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Kunsthaus Zürich

Picture Ballot!
Monolithic Water

28 November 2014 – 1 March 2015

‘Monolithic Water’ focuses on the element of water in art. The latest in the ‘Picture Ballot!’ series, the presentation, which is curated by art historian Claire Hoffmann, examines how painting and photography have investigated the phenomenon of the shimmering surface and human beings’ relationship with water. Paintings, photographs, prints, videos and installations by James Ensor, Morris Louis, Gerhard Richter, Roni Horn, Klara Hobza, Clare Kenny, Pamela Rosenkranz and others open up a broad range of historical and thematic perspectives.
‘Nous sommes tous sortis de la mer’ – ‘We all emerged from the sea’ – proclaimed James Ensor in 1922. His statement traces its lineage back to creation myths in which water is the origin of all things: from the Greek Thales of Miletus and his philosophy of the nature of matter, through the Bible to the evolutionary theory of land colonization. In his writings, Ensor (1860–1949) repeatedly declares the sea to be the source of his artistic creativity. For the Belgian, who spent most of his life by the North Sea, contemplation of the open water was both inspiration and training for the eye. In ‘Beach at Ostend’ (around 1915), sand, sea and sky are divided into horizontal zones of colour that almost coalesce.

Picture Ballot is supported by Albers & Co.

James Ensor, Beach at Ostend, around 1915
Kunsthaus Zürich, © 2014 ProLitteris, Zurich
James Ensor, Beach at Ostend, around 1915
Kunsthaus Zürich, © 2014 ProLitteris, Zurich