Ways of Seeing Abstraction:
Beat Zoderer, Polygon I-VI, 2019

Most people still understand abstraction as a concentration on form. It is viewed as an art movement which is used to express aesthetic ideas, orders, philosophical ideas or inner feelings, but which does not have much to do with everyday reality. However, especially in times marked by crises, relevance and urgency are also expected from art, and it is expected to make a statement on current social issues. Today, artistic commitment is not conveyed exclusively through clear visual messages and content, but increasingly through abstraction. For younger generations, in particular, non-representational art is the means of choice for addressing politics, religion, and social issues. Showcasing works from the Deutsche Bank Collection, the exhibition “Ways of Seeing Abstraction” at the PalaisPopulaire undertakes a thoroughly subjective survey of international abstraction from postwar modernism to the recent present, documenting the diversity and discursivity that lie behind the idea of non-objective, “pure” form. On the occasion of the exhibition, our series will show you works by artists who use abstraction idiosyncratically and define it in new ways.

Beat Zoderer, Polygon I-VI, 2019
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021

In 1947, Max Bill characterized Concrete Art as "the pure expression of harmonious measure and law." Bill was one of the most important protagonists of this movement, which is not concerned with content or meaning but with an investigation of the interplay between color and mathematical-geometric forms. While Beat Zoderer picks up on this tradition, he deliberately breaks with its extreme rigor and rationality, giving it a sensual, playful dimension. This is particularly evident in his sculptures, for which he prefers to use commonplace materials from hardware and stationery stores, and whose layered, brightly colored components counteract the impression of rigid perfection.

This strategy is evident in Zoderer's series Polygon, where surfaces and colors overlap to form three-dimensional constructions that appear to be based on an indecipherable blueprint. They are visual puzzles that cannot be solved. At a later stage, Zoderer executed such polygons as sculptures. These wall objects and folded forms carry his drawn polygons into the third dimension.