Lothar Hempel’s elaborate installations of freestanding architectural features and full-sized figures have as much in common with theatrical productions as with most artworks. His scenes confront the viewer with open-ended dramas and ideological dilemmas; his paintings and puppet-like characters exist as potential casts for these scenarios. Like Brecht or Beckett, Hempel, born in Cologne in 1966, isn’t looking to provoke emotional engagement so much as the viewer’s critical reaction to the idea of narrative, the ideology of storytelling. With a designer’s elegance, he combines aesthetics from the past and the present, quoting Medieval tapestries and early Modernism, in work infused with a sense of tragedy, mythology and burlesque. The work gathered here has been shown in museums in both the U.S. and Europe, and at New York galleries including Anton Kern (2006). This is Hempel’s first major monograph.