Matthew Marks Gallery

On Aluminium


Essay by Jan Tumlir, with texts by Thomas Demand, Laura Owens, Jorge Pardo, Jordan Wolfson, and Christopher Wool

148 pages
47 images
12 × 9½ inches; 30 × 24 cm
ISBN 9783954762026

Co-published with neugerriemschneider

Michel Majerus was one of the earliest painters to address how digital technology is changing the visible world, and perhaps the first to employ Photoshop. Initially he transferred his sampled and layered imagery onto canvas by hand, but with these paintings on aluminum he began screen-printing it directly into the composition, a leap that would irrevocably change the course of his work.

As Christopher Wool explains in his text on Majerus’s paintings, “You get a ‘hyper’ sensation from aluminum, because it’s flat, smooth, and almost reflective.” Majerus exploited this effect by combining popular imagery (high-top sneakers, cartoon characters) with painterly gestures and, in some cases, shaped panels layered to evoke retail signage. This volatile mix heralded a new form of Pop art in which, as one 1999 painting wryly proclaims, “the fundamental issues of abstraction seem to have remained more or less constant.”