Meyer Riegger

Armin Boehm

27 Apr - 26 May 2012

© Armin Boehm
M, 2012
oil, paper, fabric on wood
120 x 115 cm
27 April - 26 May 2012

Meyer Riegger presents the fifth solo exhibition by the artist Armin Boehm - WALD HOCHWALD HOLZFÄLLEN - opening in the course of the Gallery Weekend at the Berlin gallery.

The Dialectic of the Split - a term, which Giorgio Agamben uses in his book "The Man Without Content" - is expressed initially in the contrast of urban and natural environments within Armin Boehms painting. The aerial view of urban agglomerations, surrounded or entwined by bucolic bleakness in an almost vine-like way is a visual medium which Boehm chooses to lend shape to a split. Boehm shows us a distribution that consists of demarcations. In some of his new paintings, the aerial perspective onto architecturally constructed or organically evolved sites opens into a cross-section, while the painted area shows the horizon simultaneously, or the soil underground and the cosmos above at the same time, disregarding the factual impossibility of such depictions. Then again there are masked humans, segmented in cubic fields, who meet each other in urban areas, but in each encounter and touch only seem to engage in a game of self-dissolution. Mankind as a symptom?

The contemplation of scientific and human borderline areas forms a point of departure in Armin Boehms painting. In his work, the artist pursues the possibilities of the image in the medium of painting. The question of how the aforementioned dialectical split can make a resistance visible, or, using the means of painting, even make it effective, takes this theme further. "The resistance of art appears to be a double-faced paradox," writes Jacques Rancière, and defines it as a tension between resistances. In his paintings, Boehm deals with the bilateral aspect of figurative and symbolic representation, but also, in the discrepancy of his fragmented figures, with the architectural and organic/corporeal on the one hand, and with surface, shape and the subversion of these on the other hand. His visual language - seen very directly as a distribution of forms - ties on to the vocabulary of modernism.

In the development of his work the artist implements motifs with a physicality resulting from the overlaying of form, colour and collaged elements; here Boehm annuls, dissolves or abstracts the figuration in the picture while yet in the process of painting it. Form and material are the foundation of his composition in equal shares. Using the technique of collage, the artist unites elements of cloth, paper, wooden or metallic substances, from which his paintings subjects emerge almost sculpturally. In his new paintings this becomes particularly clear in the confrontation and accretion of coloured planes of (fraying) fabric, paper or oil paint, and the granular, sandy texture of metal particles and pure pigments. Boehms painting is a negotiation on the image plane, a configuration arising from the tension between painting and sculptural additives.

In a perspectively subverted, fragmented representation of space and figures, Armin Boehm synthetically dissolves the corporeality of the depicted time and again. However, planes and levels that shift and run into one another also establish fictive spatial situations, which unite introspection and the birds eye view on an event. The artist describes specific events in his pictorial spaces, but they appear timeless due to their intrinsic uncertainty. Similar scenes suggest a narrative sequence, but they constantly waver between the emergence of a situation, the capturing of something pre-existent, and a mere premonition. Existence and disappearance become evident in the physical presence of the paintings surface, as also immaterially in the theme of their body. Armin Boehms painting includes the disjointed and paradoxical, and in this unresolved tension it permits reflection on visual possibilities: on the visible, pronounceable and conceivable within a picture.

Christina Irrgang
translation by Zoe Claire Miller

Tags: Armin Boehm