Bricks and lath to build up humor
Georg Herold's fascination for crude sculpting materials and amateurish craft-oriented techniques, leads him to an aesthetic characterized by a lowered-expectations approach to artistic materials
Bricks on canvas
120 x 170 cm | 47.25 x 67 in
"How does one process confrontations with the unknown and the unbelievable?" he asked at the beginning of the 1990s, before answering his own question: "One laughs, say, out of embarrassment or out of enthusiasm" - Georg Herold interview with FRIEZE Magazine
Five arms made of bricks protrude from an unprimed canvas in a seeming gesture of victory– Appearing as motifs of a composition which defies gravity, they become alien to their original use rather conveying a sense of joy and collective exultation
"As a matter of principle, I never use materials that speak their own language. That's why I pick on rough, stupid materials that don't ask questions." - Georg Herold
Mon Dieu, 2009
Roof battens screwed and satin
314 x 85 x 118 cm | 127.5 x 33.5 x 46.5 in
Built with roof battens and screw, a humanoid figure is bending his body against the wall stretching arms towards the sky as if something suddenly happened.
Dressed only with a night gown, the sculpture in its magnified proportions and posture seems to exclaim ‘Oh My God’
His is a considered, philological humor that relies on tautologies, inspired equally by Duchamp and Wittgenstein -
From the book Permission to Laugh | Humor and politics in Contemporary Art by Gregory H. Williams
Technik lath, photobase paper, pigment colors
130 x 136 x 23,5 cm | 51 x 53.5 x 92.5 in
Lath-painting made by roof battens which imagery raise memories of the 8bit graphic computer language, that transforms the role of canvas by changing it into a support that outspreads from the frame into the picture and detailed with photographic colored paper.
Aesthetic wit mines the world of idea and object to uncover correspondences between items that at first sight have little or nothing in common and only via their juxtaposition reveal concealed affinities - Paul Fleming from the book Permission to Laugh | Humor and politics in Contemporary Art by Gregory H. Williams
Georg Herold (b. 1947, Jena, Germany), currently lives and works in Cologne.
He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg during the 1970’s. During his studies in Hamburg under Sigmar Polke, he formed part of a wave of revolutionary young artists including Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, Günther Förg, and Werner Büttner. He has been professor at the prestigious Kunstakademie Düsseldorf since 1999.
Georg Herold’s experimental work encompassing sculpture, installation, painting, photography and video spans across five decades. His bold use of inexpensive, second-rate, ordinary materials traditionally associated with construction, household, clothing and edible purposes has led his practice to be sometimes compared with Arte Povera. Nevertheless, upon a deeper investigation it is the influence of Joseph Beuys which resonates throughout Herold’s approach delving into political, social and cultural paradigms yet eluding any attempt to categorization and simplistic reading.
With frequent references to art history and language, his multi-layered oeuvre, where seriousness and existential humour interplay, questions art and its context, ultimately challenging our tendency to seek meaning within it.
Georg Herold has been the subject of several solo exhibitions in prominent international institutions such as Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany (2017/18), Kunst in Weidingen, Weidingen, Luxembourg (2015), Dallas Contemporary, USA (2013), Museum Brandhorst, Munich (2012), Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2007), the Stedelijk Museum voor Atuele Kunst, Gent (2007) to name but a few. A much acclaimed duo show with Markus Oehlen took place at MOMA in New York (1993)
New Orleans Museum of Art
San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art SFMOMA
MoMA Museum of Modern Art NYC
The Rubell Family Collection
Stedelijk Museum of Contemporary Art
Frankfurt Städel Museum
Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona
MAK - Austrian Museum of Applied Art
The Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst
Sigmund Freud Museum
Harvard Art Museum
Haubrok Foundation Berlin
Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (LBBW) Collection
Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck
DMA Dallas Museum of Art