Melike Kara

Brave New World

28 Jan – 11 Jun 2023
Museum de Fundatie, Zwolle

Installation Views

Press Release

‘How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, That has such people in ’t!’ - William Shakespeare, The Tempest, 1610-1611

Painting is more vibrant and robust now than ever. Today’s painters combine traditional techniques with contemporary themes, narratives and motifs, demonstrating that in this day and age, painting can be the perfect Trojan horse: appealing and seductive, but often conveying a razor-sharp message. Brave New World will showcase the work of 16 painters under the age of 40 who are among the best in the world today. A show full of multiple perspectives, varied histories and new aesthetic frameworks, curated by author and art historian Hans den Hartog Jager.

NJIDEKA AKUNYILI CROSBY (b. 1983, Nigeria) | LOUIS FRATINO (b. 1993, US) | RAQUEL VAN HAVER (b. 1989, Netherlands) | LOIE HOLLOWELL (b. 1983, US) | CUI JIE (b. 1983, China) | SANYA KANTAROVSKY (b. 1982, Russia) | MELIKE KARA (b. 1985, Germany) | NEO MATLOGA (b. 1993, South Africa) | ANTONIO OBÁ (b. 1983, Brazil) | CHRISTINA QUARLES (b. 1985, US) | MARINA RHEINGANTZ (b. 1983, Brazil) | AVERY SINGER (b. 1987, US) | SALMAN TOOR (b. 1983, Pakistan) | ANH TRÂN (New Zealand / Vietnam, 1989) | ISSY WOOD (b. 1993, UK) | PORTIA ZVAVAHERA (b. 1985, Zimbabwe)

For a long time, painting was the poor relation in the western art world. Over the past few decades, artists have become increasingly fascinated by the digital, in the face of which painting might seem hopelessly old-fashioned. At the same time, the digital culture prompted another realisation: that an image can in itself be incredibly meaningful. In other parts of the art world, painting has always remained important. In South America, Asia and Africa, painting has been a vibrant, powerful and influential art form, thanks to its accessibility and the long, strong tradition from which it comes.

In recent years, this new awareness has inspired painters the world over. Norms have shifted and painting now has a greater sense of urgency than ever, including in the West. For the new generation of painters, digital images are a fact of life, something they have grown up with. Yet they choose to paint, precisely because painting gives them access to an unprecedented variety of artistic expression and influences. Today’s painters combine virtuosity with complex references to history – including art history – our contemporary image culture, engagement and cultural diversity. It makes their work a perfect reflection of the turbulent world we live in – a reflection than is richer, more challenging and more seductive.

It is therefore time for a new, ambitious painting exhibition. Brave New World will showcase the work of 16 painters who look at painting, and the world, in a new way. An extensive catalogue will be published to accompany the exhibition, in which curator Hans den Hartog Jager considers the work of the participating artists against the backdrop of developments in painting over the past thirty years. Brave New World will delve into contemporary painting, explaining how it relates to today’s society and current events.