Paul Pretzer, Fummeln für Fortgeschrittene

Opening: Saturday, 5th April, 6-10 pm
Exhibition dates: 5th April – 17th May 2008

Hamish Morrison Galerie is proud to present „Fumbling for the Advanced“ the first solo exhibition of the young Estonia-born Dresden painter Paul Pretzer.

The title of the exhibition leads us directly into the ingenious, scurrile and tragic-comedic cosmos of the artist. Fumbling occurs in many of his paintings. But the fumbling happens in iconographically familiar poses and in a painting style resembling old-masters.

In his often small-format oil paintings Paul Pretzer creates a multiplicity of strange hybrid beings and chimera, which he endows with attributes, borrowed from the world of consumer goods or completely invented, frequently eluding a clear interpretation. The scenes often prompt memories of  influential stories of the “Suppenkasper” from the German children’s book Struwwelpeter or Wilhelm Busch’s pious Helene. Small instances of carelessness can lead to terrible consequences. But in Pretzer’s pictures we are not confronted with dark disciplinary measures , but rather with black humour. The absurd, bad luck, great misfortune and failure of large and small projects simply happen. In these pictures there are no clearly identifiable instigators of fate or unfairness. The only thing, that the artist gives his protagonists on their Sisyphus path is  empathy, which enable his lost creatures looking for support in ritualised poses to come completely near at us. Culprits or rogues seem to suffer just as much from the effects of the misdeed as the seemingly identifiable victim.

Paul Pretzer avails himself adroitly of his talent for composition, form and light. When first looking at his paintings, one is tempted to fall back on pleasant comfort of an apparently easily accessible painting of  figurative certainties . But watch out, we are already caught, just like Pretzer’s figures. And our sympathy with the  beings struggling with life’s absurdity quickly becomes self-pity. Pretzer places himself self-confidently in the tradition of board picture paintings. He makes use of the best ones, quotes them skilfully and questions with the introduction of tragicomedy, the grotesque and slapstick in a very contemporary fashion the conventions of seriousness in the treatment of art. This ability may be one of the reasons why Pretzer’s work has already garnered considerable attention before this first solo exhibition from the national and international art and collectors scene. One does not often get to see such large paintings in such small formats.