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Thomas Huber:  The Red Frieze 

07.02 - 20.03.2016 in Transit gallery Mechelen |  open Friday, Saturday & Sunday 2 - 6 pm


The paintings in this exhibition are all hung above a red frieze. When one looks at them, one recognises that this red frieze is repeated in the paint- ings. The frieze thus exists in the exhibition room and also exists in the space of the paintings. The exhibition site and the pictorial space are in- terconnected. When we stand before the paintings and look at them, we find ourselves in two corresponding spaces. The situation in the paintings can be transposed to the situation in the exhibition. We can imagine that what is depicted in the paintings could just as well happen here with us in the exhibition room. The observer can understand this as an invitation. In front of the paintings, the observer should make contact with them. The pictures are not merely objects on the wall anymore, to be observed exclusively in isolation. Each painting suggests a standpoint to the observer. The observer can, if desired, accept this and assume the offered role. The observer becomes part of the painting, is now, as we say, “part of the picture”. Looking at the painting, the observer also looks at himself or herself.

... read further at the end of this page

Le Bazacle, 2014, oil on canvas, 200 x 330 cm


Download link for complete artist text in illustrated pdf [2,2 MB}:  DEUTSCH |  FRANCAIS  |  ENGLISH


  1. Inspiration                          [90 × 120 cm]

Where do pictures come from? Does intuition have a horizon above which it appears? As far as I can say, a visual idea appears immediately. Actually, it is false to speak of an idea, since intuition is not a thought, not abstract; instead, it appears as an image before the inner eye, that is, it is suddenly visible. Intuition does not allow itself to be forced. There is no path to it, not like thought, which sets out on a path, travels with thoughts, and arrives at a conclusion. If in thinking one ap- proaches something, then inspiration comes towards one. If thinking is led by will and decisiveness, then inspiration is given as a gift to one. This requires confidence as well as patience. Sometimes intuition appears to be unclear, it remains shrouded in vagueness. That is not its fault, but mine. It could be prejudices on my part, the wrong attitude of expectations, or my routine that cloud my vision and block me. Then I have to practice patience once more. Is this not the same as creating distance to myself? Inspiration does not lie before me of course, but was placed in the centre of me. Therefore, I have to clean myself up, in order to make space for inspiration. If this is successful, then inspiration transforms itself into a determination. It becomes a command to act: Paint the picture! Paint it in this size, choose this proportion, use these colours! Inspi- ration is recognisable because it employs the imperative. The specifications are inalterable and strict. It serves no purpose to want to evade them, nor does it make sense to make them appear more friendly and pleasant by means of ornamentation. For this reason, I can only follow them. The result often surprises me very much. Then it is my problem to become friends with it.

2. The Red Frieze                     [50 × 75 cm]


Is the German word “Fries” [frieze] masculine or neuter? I am not sure so I check: It is masculine, so “der Fries”. Despite the official designation I remain unsure as regards the declension of the article. I could also name it “Sockel” [pedestal]. The paintings, hung above it, would then stand on a pedestal. Is that appropriate? When something is placed on a pedestal, then it is elevated with a serious assertion. A distance is created. One has to look upwards, thoughtfully, at what is displayed. One should not look up at pictures though. They are something in front of us. One should encounter them on the same hori- zon. The frieze is therefore not a podium, rather an environment, a band, that connects and joins the picture and the observer. The frieze is the theme that runs through these paintings, similar to a melody that repeatedly sounds throughout a piece of music in different variations. The frieze is, essentially, the chosen key, which inscribes its own sound on the piece performed here.

3. Analogy magic                   [50 × 75 cm]

“Whatever happens in the reflection has to be com- pleted in the original image.” That is the maxim of analogy magic. In a display case, in the visually exact model of a room with a red frieze, there are two heads. If one follows the magic trick, then the heads now stand before us more impressively and larger than we do in the exhi- bition room. Images are related to magic. They invoke magical remnants of consciousness in us. The magical recognises in the model and its repro- duction not what is similar, but rather sees the relationship itself as the same. The magical does not distinguish between an animal and an image of an animal. In contrast, today we understand an image in relation to the represented object as similar. The image of a tiger resembles a tiger. Im- age and reproduction are two different realities. For the magical, the representation and what is represented belong to the same reality. Corre- spondingly, magical actions in the pictorial reality are also actions in one’s own physical ordering. Whatever happens to the image also happens to my body. These magical remnants are likewise preserved in language. We use them today as metonyms. For example, crown and tiara. The insignia of the emperor and of the pope have become synonyms for the persons or their power. The sign replaces the referent. What is said and what is meant are assigned to the same sphere of reality. A so-called contiguity exists between both of them. The phrase pars pro toto is also employed: an attribute of a person, for example the crown, stands for the totality of the emperor and his sphere of power. If the crown is toppled, the entire empire topples. In the course of the development of consciousness we have increasingly distanced ourselves from our images. From the indistinguishability of beforehand, that is, the complete identification with the magic image, the same image has today become an abstract sign for a function, which we can operate everywhere in everyday life by pushing a button. We just touch it fleetingly, at the most outward edge of our body, with the tip of a finger. We live in the digital age. We have shifted the contact with the world to our fingertips.
While the image could once not be differentiated from our bodies, to-day it has departed from our bodies. The image represents a reality com- pletely separated from us. When we click on a sign, on a button today, then we forget entirely that we touch something we once wholly be- longed to.

5. The evident                            [50 × 65 cm]
[private collection]


How much would the painter like to paint the evident. The painter’s paintings should be nothing but exclamations: Look here, this is how it is! To be honest, the painter quickly gets tired of this aspiration. The unconditional depicting tires the painter. If only the painter could let the paintings, leaning on the wall and facing it, come to rest. This would be a great relief for the painter. Thus, the painter paints the pictures from behind. The painter paints the stretcher frames, made out of wood, paints the crosses that stabilise the painting. The painter is careful about the proper tension of the canvas, so the painter also paints the wedges that ensure this tension. And while painting, the painter always keeps in mind that good preparation will do the paintings good. If the painter did not pay such attention to the raw canvases then the paintings could not succeed. And the painter imagines the paintings had previously hung for a long time on the wall and presented their visibility there. Then they were taken down once more and now are placed with their reverse sides under their former places. The lighter patches on the wall testify to this. It would be a nuance in white, like a fleeting memory. Looking at these lighter spots, the painter has the idea that the slight difference could be the essence of that visibility that the paintings always attempt to present, so futilely and laboriously.

6. The three art forms of painting     [76 × 45 cm]
[private collection]


This painting unites three different conceptions of the picture. Although a painting as an object is completely flat, it seems to open itself before our eyes and lead into an illusionistic depth. This imaginary spatiality was a discovery of the Italian Renaissance. The perspective construction by means of lines, as well as the lightening and darkening of colour, the so-called colour perspective, creates the virtual pictorial
space. The picture is interpreted as a window, a portal, as a view outwards, or a view through reality, towards somewhere else. This Italian concep-ion of the picture is augmented here by the Netherlandish one. Flemish artists regarded a painting as a sign, in part because they separated their painting from the architecture, from the wall, and painted their pictures on movable boards. That is why they called their craft “Schilderij”, that is, sign painting. One should not forget: the Dutch have always been traders and merchants. It was only natural for them to place such a sign above their market stands to advertise their wares. The sign as shop sign, that is, the Netherlandish conception of the picture, alludes to the Italian one. The painting of the north alludes to that of the south. Finally the Greek conception, the early observation of the image, is added here as a note: the sign’s shadow. Greek mythology relates how the first painting was created from the outline of the shadow drawn by a young woman on the wall when she departed from her lover.










7. The viewed                              [79 × 60 cm]
[private collection]


I recreate this painting, which is a view of a room. In this reconstruction I employ the actual angles of the depiction. The result is boxes in the form of pyramids whose tips are cut off. This allows us to see how we see. We can appreciate how the eye adapts to what is viewed. If a painting of a thing were itself a thing, then it would have to approach us in  such a pointed manner.
A painting, however, is not a thing. It is an event taking place before the eye. The painting is an occurrence in which we participate: an event. By means of our participation what is represented in such a way turns to its own: it “enowns” itself.5

8. The disappearance   [90 × 120 cm]


This painting apparently hung here once. The lighter patch demonstrates the same proportions. Yes, here is exactly where this painting hung. Now it is gone, it has been taken down. Amazingly, it is still there, nonetheless. For the absence of the painting is shown us by precisely this painting. One can, therefore, imagine very well the light patch behind it. This painting recalls its own disappearance. Images are momentary. A moment of appearance, a brief pause, and then they are only a somewhat lighter afterglow on the wall.

9. The horizon                            [45 × 90 cm]


A plumber was hired to make this painting comprehensible to the observer. He was charged with installing the horizon in the depiction at the exact height in the pictorial space: A pipe from one end of the room to the other. Now one can figure out the representation and one feels more comfortable in the painting.

10. The excavation                [30 × 87 cm]

What is astounding about this painting is its depth, its pictorial depth. It is obvious of course that this was achieved in the same way one makes a hole: by digging. Pictures are for this reason like dug-out pits. Only seldom has any- one thought that painting a picture, just like digging holes, produces a mound. The deeper the painting is, the larger and higher the picture excavation. One can imagine that in the artist’s studio therefore not just pro- found pictures are made, but that with their creation the dug-out pictorial depth, the negative, fi the space of the studio with ever-larger mounds. This could become a problem for a productive painter. The more the painter works the less space is left in the studio. Here the astounding phenomenon, hardly ever considered, is represented in a divided painting. On the right we see the pictorial depth painted in black and white. It depicts the positive and is, therefore, just like in photography, to be seen as a positive copy. The negative, the painting excavation, and thus also its depiction is represented on the left half of the picture negatively. The cone’s shadow is therefore not dark but inverted into its opposite and very bright. In the same manner the brighter side of the mound appears very dark. This depiction does not solve the growing crampedness in the studio, but at least the problem is made visible.

11. The vanishing point              [46 × 40 cm]


There is no doubt. Paintings are made for people. The painting always thinks about the observer, who then will look at the finished picture. The painter creates space for the observer and imagines how the observer will then not stand before the painting, but, encouraged by looking at it, enter the opened-up pictorial space. It is a deplorable habit of many painters to fill the pictorial space with the depiction of many figures. What a disappointment for the observer! How can the observer find room among the many people?
The lovely room has already been occupied by others. Here in this painting, however, space has been left for the observer of the painting. The ob- server has been assigned a spot. The observer finds his or her spot in the pictorial space in the intersection of the perspective construction, the so- called vanishing point. The painter has not forgotten the observer, he has kept a spot for the observer free.

12. Iconoclasm                         [75 × 100 cm]
[private collection]

“The pictures have to go!” A lot of ardent zeal has swept over images. Iconoclasm has run rampant in dif- ferent cultures and in different epochs. It is the conse- quence of the increasing intellectualisation of our de- velopment of consciousness. The world has increasingly been viewed from a distance and thus more abstractly. The decisive inducement to ban images came from the emergence of monotheism, that is, the belief in a single, imperceptible god. He was image-less, but he spoke to people. Ever since then a hierarchy has existed between the word and the image. The word is closer to god, as it corresponds more to his imperceptibility, which can only be conceived mentally. The word is abstract. The unfathomable distance between the sign and its referent is demonstrated in the word. It is that distance between this world and the otherworld, which separates humanity from its single god. Religions based on images are much closer to their gods.
With the advent of Modernism, art history once again kindled an iconoclastic storm. In so-called abstraction art history committed itself to the art of leaving out. Everything in a picture had to be left out that did not correspond to the pure idea of art. Everything that contradicted the im- agined purity of art was to be sacrificed to the abstract, and thus non-comprehensible, concept of art. The goal was emptiness, so bright and clear, that it glows like the empty spots here on the wall.
It is thinking with its inherent impetus towards abstraction that has ultimately led us to emptiness as the highest reason of existence. The god of religion, just like the concept of art, is abstract to such a degree that no image and no sign can approach it. The concept of art is, strictly regarded, invisible. What remains for art is, therefore, emptiness. Thinking does not only aim for the absolute objective of ultimate and constitutive things. Since thinking is on its way, it has to have a direction, it has the agony of having to choose. It cannot go down two or more paths simultaneously. Thinking makes the world into irreconcilable opposites. Good and evil, large and small, either or. Emptiness is still a religious conception, as emp- tiness corresponds to fullness. An empty jar can be filled up. Emptiness does not exist in an irreconcilable opposition to fullness. Thinking has even gone so far as to think beyond emptiness and allowed itself the question of whether anything exists at all, or rather, the existence of nothingness. It has led itself to an absurd alternative. In this way thinking has come to the end of its path, because it literally stands before nothing- ness. There, where there is nothing more to think, thinking consequently evaporates into nothingness.

14. Halo                                     [30 × 45 cm]
[private collection]


When he was young he was in his studio early one morning. It was located underneath the roof. Light streamed into the room through a skylight. A few days before he had brought a metal bowl with wa- ter to the studio to wash his brushes. Now the bowl was placed on the floor near the wall. The light fell on the mirror of the water’s surface and cast concentric circles on the wall above it. As he, ex- cited by the light’s effect, approached the bowl, his steps made the floor and thus the bowl vibrate slightly, so that the light’s reflections on the wall began to tremble. The image of the reflections and the bowl underneath them appeared to him at that moment as the most obvious expres- sion of his conception of painting. If someone had asked him why he painted pictures, then he would have mutely pointed to the shimmering circles. That morning, however, he was completely alone in the studio. So he pointed to the reflections alone, only for himself.

15. Being in the picture [60 × 50 cm]
[private collection]


“The observer should not stand before the picture, the observer should be in the picture.” Here the artist’s intention is particularly evident. As long as we look at a picture from a respectful distance, then we relate to it from an objectifying distance. This approach indeed allows a judgement on the picture in the first moment.
One can evaluate it, compare it with other pictures, and make an effort to decipher its content. In such a way we understand the picture as a type of receptacle or box, filled with information, which we have to draw out from the picture. We then check if what is inside the box matches what is outside on it. This is how this painting sees us. It shows us in a rationally determined attitude as a subject that looks at an object. This consciousness, which dwells in such a distanced contraposition, is also described as dualistically divided. The rational outlook, guided by reason, rips the world apart into two realities, into the objective and the subjective, two truths that are incompatible with one another. There is the thing, as an objective matter of fact on the one side, and the impression it makes on us on the subjective side. The image as conception is an illusion. This is what is depicted here. The pictorial space becomes a seemingly absurd pyramidal construction, a strangely distorted box, which obviously is missing one side, through which one now is supposed to look into the construction.

"Der Rote Fries XVII", 2013, 80 x 110 cm

17. Proportions                       [80 × 110 cm]

The proportions of a depiction of space never coincide with the actual proportions of the depicted thing. Many people have reproached the picture for this condition. It is from its very beginnings a deception, they maintain, when something namely as simple, as fundamental, as the dimensions of a thing is disregarded. How should one trust a picture that does even not correctly depict a circumstance as simple, as determining as this?
This reproach, already formulated by Plato, is contrasted by this picture with an equation. This is meant to make clear that a picture is always to be read in relationships in regard to the object of its depiction. These are not chosen arbitrarily or with falsifying intent, but follow understandable rules:
The painting hangs above a red frieze. Its height is 100 cm. The same frieze is depicted in the painting. It is designated with x. Therefore, it has a measureable referent, the frieze painted on the room’s wall. This referent is equated with the signifiers y, y’ and y’’. x = y = y’ = y’’. The depicted friezes are each interrupted by a door. In this way the human measure is introduced into the picture. When we look at the door openings we inevi- tably assume that these are high enough so that we can pass through them without hitting our head on the casing above. Because of the differ- ent dimensions used to depict each door, the proportion of door to frieze varies. The assumed original size of the frieze of 100 cm differs. The frieze sometimes appears larger and then again smaller. These relationships are expressed in the bracketed equation: (y > y’ > y’’).
Kurt Gödel formulated the incompleteness theorem. It states that in no axiomatic law can the axiom, which lends the law its framework, be irrefutably derived from itself. Each equation starts from assumptions that cannot be indisputably proven in the proposed law itself. This becomes clear in this painting by the assumption that each doorway represents the human measure. The perceiving mind becomes an unspoken precondition. One can thus say:  Each abstractly formulated law requires human reason, which is what first perceives it. This corresponding mind, that is expressed in reason, is formulated in a mathematical equation, yet cannot be derived from it. The mental principle is visible in a mathematical equation, yet not to be detected in it. What the mind is cannot be explained by geometry.

19. Storage room                          [35 × 45 cm]
[private collection]

“And what do those things there mean?” someone asks me. “Oh, please don’t ask,” I reply. “When you visit someone at their home you don’t ask what each thing that is lying around means, do you? Let me advise you, as a discrete person you limit yourself to silently observing things out of the corner of your eye and come to your own conclu- sions. That is what I do when I am in other people’s homes. I rein in my curiosity. I know how to behave. This should also apply when standing in front of pictures. Why do precisely these questions always have to come up before pictures? Why do I always have to provide information about my paintings, give explanations about the things depicted in them? Why do you even assume that I could inform you about them? Why do you look at me so strangely now? Well then, if you really want to know. It is a problem of space. I have very simply stored those things in the picture. That is all. They stood in my way! They have stood in my way for years! For years they have been lying in front of my eyes and occupying me. Why? I don’t know. But I cannot bring myself to throw them away. I don’t have the heart to give them away. For this reason, yes, just for this reason, I have placed them in this picture, you could say I have taken care of them. Each time I began a painting before, these things stood in my way, stood around at the beginning of the painting. Don’t ask me how they came to be there. It was truly exasperating, believe me. I moved from here to there, but they bothered me everywhere. I simply didn’t know what to do anymore. That’s why I have stored them here now, cleared them away, have got rid of them here in this painting. That’s how simple it is, it is a space problem, nothing else. Do you understand?”

20.  The green point                     [40 × 50 cm]


I become the slave of my own rule. Each painting should be related to the red frieze, thus in each painting there must be a reference to the red frieze. The red frieze! The red frieze again and again! In each painting the red frieze once more! It is enough to drive you mad! Once again this horizontal line, this red band running from left to right. The same thing in every painting. Always the horizontal line. I would like to have it another way, vertical, for example, from top to bottom. That would bring some variety to life, to the painter’s life at least. That is why I have now rotated the picture by 90  degrees.  Something  strange  happened then. One of the green dots disappeared. It has simply disappeared. This was something I did not expect at all. Well, since it has disappeared, I have not painted it, I mean, I could not paint it. I do not want to spend my time on disappearing things. In this I am a minimalist. Painting is strenuous enough. If I had to paint what disappeared, instead of painting what one cannot see anyway? What would I do then? That is why: I leave the dot to you. You are the observer. Imagine the dot, if you prefer. I can assure you that it is not there. I should know, shouldn’t I? After all, I painted the picture.

23.  Man is present                       [30 × 25 cm]
private collection

“Man is present”. I have often read this above pictures. These attributions have a heroic sound. They speak of the sublime, the “sublime is now”. The pictures are, as far as I can remember, expansive and large. You experience yourself before such pictures, you are thrown into the expanded colour space. You lose yourself in a sea of col- our. You are overwhelmed by the painting. But I could never decide on a large format. This painting is in fact the smallest in the series. It is truly very small. Should I really give it the title of Man is present, or the simpler Here, or Now?Actually, I could simply state that the ob- server should step to one side. A friendly but firm request. He is standing in front of the light, that is obvious. If he would go, simply go away, then the painting would stand alone in the light. One could see three stripes, bright and distinctly. Then, however, the question of the title would be- come more urgent. “Man is present” would not suit it anymore..

24. Adaptation                             [40 × 27 cm]
[private collection]


Such observers is what one as a painter wishes for. Those who can identify with what is depicted. People who get enthusiastic about pictures
Yes, those who get so excited by pictures that they adapt to them. Isn’t that a lovely word?
“The adaptation”. Such people do not merely look at a picture, they can sink into a picture, looking at it in such a way that they themselves become the picture they are observing.



The paintings in this exhibition are all hung above a red frieze. When one looks at them, one recognises that this red frieze is repeated in the paintings. The frieze thus exists in the exhibition room and also exists in the space of the paintings. The exhibition site and the pictorial space are in- terconnected. When we stand before the paintings and look at them, we find ourselves in two corresponding spaces. The situation in the paintings can be transposed to the situation in the exhibition. We can imagine that what is depicted in the paintings could just as well happen here with us in the exhibition room. The observer can understand this as an invitation. In front of the paintings, the observer should make contact with them. The pictures are not merely objects on the wall anymore, to be observed exclusively in isolation. Each painting suggests a standpoint to the observer. The observer can, if desired, accept this and assume the offered role. The observer becomes part of the painting, is now, as we say, “part of the picture”. Looking at the painting, the observer also looks at himself or herself.

When we stand before paintings we are accustomed to asking questions. We ask, for example, “what does this picture mean?”. Imagine if the painting would ask back: “And what do you mean?”  We are also quick to pass judgment, to make an evaluation, and say: “That picture is lovely!” You would certainly be surprised if I replied: “You are lovely too.” We regularly exclude ourselves when looking at images. We usually make an effort to look at something from a safe distance, from a respectful distance. The goal is supposed to be, of course, to take in the painting in question and then to understand it. The painting becomes an object for us that we try to decipher, in order to ultimately be capable of passing judgement on it. Then we say, for example, “Yes, I like that painting. I think it is lovely.”
Observing a painting in this manner differs from the experience that we could have from a painting. We only experience a painting when we are part of the observation, when we experience ourselves in the observation. We thus take part in the experience. We exclude ourselves, however, when we examine and evaluate. We turn the painting into a thing, which we register from outside, to then make a judgement on it.
Looking at a painting can be compared to a journey at sea. Our gaze sweeps across the image, just like the sailor guides the ship over the abyss of the water’s depths. The water’s depths, the dark abyss, is an image, a metaphor for the spiritual. When humans lived entirely in the spiritual they lived in the mythical age. Numerous myths have come down to us from that age in which journeys over water are described. Among these myths we are familiar with the story of Noah’s Ark or Odysseus’ travels at sea. The spiritual is, therefore, an experience. It is a journey on which we travel. The mythical belongs to a deeper level of consciousness in us, one which, again and again, unexpectedly flickers through our rational, en- lightened worldview. It certainly does not occur when we think in concepts or operate with numbers. But when we encounter images the mythical forces itself upon us. Images are an accomplishment of the myth. For this reason it is often difficult for us to integrate images into our rationally determined consciousness. It is defined by the separation between observer and the observed. Put more abstractly, we speak of the subject-object division of rationality. The mythical, in contrast, “thinks” in images and thus from the inescapable interconnectedness of the ego and the world. Images, thus, are in their essence not capable of separating the seeing from the seen. We named this realisation of the inseparableness an experience. Experience is a remembering, a spiritual occurrence. It contrasts with conception, that is, the distancing, separating perception of the rational approach that predominates today. The disappearance of the mythical, however, does not mean that images have disappeared. We continue to orient ourselves to images, but have given them a new classi- fication. While in an earlier mythical age an image was appreciated when looked at, now it is a conception. It has thus become an opposite, a thing, which we classify in systems. Art is one such system. A typical question that arises before a painting today enquires “is it art?” That a painting can be regarded as art presupposes that it is a thing that can be objectively looked at. Many pictures that we nowadays appreciate as art objects in museums were previously not art, since they were experienced, since no difference was made in front of them between the image and the observer. They were not regarded as an imagined thing and thus also not judged or regarded as beautiful.
In front of the paintings displayed in this exhibition I am not calling for a return to the mythical age. Such a step, which would be a step backwards, would be fatal, in my opinion. Rather, I am concerned with pointing out that the image has preserved its two-faced essence from the age
of the myth. The transformation to a rational consciousness sought to remove from pictures their twin Janus faces, to force them to assume an objective perspective. This was only possible by objectifying the image. Art history is proof of an over 500 year-long effort to classify images as objects in various categories. The changing philosophic aesthetic systems that have accompanied art history likewise situate pictures in systems. The objective of this ordering and systemising has been until today to objectify images, that is, to recognise them as things and then to understand them. This new approach to images has brought us profound and valuable insights into the visual. I am convinced that we should not stop with this art-historical classification and aesthetical systemisation. It will also not help us any further to overturn the existing classifications or to expand the systematics. We should instead use the insights we have gained to make a jump, to leap away from our dear, but also rigid, approaches. We should leapfrog over classifications and systems and thus leapfrog over thinking. An encounter with images beyond the compulsive classifications and systems in which they are tied down today is an opportunity for such a leap.
Let us return to the pictures in this exhibition. Above I claimed that one could have an experience in front of these paintings. The experience is characterised by the fact that the observed painting looks back at the observer. The experience is therefore a being-there, experienced as a being-inseparable from what is seen. This experience is a form of memory. It touches the interior, the life of the soul, the inner images, the inner turmoil of the observer. I said above that experience is a sea journey above the depths of the soul, as described in myths. The external images correspond to our inner images, to what takes place in our inner soul. The rational consciousness has exposed these images as projections, as ideals. We have learned to not see our images as a symbol of what takes place inside us, but to recognise them as an autonomous reality separated from ourselves. In this manner, inescapability has been removed from pictures, into which we were helplessly drawn in when we looked at them before.
Thinking as directed thinking, that is, the rational consciousness, has led us out of this interconnectedness. For this reason, the rational consciousness is at odds with images, since it fears in them the danger of a relapse into mythical darkness, into irrationality. Ever since the emer- gence of rationality the polemics against images have been legion. It is absurd, however, to want to forbid images, for then one would have to gouge out all of our eyes. Even then, there would be no guarantee that interior images would not continue to appear within us. Images are a part of our being-in-the-world that cannot be destroyed. Insofar it represents a first step when we accept images as a legacy from the mythical and thus acknowledge the irrational link to the world. We must accept that
the integration of the mythical does not mean that it will be transformed into something rational. The image cannot be deduced rationally and therefore cannot be objectified. When we look at images, then we do not look at a thing, rather we enter into a relationship with ourselves. Yet, since we have left the mythical and have arrived on the path of thinking at the end in the logos, we find ourselves in the amazing and new situation of seeing through ourselves. We do not only look at something, we look at ourselves. We can look over ourselves in the experience. This does not take place analytically, not by separation, nor by contrasting, but rath- er in an all-encompassing gaze. The pictorial situations in DerRoteFriesare an incomplete, never-brought-to-an-end enumeration of visual encounters. These are not only placed one beside the other in a series, but each one is accompanied by a text. The texts do not explain the paintings, rather they propose how the experience before the paintings can itself become visible and transparent. One should not read the texts with the mistaken expectation that one could then understandthe paintings. Instead, the goal is that this bringing-to-awareness could make a sort of jump, a hop. One hops, one jumps, as described above, out of a long-established order. The jump, the hiatus, is comparable to a hiccup, which occurs when, for example, one’s breathing is interrupted due to a fright, to an unexpected change in the habitual. When a joke is told it causes its effect in a similar way. Linear thinking mixes up the succession of steps and then stumbles. We experience this unexpected falling-out from established orders as liberating and have to laugh. Whoever experiences something similar before the paintings here will have gained something.

First presentation in Galerie Hengesbach, Berlin, „Der Rote Fries - Thomas Huber", 07.09. - 19.10.2013

All paintings are oil paint on canvas

Der Rote Fries on the artist webpages Huberville