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"A true image of reality"

With these words Piet Mondrian once located his abstract work within the context of the world of objectivity. It is only possible to appreciate his oeuvre as a whole when it is kept in mind that the basis of his clearly structured planes is a concept decidedly oriented on the real world, namely the hope of human harmony, expressed in formalised horizontals and verticals painted in primary colours.
Renate Maucher´s prints are, similar to Mondrian´s picture language, based on the notion that by means of precise formations an ascetic reduction can reveal an existential idea. She also attempts in her work to find beyond the world of objects the means to symbolise the complexity of human existence. However, in her case the tension between surface planes and linearity is particularly orientated on communication. Her focus is directed towards the artistically composed transfer of human dialogue. The translations she finds and the resulting compositions become dynamic indicators of an elementary domain of our existence.

The focal point of her formal language consists, contrary to Piet Mondrian, in the application of a palette range, using woodcuts or linocuts, concentrated on the colours black, white, blue and yellow.
In a sophisticated and meticulous manner Renate Maucher has gone even further than this early abstract painter in the decision to reduce the colour range, and imposes upon herself an additional austerity which can only be relieved in the formal pictorial execution. During this process she is confronted with the tenet of all reductionism, namely: to escape reductionism by means of numerous variants of triangular and quadratic forms in their relationship to the picture edge, and she combines diagonal and square compositions with richly complex inner structures so that they are unified in clear and definite relationship to each other. This can be especially seen in the handling of the internal zones of the plane surfaces which extends from fully filled areas, to residues and streaks of what might be perceived as marks created during the working of the surface, and to aperture-like patterns and irregularly printed landscapes of dots to uniform black or off-ultramarine. Alone the picture edge, or the edge of a printing plate, opposes this vital unevenness of the hand-worked printing block. This formulates a virtual limit of the planes whose internal vigorous forms are immensely enhanced beyond the edge by this contour. Force and counterforce, merging and juxtaposition, light and dark are thus continuously merging into one.

The prints are individual items so by not being reproduced they in fact contradict the specific characteristics of the printing technique as such, in other words the repeatability of prints. The decision, to consider each individual motif only in selected and deliberate combinations with other plates, and thereby to not reproduce identical pictures, is in itself an indicator of the manner in which the sheets have been created. This means that the act of considering each sheet as an original product, proceeds from a process which can be designated as a meditative process of making something visual, and it conveys the involvement with the thematic content: namely the theme of dialogue – between one and the other, between the left portion and the right half, between the ruptured and the enclosed, between the individual and the numerous and vice versa, and especially their uniqueness and their non-repeatability.

The actual work of printing requires, to achieve this, the highest concentration. The composition is firstly made as a small sketch and then transferred to single linoleum or wood plates; they are differentiated from each other by the inner structures and the dynamic interrelationships between them are compared during the printing, and, where necessary – they are now in the final size - often revised and varied in their relationship and position.

The consistency with which the artist has followed these procedures over a long period of time - the retaining of the more or less equally reduced colour palette, the painstaking and gradual printing process, the translation of bodily/lingual discourse to symbolic statements, the graceful and variegated drawing next to flat fields - can also be seen in her most recent work. However, she has now extended her orientation on planes to include an extremely subtly formulated grading of depth. For example, by means of placing a dark uniform square split into triangles "behind", internal rectangular drawings with long irregular shapes, or slender bands of shadow to throw the darkest areas into relief she achieves the illusion of spatial depth. The illusion of depth is as subtly formulated as the previous correspondence between longitudinal right-angle, square, triangle, their surfaces and their interlocking on a plane.

The dialogue remains calm without being inaudible or simultaneously lifeless; the gracility of the abstract formulations continues to abstain from being too audacious, and so accords with the expectation directed to the viewer to study the prints in detail and carefully. This causes a reception, and a repeated reading, of artistic work which first and foremost, and gradually, creates an understanding of the process of the transfer of communication to be "a true image of reality".



Wiebke Trunk, October 2008, Translation: Joe Masterson, December 2008  

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