Artist: Emanuel Seitz
Venue: Christian Andersen, Copenhagen
Date: May 6 – June 4, 2011
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Christian Andersen, Copenhagen
Q: What is the title of your show?
A: The exhibition has no title. I’m not using titles for my exhibitions and neither for my works.
Q: What are your thoughts on the layer of autonomy in your practice? No titles, no particular motive, etc.
A: With my paintings I try to make my point as clear and visible as possible. There are often basic, obvious forms, or an ensemble; the composition should therefore be lucid, simple, and as a result autonomous in an overall sense. Indeed a motif comes into being but I do not want to lead the viewer in a certain direction with a title.
Q: The drawings made for the exhibition all deal with a cube. Is it to be seen as the idea of a cube or is it a cube in particular?
A: The paintings on paper and the canvases I am showing with Christian Andersen all deal with a cube. It is a reduction to a simple, straight form; it is the idea of a cube. Recently I have been working with forms such as cubes and rectangles.
Q: Do you consider your works to be figurative?
A: I wouldn’t consider my works figurative per se. I rather think my approach is abstract, however not completely devoid of objects.
Q: The triangular form, the square shapes, and now the cube all open up for a symbolic reading. For example the cube represents authority, institution, power, etc. Can you comment on the layer of representation in your imagery?
A: At the beginning of my work there is the experiment with color: An approach with different synthetic and natural colors and their mixtures or chemical reactions and also coincidental results that I then reapply on purpose. The choice of subject in the paintings is accordingly simple and recently I have been consistently reducing it. Hence forms like rectangle, cube, or triangle. These should be seen less symbolic and more as fields for the application of colours and their mutual effect on each other. As relations between forms and colours, as well as the relations between paintings. Relationship as the principal thing.
Q: The abstract multiforms in your work are considered to be two-dimensional, but the brushstrokes on the canvases reveal a third dimension, an “inner light” that breaks with the idea of a pure chromatic painting?
A: Although my paintings often have a reduced monochrome appearance, I wouldn’t classify them as colour field paintings. It is not my intention to produce pure, two-dimensional colour fields. Indeed I am interested in forms and in experimenting with depth and spatiality.
Q: How big a role does colour play in your work, i.e. the importance of choosing colour and/or the meaning of colour as a representative?
A: I try to find different methods to mix colors, pigments, and binders, and then combine/compose the outcome in my paintings. Therefore the process of finding these colors plays an important role.
Q: Your practice is to me quite alchemistic. For example you produce your own colour by mixing different pigments and chemicals?
A: I use several kinds of pigments, which react with each other, similar to alchemistic processes. For instance, I often use a recently developed synthetic pigment, which replaces the former Copper acetate. It reacts with cadmium pigments and turns them into a darker shade, similar to colour moving from light into shadow.
Q: Producing your own colour can be seen as if you refuse the standardisation of the international colour formula, a strong statement in a global time?
A: I have found out that a larger spectrum is available to me when I prepare my own colours for the kind of paintings I work on. You can see this procedure as a refusal of standardisation but it is not my aim to make such a statement through it.
Q: Yves Klein worked with an immateriality in his works, claiming that there is no representation in for example colour. How do you reflect on your own practice with this theory on painting?
A: Regarding Klein, I would like to mention an essay by Joseph Nechvatal that examines Klein’s relevance to virtuality and digital culture, which I think captures Klein’s interest in the immaterial very well. Klein’s art was dissolved into action and not only through painting and sculpture but through performance and interventions he was able to work his theories of body, colour, space and immateriality into a performative and conceptual art form. The blue colour was for him not a pigment or a representative media of painting, but more a cosmic, spiritual force. His canvases of colour had a lot to do with ambient and space. So his work has a strong influence on conceptual art through its expression of the immaterial. In this sense the preoccupation with colour that Klein had seems to be different than mine.
Q: Not in its conventional however existential meaning, your practice very much deal with producing images?
A: Through painting I do produce images where I try to push the effect to the maximum and bring an intensity to existence. When I work on an exhibition it is challenging for me to see how my works are developing and how I can combine the paintings or present them separately, so that each one can have the best possible effect.
Conversation between Emanuel Seitz and Alexander Tovborg, April 2011
Emanuel Seitz (b. 1973 lives and works in Munich) graduated from Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich under Günter Förg. The exhibition in the gallery is his first solo show in Denmark. Seitz has recently had solo shows at Galerie Jacky Strenz, Frankfurt (2010) and Galerie Christine Mayer, Munich (2009). He is amongst others represented in the collections of Stätische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich and Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich.