Michael Krebber is a central figure in the Cologne based scene significantly involved in the international positioning of conceptually oriented painting. His work is informed by his proficiency in a multi-faceted vocabulary-the dismissal and recuperation of painterly qualities, the scrutiny of the boundaries of the picture plane, and the tension between representation and abstraction. This knowledge reverberates with a historically interested reflection of the medium and a constant questioning, without, however, generation friction. Nevertheless the use of stylistic means plays a central role, especially the (brush) mark and the question of the “right” form: they are relevant for the development of a content-oriented attitude remaining in a state of formal doubt.

In the Secession, Michael Krebber’s paintings were shown already in the group show Hier ist dort 2 in 2002. For his upcoming show in the Secession’s Hauptraum the artist chose not to employ explicit painterly strategies. His first solo exhibition in an Austrian art institution presents an artistic language primarily interested in painting, without necessarily integrating it as a medium or a tool. In this way, Michael Krebber also offers a model that eludes the incessantly returning discussion about the relevance of painting without doing away with the significance of painterly concerns.

In the Hauptraum of the Secession, Michael Krebber combines a series of wooden stretchers manufactured for this specific purpose with a selection of industrially produced colored fabrics. Like in earlier installations, the main focus again is on the hanging: Michael Krebber simulates relationships between elements of different formal and content qualities. The result is a process of becoming form, which, however, is kept afloat. This tension between “form” and “formless” distinguishes the work from mere performative play.

As Helmut Draxler highlights in the catalogue for the exhibition, Michael Krebber’s work deals mainly with the shape of the relationships between signs: “how figure and ground, form and format, surface and space, color and object, frame and wall, object and installation, light and place, material and reference, title and context, original and found material can be related to one another.”

The exhibition in the Secession is closely linked to the exhibition catalogue. Michael Krebber adopts it as an archive of his exhibition projects from 2001 up to today. The structure is determined by the visual concept developed by Heimo Zobernig for all Secession publications. Parallel to the project in the Secession, the book Außerirdische Zwitterwesen / Alien Hybrid Creatures will be published. It is based on a Michael Krebber slide lecture addressing the historical figure of the dandy, among other things.

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