Steine zum Keimen bringen
19 September – 31 October 2015
Making stones sprout
I try to paint clear pictures, so clear that they appear strange. The visual experience of simple things that are easy to depict becoming unsettling, so that a description of the picture in words is impossible. One wants to place the whole world in a picture, but ultimately one has to restrict oneself to just two or three things. It is difficult to cope with this freedom! And if one wants to play the game one has to select costumes: armour, elephants, mountains, cows and much more.
But this iconography is relatively limited. All these mountains, trees, grotesque signs, animals, colours and materials are doors.
They are part of a common language. Everyone knows a cow, a mountain or hair inserted in color.
They enable contact to be made to the viewer, precisely this clarity that I spoke about. They are not metaphors or symbols. They have, without doubt, a sense, a meaning, but what interests me most of all is the ability to stimulate the imaginary. They are almost always forms without temporal reference, they are not from any particular epoch or culture.
The bestiary is omnipresent: trees, mountains, as well as human figures.
What is special about the slabs of marble, as I mentioned, is that they carry these traces of nature. They are not neutral. Reacting to the veins in the marble – like a "daubography" exercise or when playing with the Rorschach test – doesn't interest me, I consider this to be exhausted. I prefer a softer approach, a layering. What the marble suggests is more like a form of attraction, the possibility of answering with painting. Sometimes it takes a long time until something emerges, each slab is unique.
I find the majority of themes in earlier pictures, however, this new carrier forces a crystallisation, the forms are frozen. As the background is highly dynamic a boundary is required in order to find a balance. Sometimes it feels like I am playing chamber music: using instruments and codified forms to find new answers. One can't always say the same thing with the same tone, making art also means variation. It is a means of tuning the eyes like instruments.
Daniel Schlier in conversation with painter Michael Anders
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