Paul Schwer: The Passenger


Pi Artworks Istanbul is pleased to announce Paul Schwer's second solo exhibition with the gallery. Last year Schwer's striking outdoor installation Shelter Haliç (2015) attracted lots of attention at Art International's By The Waterside section, and The Passenger will be a great opportunity for the Istanbul audience to see his work within a gallery context.

The Passenger consists of new works inspired by the city of Istanbul which the artist became attracted to during his regular visits there is preparation for his exhibition Spot on 6, Istanbul Diary: Tour- Retour, at Borusan Contemporary, 2013. This is referred to in the exhibition title itself, which points at the transient and superficial relationship the artist has with the city.

Within this new body of work, Schwer draws on the geometric aesthetic, colour pallet, and motifs of Seljuk architecture. For the artist the Seljuk aesthetic, while historically loaded, has a distinctly contemporary feel to it due to its geometry and cool colours. This mirrors that of his own practice, in which he routinely incorporates historical motifs within works that simultaneously have a futuristic feel.

For The Passenger, Schwer has created a free flowing structure that colonises the gallery with its luminous presence and counteracts the monotony, symmetry, and certain order of the traditional white cube gallery space. Nestled within this structure are his signature freestanding sculptures that punctuate the intervention like nodes of frozen liquid. For these he begins with flat sheets of PET-G, a material similar to Plexiglas, which are painted with broad-brush strokes of coloured pigment or screen-printed with ambiguous patterns. Then, in one transient moment, through high heat and considerable force, they are spun, twisted, and folded into complex labyrinthine forms. With this gesture, the two-dimensional picture plane is transformed into a dynamic, three-dimensional body of colour that captures the performativity of its making.

Paul Schwer, b. 1951. Major exhibitions include Lichtskulptur für das Rheinland (solo), Clemens-Sels Museum Neuss, Germany (2016); Paul Schwer: Caddesi (solo), Galerie Heinz Holtmann, Cologne, Germany (2016); The shape of things to come (solo), Pi Artworks London, UK (2015); Licht auf Waldboden (solo), Städtische Galerie, Essen, Germany (2015); Paul Schwer (solo), Museum Biedermann, Donaueschingen, Germany (2014); Spot on 6, Istanbul Diary: Tour- Retour (solo), Borusan Contemporary, Istanbul, Turkey (2013); Home (solo), IKOB, Museum for Contemporary Art, Eupen, Belgium (2013); Das Fruchtfleisch Unserer Architektur, Galeri Karl Pfefferle, Munich, Germany (2013); Travelling Light, Kunstverein Ruhr, Essen, Germany (2013), and Big Baos, Galerie Heinz Holtmann, Cologne, Germany (2012). Schwer has been the recipient of awards and scholarships including the 1995 Cité des Arts, Paris, France; Artist in Residence at Degussa Shanghai, China (2005-06); 2009 Stiftung Kunstfonds Bonn, Germany; Residency Istanbul, Kunststiftung, NRW (2015), and he is visiting Professor at the Munster Art Academy (2016). Major public collections holding his work include Deutsche Bank Collection, Germany; Museum Kunstpalast, Germany; NRW State Representation, Belgium; and Siemens Collection, Germany.

Installation Views