The group show "Bildfrost (frozenness)" will show a selection of representational and abstract works that demonstrate the potential cold and heat of a picture. At the same time the gallery will be showing "da zwischen" with newest works by Dirk Eicken. Central to his paintings is the resulting balance between figurative presences and absences.
Smoking cakes and hazy windows. Glowing surfaces and supercooled gestures. 5 x paintings and 1 x video. The group show "BILDFROST (frozenness)" will show a selection of representational and abstract works that demonstrate the potential cold and heat of a picture. A show of emphatic intimacy and poignant activity with the artists Ola Billgren, Mihai Grecu & Thibault Gleize, Thomas Huber, Joseph Marioni, Walter Obholzer, and Markus Willeke between 27 April and 22 June 2013 at Hengesbach Gallery.
Ola Billgrens "Für die Nacht II" (1997) displays blue, dark colors with traces of white. Initially, the picture seals itself off from the interpretation of any impression. An oscillating flurry emits from the center that steers the anticipation of a disappearing space into darkness. At the same time, it becomes clear that the fabric of colors is the result of picturesque grid structures. Has large pixilated photography been translated into painting or is the painting imitating a print? The understanding of the romantic image remains a wanting. The work resists any outsider’s demand to understand and requires an active positioning of the viewer. A motive between figurative speech and reflections on media.
"Glucose" (2012) by Mihai Grecu and Thibault Gleize takes its name from the carbohydrates aggregate state that is very soluble and begins to melt at 146 degrees Celsius. This material variability can be found in a fish that detaches itself from physical laws and swims in the air, in pralines that seem to dissolve in gas, and in fried eggs that transform in the close-up into shimmering coronas. Transfixed seeming surfaces reveal flowing waves. The abstract takes on the qualities of an icy wall that is perhaps a mountain or a surface that provides a further contrast. In "Glucose", proportions and natural laws are resolved in favor of a personal associative world. The interventions are disturbing since they break our perception with dichotomies. Where there’s air, there’s no water and where there’s no water, there’s no fish. At the same time, the interventions also have a liberating effect. In breaking with fundamental constants there’s not only a destructive character but also an ironic commentary: the creation of illogical alternatives to known contradictions.
Thomas Huber’s "Brunnenprobe" (2004) is a model for controlled painting: the relationship between light and shadow seems to be carefully calibrated, the resulting contrasts are down to the millimeter. Red carafes and blue water streams emerging from their mouths are arranged as if a sending off of the forms was lurking a centimeter to the left or right. Occupied with the architecture of the work, one overlooks the absence of meaningful use. The composition is reminiscent of the ritual of fetching water. In the emptiness, the carafes remain in front of the light blue background, swaying in the picture. The water flows into fountains, both downward and upward, but nevertheless without human assistance and without the carafes filling themselves. On the one hand, one would like to be the actor in this juggling game with its bubbling possibilities, but on the other, the realization that the diversity of possibilities offers nothing sets in, such that our own inadequacy fails them.
A similar form of perceptibility can be found in Joseph Marioni’s "White Painting" (2003). Glaze-like layers of paint put their construction to the side and the bottom of the image opens and encourages an object-oriented understanding of the work. As if this colors were put on the canvas with a coat, Marioni’s pictures emphasize the shoulders by a greater width, the lower hips by an open seam, and right and left by a overlapping waists. The fine fabric of the canvas emerges from under the color. Like human skin, the canvas seems to sense the quality of the touch of the colors in its single cells. The hue of the painting thereby resembles a coat: in order to face up to the world, it protects against every cold and dampness and at the same time keeps inner warmth. The hue shows something of the affective mood in which the world meets us and with which we record it in us.
In Walter Obholzer’s work "Rosetten" (2000), smaller and larger lines devour one another. They have tough contoured edges and are all approximately the same width. The red formations seem to be doubled in a reversed mirroring and thicken towards the center into inextricable progressions. Behind the red formulation, the only shadow is looming. There doesn’t appear to be a center of the image but rather a system that one cannot penetrate. Do forms want to become ornaments here or are lines fighting themselves in a kind of game of contact and repression? The painting itself does not give the answer. The colors appear to be soft, the support and the contours hard, the hue dampened, the mood cool, in spite of the color red.
A rat on a fogged up window. Its face is the result of quickly executed finger drawing: the eyes and nose are quickly dabbed, the whiskers drawn, a smile intimated. That the rapid charge of such a spontaneous finger drawing can survive in a large painterly format is the first surprise of the pictures of Markus Willeke. His powerfully dynamic manner of painting in "Ratte" (2013) looks just as cunning on canvas as it would on a car window or in a nursery. The casual result of a hand movement is not only made to last but has also been enlarged into the monumental. The significant effect is that one looks again and again and repeatedly has the impressions that Willeke’s pictures were just created, directly, quickly. Even if you knew every drop and waited for the dampness to distort and for the rat to disappear, even then the picture retains its surprise effect. It brings the fleeting to view and translates it into a permanence of the picture through painting. At the same time, the painting encompasses its own riddle. It is concerned with three-dimensional reality in a two-dimensional format. Willeke works with membrane-like motives that raise questions as to a Behind and Before. Are we stable or fleeting, is the surface a boundary or an opening to something else?
"BILDFROST (frozenness)" presents dichotomies meant to be broken and outlooks, turning into panoramas. Smoking cakes and hazy windows. Glowing surfaces and supercooled gestures. 5 x paintings and 1 x video are showing how far cold is from warmth and how inhibited or uninhibited related perceptions can be.
The people in Dirk Eicken’s pictures are neither familiar nor foreign. The painted faces make direct eye contact but remain obscure, out of focus. In contrast to their photographic sources, these people separate themselves from their surroundings, questioning the totalizing aspect of photography. Central to Eicken’s paintings is the resulting balance between figurative presences and absences: whereas photography holds someone as a finished counterpart at a specific moment, painting can allow for a portrait of differing layers of an impression. In this sense, Eicken’s pictures are explicitly concerned with investigating the structure of media generated distances.
How does photography shape our relationship to the world today? By showing us the finished and by cutting us off from an unfolding access. With "da zwischen" (there between) Hengesbach Gallery will present the new results of this explorative visual presence between 27 April and 22 June 2013. We would like to cordially invite you and your friends to the opening on 26 April 2013 at 6 pm.
There is very little information that Dirk Eicken can take from his photographic sources: sometimes it’s a file name, others it’s a person’s name, a product, or a company. How the smile in “Unbekannt1.jpg” (2012) came about remains unknown. The photographs that Eicken uses were taken from the company profiles of fair trade cooperatives that desire to establish a relationship between consumer and producer by means of a portrait. Eicken traces the phenomenon of how photographed foreigners step into a relationship with us through photography. Establishing an emotional connection between the viewer and the person shown is not the artist’s intention. Rather, his works are a pictorial experimental apparatus to negotiate between the intangibility of an intended common humanity. The blur of the painted faces doesn’t allow for a quick recognition as it does in the photographic sources. The desired visual maintenance arises gradually over the carefully designed eye contact and over the special color accentuated integration of the person in the portrait in his living environment.
Eicken doesn’t create attention to a situation of perception through narrative details but rather through abstract chromatic contrasts. For each of his individual portraits there is also an abstract counterpart that is just as large: these also contain the colored layers of glazing of the original image but they are no longer figurative. The persons portrayed can only be taken as a reminder of the picture, although the painterly colors are the same as the original. In contrast to the portrait and abstract figures, questions regarding the substance of imagery, recognition, memory, and perceptual consciousness arise. Recent dates are the large-sized group pictures of Eicken. With these pictures, the artist has created a negative of the original by reversing the brightness and colors.
He thereby constructs the paradox that the negative is more concrete than the positive and sheds light on the abstract positive. Presence and absence are put in a dialogical relationship. In this way, Eicken succeeds in giving a ghostly presence to the persons in the negative: the view is no longer out of dark pupils but rather is supported by bright spots. Dirk Eicken (*1959) lives and works in Berlin. At the same time as this exhibition, Hengesbach Gallery will be showing the exhibition "BILDFROST (frozenness)" with works by Ola Billgren, Mihai Grecu & Thibault Gleize, Thomas Huber, Joseph Marioni, Walter Obholzer, and Markus Willeke.
Image: Mihai Grecu, Glucose (Still), 2012
Opening: Friday, 26 April 2013, 6-9 pm
Charlottenstr. 1 10969 Berlin
Opening hours Tue-Sat 11am-6pm