A Picture is a Playing Field
It is better to play football against one another than to kill each other on some battlefield. Artistic action – the
art, “to create an image” – has precise/firm [individual] rules for the procedure1, i.e. for the how of the work.
They are constantly changing so that art remains more interesting [and more important?] than football.
Whenever the general conventions of exhibition set, stagnate in the “conventional”, the artist should take steps
to break these again. Radical change, as we are used to since modernism, becomes, after multiple applications, a
general rule and loses power. Rule breaking has turned into an indifferent rule – in this setting, my field (playing
field) becomes play space.
I avoid everything “modern” in my art. Instead, I radicalize my images through the replacement of traditional
techniques with new ones, based on the epochal, technological advancements of our time. I thematize the great
cultural heritage of art as well as its methods, whereby the act of creation itself is made visible and is showcased
in the painting and can be triggered “in reverse direction” in the spectator.
My 2006 exhibition in Galerie Mauroner was titled ”Hybrid”. Hybrid was the new cocktail of painting and
photography. Previously paintings were drawn from photos, now I photograph the painting. In the painting
“Antwerpen” (2010) a flower still life in front of a painting (watercolor on paper) is photographed in a model
room. This photo becomes the model for the next watercolor on paper. Multiple layers are generated in this
way. A long, complex process of reflection and work is thereby brought to the point, concentrated. The work
“Athene” (2013) goes one step further.
Image: Model Construction for “Athene”
The construction of “Antwerpen” was already a very elaborate one, so the pre-production for “Athene” is
literally “exemplary”. A quite common procedure in classic painting can be described as this: The model stands,
the painter lets his brush flow, and suddenly complications occur that can no longer be solved at the level of the
painting. At this point, the model (a flower vase, or something else) must be easy to change after the fact,
because without subjugating reality in order to capture the portrayal the artist/the image would fail. This
(playful) readjusting/moving of the model (as in a playing field, play space) takes place, as long as/until model and
portrayal can no longer be distinguished. – “That looks real!” In “Athene” model and portrayal merge
The most important image in the exhibition is “Florida” (2000). The image deals with the act of looking itself! It
depicts me, observing the model in order to paint the same onto the ceiling. The image's form is based on a
ceiling fresco in Venice by J. P. Tiepolo, one of the few ceiling/canvas oil paintings by the superstar from the 18th
century. It depicts the gods of nature, Flora and Zephyr. She is the (orange) figure to be pollinated on the
bloom; he is the pollinating dragonfly on the leaf (green).
My image “Florida” does not just depict the performers that are to be displayed, but also me, the image's author,
who I, as “Tieplois”, reenact the ceiling fresco's production. It is not only the wish to be in Tiepolo's position
that drives me here, but also the claim that I could, similar to the performance – the actors holding absolutely
still – paint the image. Of course, this is not so; of course I recorded – froze, so to speak – everything
photographically beforehand. This not being able to hold still, this problem with the time, poses the question:
“How did you do it Mister Tiepolo?” – the answer: Tieopolo, or his assistants, drew the act in advance; only then
was it painted from the sketch.
Is the photograph today's sketch, when in our time Gerhard Richter, or better, Andy Warhol painted from a
photograph? Sketch and photograph ensure order in a painting, that much is sure!
A performative act of seeing and being seen floats high above everything in the air, in the ether. However, if one
looks closely, then beneath Zephyr the end of a steel pipe is visible, which pricks through a cloud made from
insulating wool. The scaffolding represents the construction of the painting. The entire scene is built on
scaffolding poles in the atelier (for safety reasons only 1.5 meters from the ground). The large room below is
only seemingly high, but if one looks more closely, a big “box” is recognizable, a room model. Only behind it to
the right reality flashes through the beam of the hall. Only a very small part of the image is real. In this way the
act of seeing (also for me) becomes a dream, which is (only) fulfilled in the moment of shooting the photograph.
Contemporary Art. Diputacion de Cadiz. Spain. (cat)