Paintings (Squares), 2004


Red or Black Gouache on Various Sheets of Paper, 50 x 70 cm

The paintings are done in four brushstrokes using a 12 cm wide flat brush. The strokes are applied in mechanical way from upper left to lower left, lower left to lower right, lower right to upper right, and upper right to upper left corner resulting in a square formed from a circular structure.

The gouache is thinned just a bit, so that the strokes start to break up into a line pattern towards their end. This is overlaid by the following stroke resulting in a grid like or woven pattern where broken up strokes overlay. These make a figure emerge from the otherwise flat and monochrome paint.

Paintings (Squares) is the first piece, in which I have actually painted. It picks up the question of a figure that shows a squarish structure as a result of the method in which it was produced. Remember Me (2000) and Jpg-Artefacts (2004) are other examples from my digital practise.

As well as enquiring into the nature of such figures, I also wanted to understand the direct involvement of my hand in the work and to see what kind of decisions have to be made during the process. My experience was that painting as leaving a more or less conscious mark on the material puts the artist at a loss as far as the reason for his choice is concerned. A methodical approach to painting appears to better allow and to stabilise the claim my hand makes on the paper. Of particular interest to me is the half-randomly occurring breaking up of the brush mark. The figure, while relying on the square outline as a result of the method, emerges not as a direct result of the brush (that is the square itself) but as an organic structure embedded in such a result.

Aesthetically, Paintings (Square) borrow from the involvement of chance in the production phase of an artwork. The work, however, does not promote chance in a manner of Dada, but rather embeds it in the dominant figures of grid and square that highlight the importance of the constructed and mechanical painting process. That the work is paper based is important, because the figure (square) need not negotiate its relation to the edge in the same way as a figure on canvas does. Paper needs also not to be grounded, thus separating the figure more radically from the background. Such separation reminds of minimal strategies that make the simplicity of the figure stand out and highlights the mythical element in modern art.