curated by Sabine Schaschl
In the past two to three years, art theory, exhibitions, and the art market in general have witnessed a renaissance of painting.
Even though the demise of painting has been postulated at regular intervals in art history, this “moribund discipline has survived all of those attacks leveled against it quite unscathed. Maybe because of these numerous announcements of its death—and subsequent resurrection— painting is striving for constant improvements, new pictorial and linguistic formulations, and ways of coming to terms with and relating to its past.
The exhibition Space Invaders does not focus on what is touted as the return of painting, but on contemporary examples of self-renewal, inspired by what painting can genuinely offer. What started in modernity as the notion of “exiting the picture”, an initially conceptual and material act (Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, Lucio Fontana, Yves Klein, Günther Uecker, Daniel Buren, Robert Barry, Dan Flavin, to name but a few), evolved into full-fledged discussions about interdisciplinary concepts and transgressions of individual media in the 1990s. The expansionary movements of framed spaces via conceptual spaces into realms pertaining to the outside world have struck a responsive chord with many contemporary artworks. Hence, as an overarching curatorial topic, Space Invaders explores the relations between painting, space, and its hybrid forms by interacting with the interior spaces of Kunsthaus Baselland—a former industrial site, transformed into a white cube featuring many references to its past. Each of the artistic positions displayed is connected to the main curatorial questions this show elucidates, and each of them also addresses its own specific issues.