NOCTURNED
Herbert Brandl, Seiichi Furuya, Joann Louw, Joseph Marsteurer, Alois Mosbacher, Julia Rothmund, Thomas Ruff, Christoph Schmidberger, Margriet Smulders

Opening night: Thursday, 2 July 2020
, 18:30
Location: Galerie Reinisch Contemporary, Hauptplatz 6, Graz, Austria
Opening remarks: Manuela Schlossinger (Reinisch Contemporary) und Mathis Huber (styriarte)

The land of shadows is the paradise of dreamers. – Immanuel Kant



The night, as a phenomenon, requires and enables a different, more intense way of seeing. This contrasting world changes perceptions; blurs contours, perspectives and visual realities. Secret fantasies and thoughts push to the surface. Artists have always been drawn to its mythical appeal. NOCTURNED, the latest exhibition presented by Reinisch Contemporary, offers insights into this dazzling spectrum through a selection of works from South Africa, Holland, Germany and Austria. 

NOCTURNED includes artworks ranging from a purely visual examination of night’s various guises to manifestations of dreamscapes, to the representation of nocturnal creatures.  

Arranged down to the tiniest detail, Margriet Smulders’ large-format nude photographs are a monument to original female essence. The artist’s gaze doesn’t stage-manage women’s bodies into objects of desire, but rather into strong and wild moon creatures. 

The acute studies of South African artist Johann Louw, on the other hand, deal with the nocturnal creatures of the African bush. Catching their fate and characters in expansive charcoal drawings, he peels these beings out of the dark of the night with incredible sensitivity. 

In the paintings of Christoph Schmudberger, the theme of night revolves closely around  underlying narratives. 

Joseph Marsteurer, meanwhile, takes meticulously pre-defined time spans to consciously turn these moments – snapshots – into motifs. 

In Seiichi Furuya’s photographs regular plants become wondrous structures, with mutant flair and alien colourfulness, that appear out of the dark background of a night garden like monsters of the deep sea. 

For his star photos, Thomas Ruff appropriates negatives shot by anonymous photographers from the European Star Archive. The tension in his works stems from the act of making that which is infinitely far away perceptible; in the chasm between visibility and invisibility. Ruff’s photos pluck stars from the sky that are otherwise out of our reach. 

At first glance, the dream worlds created by Herbert Brandl, Alois Mosbacher and Julia Rothmund may seem decipherable and real due to their figurative quality. A second glance, however, brings moments of irritation. One asks oneself what stories lurk behind the bear, the garden gnome and the owl, or why a basketball has gone astray in a nightly knot of branches. Julia Rothmund’s image of an empty room seems charged with its own past, which does not reveal itself through pure observation, but rather reminds us of our own dream perambulations.

For this special exhibition, Reinisch Contemporary is pleased to once more collaborate with styriarte, Graz’ preeminent festival of classical and old music – by now a long-standing tradition. Picking up this year’s styriarte theme, “Gifts of the Night”, NOCTURNED explores how different significations of night are exemplified in selected works of art. 

Manuela Schlossinger

Reinisch Contemporary