From the Gray Zone of Visibility (Excerpt)


The use of black and white tones in a mixture of grey results from the move away from white, which is all colours, tob lack , which is no colour. This is not a transitive process, that is , a movement from one place to another, from correct to incorrect, which black-and-white thinking with ist moral impulse proffers, but represents a readiness, testifies to an intention or determination, to take on the intermediate radical changes. Such thinking serves to blur the boundary between the close and the distant in the use of grey in sfumato , or in thpainting of lunatic moments with all their difficulties and the delicate balancing of retentive and sinister depths. Our ability to perceive grey is limited, ist depth a matter of speculation. The filtering of pigments , their reflections , illuminates the white components. Colour admixtures o runder-painting generatet he trace (the vestigium) that serves to express the colour´s being as incarnate light. Such a way of thinking is aimed neither at transparency, at the possibility of a looking in or looking out, nor at an inner perspective turne as it were to face the viewer. It is precisely this lack of Being (Sein) and Beingwith (Mitsein), the withdrawal oft he inter-corporeality of an inter-subjectivity, which stimulates our hunger for recognizing and seeing: a grey zone of visibility. With the help of the monochrome, it aims at the narcissistic wish for totality , fort he highest/absolute oft the dence emtiness/fullness, but also for the figurative expressed in the polymorphism oft he phantasmagoric. The colour grey sums up the power of painting: to depict form as colour and metamorphosis as process. However it is also possible for colour intensity to clarify and create a coloured ´present´.

In what follows, I would like to illustrate what has just been said by describing the way Maren Krusche´s painting <Night> is constructed (III:). The painting belongs to one of the artist´s early groups of work confined to grey, one of a series of oil paintings of animals. In her earlier geometric abstractions she used grey in various ways to communicate both objects and a sense of space. The tapir first appears in the figurative paintings, as an objective animal motif, which she also subjects to serial modification. She reveals divergence by subtly varying the apparently similar motifs.

The night painting is made up of three 75x70cm panels forming a sequence that establishes an inner, temporal connection between sequence and duration. From the colours available to her, the artist chose a range of velvety greys, which tend, in the white rectangles, towards pale pink, and in the midnight blue circles, towards blue. The circlesare the only graphic element and indicate the present, the here and now. The rest oft he painting constitutes a phantom space.To judge by the grey tones, the night depicted in the painting is meant to be seen as endless. In resisting interpretation and changes in time of day it seems resistant to external illumination. The dark neither gives way to daylight, nor does it changes into dawn. Our awareness of this íntermediate night is not so much the result of an illusion, but more of a fiction.

Standing in front oft he painting, we find ourselves in a holistic, hazily silent space, in which something spatio-temporal occors. Here and there the density of the darkness, tending towards gloom, has been broken up by an extra fine, tinded white. Thus, inprominent places, we can discern a delicate flooding light. Slightly distorted rectangular areas serve as a reflective ground fort he external luminosity. They seem tob e reflected in the darkness. The white no longer functions as a play with colouring, but rather emits a light, bright colour. The lightness might even be said to act like a shield held up to protect the darkness oft he interal space. So, the illuminating brightness, the receding dark, the containing gloom, and the grey-tinted colour, become visible and hence pictorial. The grey space it creates offers up ist incomprehensible darkness to a sporadically illuminating light and mysteriously hides a sustained ´dark light´ in its gloom. The complicated light structure of this dark world is animated, it plays with white light and toneless grey.

The head of a tapir, whose body we can only surmise, emerges from the gloom. Sniffing the air, it creeps unhurried out of the undergrowth, out oft he gloom, whereby the sence of space changes into the conception of an exotic night. The night creature ventures to escape the darkness and the amorphous spatial conglomerate,ist head in the solid light, ist body still immersed in lightlessness. Without the mixture of light and darkness, without body and cast shadows, a delicate, luminous strength forms around the animal.This bright light is achieved merely by means oft he sensitive placing of a luminous grey, as allegory of the living light, which brings things into being and assimilates them. Night-time as the exotic stage for light events—originally a romantic subject and prey to esoteric iconicity ishere presented as pictoral animation, which at the end (oft he days or nights) destroys the night creature´s morphological magic.The sequence of images ends with a wand a magical object and a motif found in other paintings —which effects the change from the light to the dark. Or is it the other way round?

Ferenc Jádi (2013)