Carl Ostendarp: Greatest Hits

Cat. Kunstverein Heilbronn

Exhibition catalogue, edited by Matthia Löbke
texts (German/English) by Matthia Löbke, Lane Releya
160 p with 150 coloured illustrations
270 x 210 mm, softcover with flaps

ISBN 978-3-86442-217-1

34,00 €

»Goofy signature letters«

In 2014, Ken Johnson writes in the New York Times about Carl Ostendarp’s works that they had the same effect as someone belching in church during worship. This admiring observation is aimed at the artist’s oxymoronic skill of combining the ­incompatible: onomatopoeia from comics (in the NYT it is called: goofy signature letters) with cool color-field or hard-edge painting (accord­ing to NYT: high-minded seriousness of the modernist monochrome). Background for Carl Ostendarp’s quite entertaining paintings is his interest in graph­ics, which he shares with many artists of his ­generation. Born in 1961 in the liberal university town of Amherst, Massachusetts, he now lives and works as an art professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where once Vladimir Nabokov worked as a literary professor and counted the American future cult author Thomas Pynchon among his students. 2017 Carl Ostendarp presented his first comprehensive solo-exhibition at Kunstverein Heilbronn in Germany – after cabinet exhibitions at Museum Ludwig, Cologne, and MMK in Frankfurt am Main. This book traces the exhibition at the Kunstverein Heilbronn once again and provides an overview of his work. For his solo shows, he usually creates extensive wallpaintings reminiscent of landscapes on which he positions works on paper and canvas. The linguistic images that are created in front of the viewer's eye, and which, in their onomatopoeic uniqueness, animate the ­visitor to recite them aloud, oscillate between reading and looking – inevitably suggesting the idea of music and rhythm: reading and looking with added listening. The occasional inclusion of words expressing pain (ARGH) or dislike (ECH) adds a critical note to the otherwise cheerful representations, since Carl Ostendarp in his ­installations, as he says himself, wants to respond to the social, political and psychological state of society. In 2017 his preferred colour was grey, but this does not apply to his current wall work in Baden-Baden, which forms the colourful resonating basis of the presentation of the Burda brothers’ collection.

Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden: »The Burda Brothers. A History of Collecting« – with wall paintings by Carl Ostendarp – until 10/4/2020