About the work

ANDREAS GOLDER 

ABOUT THE WORK 



 ANDREAS GOLDER
     Keep your painting, have a beer, 2007
Oil, acrylic, lacquer and ink on canvas
Diptych, 200 x 360 cm
Keep Your Painting, Have a Beer is a ‘painting about painting’. By portraying an artist in the process of painting, the work self-consciously points to the artistic process and to painting as a medium. With a mixture of abstract and figurative elements, the painting presents us with a number of visual paradoxes. The artist in the picture is creating an abstract painting. But he has no easel. His brush strokes hover in midair – or is he finishing the painting that he himself is a part of? And the palette from which he gets his colours is both canvas, finished painting and palette. Confused? Andreas Golder utilises painting’s effects, abstract as well as figurative, thus playing on different planes of reality in his painting. At the same time the work can be regarded as a humorous portrait of an artist who once and for all has stepped off his pedestal.

THE PAINTER AS ANTIHERO
Pictures of the painter in the studio are traditionally associated with romantic notions of the artist as an exalted emotional genius, who withdrawn from the world creates soulful and moving painterly expressions. It is this myth that Golder’s painting both plays on and explodes. For the painter may well be relegated to a dark and isolated place where work is carried out in quiet loneliness. But he is far from an idealised figure. The gaze self-consciously directed at the viewer is one-eyed. The head is turned into a skull, and his tongue hangs limp from a mouth of rotting teeth. The abstract forms flying off his frantic brush seem childishly clumsy, and his toes are painted with pink nail varnish.

Unlike the solemn myths traditionally associated with the artist in general and the painter in particular, Golder humorously depicts the painter as an antihero. This ironic dimension to the painting is underscored by the two little figures drawn at the bottom of the left hand side of the painting. One depicts the German painter Hans Hoffman who wanted to transform nature’s forms into abstract and emotional paintings. In a thought balloon a quotation by Hoffman is written, describing how abstract colours and shapes may elicit great emotion and aesthetic pleasure in the viewer. Next to him is a small fat figure clutching his head in desperation. It is for the viewer to decide whether they experience the great emotion described in the quotation, when encountering Golder’s painting.

However, Golder’s work is more than just an ironic commentary on painting and the role of the artist. By portraying the painter as a grotesque antihero, the work speaks to the antihero in us all. Unlike the perfect and idealised role models circulating in our culture, we find life’s absurd sides in Golder’s painting.

Andreas Golder’s art in general
Painting is central in Golder’s artistic oeuvre. Stylistically he covers a lot of ground, from almost abstract works to realistic situations, and his works holds a wealth of technical experiments. The narrative element, however, is recurrent – even entirely abstract works are often supplied with surprising and comical titles.

In the painting gekackt non est pictum (2006) a figure rushes against a wind so strong that he dissolves and turns back into paint. The work is an image of life’s absurdity and human adversity. To tell his story the artist employ painting’s technical attributes humorously. In the character’s wake plants, a house and a deer are stirred up – along with the Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí’s face with the characteristic moustache. The work’s strange title is a twisted version of the Latin proverb ‘cacatum not est pictum’ – shitting is not painting. A reminder that things may not always be as easy as they look.

About his odd and artful titles Golder says: – People give me titles. I hear them in conversations. Or I steal them from other painters and from magazines, for example Der Spiegel. Also, one year a girl sent me titles on postcards every day. I still have a collection of titles and I give one of them to a painting if it matches.

PAINTING IN AN IMAGE CULTURE
Golder’s works are filled with references to pop culture, everyday life and art historical masterpieces. The painting Für Per (2007) e.g. could be seen as a tribute to the Danish painter Per Kirkeby. The white fence which flatly covers the painting Golder has taken directly from Kirkeby’s paintings from the 1960s. But he has added his own cartoon-like figures gambolling behind the fence.

Painters such as Francis Bacon and Philip Guston too are important references in Golder’s painting. At a time marked by 1950s Abstract Expressionism these painters used the human form as a basis for discussing cultural and human conditions.

The popular culture of today is a source of inspiration as much as art history is – e.g. in the painting Das Weg im Glück (2006) where a skinny, zombie-like model struts down the catwalk, surrounded by the glare of flashes. Her sallow face suggests that the luxurious fashion world is not exactly the “road to happiness” as ironically indicated by the title. The painting’s hazy contours create an effect much like a shaken photograph. A reminder that Golder, like many of today’s artists, works in a contemporary reality in which a large part of our experiences come to us in communicated form – through the images we see on TV, computers, in books, magazines, movies, etc.

Certainly, according to Golder himself, the autobiographical situations and culture’s many images are inextricably tied together: – Of course, in some way my paintings will always be autobiographical, because I do them. My experiences are in them, but it could just as well be an art experience that I had in a museum. Perhaps I saw an interesting painting and wanted to steal the idea… Art history is part of my life, so in this sense I guess you could call my works autobiographical. Every painting is a by-product of my experiences, which of course includes my past work. In that sense I regard my paintings as slimy, oily tracks left behind by a snail.


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