June 02 till July 14, 2012

Clages is pleased to present new works by Berlin-based artist Shila Khatami. The exhibition takes its title from the lyrics of Cyndi Lauper’s song All through the Night. Until it ends there is no end – here the same is true for the perception of pictorial work, thus throwing the finite nature of painting into question.

Painted on smooth sheets of aluminum, the artist’s new works allude to Blinky Palermo’s To The People of New York City, 1976-77. In Palermo’s paintings, quotations from reality – like his design for a pinball machine, for example – meet conceptual aspects. Shila Khatami breaks with her design references in her use of uneven and seemingly casually applied paint. Color combinations such as neon pink and black or gold and white are reminiscent of today’s hip-hop or punk scenes.

Already the composition work floor piece invariably draws associations with the well-known black-and-white pattern of floor tiles, an idea that is formally underscored by perforations in the radiator grill she has converted into a painting surface. The inspiration for colors and forms are drawn from the contemporary urban sphere – which is now almost limitless – while the title recalls floor works within the realm of contemporary art.

Shila Khatami’s works are laden with information that is never readily recognizable. Built-in mistakes, deliberate imprecision and spontaneous gestures introduce a sense of irritation that obscures the origin of the forms. The titles of the paintings reinforce this impression and generally direct attention to areas outside of art, running counter to the self-referential context of abstract painting.

Again and again, the artist’s use of readily available painting surfaces from the building supply store, simple techniques using masking tape and rubber bands and coloring drawn from today’s street fashion are combined with art historical references with social-historical characteristics, and are artistically implemented within a dialogue.

Thus Shila Khatami moves beyond material complexity and dense references to create a unique, new form for today’s abstract painting. Undogmatic, subtle and always with a wink – Until it ends there is no end.

Shila Khatami, born 1976 in Saarbrücken, Germany, studied fine arts at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich and the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. She currently lives and works in Berlin. Her work was been shown in numerous international solo- and group exhibitions, including a recent exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, and is currently on view at the Wilhelm Hack Museum in Ludwigshafen.

Kristina Keil