Gerhardsen Gerner

Dirk Stewen Previous Shows Day and Night

Dirk Stewen


Dirk Stewen
Day and Night

Exhibition duration:   January 22–February 28, 2015

Gerhardsen Gerner is very pleased to commence the new year with the first solo exhibition by the Hamburg artist Dirk Stewen at the gallery in Oslo. The exhibition title "Day and Night" suggests that, for the first time, his work will be presented as seemingly contradictory units.

As a complement to the title, the artist opens the exhibition with a number of medium-format, strictly black ink drawings. The underlying photographic paper is robbed of its ability to capture reality as it is torn out from its protective packaging and exposed to light. Tampered with violently, yet without any direct external traces, this is just the beginning of its mistreatment. In several layers, Stewen seals the photo paper by repeatedly applying ink, which ultimately enters into a not especially controllable chemical process with the surface of the photo paper. He then transforms it into abstract compositions using a sewing machine and colored confetti. As if to comfort and to compensate for the damage that has been inflicted, Stewen distributes colored dots and lines on the very top layer of this unfathomably deep black. This creates structures that resemble a starry sky, but also evoke the musical quality of Kandinsky's compositions.

The rear part of the gallery presents the bright, large-format works in confetti from the series entitled Soft Corps. Stewen varies confetti snippets of various qualities of paper and perforated thread lines, creating intricate arrangements – where the artist's interest in the diversity of the material is striking: monochrome paper of different shapes, colors, textures, weights and condition are found alongside multi-colored confetti, which reveal themselves as cut-outs of pre-existing works by the artist. For Soft Corps, Dirk Stewen works with materials that have a recognizably historical background, such as the yellowed paper from antiquarian art folders. Some of these still retain image captions, which he uses to decontextualize of his own compositions.

Dirk Stewen's fascination with the Far East reveals itself not only in his affinity for various paper products, but also in the recurrence of motifs from photographs that he has taken during trips to Japan: The exhibition concludes with a photograph depicting a mythological fox sculpture, known in Japanese as Kitsune. In Japan, foxes are considered masters of magical transformation and are of great significance in the world of spirits. They are said to have the ability to transform themselves into any kind of form: for example, into a beautiful woman who subsequently bewitches people and torments them with practical jokes. The night indeed hides its spirits and secrets – like Dirk Stewen's black confetti works, with the black ink that covers its potential exposure.

Dirk Stewen’s work has been featured in numerous international gallery exhibitions. Institutional solo exhibitions include: The Locker Plant, Chinati Foundation Artist in Residence, Marfa; Exercises, Kunstverein Overbeck Gesellschaft, Lübeck; The Exhibition Formerly Known as Passengers: Dirk Stewen, CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco; Sugar, Lump Sugar, Künstlerhaus Stuttgart.

Group shows include, among others: Girls can tell, Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen; Liebe ist kälter als das Kapital, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz; Nur hier, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn; Art on Paper: The 41st Exhibition, The Weatherspoon Art Museum, North Carolina; Milk Drop Coronet, Camera Austria, Kunsthaus Graz; The Anxiety of Photography, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen);The Library of Babel / In and Out of Place, 176 Zabludowicz Collection, London; privat – Wuppertaler Sammler der Gegenwart, Von der Heydt Museum, Wuppertal; Pale Carnage, Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol und Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee; Formalismus – Moderne Kunst, heute, Kunstverein in Hamburg.

For further information please contact Marina Gerner-Mathisen, Gerhardsen Gerner, Oslo:

or Maike Fries, Gerhardsen Gerner, Berlin: T: +49-30-69 51 83 41, F: +49-30-69 51 83 42,
or visit our website at