A Philipp Kremer canvas, taken as a whole, at once registers as abstraction. Groupings of bold primary and secondary colors are thickly dipped and deftly stroked from large brushes. The pigments rub up against, but never bleed into one another. Each separate pantone is a whole unto itself, a unique form, a semi-sentient body within a communal surface. The compositions are multihued communities of wholes comprised of smaller wholes fitting themselves into many smaller holes.
Kremer himself was raised in a Christian commune. When every aspect of waking life is a shared endeavor, painting can be seen as antisocial, rebellious. And once one’s eyes adjust, his paintings depict groups of people joyously fucking.
Us, Kremer’s fourth solo exhibition with Nicodim, implicitly binds the viewer to the communities on his canvases. In “Gathering (XXIII),” 2021, our gaze is fixed from around the corner. We are voyeurs, first upon a partitioning of eight individual colors, then a partially disrobed foursome, then another individual, watching us watching them. The setting of “Gathering (XXXIII),” 2021, is foregrounded by a disembodied hand—it could be our hand—pulling back the curtain on four figures rendered in a single shade as they piece themselves together in carnal delight, each appendage and embrace delineated by the weight of Kremer’s brushstrokes. He strokes us all onto the same plane, the same existence. It’s a bit uncomfortable, and not without a sense of mischief, but his approach is sincere and considered. In this body of work, every body is a part of the action, communally. All of us.
Philipp Kremer (b. 1981, Duisburg, Germany) lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Recent exhibitions include Soft People (Erotic), Gerhard Hofland Gallery, Amsterdam (2021, solo); Gathering, Bark Berlin, Germany (2020, solo); With Lovers, Nicodim Los Angeles (2019, solo); Skin Stealers, Nicodim Los Angeles (2019); Certain Place, Studio Continuo, Amsterdam (2019, solo); The Adderall and the Ecstasy, Galeria Nicodim, Bucharest (2018); Homeward Bound, Nicodim Los Angeles (2018); Basic Communities/Soft People, CCA Derry/Londonderry (2017, solo); Soft People, Kunstverein Langenhagen, Hannover (2017, solo); and Philipp Kremer, Nicodim Los Angeles (2016, solo).