A year shy of 30 since the first Hauser & Wirth gallery opened in Zurich, founders Iwan Wirth, Manuela Wirth and Ursula Hauser opened a new space in the heart of Monaco in June 2021 with an inaugural exhibition by Louise Bourgeois.
“When we were invited to play a part in the continuing revival of the art scene in Monaco,” president Iwan Wirth said in a statement, “we saw that it offered an exceptional opportunity to present our artists in the heart of city, engaging with the vibrant contemporary scene across the south of France, strengthening our European presence.”
He added, “Over our nearly 30-year history, Hauser & Wirth has created physical spaces in the locations where our artists and our collectors reside—not only in the large urban centers of London, New York, and Los Angeles, but also in legendary resort communities and seasonal gathering spots such as Southampton and St. Moritz.”
The gallery’s 290-square-meter exhibition space at One Monte-Carlo at Place du Casino features a dramatic skylight and 9-meter walls. Wirth added that the Monaco location is “an even more important step given the impact of events over the last year during which we have sought out new ways to present and sell works of art.”
Currently, Hauser & Wirth Monaco is presenting Hungarian-born, New York-based Rita Ackermann and her new paintings from her Mama series, which began in 2019. Her repeated imagery, often combined with “vivid swathes of colour, giving her work an enigmatic visual component that oscillates between abstraction and figuration” can be seen in Mama, Monte Carlo (2021) and Mama, How can you see someone’s soul? (2021).
Lying beneath layers of oil paint are drawings in china marker or ink that are left obscured. The artist’s approach of layering and visible complexity “makes the works ultimately unknowable, eluding any efforts to be read as stories.” For Hauser & Wirth, “The radical indeterminacy of the works is what makes them living, breathing entities separate from the artist’s hand.”
“As soon as an image becomes clear or readable, in the very same moment it loses its own meaning in another form,” said Ackermann, 53. “The painting keeps everything well hidden, cloaked in great secrecy. The picture must fall a thousand times but each time it picks itself up again to fulfill its mission to serve the unknowable, unnamable, anew. Each painting has to start from the lowest level to build itself up no matter what level its predecessor accomplished. Sophistication is unnecessary. Painting doesn’t require complicated thinking, but sincerity.”
Image: Mama, How can you see someone’s Soul? (2021). Acrylic, oil and china marker on linen. 195.6 x 238.8 cm.