Private Utopia

28.08.2016 until 16.10.2016

Erró (born 1932) depicts in his oeuvre a wild cosmos of excessive phantasies: “I paint because painting is a private Utopia.“ His paintings, prints, and sculptures tackle the cultural and social developments of the modern world and its political conflicts. Using the techniques of Surrealism and Pop Art, Erró combines the styles and motives of different epochs and genres. He integrates elements of comics and science fiction, and plays with art-historical quotations in a virtuoso manner. The multi-figured, overflowing panoramas are reminiscent of collages, and turn into funny-ironical, aggressive-satirical statements.
The exhibition starts with the early painting American Interior No. 6 from 1967 belonging to the Ludwig Museum’s own collection. The architecturally defined visual space of a mid-20th century bedroom in blue and red shades comes from an American sample catalogue of a paint company which Erró found in Havana. During the period of the trade embargo imposed by the U.S. on Cuba, this refers to the dimension of Errós interests. Erró inserts the heroically stylized figure of the Northern Vietnamese, communist revolutionary leader and president Ho Chi Minh taken from a Pekingese propaganda pamphlet in the centre of the painting. Here, too, the background is a political one: it was the time of the Vietnam War the U.S. was involved in. The pastel blue shade of the Mao suit Ho Chi Minh is wearing matches the interior as well as the in resolute manner risen fist touching the ceiling lamp unmasks a martial pose. The sickly sweet interior as the projection surface of the ideal family home and the reality of politcs clash with high potential for conflict.

Erró wrote in 1970 about the series American Interior: “The combination of these two materials let the red colour come across the Pacific Ocean to reach Las Vegas. Politics extends the possibilities of painting. The only permanent revolution – the constant change – proceeds.“
Erró’s examination of style and motifs of comics and mangas characterises his recent works. Especially female super-heroines from comics populate the painting Digital Dreams from 2014.

Divided into four sections, the sequence of digital dreams imagines a multi-perspective world separated into numerous individual scenes – a colourful commotion of pictures full of stark emotions.
Erró, originally Guðmundur Guðmundsson, has been living in Paris since 1958. Having studied in Reykjavík, Oslo and Florence, Byzantine mosaics, Early-Renaissance paintings, and scientific collections inspired him. In Paris he participated with several works in the exhibition Antiprocès in 1960. Between 1961 and 1966 he took part with the annual Salon de Mai. Since then Erró has been acknowledged internationally in numerous museum exhibitions.

The Ludwig Museum draws with over 80 works in the exhibition Erró – Private Utopia a bow, starting with the work from the museum’s collection and leading through more than 50 years of innovation and invention in artistic production. Erró proves to be a tireless storyteller, who merges different worlds into each other while not avoiding confrontations. For the first time mainly his graphic work is shown alongside several paintings carrying the ‘horror vacui‘.

The exhibition was created together with Erró and supported by THE HILGER COLLECTION.

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated, monographic catalogue, published by the Verlag für moderne Kunst, Vienna.



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