Herbert Warmuth At first glance, the «Fahnenbilder» (flag pictures) and similar pictures by Herbert Warmuth’s (born 1960) represent moving fabric. The folds are painted in a deceptively real way. On second glance, this spatial illusion crumbles: The border where color fields meet remains strictly vertical or horizontal, and your glance lands soberly on the two-dimensional picture surface. Since Cezanne left his canvas untreated in a number of paintings, there has been a demand to remember the picture surface in the painted spatial illusion. Reality literally shines through the illusion. As opposed to the traditional peephole perspective, painting’s relationship to reality exists here in that the observer always remains conscious of the fact that he is indeed standing in front of a flat canvas—regardless of how deeply the painted illusion pulls his glance towards the picture. Warmuth’s work is part of this tradition. His pictures create an illusion, only to destroy it in the next instant. The fabrics which appear to fall in folds—Warmuth repeatedly uses patterned materials as his canvas—produce more than just a spatial illusion: The illusion of motion that has been frozen. Motion indicates life, whether the folds are the result of wind, whether it is the body mass or simply because of the weight of the material. The illusion of motion lends the pictures life. Moreover, Warmuth’s colors have the delicacy of Old Masters. The newer camouflage pictures are refined: The artist paints the patterns of camouflaging tarpaulin that military units use to conceal their equipment. As such the illusion of motion and its subsequent destruction are no longer separate in terms of time and successive perception, as they were in the flag pictures. At almost the same time, the illusion can appear as the destruction of illusion, and likewise the destruction as an illusion. At the point where your glance changes, both can seem to be the case. This effect succeeds by way of the unique patterns that appear almost simultaneously as both flat and three-dimensional. Using camouflage to create an illusion fits in with this concept very nicely. Camouflage on the other hand is about making volume flat — or from a painting point of view—about the problem in art that was mentioned at the beginning. It is however peculiar if the camouflage colors are no longer green and earthy, but festive. The manner in which soldiers and their equipment mimic is by adapting their colors to match that of the ground. So on what background would such gaudy camouflage colors fit? And who or what would cover them so deliciously in a war? A civilian festival? A festival during the war? In spite of the war? In protest against the war? Conceal? Quite the opposite, the camouflage colors would be an indication of life, they would not conceal it, but give it away. With Warmuth, nothing turns out to be what it initially appears.Burkhard Brunn

  1960 in Schweinfurt geboren, lebt in Frankfurt am Main / 1982–88 Studium an der Städelschule in Frankfurt/M. / 1994/95 Arbeitsstipendium des Hessischen Ministeriums für Wissenschaft u. Kunst / 1995-96 Parisstipendium der Hessischen Kulturstiftung

Exhibitions (selection)
2003 »Wandmalereien«, Institut für Pharmakologie, Ausstellung und Kunst am Bau, Giessen; »MAKE IT NEW!«, Ausstellungsreihe des Portikus in Kooperation mit der Dresdner Kleinort Wasserstein, Frankfurt/M.; »Flüchtige Verfestigung«, Hessischer Rundfunk, Frankfurt/M. / 2002 Konstantin Adamopoulos, Frankfurt/M.; »Frankfurter Kreuz«, Schirn, Frankfurt / 2001 »Haut«, Galerie Thomas Rehbein, Köln (mit Hans Hemmert) / 1995 »Juxtaposed«, Museum Kruithuis (mit E. Rawls), s’Hertogenbosch (NL) / 1994 Förderkoje auf der Art Cologne bei der Galerie Schütz, Frankfurt/M. / 1993 Dresdner Bank AG (mit Neo Rauch), Frankfurt/M. / 1990 Forum Stadtsparkasse, Frankfurt/M.

Spanien, 2001 Mischtechnik auf Aluminium
200 x 100 cm