Paul Thek

Born 1933 in Brooklyn, USA
Departed 1988 in New York City, USA

Thek died in 1988 but lived a peripatetic life wandering throughout Europe and the US, never really settling down in one place or another. This restlessness is apparent in the work, which flitted effortlessly from one extreme medium like massive installations to the quaint, rigorous draftsmanship displayed in his large body of paper works. The technical skill exhibited by Thek has an old-master quality about it, reminiscent of architectural plans or scientific illustrations. Yet his beautiful works are always underpinned with a conceptual notion. There are landscapes and icons and a profusion of signs and symbols, all marked by a childlike absorption in the task at hand, and a lightheartedness and humor mixed with the utterly serious intent of documenting the life of an artist who is always at work and constantly searching.
Burden used paper in his body of work, which ranges from crude drawings that serve as preparatory works for his sculptures, to collages of reviews of his prior shows and grids of his cancelled bank checks from the 1970s. Represented here with a jewel of a schematic drawing, is his piece entitled "Samson", which involved the revolving door of the museum the work was exhibited in. Every time a visitor entered the museum, a contraption would cause a beam connected to the revolving door to extend horizontally in both directions, boring into the walls of the institution and thereby literally undermining the structural integrity of the museum! A dangerous but profound work seen here in a very workman-like execution, which makes the piece seem ready for casual application in a construction site.


26.04. – 03.06. 2007
"Conceptual Paper"
Group exhibition with works by Vito Acconci, Richard Artschwager, Chris Burden, Zaha Hadid, Peter Hujar, Yayoi Kusama, Dennis Oppenheim, William Pope.L, Paul Thek
at Arndt & Partner, Zurich

Paul Thek, Indoor Window, 1983-84, acrylic on canvas board, 95 x 65 cm / 37,20 x 25,59 in  Paul Thek, Indoor Window, 1983-84, acrylic on canvas board, 95 x 65 cm / 37,20 x 25,59 in