Opening on Friday, 28/10, 6-9 pm
The artist is present.
An accompanying catalogue + special edition published by Sprungturm Editions will be available.
Artist Talk on Saturday, 19/11., 1 pm
Boris Becker & Uta Schotten
Opening HoursTue–Fri 12–7pm, Sat 12–4pm and by appointment
Second solo exhibition by Cologne-based artist Uta Schotten (*1972 in Haarlem) at Biesenbach Gallery. The presentation includes new paintings from 2015/2016.
Christian Deckert about Uta Schotten‘s paintings
It has always been the artist‘s privilege to re-define and name objects and their relationships. The artist‘s approach is not that of a scientist. […] When the painter, Uta Schotten, pursues this path she does it in a way which perhaps goes farther than other artists. She removes the layers of coerced usefulness and exposes her subject to such an extent that the subject names itself.
On closer inspection of her pictures, you cannot help noticing that many of her works appear to backward-looking in terms of time as well as thematically. Old buildings, cartwheels, and people who seem to come forth from faded photographs. The viewer must first come to terms with this. Another momentum comes into play after the first impression – the momentum of timelessness. […]
Things past become bearers of meaning in Uta Schotten‘s pictorial universe. She does not paint motorboats, she paints weidling boats. She does not paint bungalows, she paints timbered houses. They are, nonetheless, close to us and of relevance to us. This is what accounts for the secret of her paintings. This, and that her paintings correspond to a way of painting which is very “now“.
It is not easy to be confronted with this double-edged experience but it is what accounts for the allure of Schotten‘s works. On top of all that you will even come across the odd playing field there. […]
The painting technique is, often after diverse repaintings, sure and swift and the accuracy of the actual lines of a roof edge is encountered by the artist with her very own sense of exactness. An exactness which does not require any drawing tools. […]
As for the painting technique, the playing field corresponds to the timbered house. The artist could, in fact, turn her attention to our contemporary surroundings and our contemporary objects. She has created an elaborate style which at times comes off as one of Old Master virtuosity when looked at in terms of her approach to the subject. This style and its special approach to oil colours seem at the same time to break with these aesthetics. The medium to strongly absorbent chalk base used by the artist robs the colours of the oil and allows them to remain drily on the canvas. The gloss effect much desired in oil painting, an effect which when applied to its fullest extent can attain a greasy look, is avoided in this way.
The addition of wax to the painting substance, the seldom used method of enkaustik gives a fine and tender fragility to the surface of the painting. It acts as a contrast to the indestructibility of the oil colours and gives it a warm, dull, and waxy gloss. The ‘soft dryness‘ of the paintings is often reminiscent of the colour surface of a fresco, which speaks to us in its directness. […]
Just as Schotten does without any superficial gloss, any trompe-l‘oeil, to prove that her subject does actually exist in the real world, she also does without any temporal fixation of things, people and surroundings in the now. What would be the purpose? She is not interested in the current state of appearance of things but rather the layer beneath. A layer in which the paintings find roots and which is not a counterpart of visible daily occurrences but rather also a counterpart of dreams - the night and the slumbering primal pictures. […]
Not only does the artist use a special concept of the colour substance and its application, she also uses her own colour concept in order to reach the boundary between reality and dreams and to create paintings from this area. She paints a grey colour which dominates the paintings. It is from this grey which she then scratches from the canvas and collects in a jar for later use that the rest of her colours come about. […]
Schotten‘s colour concept is a secret which very much demonstrates to what extent the terms ‘colourful‘ and ‘in colour‘ differ. Actually, we are only familiar with colourful paintings. Like an alchemist the artist returns to us what has been stolen by advertising posters and the glare of monitors. She takes on the widespread concept of grey as a synonym for dull with such verve that when bright colours do make an appearance in her paintings […] we feel like we have seen for the first time a blue that can satiate us. In this way her colours touch us more in our emotional depths than visually. A depth which the artist herself mentions more than once.
Should one endeavour to combine the different aspects of her painting in terms of what we think and feel, it becomes obvious why her paintings touch us. Her paintings touch us because they appear to be backward-looking, but all the while this backward glance is actually a screen for introspection, for looking inward. The painter looks inward so openly that her experience touches the boundary where the worlds of day and night meet. Her paintings are painted with such expressiveness that they sometimes seem like apparitions.
This painter performs alchemy. She goes back to a time when gold was something more than a material to be synthesised in order to make a profit. She wants to mine gold from our depths. She wants to find the spiritual stone which is valuable and indestructible. She transports architecture which we cannot assign to any time to a spiritual space and makes it into shells for the soul. In her pictures, the artist states, ‘I would like to feel who and how many have lived there‘. And, ‘painting is about committing oneself to a spiritual world‘. What ‘house‘ means beyond any aspects of practicality, one‘s own mythical shell, becomes very evident in Schotten‘s paintings.
Originial long version in: "Uta Schotten: My kingdom is not of this world", Kerber Verlag