Text: Inci Yilmaz | Translation: Honor Westmacott
Posing in Private, the third solo exhibition of the painter Martin Weidemann (*1979) at Warhus Ritterhaus. In this exhibition, entitled Posing In Private, Weidemann shows large-format oil paintings from his current series of works Zimmerbilder (“room pictures”) as well as an artist publication.
Weidemann’s new works present themselves as extensively elaborated, “suspended” in colour and compositionally vehement picture-in-picture constructions. They each represent an abstract painting hanging in a room, showing an arrangement of lines and surfaces. The room is indicated beyond a perspective representation of space through a shadow-like colour space at the edge of the picture-in-picture. The principal element of the image is the compositional conglomerate: Dynamic shapes interlock to form a unified overall structure. This then seems like an abstract tableaux vivant which has been alienated from its genre and appears to imitate the aesthetic essence of the physical pose as a formal-aesthetic phenomenon. Elegant, plump, lascivious, stiff, cramped, loosened, right, wrong, demonstrative and timid, the painted form oscillates; always as part of an idea in the context of the overall composition.
Weidemann develops his abstract arrangements from fragments of forms, which originate both from an actual movement – the painterly gesture – and from elements taken from photographs of the visible world. In this exhibition, Weidemann gives a first selected and well edited insight into inspirational repertoire of forms from found photographs in the shape of a publication of large, thread-bound b&w offset sheets. The photographic models do not come from the painter himself, but represent an “outside view” on the commonplace, already anticipating the act of voyeuristic contemplation which Weidemann picks up on in transformed shape, with the paradigm of a genre in the form of his slight suggestion of picturesque interiors. The view on the public is brought in fragmented pieces into a private, pictorial space, which includes the viewer. Weidemann thus makes an active reception of the image unavoidable because the viewer seems to be located directly within the image space.
Weidemann mimics the “sweeps” of worldly phenomena, which are captured in the photographs, and places them in a compositional dialogue with the own, intuitive brushstroke. Both the extracted “everyday lines” – freed of colour and space -, as well as the traces of the act of painting, are “painted over” by Weidemann into a homogeneous, two-dimensional image-construct in which the hierarchies of origin of the formal manifestation creating the image-subject dissolve. An incessant painterly search for compository consistency now presents itself as a perfect assertion, which makes the origin of a form no longer comprehensible, but still integrates its accidental properties into the microcosm of the image. Despite the numerous overpaintings, Weidemann’s painting is “smooth”, without impasto, both with strong, sharp contrasts, as well as veiled diffusion of image planes, sometimes picturesquely referring to the artistic authorship with traces of paint and distinct brush strokes. Weidemann employs colour in the tonally excessive, as in a theatrical production.
The colouring of the paintings is extravagant, appears “painted on” or “made-up”. Weidemann demonstratively adorns the composition of “pure” form with decorative accessories to emphasize the presence of this form as a “unit”.
The completed picture-in-picture, which evidently appears to dominate as the main subject, is in reality satirized in the form of a colouristic statement, whereby the individual shape regains its significance. The “whole” is only a “static show” on the two-dimensional “Picture as Stage” and presents itself instantly to the viewer. The titles declare the point of image-structure as a “in parentheses detail”, which also indicates the art-historically ingrained dichotomy of pictorial composition between detail and whole and manifests this not only pictorially but also predicative. Weidemann “builds” a fictional building with “rooms”, whose fragmentary view – in particular its “detail” – proclaim the composition of abstract forms per se. Inferring the origin of the elements shown, Weidemann exaltedly opens an approach to our viewing of all formal expressions which is directed through painting: The pose incorporated into the everyday object, and especially the abstract unmasking of the staged pose as mimicry of all enduring forms of worldly phenomena.
What therefore initially represents a re-enactment in Weidemann’s current imagery due to its formal proximity to the late work of De Kooning, emerges as conceptually complex: Weidemann methodically grates against – amongst others – Ellsworth Kelly’s search for “real” abstraction of the banal form, the two-dimensional image-spaces of Matisse’s depictions of rooms and studio, and supra-epoch spanning theories of art or epoch-specific genres (eg. room images of the Biedermeier). Weidemann’s “Kelly-like” photographic originals, the creation of rooms through the opaque paint application and his compositional fanaticism formulate an extraordinary longing for the picturesque abstraction of the everyday, the reductio ad adsurdum of the ingenious impetus and the worship of the flat recomposition into an absolute, coherent image which acknowledges all its details. Within a contemporary discourse on painting, Weidemann not only points to the achievements of painting with this series Zimmerbilder but presents them in a celebratory manner in the form of distinctive dynamics, transformed by traditional means and an overlapping structure of image-subject and levels of image-space.
AN DER SCHANZ 1A
THU-FRI: 12-18 H | SAT: 12-16 H
Opens: 15.11. – 19.12.2015