March 1, 2008 1:11 am

Don’t Miss: Thomas Scheibitz

Son of an east German stonemason, Thomas Scheibitz was born in 1968, the year Duchamp died, and is a distinguished conceptual painter and sculptor. The legacy of Duchampian visual indifference is at the heart of his work: scavenging images from high to low culture – a water bottle label is as likely a source as a Michelangelo elbow, he has said recently – he reassembles them in abstract geometric formations of pleated, folded, superimposed planes in shallow space, free of either illusory or psychological depth but with titles that hint at representation: “Landscape at Genoa”, “Apollo Residence”.

Deadpan, frozen stylisation echoes Alex Katz, Warhol, Hollywood. American culture was the forbidden fruit of Scheibitz’s childhood but he is also a German intellectual and his tension between construction and disorder recalls Bauhaus. His new solo show, “about 90 elements/TOD IM DSCHUNGEL” – the disjunction of languages and typefaces is characteristic – plays up this uneasiness. “90 elements” is an imposing, disorientating central painting depicting a pile-up of box-like shapes; the title refers to the periodic table, by which chemical elements are classified, embodying our desire for intelligibility. In contrast, Scheibitz’s random arrangements and unfinished-looking surfaces suggest the wildness – urban and natural – of existence: “death in the jungle”.

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Jackie Wullschlager

Camden Arts Centre’s flood of natural light, high ceilings and neutral grey floors make an ideal setting for these strong, flat canvases and for the large painted sculptures – arrow, arch, star – jokingly placed in frames on neutral white walls here. Scheibitz’s trademark queasy, retro colours – mauve, olive, acrid yellow – also appear to fine advantage. The entire installation evokes our over-stimulated visual reality shattered into shards, circles, cubes, then mockingly put back together again: a cerebral, seductive artifice.

Thomas Scheibitz, Camden Arts Centre, London NW3, to April 20. Tel: +44 (0)20-7472 5500

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