Painting, it seems to me, is fragile. Painting can be a technical transportation problem and a pleasure or a burden—but this technical transportation of paint from the painting table to the canvas has as little to do with painting as a pianist’s finger movements have to do with music.
Painting flashes up in the moment where the colours come together into a colour sound or harmony. It is a very brief moment, and quite a fierce process. At first, one paints about on a canvas for weeks, and nothing happens. But then, all of a sudden, I can see how something wants to emerge from the chaotic confusion of my paints. Almost as if the painting had a will of its own—almost as if it were a living creature. For a moment, it pauses. Then this painting appears in its fullness. Then I can quite suddenly stop the whole process of paint transportation. Every additional brushstroke would damage the painting.
I am working currently in a balance of incidental and construction moments. I wish my paintings to look a bit as if they had been made by chance operations, and be like a view out of a closed window into a spring garden.
And then this moment of painting remains in a work like a memory. Painting itself, however, has withdrawn again. Often, I paint the next work only to be able to encounter this miracle of painting again. It seems increasingly incredible to me how something can emerge from paints that can touch me so much. This touch is for me painting.
My painting from this year is wilder, more rugged, weathered, offhand, uncomfortable, headstrong, turbulent, passionate, dynamic, impulsive—and my paintings are more beautiful than ever before.
Text by Michael Toenges, 5 December 2019. Courtesy Galerie Albrecht.