On the 30th of April, Blain|Southern in Berlin officially opened Harland Miller’s show Tonight We Make History (P.S. I Can’t Be There). As previously announced, his first solo in Germany included an all new body of work that incorporate his own designs, as well as a selection of the classic pieces from the infamous Penguin Books series.
The high-ceilinged space at Potsdamer Straße was the perfect setting to present these large works, some measuring over three meters high. Divided in two main parts on two levels, the ground floor included new pieces using his own designs. Different from his play on the classics, these paintings are inspired by the abstract geometrical covers of psychology books of the 60s and 70s. Using a wider color palette and less restrictive in terms of composition and elements used, they bring the aesthetics of Miller’s work to a new level – the mix of sharp graphic elements, fonts and strict format, clashing against the painterly brush strokes and bold layers of paint. Further accented by invented cynical book titles composed within seemingly profound designs, the large oils work great both as a subversive message carrier and as visual candy. The second floor of the gallery was reserved for canvases from his Penguin Books series, which use vintage book covers and their familiar form to underline the text. Deliberately created with the worn feel of a used book through a more expressive artistic approach, the exhibited pieces are new additions to the artist’s most iconic artworks. Finally, a separate part of the balcony area was reserved for the presentation of the new limited edition that was released for the showcase that will stay on view until July 30th.
Photo credit: Leyt.