60 WRD/MIN ART CRITIC // KASSEL // 207 // dOCUMENTA (13)
Lori Waxman 8/22/12 3:10 PM
Wolfgang Kowar makes art from slabs of found advertising posters, sometimes layered an inch thick. In this practice of décollage he is in good company, functioning in line with the Affichistes before him, including Jacques de la Villeglé and Raymond Hains. But like any worthwhile descendent, he does not imitate his elders so much as take their artistic DNA and add some of his own coding.
Where the Affichistes tore posters straight off the walls of Paris streets, using them as is, Kowar cuts and alters,
making no mistake about the diminished radicalness of raw found art in the past 60 years. Instead, Kowar gets his material direct from the company that removes it from advertising columns in Hannover. He then slices the curved blocks down to size and begins a sculpting process, revealing different grains and strata, as if he were working with wood or stone instead of dense commercial detritus. The resulting reliefs are two-sided and engrossing, revealing words and colors, patterns and forms that exhibit a genuine archaeology of our urban,