Mess Dress Mess Undress: New Paintings, Drawings and Collages by Magnus Plessen

Why We Recommend it

Presented will be new paintings, drawings and collages by German artist Magnus Plessen, whose first exhibit in Hong Kong features work from his epic series ‘1914’, which draws on the themes of life, death and redemption.


Plessen’s ‘1914’ works are inspired by German pacifist Ernst Friedrich’s seminal anti-war book War Against War (1924). Featuring photographs of wounded World War I soldiers, Friedrich’s book was the first publication that explicitly showed the devastating impact of automatic weapons on the human body.

In Plessen’s paintings, the artist depicts human subjects radically fractured and removed from context, in compositions that push beyond the traditional parameters of representation. Employing multiple perspectives that don’t adhere to recognisable compositional rules or laws of gravity, fractured bodies seem to cohere only through an internal logic of the painting itself.

Various motifs of vintage toys, such as a ‘jumping jack’ with articulated limbs and the flattened clothes created for two-dimensional cardboard ‘dressing up’ dolls, are incorporated. Similar to earlier works, these paintings obfuscate spatial relationships, with the surface of the canvas appearing as a fluid plane that moves between two and three dimensionality.

The relationship between figure and ground upon which our visual sense relies has been permanently dislodged, creating a destabilised, dreamlike and unfamiliar tension.


When: 24 Jan 2018 - 17 Mar 2018 Where: White Cube – G/f, 50 Connaught Road – Central