Heribert C. Ottersbach's painting is one of subtle tones, a kind of painting that constantly unfolds its effect from the depths of countless layers of paint. His leitmotif here is a constant investigation of the relevance of the painted image.Read More
Ottersbach started out in the extremely vital art scene of 1980s Cologne. His brushwork was rather gestural then, sometimes expressive. He quickly made his presence felt among the artists who were making a name for themselves at the time on the former industrial site of the Stollwerck chocolate factory, with exhibitions such as Profil in 1983 and Der Hang zum Pathos in 1986.
His interest in history and memory began early on, initially in the form of self-invented pictures, to which the Rheinische Landesmuseum in Bonn devoted a large solo exhibition in 1993.
After a short abstract phase, Ottersbach began to work with preexisting visual material in the 1990s. He rearranges historical images found in archives, revising and transforming them into a painting. He usually treats his interests here in an associative way.
In 1997, his 44-part work o.T. (Jugend) was on view in the much acclaimed exhibition Deutschlandbilder at the Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin. In 2003, the Museum Folkwang in Essen showed ECHTZEIT.6889, a complex of works on recent German history from the '68 movement to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
In 2007 the Kunsthalle Tübingen dedicated an comprehensive exhibition to Heribert C. Ottersbach. In 2008 the Institut Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt did a solo exhibition of his architectural pictures. In the same year, he mounted two further solo exhibitions at the Museum Villa Stuck in Munich and at the Hamburger Kunsthalle, which focussed on the theme of landscape. In 2012 his portraits were on view at the Forum Kunst Rottweil.
Ottersbach works through painting's classical genres and investigates their contemporary relevance. To this end, he internalises and exploits the technical possibilities of other media competing with painting in the production of images. The endless storage of digitally-available images of our time provides the basis for his computer-generated pre-compositions. He checks every picture–whether found or self-made–for its usefulness as a painting before deciding on further use. Here, he is mainly interested in the painted picture, which has the power to prove itself amidst the contemporary flood of short-lived images.
Text courtesy Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art.