, showing a building in Berlin possibly once associated with Wittwer’s family, also echoes the ruins that feature throughout Jarman’s movie. The King’s Tear, another major multi-part work, depicts the royal cards, recalling Jarman’s interest in magic and esoterica.
Alongside these new works on paper Wittwer will show a group of new oil paintings. Reflecting the artist’s deep engagement with art history and in particular the collection of London’s National Gallery, these paintings are all derived from Poussin’s The Triumph of Pan (1636). In Wittwer’s ‘revisions’ of Poussin’s image, the composition is taken apart and put together again, with recognisable motifs and figures sometimes layered or reversed. Again, Wittwer’s works suggest that new meanings and new possibilities can be discovered within pre-existing images, no matter how familiar.
Uwe Wittwer (b.1954) lives and works in Zürich. His work has been frequently exhibited internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal (2013), VOID, Derry (2012) as well as gallery shows at Galerie Judin, Berlin and Lullin+Ferrari, Zürich (both 2013) and Haunch of Venison, London (2011). Wittwer’s works have been included in many group exhibitions at venues including Tate Britain, London (2011), P.S.1, New York (2006) and the Beyeler Foundation, Basel (2005). Wittwer’s work is included in public and institutional collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Bonnefantenmuseum Maastricht, Kunsthaus Zürich, Sammlung Ludwig, Aachen and the Kunstmuseum Bern.