Gallerynote 5/2010

December 4, 2010 to February 12, 2011

David Rabinowitch (1943* Toronto, Canada, has lived in New York since 1972)
Birth of Romanticism Drawings

The observation that the use of an artwork constitutes its meaning and significance is one with far-reaching implications. Not subjected to further clarification, the statement might pass as either critical and reductionist or realistic and affirmative. David Rabinowitch operates from the assumption that a precisely defined ‘use’ of the artwork by the viewer is a fundamental precondition for its construction. With his possibilities of cognition and visual comprehension, the viewer is granted a central role.

The conviction that a work of art is meaningful as an independent construction ties Rabinowitch’s artistic credo to the tradition of modernism, while the form and character of his flat floor sculptures beginning in the early 1960s place it at least in the vicinity of the avant-garde from the period. What distinguishes the artist from the majority of his contemporaries, however, is the precision and seriousness with which he undertakes and legitimizes his approach. For an extensive group of drawings produced since 1969, he has employed the designation ‘Construction of Vision’. The latter describes a concept that applies to his entire oeuvre. The perception of the work is a construction of seeing that links the standpoint or better yet the various positions of the viewer with the formal structure and the many manifestations of the work.

It goes without saying that the artist functions in equal measure as a creator and as an observer. The radical and independent formulation of this central problem of visual creation was recognized early on. The numerous monographic exhibitions of David Rabinowitch in museums, the invitations to international events and to Documenta as well as the many publications bear witness to this. Nonetheless, he has remained a known unknown precisely because his works and the insights they contain remain bound to a reception on site.

An undeniably prominent role is held by drawing, allowing the artist to open up new and unexpected pathways at any time and exhaust his artistic themes. Over the years, extensive cycles of works on paper have taken shape. The crossing of boundaries and restrictions has proven to be a stimulating creative impetus. The ‘Birth of Romanticism Drawings’ from 2008 to 2010 provide vital and energetic evidence of this procedure. Never before had the artist integrated so many elements and so much spontaneity of quick decisions in an ultimately consistent whole. All the attributes of these works – color, collage, materiality and lines, ovals, circles and shell shapes generated and guided using templates – give rise to an impression of acceleration, of spatiality and tactility. A quasi-volatile visual registration is set in motion. The diversity and differentiation of the internal structure is matched by the variation in the outer boundary of these works. Tondos and ovals, squares, rectangles and other shapes become part of the visual event.

A publication on the exhibition ‘Birth of Romanticism Drawings’ with a text by Erich Franz was produced in cooperation with the Peter Blum Gallery, New York and the Richter Verlag, Düsseldorf. Parallel to our show, the Peter Blum Gallery will likewise be presenting a selection from this group of works from November 20, 2010 through January 22, 2011.

Since 1977, the Annemarie Verna Galerie has shown a total of nine solo exhibitions of the artist.


18.11.2010 – 10.4.2011
Richard Tuttle, ‘Triumphs’,
Dublin City Gallery, Dublin

31.10.2010 – 27.2.2011
‘Die Natur der Kunst’,
Kunstmuseum Winterthur

November 16, 2008 – 2033
Sol LeWitt
A Wall Drawing Retrospective

Yale University Art Gallery and Williams College Museum of Art