Painting always involves the interaction of colour and surface. The edges, the boundaries, every tangent of one surface with another, provide the outlines for vibrating zones of contested space – separations and mergings. These contours can stand out crystal clear and collide hard, rigidly with neighbouring colour elds, like a cut; but they can also, as is usually the case with Ulrich Erben, become an exciting, tension- lled optical game for the viewer. This is often the case in paintings in which two colour elds permeate each other in inverse gradations of brightness, overlap each other or waveringly touch. Only towards the nal, outer edge of the graduated brightness of one eld does the presence and relative e ect of the other colour eld become visible. The result is near ba ement, because the precise point at which the change from one colour eld to the other takes place cannot be located, the viewer misses it every time. These shifts take the viewer by surprise most often when the interchange is between two elds of the same or similar colours. Then the viewer is looking, as it were, into a canvas on which an image is shown, an image in which, amid the glistening light of a snowy, misty landscape the contours of nature are suspended. In the images of Ulrich Erben, then, the viewer encounters a boundary between that which is still visible and that which is vanishing into boundless mystery. In its painterly capture of the intangible, his art of silence treads hitherto unseen territory.
Text by Helmut Friedel
PITTURA – determinare lo sconfinato – by Ulrich Erben
Galleria Gentili, Florence
Through December 1