Olaf Metzel

Solo Exhibition 'Gelbes Mauerstück'

Opening: Saturday, 8 March 2014, 5 – 8pm
Exhibition: 11 March – 12 April 2014

In Marce Proust's In search of Lost Time, Bergotte speaks of a "small yellow piece of wall". He says he saw it in Jan Vermeer's 1660 painting View on Delft – and then he dies. It is one of numerous encounters with paintings in the main work of the great French writer of the turn between the nineteenth and twentieth centrury. Art as a literary motif in Proust is also the subject of a book review in the newspaper Die Welt – and in this article, we find Olaf Metzel's large-format 20012 wall work Gelbes Mauerstück (ein Apfel für das Rot ...). Right next to it on the left, we find the review of a Cézanne exhibition in Süddeutsche Zeitung with the headline "Ein Apfel für das Rot, ein Himmel für das Blau" (An apple for thered, a sky for the blue). Below is a review from FAZ about Lucien Freud und Leonardo da Vinci with the headline "Über die Kunst mit Pinseln zu jagen" (About the art of hunting with a paint brush). Metzel's aluminium works show enlarged and thematically grpuped newspaper cuttings printed on metal, which he folds against the resistance of the material. The final result communicates a physical lightness while creating a tension through the antagonism to the wall. Rather, the work is so striking because it consists of texts about painting and its exhibition, which are mounted on the wall as objects and thus finally lead us, through the title, back to the wall, paint, and the reception of painting.

In the work Sammelstelle, previously exhibited only in 1992 at Kunsthalle Hamburg and 2013 at Kunstverein Hamburg, Metzel uses aluminium on the wall in a completely different way. For  Metzel's first exhibition at the gallery WENTRUP; Sammelstelle is installed in a separate room. Completely lined with corrugated metal, large cracks run across the walls, metal rubbish bins are piled up, cut open, or completely destroyed. Anger and despair seem to have been vented here. In everyday life, we enounter collection points (the translation of Sammelstelle) as non-sites, where people find one another in case of a disaster, fire, or other catastrophes. But they are, and this seems the closest to Metzel's anonymous empty room, also places of an immediate before or after: in 1992, before or after the so-called repatriation, when asylum was not granted, before or after families were picked up and did not return. As a spatial installation, Metzel's impressive Sammelstelle is exemplary for his often explicitly political works, whose significance for the present derives from the social relevance that keeps reactivating itself.

Tempelhofer Ufer 22
10963 Berlin