Koloman Kann  
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Textpaintings

Most of the paintings I made since 2010 are to be understood as painterly parodies of textual practices and as visual answers to concrete texts. Thus, the basic material of each of them is an essay, a book, or even several works of an author dealing with art or images often in relation to text or other verbal discourses. I have mainly chosen texts that seem to have a certain ‘importance’ or discoursive power inside the artistic field. They were from various authors like Alain Badiou, Roland Barthes, Arthur Danto, Nelson Goodman, Clement Greenberg, W.T.J. Mitchel, Jacques Rancière or Susan Sontag.

Vienna, 2011

After a first overview reading, where I basicly decide whether I want to paint an ‘answer’, I read the text a second time very closely, and compile a detailed excerpt. This excerpt is then reduced and rearranged step by step. This process of rearrangement is a mixture of summarising, analysis and critique which is structured around questions adressing logical, ideological, social, normative and rhetorical aspects. It is also a kind of first textual montage with the aim to find or develop pictorial elements—like labeling guns, a game show setting, an historic printing machine, a genre painting, a staged portrait of ‘the artist’, and often sentences or words. The composition is made in a second visual collage where I arrange those pictorial elements according to the texts narrative and my positions towards it. Those collages are sometimes made digitally, sometimes directly on the canvas using paper drawings I transpose. The last step of the process is the painting of the collages with oil layers on acrylic layers. While the composition already displays a very intellectually constructed style, the layers of colour are made with a visible ‘dirty’ brushflow to create a certain contradictive tension. Thus, the works should always remain questionable because it’s neither pretending to be a kind of analytic objective statement, nor should it be understood as the outcome of an authentic subjective gesture beyond discussion. Furthermore, I always use a relativly small square format and a painted frame in order to propose a kind of distanced overviewing perception instead of an overwhelming sensation. All in all the paintings should remain open for different thoughts and associations—also for those who are not familiar with the text it is an answer to.

Vienna, 2011