Those who know Oliver Gröne's previous works are already aware that there is no stagnancy for this artist. Whether 19th-century French landscape painting, birch forests, baroque still lifes or the modern compositions of Cubism and Pittura Metafisica - he repeatedly finds subjects, approaches and epochs with which he conducts a dialogue and raises old questions anew. The answers in his paintings are never mere rejection or adaptation, but always his own perspective and individual further development of a topic.

In his current exhibition he confronts us with a new main motif: the head. His cabinet does not consist of real personalities shown in portraits, but rather of mysterious types, composed of collage-like arranged surfaces, elements and forms, which only suggest the figure and motivate the viewer to associate and assign: What makes a head a head and makes it a role, a character even without individual traits? Where are the boundaries? And what kind of personality could the figure depicted here be in the end?

Freely and not without humour, the artist plays with dimension, perspective and layer. He does not tier individual surfaces as is customary in the view, but rather superimposes them provocatively and seemingly arbitrarily with a conscious hint of three-dimensionality. At second glance one might assume that this is perhaps not about a human head at all, but about a distant sculpture from it, something disassembled and reconstructed.

Only because they are put in the appropriate place, tiny circles appear as eyes, a wave as mouth, or a dark part as beard. Rectangles and semicircles become noses and wavy silhouettes are enough to make out a hairstyle. Although single parts are given their own, completely new colours, far removed from natural realities, front surfaces and hair sometimes resemble much more the form and appearance of a heating pipe and tones such as pink, purple, blue or green should not actually allow any thoughts of facial features, Oliver Gröne manages to catch the head again and again in its basic composition. He hits the lowest common denominator of the subject, without even remotely contenting himself with the simplicity of the proverbial moon face of point, dot, comma and stroke. Complex and eager to experiment, he repeatedly varies the compositional approaches, finds new ways of forming and pushes abstraction to the extreme. In the end it is painting.


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