David Ostrowski in his studo

David Ostrowski

Germany 1981



David Ostrowski
David Ostrowski
August 9, 2014
Nina Karaicic is a journalist with experience in TV and radio media. Born in 1989, she had studied at the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Political Sciences (Journalism). Interests: Photography, Art, Film, Folklore, Video Games

Creating minimalistic paintings, David Ostrowski uses primarily the white paint with the occasional scribbles of some other color, with the intention to make almost empty surfaces liberated from any outer influence. His works reach the astronomical sums at the auctions, despite the first impression which may be confusing. Abstract art is often a riddle and in the Ostrowski’s case, the maximum effect is achieved with minimal form and line engagement. The simplicity is reflected in the dense layer of the white paint and one or two colored lines that make the visual poetry.

David Ostrowski - F (Auch die schönste Frau ist an den Füssen zu Ende), 2010, photo credits peresproject.com
David Ostrowski – F (Auch die schönste Frau ist an den Füssen zu Ende), 2010, photo via peresproject.com

Limitation Brings the Greater Expression

Ostrowski graduated at Kunstakademie Dusseldorf under Albert Oehlen. His work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions in both Europe and the USA. Growing up in the artistic family, it was the natural path to become an artist. The painting was his occupation since always, and it was easy for him to reach the limits of figurative painting very quickly. When there was anything left to say, the process of removal from the pictorial narrative towards the incomprehensible was natural and a part of his attempt to create something new, something still unknown.

For him, painting is like looking the meaning in the nonsense. He is not interested in understanding, Ostrowski is trying to make his work simple as more as possible. Using the inexpensive materials, he stopped to paint in oil because of its great possibilities. Spray brings the limitation of the expression and forced him to work quickly. There are no corrections and only counts the first shot. His creativity excludes the power to make decisions, but strong gesture and spontaneous style are allowing him to reveal unexpected and hidden possibilities.

The artist experiments with the mistakes

canvas it’s thing it’s 2014 berlin
David Ostrowski – F (Wieman aus einer Affre gleich zwei macht), 2012, photo via peresproject.com (left) – F (Between Two Ferns), 2012, photo via collezionedatiffany.com (right)

The Painting Error

In his F series of works, Ostrowski explores the conception of the error in painting, by using in the process of the creation equally the left hand, though he is a right-handed. In that way, he makes paintings that present a surprise even to himself. The letter F indicates the German phrase Fehler Malerei which means painting error. Aiming to create a tension, he stopped to manipulate himself and lost control, believing in the content of the painting and the autonomy of the medium. He uses to draw sketches, but during the time, he realized that his expression has more freedom when he is able to make the mistakes.

Installations are also the spontaneous act

contact it’s cologne paintings canvas thing
David Ostrowski – I’m OK. Moments later, he was shot, 2013, photo via simonleegallery.com

Mistakes Make the Perfect Paintings

Having the high expectations, he considers that his pictures have to surprise him occasionally and they should never be stupid. Using the materials which he finds in the studio, like newspaper, stripes of wood or dirt, Ostrowski creates monumental pieces which represent the auto-portrait, depicting the vast emptiness, lack of motivation, but also the beauty, as the most important element. The second part of his work are the installations or including the paintings into the gallery space, which is also the spontaneous act. With the constant aspiration to undermine the composition, the artist experiments with speed and imperfection, successfully integrating the errors into his pictorial composition.

David Ostrowski is represented by Sprüth Magers, Berlin.

David Ostrowski lives and works in Cologne, Germany

Featured image: Artist in his studio, 2014, photo courtesy of the artist
All images used for ilustrative purpose only

YearExhibition TitleMuseum/GallerySolo/Group
2017My Abstract Worldme Collectors Room Berlin, GermanyGroup
2016Nothing Happened (with Michail Pirgelis)Spruth Magers, Los Angeles, USASolo
2016One Trick PonySiegburger Strase 235, Cologne, GermanySolo
2016Nothing Happened (with Michail Pirgelis)Buchhandlung Walther Konig, Cologne, GermanySolo
2016To Lose (with Michail Pirgelis)Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Duren, GermanySolo
2016Progressive PraxisDe la Cruz Collection, Miami, USAGroup
2016The Power and The GloryCharles Riva Collection, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2016Wax & Wane, curated by Albert OehlenFondazione Carriero, Milano, ItalyGroup
2016Papierak-Raum, Koln, GermanyGroup
2016My Abstract Worldme Collectors Room Berlin, Stiftung Olbricht, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2016Merci Raymond by Bertrand LavierMonnaie de Paris, Paris, FranceGroup
2016Made in Germany: Contemporary Art from the Rubell Family CollectionMcNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas, USAGroup
2016You've Got to Know the Rules...to Break Themde la Cruz Collection, Miami, USAGroup
2015Ich bin gekommen um dir zu sagen dass ich gehe032c Workshop, Berlin, GermanySolo
2015I want to die ForeverKunstraum Innsbruck, AustriaSolo
2015The F WordARKEN Museum, Copenhagen, DenmarkSolo
2015Artists against Aids 2015Kunst-und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, GermanyGroup
2015Full of Peril and Weirdness: Painting as a UniversalismM Woods Museum in Beijing, ChinaGroup
2015Falling Fictionsme Collectors Room Berlin, Stiftung Olbricht, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2015BenefitSchinkel Pavillon, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2015Sprayed: Works from 1929–2015Gagosian Gallery, London, UKGroup
2015Enigmas: Martin BarréDavid Ostrowski, Julian Schnabel, Reena SpaulingsGroup
2015curated by Alison GingerasAndrea Rosen Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2015A Man Walks Into a Barme Collectors Room, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2015The Shell curated by Eric TroncyAlmine Rech Gallery, Paris, FranceGroup
2014 How to do things leftRubell Family Collection, Miami, FL, USASolo
2014 Just do itFondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Torino, ItalySolo
2014Emotional PaintingsPeres Projects, Berlin, GermanySolo
2014Even the most beautiful woman ends at her feetOko, New York, USASolo
2014Das Goldene ScheissAlmine Rech Gallery, Paris, FranceSolo
201417 Abstract Paintings, selected by Warhus RittershausWarhus Rittershaus, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2014BenefitSwiss Institute, New York, USAGroup
2014Group showEva Presenhuber, Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
2014The pipe at the gates of dawnJan Kaps, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2014Ordinary FreaksKunstlerhaus, Halle fur Kunst & Medien, Graz, AustriaGroup
2014NowhereKosmetiksalon Babette, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2014Collective IIIGallery Guy Bartschi, Geneva, AustriaGroup
2014Where were you?Lisson Gallery, London, UKGroup
2014Beware Wet PaintICA, London, UK Group
2014Group SpiritPeres Projects, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2014Drive the Change100plus, Zurich, AustriaGroup
2014I may be wrong but I think you are beautifulDavid Achenbach Projects, Dusseldorf, GermanyGroup
2014Walk the lineSimon Lee Gallery, Hong Kong, ChinaGroup
2013Yes or let’s say noSimon Lee Gallery, London, UKSolo
2013A show about painting (with Michail Pirgelis)Jan Kaps, Cologne, GermanySolo
2013Relax, Outline PaintingsSiegburger Strase 235, Cologne, GermanySolo
2013FArtothek, Cologne, GermanySolo
2013I'm OK. - Moments later, he was shotPeres Projects, Berlin, GermanySolo
2013JahresgabenKolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany Group
2013The Medium of IntensityCarl Kostyal, Stockholm, SwedenGroup
2013One from NoneAutocenter, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2013The EndQ-Box, Athens, GreeceGroup
2013Degrees of SeparationGalerie Jeanrochdard, Paris, FranceGroup
2013PapierarbeitenJagla Ausstellungsraum, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2013The Edge of AbstractionHopstreet, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
201317, 13Kunstgruppe Kunstverein, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2013Space Whole Karaoke MiddlemarchBrussels, Belgium, Group
2013The Gesture and the SignWhite Cube, Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
2013Beyond The ObjectBrand New Gallery, Milan, ItalyGroup
2012Tried and FailedBolteLang, Zurich, SwitzerlandSolo
2012From bad to worseLtd, Los Angeles, USASolo
2012David Ostrowski & Jack HenryNudashank, Baltimore, USASolo
2012Dann lieber neinFigge von Rosen Galerie, Cologne, GermanySolo
2012Sprechen sie dick (with Harmony Korine)Jagla Ausstellungsraum, Cologne, Germany Solo
2012Grose JahresgabenausstellungKolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, Germany Group
2012Bread BoxZieherSmith, Nashville, Tennessee, USAGroup
2012En désordreSammlung Philara, Dusseldorf, GermanyGroup
2012Slowed & ThrowedChinatown Arcade, New York, USAGroup
2012Shoot the LobsterMartos Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2012Seriously connected old greyhairChristopher Cresent, HD:Projects, New York, USAGroup
2012Family MattersLe Courant, Brussels, BelgiumGroup
2012Full HouseKunstgruppe Kunstverein, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2012New Gestural PaintingSeptember, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2012BlitzRod Barton Gallery, London, UKGroup
2012Neue Tiere 3Kunstverein Koelnberg, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2012Tlk DrtyAmstel41, Amsterdam, NetherlandsGroup
2012Unterm StrichFigge von Rosen Galerie, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2012Jonathan Binet, Lydia Gifford, David OstrowskiBolteLang, Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
2012Neue WandeKnust x Kunz +, Munich, GermanyGroup
2011Between Two Ferns (with Michail Pirgelis)Mike Potter Projects, Cologne, Germany Solo
2011Die Lugnerin (with Philip Seibel)Format:C, Dusseldorf, GermanySolo
2011This is TomorrowAnnarumma Gallery, Naples, ItalyGroup
2011Boo!Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, NetherlandsGroup
2011Vor Gott ist alle Kunst Scheisse IIBoutique, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2011JahresgabenKolnischer Kunstverein, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2011GSK - Gesellschaft fur streitorientierte KulturforschungDusseldorf, GermanyGroup
2011Single MuseumKunstraum Dusseldorf, GermanyGroup
2011PapierarbeitenJagla Ausstellungsraum, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2011Moraltarantula 5Zollamt-Oberhafenkantine, Hamburg, GermanyGroup
2011Korrupte TalenteAvantrash, Munich, GermanyGroup
2011Single im JuliSingle Club, Dusseldorf, GermanyGroup
2011Dirty DancingFigge von Rosen Galerie, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2011Everything you ever liked about your mother15 Howie Street, London, UKGroup
2011The Spur of the MomentNest, Den Haag, NetherlandsGroup
2011Pop HitsTanzschule, Munchen, GermanyGroup
20101981 (with Luke Barber-Smith)Parkhaus im Malkasten, Dusseldorf, GermanySolo
2010Addition and Subtraction304 days, Vancouver, CanadaGroup
2010GSK - Gesellschaft fur streitorientierte KulturforschungDusseldorf, GermanyGroup
2010Vor Gott ist alle Kunst ScheisseOktober, Dusseldorf, GermanyGroup
2010Moraltarantula 4Elektrohaus, Hamburg, GermanyGroup
2010A thing is a thing in a whole which it’s notTemporary Gallery Cologne, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2010We redefine when we come of age 1976-1987Toldkammeret, Helsingor, DenmarkGroup
2010The rest is historyMike Potter Projects, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2010Editionen + XArtleib, Dusseldorf, GermanyGroup
2010The Destroyed RoomWhatspace, Perron 58, Tilburg, NetherlandsGroup
2010Forgotten Bar ProjectGalerie im Regierungsviertel, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2010Nothing is wrong if it feels goodMike Potter Projects, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2009Lust auf olRaum Kalk, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2009The last real paintersResy Muijsers Contemporary Art, Tilburg, NetherlandsGroup
2009Painting on the Move, kuratiert von Albert OehlenWiensowski & Harbord, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2009Something strange will happen this summerMike Potter Projects, Oxford, England, UKGroup
2009Whatbar 5Whatspace, Gent, BelgiumGroup
2009GigantenMike Potter Projects, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2009Dolce StandardsMaverick, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2008Bilder mit Sonnenbrand (with Max Frintrop)First Floor Contemporary, Dusseldorf, GermanySolo
20081001 BildVilla de Bank, Enschede, NetherlandsGroup
2008Great ExpectationsArtlab21, Bergamont Station, Los Angeles, USAGroup
2007How to Look at Homegrown TerrorFette’s Gallery, Los Angeles, USASolo
2007Hulk vs. Hulk (with Max Frintrop)Kunstraum Acapulco, Dusseldorf, GermanySolo
2007Unqualifiziertes DunkelRaum fur Kunst und Musik, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2007Bye, Bye AcapulcoKunstraum Acapulco, Dusseldorf, GermanyGroup
2007Kombilosung: SpiegelvisionArtleib, Dusseldorf, GermanyGroup
2007Achte oder zehnte Ausstellung im Blast RaumKunstraum Blast, Cologne, GermanyGroup
2007RoyalbunkerInstitut fur zeitgenossische Beobachtung, Vienna, AustriaGroup
2006Wie man aus einer Affare gleich zwei macht (with Michail Pirgelis)Raum fur Kunst und Musik, CologneSolo
2006I know you, but you don't know meFette’s Gallery, Los Angeles, USAGroup
2006IntersectionResy Muijsers Contemporary Art, Tilburg, NetherlandsGroup
2006JahresgabenNeuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen, GermanyGroup
2006Bretter, die die Welt bedeutenKunstraum Acapulco, Dusseldorf, GermanyGroup
2006Vergeht mir Horen, Sehen und DenkenGalerie Tedden, Oberhausen, GermanyGroup
2006Public Folder #2Raum fur Kunst und Musik, CologneGroup
2006Public Folder #2Museumsquartier, Vienna, AustriaGroup
2005Das Goldene ScheissRaum fur Kunst und Musik, Cologne, Germany Solo