Alan Michael


31 Oct – 19 Dec 2021
Halle Für Kunst, Lüneburg


Installation Views

Press Release

Playlife presents a series of works created by Scottish artist Alan Michael (*1967 in Glasgow, lives and works in London) since the early 2000s. The works centre around one motif: cars parked in streets, their cityscape surroundings reflecting in their windows. The exhibition collects a series of paintings of commodities–renderings of automobiles, the production of which resumed in the late 1990s and early 2000s, based on "classic" models from the mid-twentieth century. Representing the visual texture of the early 2000s, these cars represent a form of obsession with the past, and the cultural phenomenon of the retro aesthetic which permeated fashion, product and interior design.

Michael's paintings are ways of seeing and ways of image production, one among many. Art historian Linda Nochlin, writing in 1971 on photorealist painting as “new” Realism, stated that “New Realism has exploded the modernist myth entirely,” and with it, the remaining belief in a linear development of painting, resulting in a permanent parallel presence of formal strategies. Michael’s work, formally adjunct to strategies of photorealism, has been concerned with forms and problems of vision, while retaining an ambivalent but courteous relation to their formal procedures. Michael's works participate in the economy they depict as stowaways. In this way, they reveal the economies that are at work here: a desire to incorporate history and, with it, potential alternative narratives.

On the occasion of this exhibition, Michael created reproductions of older work. In a practice spanning over twenty years, the exhibition considers, what is sorted out, what is brought out again, what is changed–looking back, disclosing strategies of image production.