Group Show


4 Mai — 24 Juni 2024

GOLESTANI is pleased to announce a new exhibition dedicated to the small-format with paintings by Ben Walker and Siegfried Anzinger. The small-format emphasizes the artist's idea and the intimacy of the image—and requires an increased level of imagination and empathy, a close examination of the recipient. At the same time, it offers the possibility of condensing the essentials in the composition, and establishes abstraction and immediacy, that only drawing seems to be able to fulfill.

The exhibition takes place at DIANA New York—a cooperative exhibition space in the Lower East Side on 127 Henry St. You are cordially invited to the exhibition opening Saturday, May 4, 2024.

Opening reception
Saturday, May 4, 2024

127 Henry St
New York, NY 10002

Thurs—Sunday, 12—6pm

Building up and selectively subtracting layers of oil paint leaving traces and shadows, Ben Walker evokes memetic processes: With their media source material, the works suggest a vision of shared memory resonant with hauntology, a range of ideas referring to the return or persistence of elements from the social or cultural past, as in the manner of a ghost—a Derridean neologism describing the influence of an atemporal cultural force. In these paintings the past is neither history or mythology, it appears as a disruptive constant without an apparent agenda: "My recent paintings refer to a distinct era of British culture and TV programmes and films—1970s and 1980s educational programmes for schools, children’s films and public information films. Looking back, television broadcasts and films from this time often seemed imbued with a strange, otherly quality. For example ‘Children of the stones’, an HTV production from 1977, was concerned with the subject matter and atmospheres that seemed odd or even unsettling for a broadcast aimed at children—eerily presented supernatural forces and the breakdown of normal society.
It is the setting of these films or images that is especially important to me, which draw heavily on relationships to the rural landscape, and present that landscape as a place that ‘’seems to offer security and yet it is somehow the location of menaces far more profound than those found in the city.’’ (Joe Kennedy, 2013). This is central to defining the overall mood of the paintings. Much of the source imagery seems familiar, comforting, and yet it is also unsettling or eerie. It is these qualities in the paintings, which are impressions of half-remembered, misremembered or an imagined past, that exist on the edges of memory and nostalgia where ideas of folklore, the unknown, the wyrd, science fiction and the supernatural are meshed together. Embedded in these paintings is the loss of childhood innocence and with it, the death of a bygone utopia. The paintings are on coarse-textured linen. The oil paint, thinned with turps, is scrubbed into the weave of the linen, and then may be removed and repainted over and over. Consequently, traces of earlier incarnations often remain visible in the finished picture, articulating the hauntological theme of the past repeating into the present." —Ben Walker

Implying a deliberately lyrical move, Anzinger is a master of the quick study that turns into a monumental image: a flash of gestures and drips will suddenly become a memorable rendering of a familiar reality, fraught with existential, even religious import. He moves easily between the impulsive and the meditative, pulling out all the stops in between—but suggest the depths of his roots in tradition. They also reflect his personal struggle to find faith and hope in spite of the skepticism that seems built into his gesture. There are precedents for Anzinger’s recent religiosity, or at least his exploration of traditional religious iconography, in earlier works; but in the artist’s most recent paintings, his concern with religious imagery seems to have become an obsession. Many of Anzinger’s works seem to carry the irrationality of Goya’s Black Paintings to an expressionistic extreme. This becomes explicit in a number of works bringing an animal into being: Indeed, animals have all the presence and majesty in Anzinger’s paintings; humans tend to fade into absence, or become shadows of themselves, when not becoming distorted monsters, as in certain early works.

Anzinger is a profoundly conservative painter, and there is a peculiar virtue in his conservativism. For all the urgency his gestures sometimes have and the macabre sexuality he can throw in our faces—he regards the object, however faded or forced it might seem, as indispensable and sacred. In a 1977 essay entitled “The Return of the Sacred?,” Daniel Bell pointed out that “the thread of culture—and religion—is memory,” and that memory at its most intense is a “space of wonder and awe” suggestive of the sacred. It is this intimate, auratic space, fraught with mystery yet limited to particular beings, that Anzinger tries to create in his works. —Donald Kuspit, Artforum

BEN WALKER (b. 1974, British) received his MA in Fine Art from Wimbledon School of Art, London and BA in Fine Art from Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK. He has recently exhibited at Bergruen Gallery, New York, NY; PM/AM, London; Sto Lat, New York, NY; One Wall Gallery, Eugene, OR; Jack House Gallery, Portsmouth, UK; and CIMCOT, London, UK. His group exhibition venues include the Barbican Arts Trust, London; Zabludowicz Collection, London; The Art Pavilion, Mile End, London, UK; Terrace Gallery, London; and The ARB, University of Cambridge. In 2012, he was the recipient of the Jack Goldsmith Painting Prize. Walker lives and works in Kent, UK.

SIEGFRIED ANZINGER (b. 1953, Austrian) has held several notable national and international exhibitions such as the participation in Documenta 7 (1982) or representing the Austrian pavilion at the Biennale in Venice 1988. Anzinger was awarded the Oskar-Kokoschka-Prize in 1986 and the Grand Austrian State Prize for Visual Arts in 2003. His work is in the collections of the MoMA (New York City, US), Kolumba Museum (Cologne, DE), Belvedere (Vienna, AUS) and numerous other institutions. His influence extends to a young generation of artists as well. Not only since his professorship for painting at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (1998-2021), Anzinger is more of a support system than a teacher, and stands for the freedom of expression in art. Until today, he continues his search for new solutions in painting.

DIANA New York, a cooperative exhibition space in New York at 127 Henry Street, Chinatown, features rotating exhibitions organized by the founding partners CARBON 12 (Dubai), MACAULAY & Co (Vancouver), and FIERMAN (New York) as well as by guest galleries and independent curators. An exhibition at DIANA will allow for sustained engagement with the critics, collectors, curators, and artists both based in and traveling through New York. The gallery space itself is a small storefront steeped in the New York history of independent galleries.