CARBON 12 Alserkal Avenue
Carbon 12 has come up with another interesting show, one that “puts the materiality back on the map and chops the meta from the physics” as the bumf puts it.
New works from the gallery’s artists André Butzer, Bernhard Buhmann and Ralf Ziervogel are shown for the first time in Dubai alongside works by Gregor Hildebrandt, Peles Empire, Jessica Mein, Thomas Arnolds and Mohammed Kazem. The curation posits a counter to “the contemporary tendency toward abstraction”; this show is all about specificity and the concrete, working with surfaces and using them as crossover points.
So Hildebrandt glues video-tapes directly on to the surface of his works, Kazem scratches sound waves directly on to paper. Mein makes abstract images from the physical aspects of surface and structure, and you see the same material reality in Buhmann, Ziervogel, Butzer and others. Butzer’s series shows a radical visual reduction to point zero, Buhmann plays with formal romanticism, Ziervogel and Arnolds challenge the limits of abstraction – but in all of them it is the material, the surfaces, that define the art.
Beyond that, there’s much to enjoy in the individual artists. There’s a cool, sometimes chilly, formalism to some of the work; there’s a definite European tradition evident there. But there’s also a timeless quality, and an immediacy too; most of these works are happening in the now, and they don’t need you to look forward or back …