Ever since the late 1990s, the Berlin-based artist René Wirths (b. 1967) has recurrently made one carefully chosen object the absolute center of his attention for the period of time it takes him to create its picture.
His choice of motifs ranges from organic—a butterfly—to inorganic—a simple crumpled paper boat, an old sneaker—and to the metallic and shiny object of desire, a motorbike. But however strong the presence of each of these objects may seem, shown frontally or in strict profile mounted on a stretcher, larger-than-life and standing out against a white background, they still are but a means to an end, or the vehicle of a consistent analysis which, by balancing painterly potentials, generates iconic paintings.
Wirth’s art practice unfolds as a process of continuous abstraction that occurs in transferring viewed physical reality into the two-dimensionality of the canvas with brush and color. Borrowing from Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s essay “Eye and Mind,” one might say that the artists lends his body to the world in order to transform the world into painting. It is in this spirit, or in that of René Magritte, that Wirth’s works keep meandering between trompe-l’oeil-like illusionism and the purposeful emphasizing of painterly surface, walking the line between being and appearance, object nature and the subjectivity of perception.
Curator: Alexandra Hennig