In No. 176, what initially looks like an abstract swirl of fiery tones reveals the fgure of Super Mario in his go-kart, furious red and yellow impasto strangely at odds with its subject; seemingly still emerging into full form, the ‘M’ on his hat floats disembodied and disjointed above his head. In No. 143, two crossed lines of black and ochre oil paint sit crookedly on raw canvas, with oil separated from pigment in the vertical leaching out in an abject display of painterly ineptitude. The historical style of abstract Minimalism has become merely symbolic, an ofhand meta-language to be used like a logo. These are both works by the influential Luxembourg born artist Michel Majerus, one of the foremost painters of late twentieth-century visual culture. With his keen iconographic eye in the age of emergent Internet, Majerus made permeable the boundaries between reality and the constructed environments of the information age. His primary game, however, was an investigation into the role of painting in these new pictorial and simulated spaces.
The elements of pathos in No. 143 and No. 167 are destabilised by a sense of fun and openness, existing in a world of sampling, remix and appropriation that allows endless cross-fertilising of genre and form. Majerus treads the new frontiers of paint, positing a medium that will never die but will prove forever fertile and wickedly adaptable to the shifting sands of modern media, corporate design and mass entertainment.