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The Men Who Fell from Earth. 2017. Foto © Hanna Putz The Men Who Fell from Earth. 2017. Foto © Hanna Putz

September 16, 2017 - January 7, 2018 THE MEN WHO FELL FROM EARTH

Jonathan Meese, Daniel Richter and Tal R ranks among contemporary art’s international heavyweights. Now they have collaborated on a large-scale joint project for Holstebro Kunstmuseum.

See pictures from the exhibition


Three international heavyweights in contemporary painting will join forces when Danish Tal R and his two German colleagues and friends, Jonathan Meese and Daniel Richter, hold a joint exhibition at Holstebro Kunstmuseum, under the title ‘The Men Who Fell from Earth’. 
In recent decades, with an almost unrestrained energy, these three artists have made a name for themselves as significant innovators of the painting tradition. Their inspiration is often drawn from the borderline of what is generally acceptable, and the result is fabulous imagery that demonstrates great colouristic and expressive strength. Although there is sometimes a lot of humour present, the subjects addressed by Jonathan Meese, Daniel Richter and Tal R are both serious and urgent. 
The exhibition’s title is a reworking of the title of a book by US science fiction writer Walter Tevis, The Man Who Fell To Earth. In 1976, the novel was adapted for the screen by Nicolas Roeg in the cult film of the same name. Here, multimedia artist David Bowie plays the lead role as the alien Thomas Jerome Newton, who arrives on Earth to obtain water for his drought-plagued planet. The project fails, and Newton goes to the dogs in all kind of abuse. The film thus depicts the corruption of both alien and human nature, with its tendency to indulge in depravity and excess in a society that can offer anything; but first and foremost, this strangely disturbing and highly relevant fable is a mindset of climate crisis, commercial greed and the brutal suppression of whatever is foreign in nature. 
For the exhibition at Holstebro Kunstmuseum, Meese, Richter and Tal R have created a short film (directed by Emma Leth) with surreal imagery, in which they perform together and recite from the above-mentioned original. Besides this, the exhibition consists of a number of new, individual paintings that clarify the current artistic standpoint. Finally, the three artists have managed to jointly build up an independent ‘museum in the museum’, consisting of numerous personal objects and curiosities from near and far. 
Jonathan Meese, Daniel Richter and Tal R have never before collaborated on a joint exhibition project. In ‘The Men Who Fell from Earth’ their artistic kinship is clearly revealed, and their collective efforts have similarly spawned something unprecedented. In other words, the exhibition at Holstebro Kunstmuseum is a total presentation of an extremely rare character, created in a powerful spirit of artistic collegiality and friendship. 
The versatile artistic practice of Jonathan Meese (b. 1970) contains numerous references to mythology, popular culture and the taboo sides of Germany’s past, in particular. Meese distorts all consensual norms, creating absurd reflections of our historical reality; but at the same time, he demonstrates that art encompasses within itself a liberating potential for the individual. 
Daniel Richter (b. 1962) is one of the key figures in German contemporary art. With a background in the 1980s anarchist punk movement, his paintings portray the modern living conditions of human beings on the edge of society. The mass media’s pictorial reality, sex, violence and political conflict are his most important focal points, on which Richter works with insistent nerve and edge. 
Tal R (b. 1967) is one of the most significant artists of his generation. He exudes an apparently inexhaustible source of creativity and offbeat narrative. Tal R creates paintings, sculptures, graphics and ceramics, which beneath their apparently harmless surface contain insightful and imaginative interpretations of the suppressed sides of life. 
The exhibition will be accompanied by a richly illustrated catalogue with graphic design by Harpune Verlag in Vienna, and with an introductory text by Roberto Ohrt. 
The exhibition and catalogue are supported by: 
The Augustinus Foundation, 15 June Foundation, the Beckett Foundation, the LF Foght Foundation, the George and Emma Jorck Foundation, the Knud Højgaard Foundation, the Toyota Foundation, the Danish Arts Foundation, the Frimodt-Heineke Foundation, the Bestle Foundation, the Barrister L. Zeuthen Memorial Scholarship, and the P. Mortensen and Spouse Scholarship.