Museum exhibition

Abstraction (re)creation – 20 under 40

Yamada Kohei
Consortium Museum, Dijon, France
26 April - 8 September 2024

With Peppi Bottrop, Ragna Bley, Lucy Bull, Pam Evelyn, Jadé Fadojutimi, Han Bing, Angela Heisch, Rachel Jones, Liza Lacroix, Li Hei Di, Sophia Loeb, Manuel Mathieu, Beah Shin, Ryan Sullivan, Uman, Kohei Yamada, Luc Ming Yan, Dennis Miranda Zamorano, Vivien Zhang, Zhang Zipiao.

With generous support from: Daniel Xu & Flora Huang Foundation; Ellen Wu; Vanessa Guo & Jean-Mathieu Martini.
Acknowledgements: Apalazzo, Gisela Capitain, Sadie Coles HQ, Hauser & Wirth, David Kordansky, Marguo, Pilar Corrias, Pippy Houldsworth, Taka Ishii, Thaddaeus Ropac, Pace.

Curated by Franck Gautherot & Seungduk Kim

Paris, 1931—after the general trend turned to representation during the 1920s, Theo van Doesburg, Auguste Herbin, Jean Hélion and Georges Vantongerloo founded the group abstraction-création in order to counteract the influence of the Surrealist group led by André Breton.

The same thing is happening today. Will abstraction in painting reveal a new way to face art, a better manner to address new issues far away from subjects, storytelling, and other figurative topics?

There is no doubt that formalism has prevailed.
During the XXth century, western art utopia has raised non-figuration to the upper level of achievement. Ultimate progress towards simplification of formal vocabulary, criminalization of ornamentation, cancellation of stories and characters to the benefit of pure form, Die gute Form, geometry, construction, and so on. But to keep (e)motions, feelings, expressivity, and gestural techniques at work, abstract painting shifted to Tachism, Informalism and worse…

The art world today has been under huge market pressure and subject to short-term consumption.
Is it an observable feeling and/or a fact that young Asian and Afro-American female painters, along with their male counterparts, have jumped into the large non-figurative colored maelstrom, adding their personal touch and contributed to what has suddenly become a “genre”—before potentially falling into trap of academism around the corner?

Putting the various attempts at new abstraction into words will help define and legitimize it—and come up with catchy names for it: new abstract impressionism, Arte Infor(fe)male, hyperrealist abstraction, pop abstraction, organic color field, and others yet to be patented.

The Consortium Museum’s history is deeply rooted in historical abstraction and minimalism. It enriched our younger days and fueled utopian dreams of a better world designed by progressive artists and architects—primarily men…
Fortunately, in the 1980s, non-Western modernisms, non-binary narratives, and women power twisted our certainties paving the way for a more balanced world where passion and greed, true commitment and opportunism, and talent and skill coexisted, and still do, for now. But nothing is completely fixed yet.

The show we are setting up will confront these formal strategies, giving rise to a renewed lyricism expressed with a sense of both distance and comfort.

20 under 40 may sound like another motto, but 40 years’ time draws an intangible and subjective line between being a young artist and reaching the mid-career status.
We focused on youngsters as they may have their own unconventional logic and approach to abstraction in art and especially in painting.
Gestural vs. storytelling, expressivity vs. construction, non-representational vs. characters and landscapes, ornamental vs. descriptive, and so on—a diversified generation is taking over the updated challenge to confronting the long history of abstract painting, and the future of it is in their young hands, which means that they shouldn’t stick to non-representation for too long.
Although there has never been a manifesto of any kind, tradition binds abstract artists to the many “isms of art”, as in El Lissitsky and Hans Arp’s famous eponymous book published in 1925 in Zürich.
Nevertheless, change is imminent as (re)creative abstraction takes its course.

— Franck Gautherot & Seungduk Kim

For more information please visit Consortium Museum.

Read more