Populated by naked young women and saccharine fluffy cats, Eder's semi-surrealistic paintings exude an engaging perversity. His scenarios have a nightmarish feeling and explore the uneasy interdependence of culture, kitsch and commerce in contemporary art. Eder paints from photographs that he has taken, which together with his deployment of technique and illusory devices positions his persona at the centre of the narratives.
Hauser & Wirth presents the first UK exhibition of the Berlin-based artist Martin Eder. Populated
by naked young women and saccharine fluffy cats, Eder’s semi-surrealistic paintings exude an
engaging perversity. His scenarios have a nightmarish feeling and explore the uneasy
interdependence of culture, kitsch and commerce in contemporary art. 'My paintings are actually
battle scenes,' Eder has said. 'They are filled with murder and they are incredibly bloodthirsty.'
The Old Bond Street gallery will host a suite of new paintings that although conceived as
individual works, relate to and cross-reference one another, collectively revealing the parallel
world that they describe. The viewer beholds three protagonists, each under the sinister
protectorate of a 'guardian'; their common situations suggest collusion, perhaps even telepathic
communication between the characters. Rendered in muted tones, the canvases convey an
ominous feeling and encroaching danger. Eder paints the twin emotions of fear and desire that
reach out to the viewer. The loaded sexuality of the girls in his paintings and the feeling of
exploitation these inspire, come coupled with the painterly dexterity of their making. Eder’s
surfaces are complicated and compelling. Different modes of expression are assembled, ranging
from realistic descriptive passages to marbled backdrops and high-toned graphic flourishes, all
the while toying with depth and flatness.
Eder paints from photographs that he has taken, which together with his deployment of technique and illusory devices positions his persona at the centre of the narratives. Brought up in Catholic Bavaria, he has spoken of a 'fundamentalist form of dedication' that drives the dark symbolism and fervour of his works. His women are painted in styles that variously recall Botticelli, Cranach, Renoir and Manet, yet his subjects are undressed rather than nude. Their hairstyles, preened and made-up faces and soft-core poses parade a very contemporary attitude; their hallucinatory and claustrophobic predicaments are akin to those of the films of David Lynch. Eder’s works comment on the current health of society and of art, their fetishistic imaginary worlds reflecting the writings of Marx and Freud on the painted canvas. 'I’m deliberately exposing myself to criticism that it is exploitation,' the artist explains. 'But on the other hand, isn’t arousal, if it’s present at all, a rebellion against death?' To coincide with the exhibition at Hauser & Wirth, there will be a concert given by Martin Eder’s alter-ego Richard Ruin at midnight on 12 September 2009 at The Bathhouse (http://www.thebathhousevenue.com).
Martin Eder was born in 1968 in Augsburg, Germany, and lives and works in Berlin. Recent solo exhibitions include 'Der dunkle Grund', at Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden Galerie Neue Meister, Dresden (2009); Mönchehaus Museum für Moderne Kunst, Goslar (2008); 'Fotografie: Die Armen' at Kunsthalle Mannheim, Mannheim, and Gemeentemuseum, The Haag (both 2008); and Galerie Eigen + Art, Leipzig (2007). He is represented by Eigen + Art.
Opening reception: Wednesday 9 September 2009, 6 – 8 pm
Hauser & Wirth
196A Piccadilly - London
Monday to Saturday 10am – 6pm