Monday, 22 March 2010

Wobbly Minimalism by Stefan Müller in Baden-Baden

The Staatliche Kunstalle Baden-Baden has a show of the painter Stefan Müller. These works explore the current trend in contemporary painting in dismantling minimalism and creating a lighter aesthetic quality to the work. This painting nods happily to Ken Noland, (see earlier Obituary post) and yet suggesting a way forward. A number of Müller's works have this lightness to them, some work better than others, as always..

Stefan Müller, Enzian, 2006
Acrylic, lacquer and shellac on nettle
150 x 150 cm / 59.1 x 59.1", Photo: Ludger Paffrath, Berlin

Using a reduced palette and motifs in his work, 'he paints on untreated canvas, cotton fabric, or used fabrics such as bed sheets, which he exposes to accidental modification before and during the act of painting. Beer stains, ashes, dust, coffee, or blood often replace the conventional varnish. His palette of materials ranges from acrylic, transparent lacquers, oil, and silicone to markers, pencils, and crayons. He also integrates banal elements such as dirt, tissue paper, confetti, and glitter into his works.' (add some blood and it would be Pollock.)

I believe we are seeing the signs of an unravelling of the old 20th Century dogmatic approach to theory, especially in painting, these ideals somehow don't fit for the open, global, cross cultural/cross-disciplinary world of the new century. Anyone else feel this way?

Stefan Müller
Jaki Liebezeit, 2001
Acrylic on canvas
135 x 100 cm / 53,1 x 39.4’’
Photo: Simon Vogel, Cologne

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