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exhibition: Thomas Schütte: New Work

date: 23 February – 7 April 2012

Peter Freeman, Inc. is pleased to present new work by the German artist Thomas Schütte, his first solo exhibition of new work in New York in seven years. The two-part exhibition will inaugurate the gallery’s new space at 140 Grand Street with new sculpture and monumental woodblock prints, and, simultaneously, new watercolors and ceramics at the gallery’s existing 560 Broadway space.

One of the most important artists of his generation, Thomas Schütte’s oeuvre includes figurative and architectural works that most often explore themes of historical memory, inner struggle, and the frequent striving for an unattainable utopian ideal. The hero worshiped is often found sinking, scoundrels are often larger than life, but the strengths inside those who are not usually the hero can win out, including those of the artist. Schütte’s mastery and exploration of gesture, material, and scale run their full range in these two installations, which include new sculptures in bronze, carved wood, ceramic, and glass ranging from just 18 inches to over 10 feet tall.

For the installation in the new gallery space at 140 Grand Street, the classic SoHo 19th-century cast-iron building has been left largely untouched since its recent use as an industrial facility. Cast-iron Corinthian columns and an unusually high 18-foot ceiling create an envelope in which Schütte has built new free-standing walls to define five spaces. Most of these spaces are installed with a pair of works; sometimes these pairs are actually one sculpture: two ten-foot tall wood soldiers stand facing each other; two cast glass busts–similar to those shown last year at the Palazzo Franchetti, Venice–face each other. Other pairings are of two separate sculptures, as the two new architectural models of Temples that share one space. In another space, a low octagonal wall of mirrors surrounds a group of six glass Kleiner Geister (Small Spirits), each making its own paired double in the mirror, but then the circle of mirrors increasing these doubles to an infinite number. The only works on the free-standing walls that make these spaces are a suite of nine monumental colored woodblock prints, each 8-1/2 feet tall by 5-1/2 feet wide, new renderings in vibrant colors of images from Schütte’s 1984 suite of large-scale drawings, Die Burg (The Castle).

At 560 Broadway are a large group of new watercolors as well as recent ceramic sculpture.

Schütte’s work has recently been the focus of three different retrospectives held in Bonn (2010), Madrid (2010), and Munich (2009). His work is included in the permanent collections of most major international museums, including: Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Reina Sofia, Madrid; Tate, London; Dallas Museum; Art Institute of Chicago; SF MoMA; and MoMA, New York. Thomas Schütte was born in 1954 in Oldenburg, Germany; he lives and works in Düsseldorf.