»Tile« exhibition view, Hannu Prinz, Elmar Vestner, Roman Liska, Andreas Helfer


For some time an irritating type of work occurs in collective consciousness. The confusion stems from the fact that current events are
refused by artistic strategies of reduction. In retreat from the spectacular performance outpourings of contemporary art productions, there is an increased focus on something that was formerly rather located in the realm of the casual, of chance and seemingly natural fact and therefore not given much attention.

The representational oozes out the textures of the canvases. The process corrodes the brilliance of the slide. The materiality overgrows the form. The cut divides the surface. This entity is held by the intentions of an avant-garde only. Here the refusal of the grand gesture, the abandonment of representational mapping, the lack of conventional composition is replaced by focusing on the authenticity of the material, the emphasise on precious traces of the process and the engineering of lacking visual information. An artistic approach as such leaves the texture, the tactile, the seemingly casual setting, the crack through the layering as remains and result. Juggling these sensitive moments the work offers its specific existence, appealing to our “visual sense of touch” and calling on our tactile memory. Its quality is refined in arranging an elegant “withdrawal”, a blur of importance by forcing a demand, which can only be completed in ourselves. We are confronted with the provocative presence of these works among us that seem like empty memories or like a promise not understood. The fact that it causes many contemporaries a shrug at best, might indicate some quality.

Maybe it’s the desire for authenticity in an increasingly flexible presence or a rather subjective motivated border crossings into supposedly last frontier areas of visual arts. It may also be the appreciation of obvious vulnerability amid highly conceptual and ironic appropriation art: there might be various reasons and they might operate subconsciously. However, this movement is clearly visible and it is fed especially fed by the artists and galleries in Berlin. Raphael Rubinstein introduced the concept of “Provisional painting” as a new trend in contemporary painting in 2009 and complimented the phenomenon with an exhibition “Provisional Painting” and two texts. Thus he detected a development for the first time, which “Tile” is now going to approach too. The exhibition can certainly be seen as a forwarding of Rubinstein’s theses, but it prefers to doubt the term “Provisional” as apt classification. With a different understanding of the meaning and genuine motivation of the movement it comes to shifted terms. “Tile” also exceeds the limits of the one genre and combines positions from artists working in painting , photography and sculpture . This certainly reflects current circumstances, since the new appreciation of the tactile has long ascertained other genres and obtains important impulses from process-based photography or the frequent fragility of contemporary sculpture.

Stephan Köhler

frontviews temporary at
Kunstquartier Bethanien
Mariannenplatz 2
10997 Berlin