Art historian Ursula Panhans-Bühler once used the term ‘impure minimalism’ to describe the sculptural works of German artist Thomas Rentmeister. For Panhans-Bühler, Rentmeister at once adapted the pictorial and stylistic vocabulary of Minimalism and at the same time dirtied it through the use of common and inexpensive materials. Panhans-Bühler’s terminology eventually evolved into ‘dirty minimalism’, which has in turn become a kind of catch phrase that currently follows Rentmeister around the world regularly popping up in the catalogue essays and press releases that accompany the exhibition of his work.
Co-curated by West Australian artists David Attwood and Shannon Lyons, Dirty is a reflection on and extension of the notion of ‘dirty minimalism’. The exhibition will present the works of a group of artists who employ the tenets of Minimalism in conjunction with historical, social, cultural and political content. These artists strive to evade the art historical readings of Minimalism’s Modernist heritage (as in its cold austerity, internal inflection and material objectivity) by infusing their work with external reference, reveling in disorder, politics, humour and the abject body.
The exhibition Dirty draws on a selection of protagonists working within the field of ‘dirty minimalism’ in Australia and beyond, bringing these convergent practices into conversation. Exhibiting artists include David Attwood, Rebecca Baumann and Shannon Lyons who live and work in Perth, WA and Marco Bruzzone and Thomas Rentmeister who both live and work in Berlin, Germany.