until 13.11. | #3195ARTatBerlin | Galerie Martin Mertens shows from 1st October 2021 the solo-exhibition Constructed Images by the artist Daniel Bodner.
For Galerie Martin Mertens’ fourth solo exhibition with Daniel Bodner, the gallery would like to let the painter himself have his say. Here is an excerpt from the conversation Bodner had with Axel Rüger, the director of the Royal Academy of Arts London:
“I work with the relationship between painting and photography. As you know, the representation of light in a traditional painting creates the illusion of space and objects. In overexposed photographs, the light depicted does not describe spaces, but blurs them. It does not describe objects, but blurs them. I am interested in how the eye completes the image. Maybe it’s more about memory then.
When I use Photoshop to move things around, I am already leaving the photograph and working my way towards the painting. Ultimately, the painting is the constructed image. When I edit an image, it has to go through me. The transformation of these sources of inspiration then comes out of my hand in the form of paint. This transition is very important for me.
I like this quote by Susan Sontag: “The painter constructs and the photographer reveals”. I think that a photograph, no matter what you do with it, is a specific moment in time. In a way, it’s like death. It’s an end – just that one moment and that’s it. A painting extends that moment. It breathes life back into it. Painting a painting takes time, you can’t do it in a millisecond. The time it takes for the elements to come together somehow expands reality. I know a viewer might not see it or think it that way, but I think time is somehow recorded.
In the overexposed daylight images, the contrast brings out all these very dark areas. I wanted to go deeper into the subject and find a way to talk about light in total darkness. The philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote about this in his remarks on colour. He said, “If you look at your room late in the evening, when you can hardly distinguish the colours, and then turn on the light and try to paint what you saw, how do you compare the colours in painting with what you saw in semi-darkness?” He says a colour only shines in its surroundings, just as eyes can only be seen as smiling in a complete face.
Daniel Bodner, Skaters 2, Acryl auf Leinwand, 60 x 48 cm, 2021
It is fascinating how colour changes what is realistic and what is not. In the nighttime images of Amsterdam and New York, the trees are illuminated by artificial light. I was also thinking about how much we tend to see nature only through our human influences. This is such a dangerous moment in our interaction with the natural world. So in these paintings, nature is mainly described through man-made light. I also wanted to find all the colour in the darkness. If you look closely, there is no black. There is blue, green, purple and orange – all these colours are mixed in it. And to create the effect of a very dark night with a light shining on something, there has to be a sharpness. I suppose the night has a lot of colour, but it’s also imaginary in a way. The recent paintings with the fireworks may seem like a departure thematically, but they are all about the illusion of light and how we learn to read an image. There is no colour in the main light of the explosion itself. It is mainly the canvas or the white background. So the light is what is not painted, and everything else around it is painted. That seems quite abstract to me, although what you see painted at first glance is the explosion of light.”
Opening: Friday, 1st October 2021, 6:00 -9:00 pm.
Exhibition dates: Friday, 1st October until Saturday, 13th November 2021to the gallery
Exhibition Daniel Bodner – Galerie Martin Mertens | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Berlin Galleries | ART at Berlin