Heiner Blumenthal Space Spy – Construction and dissolution

One thing at a time. But before I begin to write about Heiner Blumenthal’s pictures, I ought to mention that they are very big – and light. They even look light, because they are not totally covered in paint, let alone a ground, but bear just lines and structures in limited colours, sometimes only in black. As far as transport and installation are concerned, they are pictures – canvas, frames and so on. But seeing them on the wall, one does wonder whether they really are pictures, given their lack of ground and colour. On the one hand, there is the panel painting in its nakedness; on the other, those lines and bundles of lines in their heterogeneity. Not painted pictures, but frameworks and signs assembled on the raw material of the picture. “Scenario” or’,’field of action” is how one might describe the painted parts if that didn’t immediately renrind one of war reporting. So maybe it would be better to think in terms of “situations”.                                                                           So Blumenthal’s sign constructs are far from being paintings. Yet they would be inconceivable outside the pictures. The canvasses are designated as pictures. The detail is invested with its own logic because it undermines the composition. Illusionism is evoked, yet quite willingly diverts its power of persuasion onto the abstract surface. As if the situational moment were appointing itself to be the picture. “The detours of technology, the linearity of the mind” is how Moholy-Nagy described such artistic incidents. But now we must get to the point, and discuss what is in the actual pictures (the exhibited ones) – if I view the enormous pictures as a kind of comic. I can see scaffolding, constructions, aerials, tentacles and struts. Are we supposed to feel as if we are caught inside huge space laboratories or in a microcosmic chain of molecules? Or should we stay put within the artistic environment of El Lissitzky’s “prouns”? You can never be sure with all these floating “architectons”. With protean energy, they first appear as giant Mondrianesque lattices, then as constructional slogans. Since they keep shifting between a static and a dynamic method, they can never be pinned down as enlarged quotations.                                                                                                                                      What one finally sees is a criss-cross of lines – rather like chinoiserie and trellising – which in the eyes of the dazzled art historian suggest the crossed swords of the Meissen porcelain emblem.                                                                                                                         Heiner Blumenthal’s way of counteracting the threat of an aesthetically teasing or exalted construct has recently been to introduce scattered blotches which imbue the constructive genre with a certain blurredness, or just simply with life. The result is an org

anic but dangerous balance. For what previously had had the appearance of a framework, now undergoes a metamorphosis into a compactable concertina barrier. However, what looks amorphous switches over to a subversive “basso continuo”. Let’s stop looking for more certainty. The feeling of “entering” already contains all that’s important.                              Veit Loers (Kassel., 19.2.1991)

Installation views
3 ink drawings - O.T.  2008 - 2015- left wall 29,7 x21 cm

3 ink drawings – O.T.
2008 – 2015- left wall
29,7 x21 cm

4 ink drawings, O.T. 29,7 x 21 cm  2008 - 2015

4 ink drawings, O.T.
29,7 x 21 cm
2008 – 2015

Blumenthal 3 etchings- O.T.        2013 68 x 42 cm ; Edition of 12

Blumenthal 3 etchings- O.T. 2013
68 x 42 cm ; Edition of 12

Painting - 2000 Etching 2013

Painting NO TITLE O.T.- 2000
Etching O.T. 2013