Johnen + Schöttle



27.2.2009 until end of March 2009


After 25 years of exhibition making in Cologne Johnen + Schöttle gallery will be closed and continue its activities as Johnen gallery in Berlin. We are pleased to be able to present as last and at the same time 150th exhibition a new group of works by young Canadian artist Tim Lee, which before was shown at Hayward Gallery in London.
Tim Lee lives and works in Vancouver, a city to whose art scene Johnen + Schöttle gallery has been closely connected since its beginnings. Jeff Wall, Rodney Graham and Ian Wallace are among the most important exponents of an artistic approach that combines the discourse of concept and minimal art with the aspects of Pop Art and everyday culture. Tim Lee connects to this tradition by featuring his own person between the extremely formalized structures of concept and minimal art (Dan Graham, Bruce Nauman) and the expressive gestures of pop (Neil Young, Dean Martin).

Tim Lee who after before having particpated in a group show at Johnen + Schöttle gallery will now have his first solo show there, stated in a recent interview that ‘the thing with me is that I take comedy very seriously’. Employing a range of media, including video, photography and sculpture, he revisits key moments from the life and works of a variety of cultural icons, from artists to musicians to comedians. Often skating close to absurdity, Lee’s ‘cover versions’ emphasise that cultural history, far from being fixed, is a thing in a constant state of flux – remade and remixed with every fresh perspective on it.
For his current exhibition Lee presents a number of recent and new works that turn on the notion of optical experimentation. Here, formal strategies such as spinning, tilting, rotating, splicing and cropping combine to create a series of unstable representations of various artistic figures – the Russian constructivist photographer Alexander Rodchenko, the American artist Dan Graham, and the American comedian Steve Martin – underlining both Lee’s relationship to them, and their (perhaps unexpected) relationship to each other.
Tim Lee researches for perceptional aesthetics that have been recognized by these figures as crucial for their artistic practice, and he thus opens up a new perspective on their works as well as on the current categories of perception which in fact are not so far away from those his heroes have been working with.