Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
August 11 – October 22, 2022
The frost makes a flower, the dew makes a star.
Conny Maier did not originally specialize in painting, yet she felt always drawn to it, creating various de-individualized characters she had invented; with open mouths and jelly feet, captured with vibrant colors in swirling brushstrokes, wandering through canvases often encompassing nature. To focus on Maier’s paintings of flowers and vases is to return -in a way- to the origins of her art: Her paintings are a colorful cosmos shifting between sublime beauty and the grotesque.
For her exhibition at De 11 Lijnen curated by Udo Kittelmann, the artist continues her exploration of nature concentrating on placing bouquets of flower pieces in vases or full blooms without vases and then again vases without colorful flora at all. Still life remains a feature in her series that brings to mind and perhaps leaves us with a question: “Can one paint flowers today?” Looking at Conny Maier paintings, the answer is a definite “yes”.
Ever since the Impressionist artists like Vincent van Gogh adopted flower vases as his subject and Paul Cézanne painted a famous series of still lifes with basket of apples resting on layered tablecloths, and there is of course Claude Monet’s Les Nymphéas series, the still life and painting flowers continuous to remain a popular feature in art movements. Composed of a combination of oil, oil stick and pigments on canvas, Conny Maier ’s paintings created for her first exhibition at the space for contemporary art in Oudenburg, are -one can say- a continuation of this “tradition” and yet at the same time, it is more than that: it is a collection of ideas inspired by and collected from her travels around the world, which Maier first sketches in a notebook and then transforms on canvases –– some are large, others are small depictions of bold and whimsical imagery of life beyond the ordinary.
Conny Maier lives and works in Berlin where she was born and raised and since recently, she also resides in Baleal, Portugal. Maier has exhibited worldwide with exhibitions including Feels like rabies, Société Galerie, Berlin (2022); Grenzgänge 2, König Galerie, Seoul (2021); Grenzgänge, Ruttkowski;68, Cologne (2021); Die Zähmung, Kunstverein Heppenheim (2020); Domestic, König Galerie, Berlin (2020); Am Rothenbaum, Ruttkowski;68, Paris (2018); A.Tennis, Parallel Vienna, Vienna (2017); Coke First PT.II, BOLD Room, Los Angeles (2016) among many other group exhibitions in the institutions around the world. Conny Maier was selected as one of the three recipients of Deutsche Bank’s prestigious Artists of the Year Prize in 2021.
Udo Kittelmann is a curator and since 2021 artistic director at the Museum Frieder Burda in Baden-Baden. From 1994 he was a director at Kölnischer Kunstverein in Cologne until 2001. In 2002 he became director of the Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK), in Frankfurt which he led for six years. From 2008 until 2020 he was the museum director of the Nationalgalerie at the Berlin State Museums, which comprised six museums: the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Neue Nationalgalerie, the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, the Museum Berggruen, Scharf-Gerstenberg Collection, and the Friedrichswerder Church. Kittelmann has produced multiple exhibitions at the Fondazione Prada in Milan, Shanghai and Venice, as well as at Centro Botín in Santander and Fondation Beyeler in Basel. He was commissioner and curator of the German Pavilion at the 49th Venice Biennale with the artist Gregor Schneider, which was awarded a Golden Lion for best international pavilion. He has also curated the Russian pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale in 2013 with the Moscow Conceptual artist, Vadim Zakharov, making him the pavilion’s first non-Russian commissioner.