Simply Paint?

When you find yourself appreciating plain black paintings, you know it's a good exhibition!

 In the midst of Tiergarten lies a little oasis of art. So near to the chaos of the Siegessäule but a world away in the Hansaviertel. It is here that you will find the Akademie der Künste, and here that I finally got the point of solid, block-colour paintings and finally realised the difference between painting and painting. They sound the same but one creates pictures, the other is experimental, almost scientific.


In this enlightening exhibition “Aufbruch, Malerei und realer Raum”, the limits of painting are pushed and explored. When does a painting become a sculpture or an installation? The reality is that painting can be all of this. Contrasting colours and shapes sit flat whilst other works come out of the canvas and are morphed into a toadstall shape, combine with other objects, or continue onto the surrounding wall, litterally breaking the boundaries of the canvas.

Black, black and yep black again!

3 black canvases, same shape, same size, same colour. Come on!!..art? My cynical art-side hardly let me accept it easily, but accept it I did! Up close you realise its an experiment. Each canvas grows more crinkly, which looks at the colour and medium of the paint! I am surprised at myself but I really am beginning to appreciate monochrome painting…there isn’t even any variation in the shade of black!


When it comes to the works of Bridget Riley it’s not all black and white. Well, the colours are, but not the feeling and effects. Standing in the middle of a circular, spiraling wall, my eyes are flickering and the walls are moving, I feel like I’m going crazy. Many of the other static paintings, including Riley’s other work “Movement in Squares” have been given the gift of movement by the artist slash illusionist! This illusion not only gave movement but also depth. At times my face was as close to the painting as the gallery would allow and I still could not tell if Yvaral’sChromatisation violet” was a 2D painting or a multi-layered collage!

Who stole my art?

As well as appreciating the whole block-colour thing, I found I was also appreciating the absent! The evidence that something had been attached to various paintings and removed or painted over was common in many of the paintings. Where was the horse-shoe, the selotape…..the painting? The evidence that something had been removed gave the surface a history and a movement, in a very different way to the illusional works on display. An empty frame, a solid white painting, over what looks like traces of a painting beneath and a canvas with pin-holes where something should be attached all show you the missing aspects and paint the picture by leaving it out!

  • Akademie der Künste Group Exhibition “Aufbruch, Malerei und realer Raum”, May 4th – July 1st 2012, Tue – Sun: 11am – 8pm