Time Out New York / Dec 31, 2009–Jan 1, 2010
“I am suffering from a lack of reality.” Bemoaning a species of alienation that anyone wearied by the media’s incessant barrage of visual information will recognize, Berlin painter Ulrich Lamsfuss characterizes his rendering of images from photographic sources as a quest for authenticity and value in a continuum that offers little or no distinction between one image and the next. Trawling magazines and books, newspapers and the Internet, Lamsfuss selects, reproduces and reworks his choices with the intention of intensifying their peculiar characteristics. What links these canvases is not their ostensible subjects, but rather how the artist treats those subjects. Unfortunately, the application of bland technique to heterogeneous themes is not automatically enlightening.
Pedantically exact titles like Made in Germany 1- Daimler Chrysler AG, Mercedes S-Klasse W 140, applied to a painting of the titular car’s unfinished body, suggest an appropriate sensitivity to the interaction of word and image. The revisioning of another artists’ work via secondary sources in Josephine Meckseper, Hammer and Sickle (Image from the Josephine Meckseper catalogue No. 2, Artforum Oct. 2006) speaks to a postmodern heritage that provides some useful (if predictable) theoretical ballast.
In the rear gallery, a cluster of faux-antique drawings of celebrities is something of a relief in its relative coherence and more appealing style. But while Lamsfuss’s line “What I see is what you get” makes for a neat motto, its results demand the benefit of the doubt too often to be effective.
Image: Ulrich Lamsfuss, Michael Douglas - No Nukes, 2009