CONTEMPORARY ART IN GERMANY.
This editorial and exhibition project, resulting from a long journey of research, is part of my culture of the arts, always characterized by an attention towards a plurality of voices, which, in the present as in the past, constantly interact with one another, combine, overlap and ultimately demand analysis, judgement and choice. There is no era in the history of humanity that has not demonstrated a proliferation of ideas and creativity that produced an artistic heritage, renewing its expressive skills and confirming its role in front of perception.
The expressive dimension of the contemporary art system has reached unimaginable kaleidoscopic proportions. At the beginning it was exclusively a Western heritage specific of the two Atlantic coasts – the United States and the liberal part of Europe. The growth of this particular season called 'second avant-garde' followed a constant growth, it expressed itself and occurred in specific areas and environments, but also revealed relationships and interferences, which today we know to be much broader than what was considered until the 1990’s.
A strategy of separation between the different linguistic and research areas, among authors who lived of contamination, imposed during the first five decades by the critical judgment system, coinciding with an ideological conflict and progressively sustained by an incorrect strategy of the art market – all of this creating persistent damage to the overall vision of that heritage.
This marginalization process of values was followed by the 'cancellation' of a very high number of individuals that constitute its extraordinary dimension and that slowly but progressively are being 'rediscovered' and laboriously repositioned in the historical process of knowledge. This existing and immensely manifested contradiction clearly appears during the first twenty years of the new century between the extension and development of the artistic culture projected beyond the traditional margins and the rigidity of the distribution system characterised by the rules of the financial market. A process that has temporarily redesigned the history of art collecting.
We are observing with great interest a real "explosion of creativity" corresponding to the process of cultural globalization and we are witnessing the final achievement of a single art culture, thanks to the overcoming of that fracture that distinguished the Eastern practices from the Western ones, the Northern part of the world from the Southern one and advance societies from depressed areas.
Confronted with this incredible extension of contemporary 'artistic products’ – capable of 'representing' perfectly all possible interdisciplinary relationships, linguistic combinations, rethinking and reviewing processes, innovation and citation – it results increasingly coercive the hyper-selective action of the distribution system, highly concentrated on an always more limited range of names. This general process is openly contradictory: on one side, the tendency towards a global extension of the art culture and, on the other side, on a financial basis, the narrowing down of its placement within the social fabric. A strategy in open conflict with the historical experience of collecting is confirmed, but with a highly potential for its development among the middle class of emerging societies.
In a critical vision based on the perception of wealth, watchful of the extensive network of relations that exist within, I always welcome a kaleidoscopic process.
This project originates from the need to uncover the artistic heritage present in the vast area of German-speaking countries, having noted that, although being increasingly oriented towards Europeanism, there exists a low circulation of its artistic culture.
As already premised, knowledge has very few active tools available, restricting the geographic-cultural areas on non-communicating channels, unlike the linguistic systems, music and literature that do not need the logistic system that the material culture of art depends on. Its presence within the German art heritage must not be overlooked, the broadest internationalization of the expressive systems, the visual grammars and the different research and experimentation lines; this aspect delivers us artists who broaden the value of this Exhibition towards a 'European dimension'. The German exhibition system, closely connected to Switzerland and Austria, for decades has carried out a solid organization founded on a dense network of Museums, Kunstverein, Kultur Haus, Foundations (in increasing numbers), Galleries and Art Fairs, within which the possibilities to relate and share with a “less organized” Italian system are rare. The specific Exposition Cycle that this Edition documents is quite rare and surely still unseen.
From Cologne to Zurich, from Basel to Karlsruhe, there is an exhibition network, which is a preferable tool for those who would like to get acquainted with the artistic heritage of the art fairs. It this mainly from the exhibition environment that the art fair exhibition originates, as a result of a long series of monographic and collective art fairs conducted for many years. By attending the great art fairs, I was able to 'select' those artists with whom I was able to create a relationship visiting systematically their studios and exhibitions and collecting editorial material. Within this broad framework, throughout the years, I traced their expressive developments and solutions and I was able to get to know a greater number of artists whom I hope to work with in the future and whom I will try anyway to mention in this edition.
Direct contact, getting acquainted with the artists and visiting the art studios where their works originated, as already mentioned, was the next fundamental step, that allowed me to get in sync, to verify what may have been an initial intuition in a particular context such as the stand of a Fair or the 'aseptic' space of a gallery. Only in these art studios, often hidden and reserved, is it possible to perceive the real importance of an artistic research, because it is here that on the tables lay the first papers and drawings, reference books, the accumulation of experimental drafting techniques. The spaces of the art studio indicate both the history and the future developments of an art culture. They all reveal the transformation of the various methodological-linguistic processes, the curiosities waiting to be examined and accomplished.
It is in the art studio that a conversation, both personal and focused, with the artist begins, an in-depth exchange where the resolution of doubts and unexpected answers occur, giving you the dimension of creativity. All this material collected and experience leads to the phases of installation of the exhibition and lastly the critical judgement. -The life in the art studio allows you to gather all information ranging from the intuition of the project to the choice of all supporting material and production techniques; on the other hand, listening to the artist gives us a direct understanding of the processes behind the artwork and allows us to understand how the artist communicates with the exposition space and how he enters into a relationship with contemporary history and thus with the art system as a whole. In the current tendency, where critical judgment and taste depend on the size of the web, it is essential to reopen the art shops, and to give the possibility to see and attend those places as an experience to understand and perceive, to taste important truths that we do not grasp easily from a cold and ephemeral contact. Materials and colours, paper and canvases, pigments and supports, piled up volumes and lights accompanied by the scent of coffee, oil and trichloroethylene, the photographic and graphic selections of the prints, all represent the cradle of making, of reflecting, of thinking and of seeing.
As a result of a close relationship within a common experiential framework, two parallel yet independent projects are introduced here: the first project focuses on the city of Freiburg and on the authors that I have collected in the embracing concept of the Kaleidoscope; the second takes up a broader character encompassing different geographies, from Munich to Cologne and Wurzburg, enclosed in the title "German Research". These two exhibiting and editorial paths tend to interact as happened in "All Breads of the World" Project for the Sassi di Matera Foundation in 2019, and to circulate and take new paths of expansion and deepening.
L.Bert, C.Desgranges, I.Ringe, M.Wallenstall-Schoenberg, H.Mehler, S. Edle von HoeBle, R.Gross, R.Rohlfing
Five Gallery Lugano 2016/2019.
The 'German Research' exhibition cycle, which this last project more closely refers to, focuses on a series of monographic exhibitions spanned over a rather broad time frame.
In the first central phase of the project, the artists examined were those attributable to the analytical processes of the 70’s, to the development of the heritage in the recent season. It was a matter of demonstrating and highlighting innovative and original solutions within the works of the artists involved, a renewed legacy, especially for some artists like Ivo Ringe, Claudia Desgranges and Cecilia Vissers, representing the oldest season of the Arte Concerta, and other choices based on individual aesthetic values.
The peaceful and welcoming atmosphere of Five Gallery in Lugano answered perfectly to this critical project by overcoming those rigidities and that hardness connected to the origins of that distant season. Each exhibition highlighted a series of personal expressive inspirations founded on individuality, an expression of intimacy. When looking at an artistic culture even if founded on “analytical expressive processes” – as in the case of Rita Rohlfing and Lore Bert – we must observe how the operational boundaries have nowadays broadened including emotional solutions; that is, where each different procedure tends to draw out tensions and splendour from the inside towards the perception. The 'processes' activate a vital dimension in constant growth and affirmation. This dimension is insistent because in repeating the icon, be it a form (Herbert Mehler) or a colour (Maria Wallenstall), it express contemporaneity.
The activation of an 'analytical' proceeding indicates a precise will that does not exclude the perception of emotions. The linguistic concept that leads to the definition of form and colour, the option for a support and the choice of a bonding agent, all indicate how the investigative territory of each artist has extended its own dimension.
A new art culture is born which finds in the contemporary world the need of confrontation, an opening to interference. A great example of this concept can be found in the work of Rainer Gross, in which the sculptural dimension of the colour carries out independently a strong and incisive creative action; and in the work of Lore Bert, in which the choice of using paper is crucial for each creative solutions.
Within this project I would have liked to include, among others, also Thomas Deyle, Markus Strieder and Heiner Thiel.
B.Bosch, A.Hess, W.Ewers, B.Liebel, J.Ligteringen, D.Maertens,T.Matt,M.Ott,D.Schon,
Freiburg (D) 2017
In 2017, this project examined the works of twelve artists around the city of Freiburg with the aim of providing a wide range of different linguistic-visual areas. In addition to the expressive qualities individually represented, the main idea was to propose a cross section of contemporary artistic culture on an representative level and without presumption of completeness. It was a matter of setting up a great exhibition where each artist could reveal the significant stages of his/her own expressive journey and develop a personal and articulated communication system.
We tried to avoid following the lines of a dangerously generic and not very thorough infinite collective exhibition, by dedicating the entire space for the development of autonomous ideas and projects with independent solutions, even through a dialectical relationship. All artist knew they had access to sufficient tools to express their own path, to underline objectives and solutions considered important in their research; each artist was able to distribute a number of works throughout the space, either following a chronological path or with separate thematic insights. It is also possible to perceive the value of this independence of analysis and judgement in the volume that accompanies this project. Thus a “kaleidoscope” was born first focused on Freiburg and then transferred to Padua, with a remarkable complexity of works, artefacts and this edition that records and interprets its multifaceted and problematic aesthetic dimension; an unprecedented event based on the complex dimension that the art system expresses in constant quest for renewal. A kaleidoscope that observes the overall and underlines the single artefact, that provokes the relationships between the artworks but also helps us dwell on the private dimension of a fragment, which seeks environmental perception but also directs our attention on the project grammar of doing and of creating.
Contemporary Art in Germany
Museum of Avellino Irpino
Max Diel, Ben Sleeuwenhoek.
C.Desgranges, R.Gross, I.Ringe,, R.Rolfing, M.Wallenstall-Schoenberg.
The new project is made up of two exhibition sections, one monographic and one collective, both capable of expanding and renewing what has been so far done and reported in these years. The monographic exhibition by Max Dill and Ben Sleeuwenhoek – compared to what has been done up to now -- adds a first moment of analysis on what takes place inside Berlin, but most of all it enlarges even more and also “revolutionizes” that dimension, in any case organic, that marked the previous project.
Analysing the works of C.Desgranges, R.Gross, I.Ringe,, R.Rolfing and M.Wallenstall-Schoenberg, in which shape and colour respond to a partially connected process, with solutions of one and the other, between cooling solutions but also with warm contributions of materials, we can insert in this context two expressive paths: Max Diel’s story with cards and reading Ben Sleeuwenhoek’s large paged books.
Monographic texts follow.
Max Diel “About not knowing and not wanting to go further”
Max Diel deals with constant and extended dimensions of figuration, connecting in particular to “story-telling by images” that passes through modern and contemporary times, without excluding a relation of continuity with the wider dimension of the European historical heritage. Following a process of work in regress, I believe it is useful to go back for a moment to the broader 'ancient' heritage, even if it might seem too far away not only from a chronological point of view, but also for a linguistic and visual grammars viewpoint, which characterized the development throughout the centuries and among the diverse geographic and cultural areas.
Using a critical approach that aims at personalizing the indications resulting from the perception of art and investigating through his painted canvases and his working papers, I observe that Max Diel's artworks describe that suspended time that links the present with the past. Following an interpretative process that in time freed itself from historical and scientific boundaries, I discover that every artwork records fragments of reality and images of time, according to an expressive approach traceable in the immense reservoir of art history. We can affirm that Max Diel intertwines, perhaps unconsciously, his work with 'hidden' expressive fields and with a series of minor 'fragments' belonging to the pictorial culture of all ages.
This collection of artworks can be define as 'minor', resulting from a 'disenchanted' observation, rarely developed outside of commissions, but as a result of personal curiosity.
Predominately, these artworks have the value of a 'remark', an accidental subject of inspiration, but linked to the sensitivity of the moment to then become an accomplished art work as such.
Just like the transcription work of Max Diel, the area of interest refers to everyday life; it lingers 'briefly' on the causality of an action, a gesture or a glance, lost in the everyday life: These images are the same that we have meet in the series of frescos and, more specifically, in the freer ‘synopses’, where freedom of expression was extensive, and, still in the boxes, in the preparatory sketches and in the small drawing books typical of 'modern times'.
Over the years and with important results even in this artistic phase, all of Max Diel's work, strictly tied to his inner sensibility, seems to want to respond – respecting the inner and the external privacy – proceeding with what we can define as “the distracted look', that is focused on understanding, without questioning, the meaning of a gesture, without wanting to know the reason of a glance, avoiding depth, registering only an attitude with no emotions related, through formal-chromatic solutions and with measured participation. Every subject undergoes a uniquely fit frame-shot never repeated for others.
For Max Diel this is mere curiosity, apparently without a real purpose, focused on catching the chromatic shades of an everyday action, chosen from millions of actions that every animated creature performs, but also of those many objects that live in the immobility of space. The painter and the watercolourist entrust the fluidities of colour to find a balance between the 'happening of a fact' and its possible development, without trying to find its sequence, settling with what the frame-shot selects from reality.
It’s no coincidence that the traditional process of observation and transcription of everyday life does not happen in a classical art studio isolated from society, separated from the everyday facts of life; Max Diel chooses to work in places and operational spaces where he can find all signals of the community, where he can capture noises and voices that give a ‘voice’ to his ‘images’ and that in turn we can ‘imagine’.
I found a perfect relation between the 'nature' of Sleeuwenhoek's study in Berlin and his work, between the radiance from the big windows that collect the north-eastern light and the 'clear' culture of his artworks, and further, the organization of the tables and bookcases that show an aesthetic compositional will. I could observe how the space where the artist lives and works can represent not only a mere operational place but it can also offer the perfect condition for observation and study, ultimately suggesting the idea that here it is possible to create that inseparable link between art and space into which the artist moves becoming a part of it.
Everything seems conducting to the research of a balance between different data, diversity which does not frighten its maker; the elaboration of an artwork is the perfect outcome of an expressive knowledge matured over time; every 'page', every different 'book' and every sculpture-object originate from particular processes capable of turning the occasional into a new series of values.
Through a careful check of the visual-linguistic tools, in particular by adapting collage to his expressive needs, Ben Sleeuwnhoek is able to promote the experimental dialogue between iconographic 'fragments' and chromatic influences, developing an 'encyclopedic' heritage as such. Over the years, the kaleidoscopic action of collection created a real “Archive of Art and Culture” confirming the role of collage in defining contemporary art, as happened with welding for sculpture.
I opened the anthology “Een keuze” which narrates the artistic history of Sleeuwnhoek between the 1987 and the 2001, discovering how much the relation of continuity with the present shows contamination between a real richness of ideas and the methodical and experimental process; through an attentive selection of the most different and distant iconographies, usually coming from the social capital, it reaches, work after work, a new grammar. Sleeuwehoek undertakes a work of investigation and review on the range and global dimensions of 'writing with images', re-elaborating fragments and subjects, themes and ideas giving them a completely new form with remarkable results and a layout of unquestionable greatness. Everything looks prefect, every sheet, every page and every finished book...so that the precision used it is not felt like an imposition nor the strictness a limit.
By observing Sleeuwenhoek's working place characterized by an intellectual awareness, with particular interest on the culture of materials and thus of appreciation and sharing his great sensitivity, everything seems to occur on a sort of suspended time. For every sheets or book or sculptures it is not a matter of ‘advancement at all costs’ but a production resulting from a process of transformation characterized by a productive immobility, that never repeats itself but on the contrary self-renovates, that grinds itself adding innovative fragments like an alchemist. Time becomes a 'bubble' of creativity that continuously self-transforms, which even these most recent papers come from and are witness.
Compared to the figurative archive of the past, Sleeuwehoek keeps the unicity of a single object, focusing on it all of his attention; he chooses to linger and dedicate himself to the golden rattle, building around it a bright chromatic reality, in other words “sonorous”. This research corresponds to an additional phase of conceptual communication, where two subjects contaminate each other, stimulating a reciprocal reaction.
Claudia Desgranges. Colour ‘in motion’ and ‘expanding’ light.
A dazzling white light is perfectly distributed in Claudia Desgranges’s space-studio in Cologne, reaching every corner and underlining the polychrome aspects of the artworks on the walls, on paper and in the ongoing books; light comes down from the very high ceiling, creating different relations between natural and artificial lighting and generating an atmosphere of complete isolation.
By eliminating all external distractions, one’s attention is focused on the relationship among the working tools, the supporting materials and the artworks, in particular among those still in a 'work in progress' phase and those completed; the aesthetic fulfilment of Claudia Desgranges's art moves forward through precise ideas of inspiration, among linguistic paths and areas of intervention. Over the years, it self-renovates following a progressive, experimental and consistent path, methodical and never improvised. Both white and colour are essential in delimiting the architectonic space of the studio, in clear correspondence with the expressive nature of Claudia Desgranges's artworks, all characterized by a constantly clear organization, never improvised, but the outcome of a sought and achieved balance.
In this frame, even the use of rigid and minimal material, industrial and not handicraft, such as aluminium, seems to be a factor that produces isolation of the artwork from its context, separating it from the wall in order to impose itself in the space and gain a separate structural purpose. The metallic sheet, a privileged material that substitutes the canvas, hosts the visual communication processes expressing itself in between the geometric dimension of the fragment and the composition of the different parts, choosing both vertical and the horizontal spaces, exploring the sequence at different levels.
These first indications all show how much the colour has gained a central role in Claudia Desgranges's interests and experimentations, reaching a new and specific expressive importance, thanks to the perfect definition of a 'chromatic writing' system and the relation between the material and the tools, the dimensions and the widths. The colour reaches an ideal condition and continues to communicate those new areas and values, capable of renovating itself consistently.
In fact, colour is 'in motion', dragged along the entire aluminium surface; it is neither diluted nor splashed, leaving traces of the material dimension and a trail showing its nature; the colour is carefully distributed on the surface by an expert hand extending and expanding its specific qualities. This dragging technique with comb brushes seems to ‘shred’ the texture of the single colour, in order to show the physiologic essence of a shining nature.
In parallel, Claudia Desgranges moves from the rigid and cold surface of aluminium to the warm and absorbing paper, towards the ancient atmosphere of paper and towards the insistent creation of great art books. Compared to the processes used within the strict and rigid metallic material, the wide zone of the Collection of Books and Papers seems to expand and free the liberating dimension of the expressive action of the artist.
The aesthetic relationship between aluminium and paper is in perfect equilibrium and it expresses itself in the creative working place, prepared to mark the exposition spaces and private collections through the vital content of colour, the result of analytic processes carried out with great sensitivity.
Rainer Gross. The diptych suggests the opening of a book, the leafing through of pages, the consequentiality of the story ...
My first encounter with Rainer Gross’ work took place in front of two big multi-pigmented paintings.I found myself facing a large-scale diptych, similar to an inaccessible wall, in which the blending of yellow with red was predominant. I realized straight away that the surface of the painting was not traditionallypainted, nor had a spatula been used. Hisprocess was not at all related to various forms of dripping methods, although one could sense a similar mix of light and energy that tends to characterizeAmerican paintings after the 1940s, which in turn influenced the Informel movement in European art.
My studies ofhistory and art, in particular art restoration, turned my attention to the textural thickness of the color, the physical substance coming from the inside, full of life. Very rarely have I found myself speechless in front of an artwork. Even though this art referencedvariouspieces of art history, it was something I’d never seen before, leaving me astonished and captivated. I did not perceive the ephemeral and superficial sensation of “novelty at all costs” typical of a self-referential tendency.Instead, I was pulled towardartwhich was painted in a completely new way. It overwhelmed me with the strength of an altarpiece.
Our relationship continued at Rainer Gross’ studio in Cologne, where we discovered that we had long heldsimilar interests in artistic relationships, whichled us to collaborate in several different exhibits in Italy and Switzerland. The impact of my initial encounter, later affirmed by a more extensive understanding of his art, connected me with my experience of ancient paintings,especially with the techniques of “peeling off” and “restoring” the fresco cycles.
Analyzing Gross’ artwork, I discovered that there exists a “strange” relationship between the background area of the painting, which originally was detached from the colored pigmentedforeground and thenfused with fragments on the supporting surface.The first time I saw his work, I felt as if I was on the opposite side of the piece, in a condition of presence and absence, and I re-discovered the importance of that phase as well, always hidden and unreachable. This is the principle from which Rainer Gross' diptychs originate: two surfaces are “stuck together” and then detached. Onekeeps evidence of the other, but they’re also independentofone another. The opposing faces communicate and tell a storysuggesting loss between the pigmented materials and the polychrome surfaces. The abrasions reveal the piece’s initial unity.
Starting from the fascinating notion of a hidden aesthetic reality, I then studied his process for stratifying a painting, gathering emotions in front of the accumulated crusted surfaces, adialogue of the epidermal condition of color.
The polychrome variable layers seem to be infinite as they constantly shift either because of strong conflict or dissonance. The diptych suggests the opening of a book, the leafing through pages, the consequentiality of a story.Especially during the age of woodcarvings, the diptych turns our focus to the revealing of theological truths, of which ancient art history has been the crucial witness. We cannot forget the “religious” aspect and the spiritual atmosphere that the contemporary age of painting has revealed through movement, light, and material, from Pollock to Rothko and Burri.The constancy of the diptych and its predominant preference for the square shape takes a step toward concentration and psychological tension, underlining and improving perception.
I am not able to 'measure' how much influence her Swedish origins and the relation between her everyday life and her art studies have had on her work or have left specific traces in the expressive story of Maria Wallentål and in her most recent artwork collection considered in this edition; but, I must say that the chromatic dimension organized by solid and material background colours, detailed in an engraved border, suggests a linguistic relation with His excellency, the Scandinavian Edward Munch.
What must be acknowledged from the artwork of the Norwegian artist – independent from the 'underlining' process typical of German Expressionism – is the presence of broad and bright background colours, defined by a strong silhouette form placed in the space. Furthermore, we must underline the monochrome scale of values characterized by an interlocking independence, maybe the beginning of an analytical and aniconic process, founded on reds, whites and greens. By observing the painting “The girls on the bridge' of 1902, we can see how much the artist is interested in representing the physical essence of the dress, using the physical strength of the consistency of the background colours; another methodological aspect also evident in 'the dance' of 1899 of Edward Munch is seen in the monochromatic surfaces through a process of 'work in regress' that tends towards the principle of 'Giotto's bell' used in the dark monochromes of the Cappella Bardi.
From a critical experience, these details can be part of a visual-linguistic consolidated heritage, built in time, with unplanned similarities found in Maria Wallenstål-Schoenberg's work.
My first encounter with Maria Wallenstål-Schoenberg took place in a gallery completely dedicated to small dimension paintings; a big white wall separated the precious power and the lively energy of about ten chromatic dowels, forcing the viewer to follow never losing sight, revealing short movements of shapes and solutions often 'acidic'; the first perception is followed by an inner reading of every single fragments enlightening the plastic texture of the colour distributed according to an 'ancient drawing' process.
On the trail of the small paintings collection, amazed and engaged, I stopped and explored the extension of colour and shapes of the bigger canvas; in this second phase, the dimension became the beginning of an observation, then of participation and lastly of a new and further idea of expressive vitality, having the shape of confront-contrast concept. Even in the stratification of the whites, the extension of the painting space and of the forces that float and organize themselves within introduced the strength of what we can define as 'a wall of colour'. We can then realize that the big canvases of Wallenstål are able to open a series of interesting relationships with the dimensions of contemporary architecture. We can therefore affirm that Maria Wallenstål-Schoenberg's large dimension artworks, without ever losing their intensity, are projected towards the expressive field of the 'joie de vivre' in the most vivid chromatic solutions, characterized by her blues, oranges, greens and reds.
It is no coincidence that her studio in Munich, situated in the middle of a great artistic area, represents the perfect space for the achievement of the artistic doing that communicates with the spatial dimension. The original structure of a big military barrack, with its common access area and long hallways, together with the concentrated space of the studio, represent that perfect habitat where that state of inner discretion can be found, necessary for the creation of each one of her artworks; light penetrates through a long horizontal window, spreading across equally on the three working wall - detailing the 'projects and sketches' on the shelves and on the tables – an arrangement that gives maximum extension to the big artworks, so that the deep yellows and oranges can explode inside their shape.
Ivo Ringe. Blackboards of paint.
I do not agree with the worries of those who, following an apparent scientific pureness of art, do not consider the relations that exist between observation/criticism of the artwork with the author’s personality. Without falling into a reductive list of biographic notions, I believe that, based on the direct experience he of who lives the life of the art studios, a meaningful and very precious aspect is getting to know and introducing the perception of human values in judging the art work. In the case of Ivo Ringe, personality has an important weight that cannot be hidden or excluded when directly observing his paintings; there is a very powerful energy and a strong tendency towards enthusiasm and existential involvement, all aspects that give importance and expressive value to his paintings.
From an emotional perspective, during my first phase in approaching Ringe's work I recognized a condition of distance, a kind of independence between each single canvas and the enjoyment of the viewer; the smallest artworks, in which one’s attention focuses on the pictorial material, maybe because of its intimate making, induced my emotions to empathize with his works and determine a deeper understanding.
My visit to his studio in Cologne, followed by several encounters in Italy, allowed me to extrapolate and underline an expressive heritage resulting from a pictorial culture where the aim of the project and the organization of the mental space preserve a structural meaning. The extension of the different monochromatic surfaces, from green to rose, from black to yellow, become the support for an aesthetic-analytical process that turns into graphic solutions and plane geometries; the drafting process is based on a deep knowledge of the pureness of a pigment and its capability of expression in researching a perfect relation with the space offered.
He creates his artworks, even of great dimensions, defined as 'blackboards of paint'; these are layouts that are looking for a mental condition within space, a state of mind, and that go into the participative condition of perception. Both in the large exposition spaces of museums and in the intimate space of private collections, Ringe's artworks are witnesses of an aesthetic experience born and built on the perfect balance between passion and rigour, between energy and structure; from the monochromatic fragment to the instalment of large dimension paintings into the habitat, we are all introduced into a completely unseen space of contemporary art, a result of the encounter between the European season of the practical art and the North-American analytic art heritage. In Ivo Ringe's work, we can feel a firm aesthetic statement, characterized by a will to geometrically define positive space, but also to reach celestial constellations and geographic papers, through paths and tracks that join the deepest shelter of 'thought'. The 'board' concept, considered as a place of research and writing, specifically refers to Joseph Beyus, who was Ivo Ringe's teacher during his academic years in Dussenldorf. When referring to the 'board' concept my intention is to go back to the values of tracing lines and defining spaces, within the intuitive relation that has always united science to art, mathematics to painting, philosophy to aesthetics.
On the basis of this analytical path, we must also focus on the titles and their sequence that characterize the artwork collection; these are suggestions that Ivo Ringe openly declares referring to states of mind and poetic emotions; the deep personality of Ringe emerges through artworks that describe the sweetness of a family portrait surrounded by a pink grid, a garden with its first buds, among the burning deserts of New Mexico, the awakening of a love, the reds and warm oranges and yellows of “A sunny day”.
Rita Rohlfing's art studio is situated in the suburbs of Cologne, in an area full of laboratories and factories; the structure resembles a big warehouse or a depot; the dimensions and appearance of the facility recall the tangible work experience of production and stocking.
All of these aspects reveal useful indications to correctly place Rita Rohlfing's artistic activity within the industrial culture setting, its productions and technologies. This not only refers to the obvious need of space that sculpture normally requires, but it is linked to several matters and values that have their origin in the industrial reality: from regimented processes to experimentation, from rigour to organization, from precision, order and organization along the entire processes. On the other hand, we do know that monumental artworks together with those of smaller dimension are very often conceived and designed in the art studio, whereas the actual production happens in real workshops according to the materials chosen and the technologies needed.
Even the monographs dedicated to Rita Rohlfing show a research activity that focuses on various industrial materials with the intent to verify their expressive potentials.
She analyses the texture and the structure of plexiglass (methyl methacrylate) and its stratification in order to create, through transparency, a system of luminous variables; using an attentive selection of colours, Rita Rohlfing stimulates up to exasperation the fluorescent dimension of material, obtaining a pervasive and captivating reverberation on the space. Thanks to the lightness and the ductility of aluminium, she creates artworks where light is always the main subject investigated and the central theme of the artwork; the cut of the metallic surfaces follows a study of those shapes that redraw the perceptive dimension of space.
During these years, she carries out a large production of artworks, organized by Cycles that are characterised by the changing of shapes, colour and light. Every collection is, in fact, differently marked by the use of these supporting materials – aluminium, steel and plexiglass – on which several variable options depend, both for dimension and for exposition spaces, between museums and private spaces: the big 'architectural' structures are placed into the landscape with the aim to create and 'exasperate' the imaginative productivity of the installation, both from a dimensional perception and emotional viewpoint, expressed by the relation between colour and light...the sandblasted aluminium slabs are distributed in space with their designed shapes spreading them apart... the plexiglass containers collect and enclose the evanescence of the light with all of its emotions...the most recent large dimension photographs printed on aluminium sheets are reflecting walls that have the main task to express the inside and the outside of the artwork, through incisions and flares, into its secret worlds and in between traces of reality, along the passing of time.
This is a creative path where the personal sensitivity is strictly tied to the study and experimentation processes, to then unfold in the production and installation phase. Thus, we can affirm that every artwork comes from the discovery and the realization of an experimental desire where the experience of 'pleasure' slowly find its space; we can also perceive that Rita Rolfingh's artistic culture allows us to live a sophisticated and not accidental aesthetic experience, even though there exists a rigorous dimension of geometries and the minimization of data utilized; we know that this is a territory of research that follows a specific scientific rigour that imposes her a small range of solutions, with small amount of supporting information, in which Rita Rohlfing moves with high sensibility and desire to reach the dimension of beauty.