Favoured by craftsmen and hooligans alike, the Stanley knife has enjoyed a vibrant history. Johannes Albers’ ‘Welcome to my heart you cheeky little sadness’ exposes the blade in all its glory in this edition print. Symbolic of harm and vulnerability, the knife sits fearlessly against its vast white background. Mixing minimalism with melancholy and violence, the piece echoes the artist’s fascination with impending doom: “All of my body’s cells, all of my past days and deeds generated only a huge synchronised realm of sadness. Everything had turned into nothing.” Defiant in the face of this ‘cheeky little sadness’, Albers’ edition welcomes the viewer to cut this tension, with a knife.
Produced in 2007 and executed in ink and varnish on canvas, this edition is signed and numbered by the artist, and sold exclusively by Other Criteria.
Reproducing images of popular culture and everyday domesticity, Johannes Albers’ work seems to simultaneously praise and poke fun at modern-day interests and values. Starting out with the intention to ‘do the opposite of what was really hip’, Albers’ work has encompassed a range of printed motifs, from bathmats to band tapes, ping-pong tables to Stanley knives.
His incessant reproduction of these images reflects – and criticises – the disposability of much of today’s media culture and marketing imagery. His intention is to ‘one day see the uncorrupted mirror-images of this world. A twin world with extensions or channels into the real world’.
Founder of the now-defunct Club Vernissage – a two-man group with dogmas ranging from ‘Marketing is Bullshit’ to ‘Celebrities are Monkeys’ – Albers went on to pursue his own vision; a vision which, at its core, retains the desire to be always ‘different’. Whether idolising analogue compilation cassettes – scrawled with ‘CLASH’ and ‘Joy Division’ – or flattening a fuzzy bathmat across a sharp monochrome plane, Albers’ work remains positioned firmly outside the status quo.
Johannes Albers was born in Lingen, Germany, in 1966, and graduated from Goldsmiths’ College in 1990. He has exhibited in various exhibitions, including ‘Some went mad, some ran away’ (1994) at the Serpentine Gallery, London, ‘Free as a bird’ (1996) and ‘The good the bad and the ugly’ (1997) both at the Sophiensale, Berlin, as well as numerous Club Vernissage (2000-2) projects: ‘Marketing is Bullshit’, ‘Celebrities are monkeys’, and ‘Pop is Disgusting’. More recent exhibitions have included ‘Gute, Alte Arbeiten’ (2004) at the Galerie Khadr, Berlin, as well as ‘Neue Arbeiten’ (2005) and ‘Lazy artists in times of record sales covered by the yellow press’ (2006) at Raum 58, Munich. A freelance journalist since 1997, Albers currently lives in Berlin.