The Max Wigram Gallery presents a select exhibition of ‘NO NEW WORK’ by Czech artist and Research Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University’s School of Art, Pavel Büchler. ‘NO NEW WORK’, Büchler’s humorously defiant admission that none of what you see is in fact ‘new’, consists of the reconstituted remains/remnants of paintings by enigmatic émigré, Eddie Wolfram, an artist, writer, television set designer and producer of pop videos, who moved from Germany to England in 1948 and about whom very little is now known. Wolfram, described as ‘an artist determined to communicate with society at large’ by a contemporary critic for the Guardian held his first solo exhibition at the Woodstock Gallery in London in 1958. Rather poignantly perhaps, time not having been kind to Wolfram, a posthumous exhibition of a large number of his works was held in 2010 in an Oxfam shop in Manchester. Büchler’s fascination with found objects and more specifically with found works of art, evident since 1997 and the exhibition of the first in his series of, ‘Modern Paintings’, lead him to acquire Wolfram’s works and to set about transforming them in an elaborate process of deconstruction involving priming, peeling, and washing each canvas. The patches of paint are then assembled in the manner of ‘crazy paving’, re-applied to the canvas reversed back to front, and the painting is re-stretched on a stretcher adapted from (or similar to) the original. The result is an intriguing and surprisingly aesthetic interpretation of artistic production. Büchler is modest perhaps in asserting that in so doing he is, ‘making nothing happen’, and yet ‘something’, as it were, has definitely happened and continues to happen in these works. Giving the effect of a smashed up pattern, with its fragments impacting on one another, drifting and cracking, the surfaces of Büchler’s paintings are fascinating, seeming fragile, truly material reminders of paint, trampled by time, at once destroyed and yet peculiarly preserved, given a new lease of life so as not to be forgotten. Büchler’s ‘Modern Paintings’ might be thought of then as re-contextualised reincarnations of re-appropriated work in a re-working of the past in order, in the spirit of Ezra Pound’s modernist manifesto, to ‘make it new’. ……It’s always a good sign when you’re left wanting more.
Pavel Büchler, ‘NO NEW WORK’, Max Wigram Gallery on now until 16th June
All images courtesy of Max Wigram Gallery copyright Pavel Büchler.