Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Richard Phillips - Adolf Dietrich. Painting and Misappropriation at Kunstmuseum Thurgau

Kunstmuseum Thurgau

Richard Phillips ­ Adolf Dietrich.
Painting and Misappropriation / Malerei und Aneignung
29 May­28 August 2011

Kunstmuseum Thurgau
Kartause Ittingen
CH-8532 Warth, Switzerland
T 0041 58 345 10 60

Our latest exhibition, Richard Phillips / Adolf Dietrich. Painting and
Misappropriation, presents works by two artists who&lsqauo;at first glance&lsqauo;couldn't
be more different. Massachusetts-born Richard Phillips (1964) has achieved
international fame as a Pop artist, while Adolf Dietrich was a Swiss
artist who died in Berlingen in 1957.

The show presents Richard Phillips' large paintings after motifs by Dietrich
alongside the American artist's own selection of Dietrich's works. Their
juxtaposition produces a complex dialogue that defies categorisation.

For the duration of this exhibition, and for the first time ever,
Thurgau will also display one of the most important private collections of
Dietrich's works.

Today Adolf Dietrich is considered not only one of Switzerland's leading
century painters but, curiously enough, a Naive artist also. In contrast,
Richard Phillips is a contemporary painter, whose choice of provocative
themes, unique style and the sheer intensity of his gigantic compositions
the medium to its very limits. Phillips paints portraits after material
in the public domain, whereas Dietrich's work is entirely focused on the
loving depiction of pristine nature. What brought these two very different
artists together?

Phillips' first encounter with Dietrich's work was due to a chance event at
Zürich's renowned Kronenhalle restaurant, where he had dinner with Swiss
artist Peter Fischli. After their meal Fischli took him to see the paintings
on the upper floor. When they came to Dietrich's drawing, "Two Squirrels,"
Phillips was captivated by its intense presence: "I was deeply moved by its
emotional depth and the subtle detail of observation."

Phillips decided to explore Dietrich's imagery and formal idiom from inside,
as it were, by copying his works. By 2003 he had completed his first
entitled "Similar to Squirrels. After A. Dietrich", the large-format copy of
reproduction of Dietrich's 1932 painting also entitled "Two Squirrels".
Phillips has been involved in an intense dialogue with Dietrich's works ever

The show Painting and Misappropriation, co-curated by Richard Phillips and
Gianni Jetzer, was presented last year at the Swiss Institute in New York.
actual juxtaposition of these works addresses differences and similarities,
and renders the artists' visions palpable. Dietrich and Phillips both use
same subjects&lsqauo;animals, people, landscapes. Also, they stylistically heighten
figuration to a degree of artificiality that goes far beyond realistic

The encounter leads to a radical re-interpretation of these works. While
Phillips' art is often criticised for being too literal, Dietrich's art has
been pigeonholed as naive. The process of appropriation throws a new light
both oeuvres, underscoring the classical qualities of Richard Phillips'
paintings while revealing the radical qualities of Adolf Dietrich's

A richly illustrated catalogue documents the exhibition; essays by Richard
Phillips and Dorothee Messmer, and an interview of the artist by Beatrix Ruf
provide a deeper insight into the artist's motivations for this unique

Works by Adolf Dietrich from a private collection
For the duration of this exhibition, Kunstmuseum Thurgau is proud to present
another highlight&lsqauo;one of Thurgau's most important private collections of
by Adolf Dietrich, an impressive assemblage of unique paintings.

Opening hours:
1 May to 30 September: 11am to 6pm, daily
1 October to 30 April: Mon to Fri, 2 to 5pm; Sat/Sun, 11am to 5pm

*Image above:
Courtesy the artist and Gagosian Gallery, New York.
© The artist.

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