Mirosław Bałka, Herbert Brandl, Werner Büttner, Clegg & Guttmann, Mathis Esterhazy, Günther Förg, Isa Genzken, Robert Gober, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Georg Herold, Axel Hütte, Cristina Iglesias, Mike Kelley, Martin Kippenberger, Jeff Koons, Liz Larner, Zoe Leonard, Inge Mahn, Meuser, Reinhard Mucha, Cady Noland, Albert Oehlen, Markus Oehlen, Richard Prince, Didi Sattmann, Julian Schnabel, Wilhelm Schürmann, Cindy Sherman, Mariella Simoni, Thomas Struth, Rosemarie Trockel, Franz West, Terry Winters, Christopher Wool, Otto Zitko, Heimo Zobernig
The exhibition True Stories explores the artistic practices of the eighties through the events taking place between two galleries – Max Hetzler in Cologne and Peter Pakesch in Vienna. The project was structured around three exhibition sections in two different venues, in which we approached the topic from three different perspectives. Each section followed its own view of this period; together, we get a picture of a transitional period from the idea of a teleologically developing avant-garde to a more global art.
In September 2018, in the gallery rooms on Kurfürstendamm, we saw how the different genres and media intersected, opening up new areas of meaning, how painting projected into the exhibition space and sculpture took on the sensual and iconographic possibilities of painting. [...]
At the same time in Goethestraße, the focus was on painting as subversion and statement. Young artists painted in breach of the strict rules that had been set up by minimalism and concept art. They painted against painting itself and against the notion that it might already be obsolete. The means ranged from calculated flirting with the forms of the primitive and the awkward all the way to quite conceptual considerations and overlapping practices where language became a tool of the visual. [...]
In Goethestraße in November 2018, our topic was the pervasion of media and meanings, often in altogether conceptual practices. In spatial, medial and semantic experiments, the artists constructed increasingly complex levels of meaning. Meanwhile, photography was quite naturally treated as a fully emancipated medium for the first time, at times even as the leading medium in the field of art. Artists were free to use the most varied genres in order to address very different subjects – even cultural discourse itself became the material of an increasingly ramified narrative of art and society, or actually diverse societies. Increasingly, over the years, a vocabulary of links emerged, a tool kit of artistic languages on which the formulations of our time still are based.
P. Pakesch, ’Notes on the Art of the Eighties’, in True Stories: A Show Related to an Era, exh. cat., Berlin: Galerie Max Hetzler and Holzwarth Publications, 2019, p. 59