Report from Cologne

by Barbara Weidle

Joseph Nechvatal

ErOs + Thantos (MOral Twilight) 1993

Four galleries presented works by artists who use computers in the production of paintings or sculptures. At Galerie Berndt was "Reflex -- Positions in Contemporary Painting," a thoughtful but somehow cool presentation of work by the American Joseph Nechvatal (b. 1951), Cologne artist Matthias Groebel (b. 1958) and conceptual painter Endre Tót (b. 1937).

Nechvatal's three "computer-robotic assisted acrylic" paintings (the largest measuring 180 by 245 cm and priced at 16,500 DM) are made from drawings that are scanned into a computer, combined, and painted on canvas by a machine. The pixelated result is somewhat psychedelic and suggestive of muscle tissue seen through a microscope. Nechvatal's work reflects a skeptical approach to generating and destroying images, but is beautiful all the same.

Matthias Groebel

L 0798 (Fish before...) 1998
Matthias Groebel starts with TV images that he projects digitally onto canvas and "paints" with a homemade airbrush. The paintings have the roughness of the TV screen and show close-ups of people who look lost and confused. The viewer dives into a melancholic underwater cosmos. The works are priced between 7,000 DM and 18,000 DM.

Endre Tót

Christi Himmelfahrt 1992
Endre Tót's conceptual paintings are indeed painted, but there is not much to see. They refer to works by Duchamp, Moholy-Nagy, Otto Dix, Kandinsky and Rousseau. His acrylics, on paper or canvas, begin with a painted black rectangle of the same size as the work he's referencing. Next to it he jots down some brief information about technique and material. Rather dry, but beautiful, they're priced between 3,500 DM and 14,500 DM.


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