31 JULY – 29 AUGUST 2021

With FREE-FOR-ALL, KÖNIG GALERIE presents Alex Gardner's first solo exhibition in the CHAPEL in St. Agnes. Five figurative paintings are shown that draw attention to things that happen in the dark.

What comes out when a door opens unexpectedly? What happens when people do what they want in an uncontrolled situation because there are no limits that could stop them? The Los Angeles-based painter Alex Gardner directs the spotlight on people who feel unobserved. They wrestle with one another and with themselves, they are wedged together and bear the burden of the other. One leans back and relaxes, the other seeks physical closeness.

The titles of his works dictate the reading and let the highly emotional and familiar moments overturn immediately. One leans back because the other is doing the unpleasant work. He is the shift leader of a troll factory, according to the title, where people flood the Internet with political commentary for a fee. The other seeks physical closeness and reaches out because it is possible. “Cheap Ain't Cheap,” Gardner reminds us, admonishing and warning. And shows that the burden literally always rests on someone else's back. Be it human or animal. There is no privileged person without a disadvantaged person. "Don't Hate Yourself", he demands, where two people seem to be in each other's arms and fight each other at the same time. “Predict Behavior Eliminate Threat,” he advises. Think and act with foresight, loosening your grip before it becomes too tight. In the picture, this moment has long since passed, and both are gripping hard.

“Every society took something from another society,” says Gardner. “No one has an original idea.” In FREE-FOR-ALL, Gardner searches for the cause of social problems and finds them in moments of weakness, in which violence is countered and attacked.



Alex Gardner (b. 1987 in Long Beach, USA) lives and works in Long Beach, USA. He received a BFA from California State University, Long Beach, USA in 2011. His figurative paintings and drawings employ layers of watered-down acrylic to create evocative scenes filled with Black subjects with porcelain-like surfaces. Gardner’s approach smooths over cultural signifiers, creating anonymous characters that allow for some audience members to see themselves reflected. His often-faceless silhouettes represent the human experience in general terms, which his technique renders specific in tonal shifts that examine the nuances of light, shadow, and tex...
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