Executed on grand scale, Butzer’s watercolour images of folk kinder and blobby headed protagonists play out scenes from his ongoing Nasaheim script – a fictional pictorial opera set in a futuristic no-man’s land modelled on NASA and Anaheim’s Disneyland. Proffering pop fantasia as sentient overload, pastel-pretty colours bleed and dapple with saccharine gushiness, transforming the organic flow of benign kitsch to a celebration of deformation and grotesquery. With ham-fisted shading delineated by crisp calligraphic illustration, Butzer’s suburban monstrosities become naive effigies of primeval urge and consumer ritual.
Butzer’s oil paintings refurbish the symbols of mass media commodity and nationalist propaganda with rare painterly authority, fusing the lineage of pure artistic integrity with his own agenda of historical revisionism and post-ideological futurism. In this new body of work, Butzer expands upon the formalist concerns set forth in his watercolours, exchanging his tribal pop symbolism for a more direct and articulate language, transposing the rules of graphic composition to hieroglyphic visual formulas. Spanning from the gutturally primal to the poignantly sophisticated, Butzer’s abject motifs such as skulls and cartoon characters have evolved into purely abstract tableaux, taking his highly idiosyncratic brand of expressionistic painting to heightened conclusions.
Painted over grounds which are spectacularly violent and bereft, his chaotic lexicon of fervidly rendered graphics dictate with compelling supremacy. Still redolent of his ‘science fiction expressionism’ cartoon world, Butzer’s totemic ‘alphabet’ stands in for a primordial code, systematically embedded with a power that’s equally malevolent and dumb. Purveying meaning as an instinctive response to hostile provocation and succumbing effect, Butzer refines the classical problems of abstraction with unorthodox tenacity. Acid hues or concrete monochromes ossify the traces of Butzer’s intuitional gestures, resolving as raging terrains of frenzied swipes and mortar-like concussions, aesthetic battlefields monumentalising the beauty of cacophonous expression.
Describing his new works as ‘future life and death, a universal language of hope, Donald Duck and Jackson Pollock in a Sci-Fi world combined as Ready-Made painters of the unknown’, Butzer’s paintings confront the uncertainties of 20th century failure and 21st century ambivalence. His surfaces fix raw creative energy through articulated textures and brushwork which range from ephemeral plasticity to industrial-strength impasto; his physically exaggerated style and layered conceptual positioning places him as one of the leading figures in contemporary German painting.
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