February 22, 2010 Tobias Lehner – “Pluton”
no images were found
22nd of February – 21st of March 2010
The artistic position seen in “Pluton” resembles the imaginary perspective of the planet itself: the ending point of the system we inhabit, the starting point for dimensions completely unknown. Similar to the planet being on the edge of our system, Tobias Lehner’s paintings drift between the borders of figuration and abstraction: a tour-de-force through the history of painting, with influences ranging from abstract electronica to milestones of modernity. It’s all a matter of perspective, so to say.
The unmatched skills of complex composition and visual density make “Pluton” not only a unique aesthetic experience, but also provide intellectual input to reconsider the principles of painting. Lehner’s technique of painting works like a data server, on a remote island: clusters of data are transferred, encoded, decoded, read and reread. The grid is transforming, the dimensions are twisting: although painting, it is all in real time, the canvas becomes a screen.
This constant process of de- and reconstruction reveals itself in the multitude of layers every one of Lehner’s paintings has. Not a semantic one, but a physical disruption of the linearity of painting, allowing the individual patterns to create a multitude of visual situations, clashes and links, within the blink of an eye. The seemingly unlimited number of alternative outcomes give this mode of layering a sense of infinity, allowing the viewer a unique look at a painter’s own solar system.
You have to know the rules if you want to break them. This also seems to be the case with Lehner and the tradition of painting in Leipzig he emerges from. To not fall into a marketable category by choice, but to free oneself from the clinging roots of tradition, is a decision of an artist with vision. “Pluton” thus resembles a very distinctive position, in the cosmos of painting. The planet itself consists of various territories and terrains, but they all share the same atmosphere, the same cycle of time.
This metaphor of the planet illustrates the linkage to Lehner’s development as an artist. It is no coincidence that his methods of composition are closely connected with a musical avant-garde emerging at the same time. A fusion of electronic and electro-accoustic elements proofed to be a revolution in sound. Lehner’s painting have an impact of the same level, going beyond the basic principles media art still seems to struggle with. There is no irony in Lehner’s choice of painting as a medium to cross this borders, it’s a commitment to art itself.
True immersion without any visual references, at the same time not a formal footnote, but personal statements far away from the closed circuits of an “l’art pour l’art” coolness. The paintings shown in Carbon 12 compress a large array of philosophical thought into a strong message, with enough room for individual aesthetic reflection left between the borders of the canvas. Yet there is lightness, a hint of optimistic simplicity to be seen, leaving discursive struggle far behind, unfolding the naturalistic beauty of an imagined landscape, to be found on a planet called “Pluton”.
Text by Albert Allgaier