Friday, March 28, 2008

Life on Mars - Kai Althoff

Continuing with the CI08 preview -

From Kai Althoff's Saatchi my Gallery - Althoff's soldiers are drawn with delicate stylized dandyism. Conveyed with refined nobility, debauchery and humanity become indistinguishable; cruelty is portrayed with an acute tenderness. Flattened to an almost decorative motif, Althoff’s scene reads like theatre. Reminiscent of Georg Grosz's depictions of Berlin’s WW1 underworld, deplorable action is staged for consensual pleasure, a chic poster glamorizing the (un)desirable.

The thing that first struck me about this artist's work was the antique quality of his imagery. Instead of depicting a modern soldier, he has chosen to depict soldiers from decades ago. I saw this particularly on the Saatchi gallery page. Although in the Google image search there are a number of pieces whose depiction was more contemporary, I would say that the majority took their inspiration from the 1920's - 40's. I've noticed this a lot with contemporary representational artists. I am sure that this is supposed to be ever so ironic and referential and all of that contemporary Art-As-Cloistered-Society vibe.

At any rate, this is a pretty strong contrast to what I found for Doug Aitken.

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