Strawalde, Mark Lammert
27 February – 11 April 2015
Two painters from two different generations. Strawalde and Mark Lammert are artists who devote their work in the studio exclusively to painting, pursuing "color and form within surface and space", not intellectual concepts or the exploration of the digital swamp of images in which we threaten to sink. Perhaps their primary concern is not even with "the image", as painting is always both the subject and object of the anamnesis of its material, visual as well as biographical preconditions. A process that necessitates a certain hermeticism. This categorical, occasionally autistic character of their work as painters, requires that they seek out and find a direct engagement with so-called reality in other fields. Lammert in the theatre, where he traces a dramaturgical picture in color within the space of the stage; Strawalde as the director Jürgen Böttcher who generates a picture of space, both real, mental and social, within the medium of film. Both are eminently political and intellectually engaged, as well as reflective people, who precisely for precisely this reason keep their work as artists free from avowals and metaphors. The work itself is enough of a metaphor and proclamation.
But, in terms of their work, it is not really possible to compare them. Strawalde works quasi eruptive on his paintings and paper works, in contrast Mark Lammert is processual. Strawalde looks for the surprise, the synaesthesia with music and nature, the ever new of discovery, turning his inner world outwards, above all when pursuing painting as performance. So Mark Lammert has an intimate relationship to film. He is firmly rooted in the history of art and image, the physical and psychological materiality of color, observing, both in his paintings and drawings, the phenomenon of the disappearance of figure and body. But, he is not a pictor doctus. In many senses his pictures are serial examinations, artistic statements of perceptual relationships in dialogue with scientific methods. In one of our conversations he described it as follows: "When one decides to work in series, then you have to remain concentrated for a very long time. This concentration is the content, the attempt to create a volume of concentration in painting which is perhaps still possible in drawing. The pictures emerge in a causal parallelism. And when you have worked for a year all you see is that you need another three years, and when you have worked three years you see that you need another seven years. (…) The goal is each individual picture. But, the more you do, the clearer you see that things elude you. It is about maintaining a balance between the sensuous, or more accurately the haptic, and the intention. This is one of the few reasons why one should paint at all."
In contrast, standing together in front of one of his pictures, Strawalde described his credo as follows: "For me the picture is a kaleidoscope of thousands of colors which you have already seen in nature as a child, of greens, of flowers, mayflowers, bellflowers on a meadow – as if in a State of intoxication you sense the world in all its richness. Not in the sense of a hierarchy, but of everything side by side. And when you succeed in creating such a picture, then you realize that you have captured all of this. This extends back to the roots. When you succeed in establishing an associative connection to childhood, then a knowing pleasure, a total sound emerges. And you also have to consider that a life of 80 years is an endless assent, and at the same time a descent – both at once. The fact that one lives, this can't be denied, however, the truth is that one is not really in a position to enter into contact with it. One can only really stand it by not thinking about it too much, as in principle it is far too mysterious. It is such a demanding task which one has assumed, without being asked, that one is amazed that the majority of people walk about the streets as if it wasn't a problem…"
Maybe these short excerpts serve to clarify the character of the relationship between intention and result for these two artists – and their "demanding task".
Matthias Flügge, February 2015
translation: Colin Shepherd
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