until 20.10. | #3613ARTatBerlin | Galerie Tammen presents an exhibition of paintings by the artist Volker Leyendecker from 10 September 2022.
In Volker Leyerdecker’s shows, playful forms of art are combined with playful forms of nature. Strange, hybrid amphibian-like creatures, two-headed fish float in glass containers, aligning themselves with the light falling into the glass from above. A huge stone floats in a largely undefined landscape, near and far at the same time. Portraits combine outside view and inside view, transillumination and skin, surface and interior. His faces show and conceal, they oscillate between face and mask and yet are the place where emotions can be depicted and acted out in the animated contour.
In these landscapes as well as in the coffined hermaphrodites and in the portraits, the objet trouvé and objet projeté intertwine. They are taken from the world and the things that reside there, and yet they are incomparable. In the process, conventional boundaries between the categories of art and nature are reflected, undermined, brought to view.
Seeing more, seeing anew, seeing differently. Volker Leyendecker’s work is always about the intricate and complicated relationship between representation, cognition and liveliness, between visibility and invisibility. At the same time, this expansion towards an optical unconscious, the stretching of the field of vision initiates futuristic utopia and dystopian hubris.
This is played out in the series Orbit Diaphanum, when new beings are created on the computer from the field of possibility of nature in a kind of profane genesis and delivered to the gaze. At the same time, this gaze places man himself among the changeable species. The fin of the fish, the wing of the bird and the spirit of the human being can be seen coolly and boldly as different tools that produce different realities. And as in the process of the development of species, Volker Leyendecker modifies, seizes and disassembles things of nature, reshapes them. These are metamorphotic wonders that are wittily linked to a widely forgotten main strand of evolutionary theory: to beauty, which acts as a concomitant motif and counter-principle to the struggle for life in the choice of a mate.
“The deepest thing about man is his skin.” 1 Volker Leyendecker’s portraits also share this paradox. They reveal and envelop, are fragile, vulnerable and elastic. The depth of feeling, sensation, suffering comes to the surface, embodies itself.
On the one hand, every portrait creates an image, and this image of a person always has to do with two sides at the same time: on the one hand, it is about capturing reality, the appearance, but then the inner being should also become visible in the portrait. In the term ‘portrait’, which comes from ‘protrahere’, to draw out, this duality is already inherent: a non-visible should become visible. It is precisely in the representation of reality and through it that the person portrayed is interpreted, their essence illuminated. It is this duality that makes the portrait a genre of the ‘impossible’, which is tasked with separating out the difference between model and image, between the living experience of a person and their visually captured form in the work of art.
In the course of the development of the portrait, this double concern and the respective contemporary aesthetic experience are repeatedly translated and reflected anew into the question of the image of man. The face is not natural either, it is subject to numerous cultural techniques and is itself a medium of self-formation and communication: the history of the face is a media history.
This mediality of the portrait is once again illuminated by Volker Leyendecker in the collision of two different media, the use of laser technology as a photographic process and the translation of the scans into traditional painting. The resulting faces reopen the interplay between seeing and being seen, sight and face, showing the human being as an opening. Something is painted that cannot be seen, as if the opposition of painting and X-ray, of physiology and anatomy were suspended. In looking at these pictures, we find ourselves between a before and a within, a no-longer-here and not-yet-there, and this position perhaps determines each of our gazes in the interweaving of seeing and being seen.
This mysterious principle structures art. Its diaphaneity is the medium, the condition of appearance of the visible and its colour. It makes things transparent and in this way brings the inescapable corporeality (of the world?) to light; conversely, this corporeality becomes the precondition of diaphaneity, in which things become a shot through for a filled moment, without duration.
In the contemplation of Volker Leyendecker’s works, diaphaneity, adiaphaneity and epiphany occur (almost) simultaneously, crystallising into an intense moment of imagination.
Text: Dr. Dorothée Bauerle-Willert
Vernissage: Saturday, 10 September 2022, 7 – 10 pm
Ausstellungsdaten: Saturday, 10 September – Thursday, 20 October 2022to the gallery
Caption: Volker Leyendecker “Self with Skeleton” 2022, oil on canvas, 100 x 140 cm
Volker Leyendecker – Galerie Tammen | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Berlin Galerien | ART at Berlin