The next presentation for spring 2014 will be the German painter Michael Jäger with ‘Bells”, a series of smaller format paintings. (From 23rd. of May)
Jäger’s works focus a vital point, in so far as the question of the individual painting is not simply declared obsolete (as would be easy and is indeed practised in many quarters) but raised in the context of an extended concept of painting – extended, that is, to include the painting as a space-related installation – and unfolded as an inquiry into the uncertainty principle. It is only in an oscillating equilibrium, where the idea of a consistent individual painting is simultaneously sacrificed and upheld, that the making of a painting will be made possible by balancing centripetal and centrifugal forces. This does also imply that the idea of purification of the painting towards a fictitious absolute zero – so essential to modern art – is no longer realizable for Michael Jäger. His own strategy could rather be described as following a principle of controlled ‘depurification’: meaning an approach where nothing ever occurs in a pure or unequivocal state; where things only subsist in a permanent process of crossing over and hybridization. In this sense the geometrical colour surfaces in Jäger’s paintings appear equally close to monochromes and to a denial of the idea of monochromatic autonomy. And the object-likeness of his oddly shaped forms turns out upon closer inspection to be the phantom of a perception preoccupied with identifying the familiar even where only the unfamiliar exists. The painting technique also abides by this structure of ambiguity: while the painterly passages occasionally show a synthetic coolness, the soberness of the plain paint coat in the more monochromatic parts is counteracted by intentional individualities. Purity, we are told, is the death of the picture. The consequence (itself paradoxical) which follows from this finding can be studied at length in Jäger’s works: conceptions which in their absolute, radical ambivalence contemplate depurification as a possibility of speaking of purity without depicting it.
Text by: Stephan Berg
View into the exhibition at the Artothek Cologne
9.01 -22.02. 2014