Tillman Kaiser's mysterious geometry at an exhibition in Vienna Financial Times

Tillman Kaiser's mysterious geometry at an exhibition in Vienna Financial Times

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At a time when many artists are doing work larger than their practice, it is a pleasant surprise to find a painter who triumphs on a huge canvas. Im Till (cathedral) is a Tillman Kaiser exhibition at the Vienna Session, thanks to a gift from an Austrian artist, who knows how far he can push the boundaries of scope and material.

Kaiser's talent is most dramatic in one huge untitled work that takes up about 7x4m of wall space. A galaxy of five separate paintings is a galaxy of a couple of key images anchored by vomiting, jerking, blemishes and blemishes - a filthy high chair, some silly faces, erupting delicate Disney kitsch stars.

Behind this strange space is a hybrid toolbox for painting and photography, containing cyanotype, photogram, and home obscura images. The results are organic expressions of luminosity, shade, shape and line, glazed by an unpredictable brilliance of light that accidentally - as Kaiser puts it - "sneaks in" on his camera.

Born in Graz in 1972 but based in Vienna, Kaiser has already taken on the task of placing his art in the iconic part of separation, already at the Bel Beldere Museum and other international institutions. Built in 1898 as the main showcase of the Vienna Partition, an avant-garde movement founded by Gustav Klimt, the crown is synonymous with a luxurious veil of gilded laurel with a group glittering and decoration championship. leaves.

But Hauptraum, with its glass roof and white walls, as the Secession Gallery is known, is characterized by an atmosphere of hidden radiation. As such, it is the perfect showcase for Kaiser's grandiose and sophisticated vision.

The artist teases and respects the building's fame. To set up his prayer house, named in the title of his exhibition, he places his sculptures, only five, in the center of the gallery with respectable precision. But the mixture of the elements they make and the materials they find refuses to suggest further classicism, except for the subtle repetition of a particular geometric motif.

In principle, at right angles, the motif is often sharply folded to suggest an equilateral triangle. It comes from a sculpture of a rocket-like object placed on a stainless steel chair. Brushed with thin, white household smudged strokes and cut into sharp planes - with the most coordinated angles - the work resembles an abstract origami or three-dimensional translation of the magnificent drawings of drapes, which themselves often extend in the abstract, by old masters like Leonardo.

The angle also appears in Kaiser's paintings, most not explicitly mentioned in the cyanotype of 2019, where it blows around the rectangular pattern around the eye. Pure linearity is contaminated with a photogram on the background of the pages floating on the blue surface of the print signing, as if the artist were reflecting on the physicists telling us that the world we see - fixed, static, unchanging - is in conflict with palpitations. , the quantum field below.

In other mixed media canvases, Kaiser nods to a rational design with a simple crystalline pattern, which he captures with such amorphous shapes on a crowded background, but most of the individual elements - some of them painted - are impossible to decipher, though his sculptures are occasionally perceptible. Suggesting the number of diaphragmatic cobwebs or giant airy snowflakes illuminated for a moment on the crushed mountain, these works carry an intriguing risk that suggests that the artist considers the Secession façade as a motto: “Each time is its own art. For art, its freedom. "

The use of the Kaiser's photogram and cyanotype, which is itself a type of photogram, is key to his ability to induce incessant tension between disorder and disorder. Those cameraless printing techniques that place an object on a surface, such as photo paper, then expose it to light so that the object leaves a negative print, enough of its canvas with a silver ghost that intensifies their mystery. But their slim, pale patina-like photos also color so often that it's hard to determine what kind of environment Kaiser is using.

Does Kaiser want us to decode his enigmatic lexicon? Or would he prefer his expressions to be fugitive and unresolved? The time and effort he put into his effortless palimpsest shows that he is happy to keep us in the dark. But the wall painting behind the room even complicates this observation. Consists of a small, dark rectangle that repeats itself across the wall, forming two diagonal rows that pass over a park view window. Its spartan presence indicates that Kaiser is a minimalist at heart. As such, it is a delight to see him so prolificly quarreling with a space built as a monument of art with the most decorative. Klimt must turn to his grave.