Painting Project Space
10 - 27 March 2009
David Harley [Australia]
Essay by David Thomas [Australia]
A collaboration between two artists each with a history of developing an individual language of non-representational painting. This installation explores the affect of working together on their imagery, forms and spaces.
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Here I will just send you some small versions of sketches I am making on the computer that I will then spray paint from in the space.
I had sent Michael sketchup models of the space to help him to realize and conceive the space. I work often with this program to help me anticipate and plan the installations - working between 3d and constructing images in 2d and placing them in the model and then assessing and repeating the process until I am satisfied.
I visited Michael and his studio in Cologne (22-26/01/09) and made many photos and absorbed the work and we got to know each other - before this we had visited museums together. He had previously visited my studio in Frankfurt after seeing my catalogue last February (2008). It seems at this stage that we are responding to each other's abstract imagery. 1
INTRODUCTION David Thomas
How do I do justice to the ideas if the works are not yet made? My solution is to be collaborative, to construct the essay as a field for images, writings and quotation... as a composite.
The composite is composed of components different in kind reconciled by the viewer in time.
Harley's and Jäger's practice can be understood as a composite, their immersive works in situ assist us in understanding that readings are located... not only in space but in time, in the perception of the viewer...
Temporal structure is not a matter of putting together given discrete items. On the contrary, so called discrete items are only apparent when we have a need to pluck them from our continuing experience. 2
The originality of Harley's and Jäger's work lies not simply in technologies of fabrication but in their articulation of extended multi-layered pictorial spaces of paradox and relational becoming.
His (Jäger's) own strategy could rather be described as following a principle of controlled 'depurification': meaning an approach where nothing ever occurs (in his work) in a pure or unequivocal state. 3
Immersive space. Enfolding time.
The wall in relation to Jäger's and Harley's work.
The wall is understood as absolute space like the pages of a book, one public the other private. 4
The nineteenth century German architectural theorist, Gottfried Semper, looked to the Pacifi c and the medieval Germanic traditions to illustrate his idea that one of architecture's central functions was to be a support for imagery and symbolism. The main function of the wall, he stated was not in the structural creation of physical space, but as a frame and support for imagery in order to create imaginative space...
Jäger's and Harley's practice helps me to consider this.
Colour and Time. Does colour have its own speed? How do the works of Harley and Jäger relate to this? Their Colour is complex and elusive: colours of industry, of plastic, digital and new paint technologies... colours of the traditional palette... fluro/bright primaries mix into dirty tertiaries. Harley's and Jäger's work creates movement between unity and fragmentation.
It's interesting that we all have an interest in Bonnard. 5
It's not a matter of painting life, it's a matter of giving life to paint. 6
David Thomas Feb 2009
1 DH Email to DT. Feb 2009. 2 F.C.T. Moore. Bergson: Thinking Backwards. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. p.55.
3 Berg, Stephan. in: Positionen. Beobachtungen zum Stand der Malerei in den neunziger Jahren. Folkwang Museum, Essen 1997. Translation by Katrin Grünepütt, Berlin 2005.
4 Sol Le Wit
5 DH from an email to DT. Feb 2009.
6 One of Pierre Bonnard's last notes. 1946.