Sam Pulitzer & Peter Wächtler
December 11, 2016 – February 4, 2017
House of Gaga / Reena Spaulings Fine Art Los Angeles
As a general rule of thumb, you could say that without abstraction at your hands this world’s tidings will always be too far away or way too close up. In the sea that spans these two poles, Sam and Peter (both artists) set sail with a new set of work, presenting their first collaborative show here in LA, only a few short days before Christmas 2016.
In Pulitzer’s colored pencil drawings we see avocados losing their cores, the wicked witch of the west melting away, communicating cereals, a city at night and many other images sending out unmistakably clear messages in a sign language blending advertising, public branding strategies and children’s book illustrations with a moody undertone of incompleteness, loss and longing. For example, the tediously rendered traffic light: STOP. We also see a girl knitting a scarf to comfort her friend. But these drawings also speak of a „sweet spot“ of devoted production. But this private labour is contrasted with the edgy titles around a malfunctioning every day life and its conditions and requests. Twenty-two of these works are mounted on free-standing metal fences that form a flimsy Stonehenge rotunda, as if displaying crafts at a country fair in Vermont or encrusted with cheap sunglasses on the foot of Mount Montmartre in Paris, France.
Seen through these display grids, Peter Wächtler’s big volcanoes sputter away, erupting and smoking, based on the visual effect of smearing pastel colors on large sheets of cotton paper. The mimetic play of this work is not too far from street art and just as effects-driven, seeking acknowledgement of wit, skill and artistic attitude, which easily could be translated into a tired dog’s bark for love. However this acknowledgment is heavily corrupted due to the clumsy and hysterical overdose of five erupting volcanoes paired with an equal number of starfish sculptures whose marine textures were embossed using a meat tenderizer while the glass was still hot. Also there is the drawing next to the bar that attempts a more realistic, less abstract depiction of a murky riverside scene combined with a Big Foot perspective and two hands that harshly tear away nettles, a bird’s nest and raspberry bushes to reveal a brown slope leading up to a parking lot.
Downstairs a sign welcomes a friend home, a hand-painted sign that anybody would hope for after a long trip or a stay at the hospital in Berlin-Mitte, who longs to arrive back at a home not a house, to rejoin with lovers not people and to celebrate life not time.
Sam Pulitzer (b. 1984) is an artist and writer based in New York. Pulitzer recently had solo exhibitions at établissement d'en face, Brussels; Real Fine Arts, Brooklyn; Lars Friedrich, Berlin; House of Gaga, Mexico City; and Artists Space, New York. Pulitzer has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including, in 2016, “The Lasting Concept” at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Portland; “Home @ Schwarzcafé” at LUMA Westbau, Zürich; and “The Highs of Everyday Life” at Reena Spaulings, New York.
Peter Wächtler (b. 1979) is an artist and writer based in Berlin and Brussels. He has had recent solo exhibitions at Chisenhale Gallery, London, and Renaissance Society, Chicago. Wächtler's recent group exhibitions include the 2015 Triennial: Surround Audience, New Museum, New York (2015); the Liverpool Biennial (2014); Meanwhile... Suddenly and Then, Lyon Biennale (2013); Pride Goes Before a Fall – Beware of a Holy Whore, Artists Space, New York (2013); Un-Scene II, Wiels, Brussels (2012); Melanchotopia, Witte de With, Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam (2011). Sternberg Press published a collection of Wächtler’s texts in 2013, entitled Come On.