embodying colour V
Excerpt from Michael Post’s speech at the opening of embodying colour V, 13.07.2019, Museum Wilhelm Morgner, Schroth Room.
We have been working on the embodying colour project for six years. Most of the colleagues involved in this exhibition series have been with us since 2013. Some have shifted the focus of their artistic work or have signalled that they are no longer able to be part of it, while a number of new exhibitors from home and abroad have joined in. The cultural office of the city of Wiesbaden had invited Heiner Thiel and me to realize an exhibition in the Kunsthalle of the city. We only planned a presentation of our own works. However, the idea arose in us to propose to the head of the cultural department to invite further artists to the exhibition, whose works are determined by the dialogue between form and colour. The city agreed to this idea and so the exhibition series embodying colour began. Together with the Department of Culture, we invited nine other internationally active colleagues whose works, similar to ours, express the interaction of sculptural and colored manifestations. In her artistic work, the interplay of two- and three-dimensional presence is determined by the respective effect of the material and the colours, which are used in a wide variety of techniques.
To be honest, we did not expect such a great success with the public; the same applies to the following stations: multiple-art in Zurich, the Vasarely Museum in Budapest and the Metternich House in Koblenz. The exhibition was discussed very positively in Hungary’s three hip art magazines. We were even informed from there that embodying colour was the most visited exhibition of 2014. In this publication we reproduce an article by Mónika Zsikla from Müertö magazine.
The exhibitions and catalogues of 2013 and 2014 were financed by some private sponsors as well as by the cultural budget of the city of Wiesbaden, the city of Koblenz, and the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, otherwise we would not have been able to support the project. It was not uncommon for us to be told: At last, another exhibition of sensual pleasure, which had become rather rare in the meantime. That really made us very happy. One student even said: conceptual thinking and sensual pleasure in making and viewing art is not a contradiction in terms. Sometimes in art lessons he gets the impression that it’s all about deciphering hidden messages, the sole purpose of which seems to be to put the socio-political attitude of the contemporary artist in the foreground, as the force of art itself.
Our common artistic roots are to be understood against the background of various manifestations of concrete art from Europe and the minimalist art of America, as Prof. Dr. Matthias Bleyl describes at the beginning of this publication. This art has preoccupied us since our youth. Our approach to an embodiment of color from the sculptural, as well as from the color-painting perspective, meets somewhere in the middle.
The focus of our perception is on similarities, in view of the different works appearing in different ways, whose actors are at home in the different habitats of this world. There are agreements of artistic phenomena that we work out because they occupy us existentially. We discuss them with our colleagues, and we recognize them again in the perception of their works as well as ours.
We exclusively show semi-plastic and sculptural works. The colour becomes a component of the respective body through different colouring components. Light conditions and the viewer’s change of perspective determine the continuous and constantly changing dialogue between colour and form. In their interconnectedness, both levels show a clear presence in the three-dimensionality, which proves to be plasticity in the aesthetic space.
The fully plastic forms as well as the forms attached to the wall are part of the real space in which we live in their detachment from the flat pictorial being. The indissoluble question of a fusion of more pictorial or more plastic manifestations, from which in reality there is no escape, is based on a kind of circular structure. In this respect, the works are located in an almost paradoxical form of appearance that lies somewhere between two-dimensional and three-dimensional order in aesthetic space. The ambiguous existence that characterizes the exhibited works is representative of a phenomenon of our perception of colored sculpture that spans generations and is constantly reformulated: the existence of planar properties of an image, latently contained in the objects in real space, becomes part of our perception of the respective overall appearance of these objects. References to supra-cultural and historical references, as a consequence of which these works are to be understood, can be found in the concrete art of Europe, as well as in the depiction-free and minimalist art of the USA, as Matthias Bleyl describes from a scientific perspective in the introduction to our publication. Within an objectively comprehensible, thematic definition, we have given priority to our subjective perception of substantial beauty.
The concentration on the conscious control of our gaze directions in space has proven to be a viable method of pragmatic action. Nevertheless, there are obviously good reasons to make use of other cognitive abilities in order to expand our perception beyond the spectrum of determined perspectives. The permanently clocked activities of our seeing and thinking can be subjected to a conscious slowness – it favors an aesthetic strategy, which seems to be equally interesting for the artist as well as for the lingering observer. Occasionally an emotional gain is attested to the latent licentiousness of a wandering gaze. To move in greater serenity in spatial constellations, for example those of art or lonely natural landscapes, sometimes makes the visible world appear in a different light than that of everyday life. Let us call it a culture of lingering and discovering, which can seduce us into taking a change of perspective or location beyond pure expediency, i.e. rather playfully motivated. We wish the same to the visitors to this exhibition.
We have seized the opportunity for this ongoing project to engage in a dialogue with our friends in order to make insights and the aesthetic perspectives associated with them the object of joint observation. The surfaces of the works range from classical painting to today’s industrial colour refinement, which is also used in design. The effect of coloured reality activated by light can be seen here in the many materially created conditions, from light-absorbing, opaque painting to high-tech gloss varnishing with a reflective mirror effect. We also see this exhibition as an homage to the medium and the small format, because we could see that such works of art can often be more present than large-format objects. We also show contemplative works, the meaning of which is important to us today because silence and inner dialogue seem almost suspicious.
In order to continue to be motivated to be able to curate embodying colour on our own responsibility and without orders, we first summed up that there have never been any inconveniences between us and all those involved. Thanks to this circumstance and the many positive experiences and encounters, we visited our friends in the studios and studios again to exchange ideas with them and to realize embodying color V.
Without the consistently positive encouragement and the pleasant reactions, we would certainly not have been able to develop the energy to take on further project implementations. If we had had a purely commercial interest, which, by the way, we do not consider worthy of rejection, everything would certainly have been much more difficult or, for obvious reasons, not feasible among colleagues.
Strong experiences of our sensual experience, also called “aha” experiences, can awaken or increase our general interest in the phenomenology of perception. In the discussions it was confirmed to us that this elementary theme of art, as well as the quite different positions it contains, can be understood as an essential aspect of both their and our artistic work. The permanently and consciously aspired change of perspective belongs to this, both in the concrete and in the figurative sense. All those involved in this exhibition seem to reflect this in their mental as well as in their spatial references. Beyond the different cultural and artistic socializations, the intention of an unfunded, intensive and self-responsible life seems to be strong enough to approach different levels of reality and phenomena, namely those of art as well as those of everyday life, with passion, without being bent or falling into dogmatic attitudes. We understand the opportunities to let associations and sensations become the object of a comparison of levels of perception in landscape and enclosed spaces as gain. Our pleasure in serious and humorous conversations is certainly one of the reasons that connects us with our friends, despite or even because of the works that fortunately appear in very different ways.
Not all exhibiting artists were able to come to the opening of the exhibition, be it because they were not allowed to neglect their current work, to live in too distant regions, or because they were unable to do so due to illness. But several are here today. I will now introduce the artists by name: Nicholas Bodde (DE), John Carter (GB), Cosimo Cavallaro (I/CA) Christoph Dahlhausen (DE), Claudia Desgranges (DE), Julia Farrer (GB), István Háasz (HU), William Metcalf (USA), Müller-Emil (CH), Michael Post (DE), Gert Riel (DE), Rita Rohlfing (DE), Elisabeth Sonneck (DE), Eduard Tauss (AT), Heiner Thiel (DE), Jeremy Thomas (USA), Roy Thurston (USA), Bill Thompson (USA), Piet Tuytel (NL), Matthew Tyson (FR), Cecilia Vissers (NL), Peter Weber (DE), Ulrich Wellmann (DE), Ulrich Wellmann (DE)
We opted for a publication that did not correspond to the conventional format of an exhibition catalogue because we simply wanted to try something fundamentally different. After being asked very often what we had experienced during the seventeen years of cooperation, our extensive travels and exhibitions here and there, we felt encouraged to report in a narrative way, supplemented by many pictures. In non-narrative art, anecdotes accompanying art are often regarded as sacrilege, even as a linguistic manifestation designed to question the seriousness of the self-referential artwork, but we see it differently. For us, the formative life circumstances of artistic thought and action and the associated ways of looking at them are inseparable. We provide information about the beginning and the course of our cooperations, our travels and our conversations. We have always been encouraged to do so. However, we are probably breaking new ground here. We see the realization of the exhibition as well as the publication as part of our artistic work, including the fact that we also curate our artist’s life a little, at least that’s how it sometimes looks to us.
In order not to counteract an appealing visualization of the image-text combinations, the narratives, the associated quotations from the professional world, as well as the stories dealt with, we have dispensed with the otherwise usual detailed captions. We ask the reader to call up further information on the artists’ homepages in order to deal in detail with the biographies and works.
We report on the immaterial enrichment of an intensified perception with regard to playfully motivated activities, friendly encounters, pleasant cooperations, conversations rich in associations in small and large spaces of life, art, travel, white cubes, landscapes, kitchens, studios and localities on both sides of the Atlantic. Along the planar and protruding surfaces and shapes of all the objects shown in this exhibition, the gaze glides over colored surfaces, corners and edges and curves, almost casually conveying an approach to the essence of time and space and can become an aesthetic event for anyone.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator