Galerie Peter Kilchmann
Zahnradstrasse 21, CH-8005 Zurich
tel. +41 44 278 10 10
April 25 - May 31, 2014
Galerie Peter Kilchmann proudly presents the first single exhibition by Armin Boehm. The artist was first shown in a
group show at the gallery in the summer of 2012. The exhibition “Inutile Éternité” now features a new series of
works on canvas. The painted interiors, structured densely and crowded with people, alternate between figurative
and symbolic presentation. The fragmented views encompass various angles. Combining pieces of fabric and
paper with multiple layers of paint Boehm creates vivid image spaces with a distinctive corporeality that dissolves
and reappears before our eyes.
Boehmʼ s picture worlds reveal specific incidents that seem timeless in their quintessence. Private cocktail parties,
scenes on the beach or in public bars stand beside personal moments of seclusion. All are informed by an
atmospheric intensity evoking both intimacy and alienation. The vocabulary of modernism is present in both form
and content. Boehm adopts the approach of the German Expressionists and their avant-garde literary tendencies.
The sense of alienation from oneself and others as well as the question of how the contemporary person is defined
in the context of society are central themes. Boehm addresses these ideas with willful painterly means and
deliberately placed materials. His painting is a subjective report of sorts – a constructed cosmos of personal
experiences and observations.
Embedded in the ornamental patterns of the collaged image spaces, Boehm places lettering and pictorial
references from the world of art, literature, fashion or pop culture. One of the works (2014, 200 x 240 cm) is made
up of countless fabric, paper and color components. Red and blue tones predominate in varied shades. It shows a
group of five people – they are facing each other, posing lasciviously or contemplatively lost in thought, either
clothed or half-bared, sitting, lying or standing under a palm tree - on an otherwise deserted beach that stretches
into the background of the image. A chain of hills, tree lines and water waves are arranged behind the group. The
setting is colorful and the composition highly detailed. The group is equipped with beach towels, stereo and reading
material. A lying woman holds a book entitled “Wilhelm Reich”, the psychoanalyst and father of the sexual
revolution that was once a student of Sigmund Freud. Another reading held by a protagonist in the foreground
alludes to the fashion and lifestyle magazine “Hautemuse”. Clearly visible on the ground further lies the book “The
Moon and Sixpence”, William Somerset Maughamʼ s novel from 1919, which deals with the friendship between
Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin. Moreover, the background with itʼ s imagery and shapes of the sky, stars and
trees directly points to van Goghʼ s “Starry Night” from 1889.
Other works contain further references on book covers such as “La Bas” and “Pelham”. Both allude to the literature
of the decadence of the 19th century. Further included is the the lettering “Umbra Vitae“, the title of Georg Heym's
collection of expressionistic poetry, which was published in 1924 and illustrated with woodcarvings by Ernst Ludwig
Kirchner. The phrase “Inutile Éternité” Boehm borrows from an electronic song of the same title by Miss Kittin &
The Hacker, which can be found on their album “Two” from 2009. With these referential interferences the artist
Boehm reveals the contemporary person to be a devotee of a cultural historic collective. Perhaps it is a Memento
Mori of his own existence. Not only because of his use of clear forms, but also through the integration of historical
references to history, art or fleeting popular culture Boehm himself epitomizes the contemporary patchworkindividualism.
Armin Boehm was born 1972 in Aachen and studied at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in the class of
Konrad Klapheck and Jörg Immendorff. He lives and works in Berlin. The important single exhibition “The Evil Eye”
was shown at Kunstverein Braunschweig in 2009. A catalog was published on the occasion. Armin Boehm was
further part of a group show at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, in 2013. In 2012 his works were shown in
group shows at Stadtgalerie Kiel, Kai 10 in Düsseldorf, Städelmuseum Frankfurt and Goethe-Institute
Johannesburg. In 2011 he participated in group shows at Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt and Musée dʼ art
contemporain (CAPC) in Bordeaux.