This group exhibition owes its name to a video work from 1972 by Pieter Engels, a key figure in the Dutch conceptual art scene of the sixties and seventies, who will celebrate his 80th birthday on 3 December this year. On this occasion, Galerie Martin van Zomeren shows both early and contemporary works by the artist, brought together with recent works by Navid Nuur, Christine Moldrickx, Janis Rafa and Katja Mater. Signing the Universe also marks the debut of renowned Dutch artist Marien Schouten at the gallery, who presents some of his latest paintings in the show. In these structurally ambiguous works, the artist moves between abstraction and figuration, exploring the expressive possibilities of the medium. The often sincere titles of his paintings are not chosen without playfulness or irony.
Pieter Engels is known for his humorous, conceptual practice. In the 1972 video, he smokes is own signature in order to poetically sign the entire universe with his name. Subtle and often associative relations between the video and other works on display can be found throughout the exhibition, ranging from the subversion of authorship by Navid Nuur to Katja Mater’s gestural visual language. For the occasion of this celebrative exhibition, a limited edition print by Mater will be available throughout the duration of the show.