Peter Blum is pleased to announce the exhibition, Helmut Federle: Works on Paper from 1969 to 2001 opening on May 3, 2003 at the Peter Blum Gallery, 99 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10012.*
The exhibition comprises 200 drawings executed in pencil, gouache, ink, crayon and oil and ranging from sketches and studies to finished works. It is the first time that such an important and extensive group of works on paper by Helmut Federle has been shown anywhere.
The range of the drawings traces Federle's development from his early abstract studies of mountain ranges, which perhaps already show a tendency towards geometrical reduction, to a later incorporation of motifs which bring together characters of the Far East and symbolic shapes.
Federle has always traveled extensively among the remains of ancient cultures, in particular the Far East, but also South and North America. In 1985 Federle traveled to China and Tibet. Many travels followed including Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. The work of that period can be seen to reflect latent formal links to art of these cultures.
In 1985 Federle formulated and published a fundamental text on his theory of drawing called: "On Mass and Expansion in Drawing".
From 1992 Federle spent time in Galisteo, New Mexico where he met regularly with the artist Agnes Martin, a stated influence on his work. At that time Federle was exposed to the ancient Mimbres culture of the Southwest whose ceramic works gave title to two of the drawings in this exhibition and in general has had a significant influence on his work.
From this exhibition, as well as statements from the artist, it is clear that the works on paper are not only an important adjunct to Federle's paintings, but also an integral part of his overall work.
Born in 1944 in Switzerland, Federle now lives and works in Vienna, Austria. A partial description of Federle's major exhibitions follows. In 1985 the Museum of Contemporary Art, Basel exhibited an extensive survey of the paintings and drawings of Federle. In 1986 The Los Angeles County Museum of Art included Federle in its thematic review exhibition entitled The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting 1890-1985. In 1989 Federle had his first major individual exhibition in France at the Musée de Grenoble. This was followed in 1992 by an individual exhibit at the Kunsthalle Zürich of large paintings which went on tour to the Moderna Museet, Stockholm and the Museum Fridericianum, Kassel. In 1995 the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris exhibited his "Corner Field Paintings" for the first time on a larger scale. In 1996 there followed a retrospective (paintings from 1977 - 1995) at the Kunstmuseum, Bonn. In 1997 Federle's work represented the official Swiss contribution to the 1997 Venice Biennial, and in 1999-2000, a major exhibition followed at the Kunsthaus, Bregenz.
* The exhibition (originally scheduled to end July 13th) has been extended to September 13th. However, the gallery will be closed July 27th through August 18th.