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Frank Bowling
Mappa Mundi
June 23, 2017 until January 7, 2018
Haus der Kunst

"Frank Bowling: Mappa Mundi" presents a comprehensive overview of rare and never-before exhibited large-scale paintings along with other works by the Guyanese-born British painter Frank Bowling.

In the aftermath of World War II Frank Bowling left his native country at the age of 19, arriving in London in 1953. Later he would study painting at The Slade School, and Royal College of Art, distinguishing himself – next to David Hockney - with the silver medal for painting in RCA’s 1962 graduating class.

Starting in the mid-1960s, Bowling began to surpass the rigid geometries of the pictorial field. The decisive moment of Bowling’s artistic maturation was his move from London to New York in 1966. New York had produced postwar abstract painting of a certain scale and ambition. Bowling’s painterly experimentation led him to consider how abstract painting could be invested with social, cultural, and personal meaning without losing the essential and formal principles still open to the medium.

The seminal "Map Painting" series would preoccupy him from 1967 to 1971. With this series, he began to summon some of the sociopolitical changes and radical cultural forces that were reshaping Western postindustrial society into his pictures. At the same times, the series expressed his understanding of identity. As a humanist and internationalist, being an artist of African descent born under colonial conditions in South America and living in New York, the topic had its complexity, more so in the high tide of the Black Power movement of the late 1960s. The image and representation of the map – for example, South America in "South America Squared" (1967), became a metaphor in Bowling’s work of home and exile. He developed a chromatic repertoire of dazzling colors and muted tones, of contrapuntal layers that evoked evanescent seascapes, geological landscapes, and liquefied magma.

Guided Tours
Friday, August 25, 2017, 6:30 pm
Friday, September 8, 2017, 6:30 pm



Fig.: Frank Bowling, Bartica, 1968-69, Acrylic on canvas, 284 x 349.5 cm, Courtesy the Artist and Hales Gallery © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017.



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