Stefan Brüggemann’s new exhibition NO gathers a selection of works that explore different representations of denial. From the negative of the word and the event of writing, to the idea of denial as an absolute and autonomous power, his new works Obliteration Seriesand (Paintings) feature the concept of no as an empty, powerful, independent and fruitful source, that articulates in its various manifestations concepts such as rejection, non-conformity and absence.
In Obliteration Series (2006) the word is annihilated by its denial, the tache. Colourful neon lights reproduce in a variety of sizes a series of taches that the artist has previously scribbled on a piece of paper. The spontaneity, thrust and instant of this gesture are cancelled in the production of the neon light, where the tache becomes an industrial product detaching itself from the automatism that characterizes it as germinal writing. The initial aggression inherent to the urge of the tache is reduced to a shake whose subversive character rests on the denial of language as a system of communication. Consequently, a purely visual form becomes the substitute of the word. This new form is defined within a series of parameters set by the artist in the confrontation of different musical genres. Therefore, following Brüggemann’s explanations, Obliteration Series falls between the attraction generated by the colourful lights charged with the sentimentalism inherited from New Wave, and the rejection provoked by the ostentation and the show off character of the initial gesture of the artist; a gesture that bears the excesses of rap, transformed into the creation of a vulgar object whose simplicity and conformity easily adapt to any circumstance without questioning it, as in a pop song. In their implicit denial of language these lights represent both the search for new grounds, and the impossibility of the very same. Charged with the destructive nature of punk, Obliteration Series constitutes a double negation.
Together with this work, the show features a series of canvases grouped under the title (Paintings) (2006). Between boredom and desperation, two women are portrayed with their backs turned to the viewer or Covering their faces, as in an attempt to escape the camera. The images are taken from the Internet and the artist’s personal archive, and have been manipulated so that the layout is slightly different from one to another, thus avoiding repetition. In these works the viewer is confronted with the introspection and aloofness of the two women, whose identities are charged with an unresolved conflict between violence and confrontation. For Brüggemann, these feminine figures symbolize the celebration of decadence, the decline of our time and of contemporary culture. Through them the artist invites us to transcend the surface of the work, as the action seems to be set outside the world contained in it.
Aware of the necessity of a fresh look at the events he questions, Brüggemann’s work is presented once more as a paradoxical and provocative proposal in which his antiheroic attitude is far from being solemn. The two series featured in NO gather the superficiality that often characterizes the artist’s gestures, together with the intellectualism upon which all his proposals rest. Facing Brüggemann’s work, we are assaulted by the feeling of being confronted by a false concealment that impedes a clear reading of the work. Denying the usual systems of communication, the works in NO remain impenetrable, thus frustrating our expectations of understanding. Nonetheless, it is the aggression of their cryptic nature that seduces us, this being their ultimate meaning.