Watercolours and monotypes | 1999-2000
- Tue 01/02/00 - Sun 16/04/00
- MAMCO| Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers 10, CH-1205 Genève
- Curated by :
- Rainer Michael Mason
It is tempting to make assumptions about the Swiss artist Stéphane Brunner: he works in black on black, usually in Chinese ink. Yet the Cabinet des estampes, who exhibited his work previously in 1983 and 1994, cannot say with precision in its present review of his work in what direction he is heading, although the “return to the image” already experienced at the Promenade du Pin with the works of Baselitz, the Russian avant-garde, and Robert Morris allows for a deeper knowledge of an artist. Happily the Cabinet des estampes is not confronted with a “turnkey” or “retrospective” exhibition; instead we are in the same position as the artist in his studio: not knowing for certain what path is being taken. Certainly Brunner (born 1951 and living in Geneva after long periods spent in Berlin and Brussels) may change course, but the fundamentals remain constant. Taking as a point of departure the monotype, a print which customarily is made by a one-time impression of oil painting on a glass or copper plate, Brunner has produced a series of ten monotypes from an initial painting – “ghost prints” where at the end of the printing process there is practically no image remaining – and then enhanced each with watercolour, blending its transparency with the monotype’s grainy surface. The watercolour, swirling around certain fixed points established by the oil painting transferred onto paper, aims, as always in a work of art, to organise a surface, to inhabit a visual (and spiritual) field, through stacked inflexions and layers. Brunner goes beyond these ambitions, achieving an exceptional equilibrium between the dynamism of the brush and the static quality of the print, both techniques simultaneously revealing, similarly and dissimilarly, the nature of the paper. The most recent works of Stéphane Brunner, of an incredible luminosity that is difficult to view and to reproduce, continue to engage the act of looking, of continuous contemplation. One could say that they are oriented towards the “reliquat visible” to paraphrase the “singbarer Rest” of Paul Celan. But the familiar “black” is absent. We are in the presence of a “light painting”, which, while certainly a revelation, does not signal a complete break. As always, what is at stake are the borders and the pathways between (rmm).