Jonathan Meese — Graphik


Lithography / engraving

Jonathan Meese

Past: January 21 → March 3, 2012

Jonathan Meese, enfant terrible of the German painting, owes his reputation mainly to his baroque performances and his far-reaching installations. His protean artwork combines an infinite variety of techniques and materials: sculptures, collages, texts, paintings, assemblages, drawings, engravings. The complete, obsessive, and radical work, the one which advocates the dictatorship of the art.
For the first time in France, the Gallery Catherine Putman shows a selection of Jonathan Meese’s graphics. Since 2003, the German artist has created more than a hundred of prints, in a cyclical or isolated manner.

The ancestral techniques of engraving are for him the means of the propaganda for the art as a rule, and for the freedom of the art. Jonathan Meese said about the engraving: « what is direct and fast suits me well because this is what is the most radical». The graphic works are the expressive and dynamic base. For the artist, they function like propaganda brochures advocating the dictatorship of the art and constitute the quintessence of his artistic ideas, since they are the medium which allows him to create with the maximum of rapidity and precision.

Rapidity and precision are linked to the concept of « graphik », fundamental in Jonathan Meese’s work: «when something is graphik it means that it is precise, that it springs up from you. It’s simple, clear, it’s not softened. It refers to the graphic procedures and possibilities which you can seize to serve the art» .

The individual mythology of Meese manifests itself in the most contradictory and reckless manner possible. He seizes the face of the powerful (Hitler, Stalin, Caligula, Nero…) to break it down, reduce it to graphic abbreviations, he transforms their vocabulary and their body language into absurdity; until exhaustion he overemphasizes on canvas or on paper the symbols of totalitarianism — the iron cross, the swastika — to extract them from the myth or pathos, neutralize them by reducing to primary geometrical forms.

It is only through this destruction that can come out something new: Jonathan Meese defends a radical art, which should never fall into nostalgia, but on the contrary, should announce the future. In collaboration with the Gallery Sabine Knust (Munich), the Gallery Catherine Putman will present notably a series of monumental wood engravings created in 2008 on the theme of the vicious from the James Bond films. Meese sees those characters as precise men, whom we could easily trust, who are ready to risk their lives, but who could also, all of a sudden, become tyrants.

Also, there will be presented the monotypes from 2007 and the etchings from 2011. Jonathan Meese, born in Tokyo in 1971, lives and works in Berlin and Hamburg. He participated in some important collective exhibitions such as « Generation Z» at PS1 in New York in 1999, « New Blood » at the Saatchi Gallery in London in 2004, « Dyonisiac » at the Pompidou Centre in 2005. Two large exhibitions have been devoted to himself, « Mama Johnny » at the Deichtorhallen of Hamburg and at Magasin de Grenoble in 2006, «Jonathan Meese : Sculpture » at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami in 2010.

04 Beaubourg Zoom in 04 Beaubourg Zoom out

40, rue Quincampoix

75004 Paris

T. 01 45 55 23 06 — F. 01 47 05 61 43


Opening hours

Tuesday – Saturday, 2 PM – 7 PM
Other times by appointment

Venue schedule

The artist

  • Jonathan Meese