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European Painting of the Present - Traces and Signs


Peter Valentiner, like every good artist, has an exemplary significance for me. He has a clear artistic goal and his own aesthetic positions. He has a certain way of combining his personal style with the aesthetic questions of the time.

Valentine's painting always shows gestural traces, which he tries to combine with constructive ideas of form and space. He oscillates between freedom and constraint. In 1975, when I first saw paintings by him, I noticed a variety of elements whose chaotic aspect contrasted strangely with the stiffness of the picture ground and the coolness of the colour. At that time, by his own admission, a change had occurred in him and I was curious to see how it would develop.

Chaos, even when ordered, leaves enough room for chance. Valentine's painting was now gradually reduced to two or three coloured form-themed parts. In contrast to earlier times, his paintings now gain in permeability and sensitivity.

Each picture gains in simplicity of contrasts, thus increasing the intensity of the rhythm.

Stencils, perhaps inspired by the way they are used in ''hard edge'' painting, are taken up by him. The colours become purer, more luminous, the surfaces more even. His friendship with the Supports/Surfaces group - an association of French artists in the seventies - makes itself felt. Grids appear, nets that serve colour variation. His last works at the International Cologne Art Fair, which I was able to see, were free and chromatic.

Valentiner has found his own language by sharing the questions of cubism and the avant-garde. In his opinion, these questions have already been answered by many great masters of the past, even Raphael, for whom they were important enough.

Richard Crevier


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