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Cubic view

A basic premise of 20th century constructivist painting was the avoidence of illusionistic spacial depth. With the cubist paradigm in turn, which describes a transitional phase between representationality and abstraction, spacial depth was still to some degree preserved, however not in a naturalistic sense; the cubist space is an irrational space, where an object can be viewed from different ancles at the same time.

A primary medium for indicating spacial depth is the diagonal line, which implies the possibility to be viewed as an alignment line; for that reason, the diagonal was banned from neo plasticist painting. With cubism again, the diagonal becomes a constitutional element, that appears as a cutting edge between different image levels.

For some reason though, the cubists never really broke through towards pure abstraction; as if their commitment to the objective world was a basic condition of the idiom. Abstract purists, on the other hand, never really got involved with the cubist concept of the pictorial space; pure abstraction has always been connected to the notion of flatness.

With the present work, my idea was to create a cubist space, beyond repesentational figuration, actually by substituting the representational subject matter, by the concrete reality of the ornament.


In the early years of abstraction, the mere ornament was viewed as a danger; symmetry and repetitive structure were to be avoided, instead the emphasis was put on expressive gesture, which was regarded an indicator for artistic authenticity. A work of art was supposed to clearly distinguish itself from a wall paper, or tablecloth; since it not least demanded a far higher cultural value.

With the rise of conceptual art, in the 1960s, such a distinction was found no longer to be necessary; the artstatus no longer depended on visual features anyway. The art object became a mere placeholder for an idea. Under this precondition, the ornament could be reintroduced, as a sort of ready made structure.


My own work remains comitted to the basic principles of conceptual art, such as the primacy of idea before optics, the avoidence of artistic signature, and the general rationalization of the creative process. With the present work, I have established a formula, for the division of the picture surface into isosceles triangles, as well as for the selection and distribution of colours. If necessary, this formula could always be expressed in words; by which not only the production process, but even the composition process, could be performed by anyone else than the artist.

The composition is based on a modular system. The initial series involves 4 pairs of modules – always an exterior and an interior one – which can be executed in 3 different colour variations each, and freely combined with one another. This adds up to 144 possible combinations. With a second series, involving 4 more pairs, the number of combination possibilities rises up to 576. A third series is absolutely feasible; yet with an increasing number of variations, the source material gradually fatigues, ie. the variations are becoming more and more similar.

This having said, I would classify my work as post-conceptual. I use concepts as ‘machines’ to generate objects of art; however unlike in plain conceptual art, where the art-object is principally imaginary, my work depends decidedly on the materialization of the object; even more so with respect to revealing the underlying concept.