Schultze Projects #2
Avery Singer

Oc­to­ber 2019 – Oc­to­ber 2021

For the se­cond edi­tion of the se­ries Schultze Pro­jects, the Amer­i­can artist Av­ery Singer has cre­at­ed a new, site-spe­cif­ic work for the stair­well at the Mu­se­um Lud­wig. The sev­en-part work is over sev­en­teen me­ters long and three and a half me­ters high. The name of the se­ries re­fers to Ber­nard Schultze and his wife Ur­su­la (Schultze-Bluhm), whose es­tate is ma­n­aged by the Mu­se­um Lud­wig, and in whose me­m­o­ry ev­ery two years since 2017 an artist has been in­vit­ed to cre­ate a ma­jor work for the promi­nent front wall of the stair­well.

Av­ery Singer (born in 1987 in New York) is known for her large-scale can­vas­es in which she de­picts ref­er­ences to art his­to­ry and clichéd scenes from the cul­tu­r­al mi­lieu, such as a stu­dio vis­it, a per­for­mance, and ideas about the bo­hemian life of artists. The tableaux, which show ar­range­ments of Cu­bist-look­ing man­ne­quins, have a hu­mor­ous and dys­topian ap­pear­ance. Some of the fig­ures seem like vir­tu­al char­ac­ters, ava­tars that have been tak­en di­rect­ly out of art his­to­ry or the cur­rent art world in or­der to hold a mir­ror to it. In her cur­rent work for Cologne, Singer draws on mo­tifs from ear­li­er works, such as Per­for­mance Artists, Hap­pen­ing, Flute Soloist, and Heidi­land, whose ti­tles re­veal that the sub­jects come from the broad­er field of the arts. In their some­times iron­ic ex­ag­ger­a­tion, th­ese pic­tures de­mon­s­trate that ne­olib­er­al econ­o­miza­tion does not stop at stu­dios and mu­se­ums, and in fact in­stru­men­tal­izes the ide­al of artis­tic cre­a­tiv­i­ty.

In her paint­ing Singer de­lib­er­ate­ly con­trasts sharp­ness with blur­ri­ness, cre­at­ing at­mo­spher­ic spaces remi­nis­cent of com­put­er games and other dig­i­tal con­texts. In her cur­rent paint­ing for the Mu­se­um Lud­wig, she cre­ates ir­ra­tio­n­al spaces over­laid with grid struc­tures. The com­bi­na­tion of dif­fer­ent forms and fig­ures, some of which are blurred, cre­ates un­clear per­spec­tives and strange shifts in per­cep­tion. Oc­ca­sio­n­al­ly there are con­tra­dic­tions of light and sha­d­ow, and in­di­vi­d­u­al frag­ments seem to vi­su­al­ly emerge from the pic­to­rial space.

Singer de­vel­ops her mo­tifs in com­put­er pro­grams such as SketchUp, which is used to si­m­u­late ar­chi­tec­tu­ral spaces and is al­so the tool of choice for plan­n­ing ex­hi­bi­tions. She pro­jects the de­signs on­to a can­vas that has been primed in sev­er­al lay­ers and pol­ished, cre­ates a pre­lim­i­nary draw­ing, then tapes the edges and ap­plies the acrylic paint with an air­brush. De­pend­ing on the size of the work, this can take sev­er­al weeks or months. With her com­plex and unu­su­al paint­ing pro­cess and its dig­i­tal aes­thet­ic, Singer fun­da­men­tal­ly re­flects on the sta­tus of im­ages as well as their ef­fect and dis­tri­bu­tion in an en­vi­ron­ment in­creas­ing­ly shaped by new me­dia and tech­nolo­gies.

Ear­ly on in her ca­reer, Av­ery Singer re­ceived a re­mark­able amount of in­ter­na­tio­n­al at­ten­tion. She has had so­lo ex­hi­bi­tions at the Kun­sthalle Zürich (2014), the Ham­mer Mu­se­um in Los An­ge­les (2015), the St­edeli­jk Mu­se­um in Am­s­ter­dam (2016), and most re­cent­ly the Köl­nisch­er Kun­stverein (2017). She al­so par­ti­ci­pat­ed in the 2016 an­niver­sary ex­hi­bi­tion We Call It Lud­wig: The Mu­se­um Is Turn­ing 40! at the Mu­se­um Lud­wig and the 2019 Venice Bien­nale.

About Schultze Pro­jects

From 1968 on, Ber­nard Schultze and his wife Ur­su­la (Schultze-Bluhm) lived and worked as artists in Cologne. For de­cades they were a fix­ture of the ci­ty’s cul­tu­r­al life and had a par­tic­u­lar­ly close re­la­tion­ship with the Mu­se­um Lud­wig. The mu­se­um now holds a large part of their artis­tic es­tate. Ber­nard Schultze was one of the pi­oneers of Art In­formel in Ger­many with his works from the ear­ly 1950s. The large-scale for­mat was a cen­tral as­pect of his lat­er work. It rep­re­sents the sub­s­tan­tial ref­er­ence point for the artists in­vit­ed to par­ti­ci­pate in Schultze Pro­jects.