GEHEIMNIS DER DINGE. MALSTÜCKE
Secret of things. Painted Pieces. The depiction of things – and their secrets, too – has a long visual historical tradition. The opulent floral still lifes of Dutch painters hide subtle messages through the meanings attributed to flowers and blooms; the artistic avant-garde of the 20th century was inspired by figures, masks, and cult objects from Africa and Oceania and – with their mysterious and magical significance – they became a fixture of their images. The artists of the »Neue Sachlichkeit« resisted against a relativization of the material in their own way. Their works are composed of small details and inconspicuous items, from which a peculiar poetry emanates. An often utterly unspectacular, easily overlooked reality: a sink, a glass, a cactus, or a carcass. No object seemed too banal to conceal a secret or a magic charm.
The »painted pieces« by the fifty artists taking part in the exhibition present materiality as the greatest common denominator. The images show tangible things, found objects, and everyday utensils, but also surreal forms and abstract objects, painted “tangibly.” From the classic still life to the assortment of objects, from the cuboid to the smudge: the objects depicted are transformed into painting, and open up a range of pictures celebrating painting in small to very small format: none of the paintings on display are bigger than 50 x 40 cm.
Bestowing a secret upon things: some works hint at an individual significance. Unspectacular objects are celebrated through painterly appropriation. Quietly and subtly painted glasses and vessels store a trace of the absent person who uses, utilizes, and leaves behind these things every day. Painterly inventions – rendered on the paintings surface – become secret keepers; thickly-painted color traces of concepts and still lifes, detailed and encrypted, open up a spectacle of things. Images of images become motifs themselves. But the question concerning the “secret of things” not only directs the gaze to what is necessarily hidden, but also to what is evident: what do we see in things, what allusions, clarifications, and new insights arise in relation to reality? But some things remain a secret, unexplained and enigmatic. The invitation of this exhibition is to trace this, to find the magic in things, as well as the open-mindedness to tolerate the enigmatic.