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"Religious Art" in the Cloth Factory - Paintings and objects by artists on display

Press - Religiös Kunst - 12-1987
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"Revelation" is the title of a new exhibition opened last week at the Tuchfabrik in Trier, where five artists from the "Kulturwerkstatt Trier" are represented with paintings and two objects: Harry Koch (Trier) - the manager of the cloth factory, Angelika Lauer (Trier), Herbert Lauer (Trier), Armin Scheider (Seigen) and Peter Valentiner (Cologne) - lecturer at the "European Academy of Fine Arts".

"Revelation" is a demanding title; demanding because it aims at religious content - the announcement spoke of an awakening Christ consciousness - and at binding formulations of it. The time is not exactly favourable for this, on the one hand, as far as faith is concerned, and on the other hand, as far as the state of modern artistic means is concerned, to be able to give religious things a generally comprehensible expression without resorting to traditional Christian pictorial symbolism.

The Rhineland-Palatinate art exhibition "Religious Art Today", which could be seen a few months ago in the Simeonstift, provided a whole bundle of vivid evidence of the predominance of the abstract and indeterminate and the shying away from simple pictoriality in this field. At the time, the large number of artists who responded to the religious theme was in any case surprising, something that is not usually reflected in the usual exhibitions. The new Tufa exhibition has the same surprise effect. Even if often only the well-intentioned and the difficulty of objectifying subjective inner experiences in a painterly "appealing" way can be seen - the intention of the exhibition is interesting and revealing.

The vague and shadowy, the attempt to compensate for the loss of Christian-religious symbols, before which there used to be a broad agreement of understanding, by means of colour and form symbolism, by expressing individual feelings that go beyond the visible and material and conjure up the power of a cohesion and a higher order, also characterises this exhibition. Thus, the power of "love" is invoked, the power of an attainable harmony emanating from a central focus - strikingly so, for example, in the work of Armin Schneider and Angelika Lauer, abstract, figurative and bathed in light colours. Attached explanations, however, are also characteristic of the difficulty of being able to communicate the private in an artistic way.

A lot of symbolism of light, fire and circling rhythms, a lot of blue and gold emblems, characteristics of the spiritual and the radiant - striking in Herbert Lauer's work, attempts to grasp "the spiritual" behind things and people without the aid of abstract patterns in Harry Koch's work. The Tufa director, who is particularly surprising in his capacity as a painterly autodidact, has also collaged a wall of objects from his everyday work, which is then meditatively "broken through" - a work that follows in the footsteps of Beuysian mark-making, similar to a small "contemplation room" (Armin Schneider), reminiscent of the "Private Mythologies" that were spread out at the fifth documenta in Kassel. In terms of painting, Peter Valentiner is particularly convincing with his abstract colour form structures that combine the seemingly complicated into a harmonious and at the same time beautiful order (Until the end of the year).

Hans Ludwig Schulte


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